Dental School Personal Statement Examples

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Dental School Personal Statement Examples

We'll first dive into some dental school personal statement examples then we'll go over our proven strategies to help you create your own from scratch! 

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Dental School Personal Statement Example #1

"In the final moments of a key game in a hockey tournament, I jumped over the boards and onto the ice without putting my mouth guard back in place. It was attached to my helmet, but I had a chance for the puck, and I took it. Moments later, an opponent’s stick caught me in the face, knocking out my front tooth. Play stopped, and my team found my tooth on the ice. I looked to the bleachers. My mom was already on the phone getting initial instructions from our dentist for saving the tooth. Within 15 minutes, we were outside the clinic as my dentist unlocked the door, despite it being a Saturday night. As I was treated within half an hour, my tooth could be saved by stabilizing it as it healed. Until that moment, I thought of my dentist as someone I only saw every six months; I hadn’t seen her as a critical part of my healthcare team.

I realized from this experience that time is a factor in dental care, and thus a career in dentistry. My tooth was saved because I lived in an urban centre and had immediate access to care, not to mention the continuity of care I’ve had since I was a child. My mother is employed and has good dental coverage, but this is not the case for many. Without timely check-ups, both oral and medical issues that could be detected and prevented can become more serious conditions.

With this awareness, I have for the last 6 years volunteered in two ways. In the time since my hockey accident, I’ve worked with my dentist on a safety awareness campaign for young hockey players and their families, teaching about the necessity of mouth guards, as well as how a quick response to such injuries may help in recovery. I’ve also worked alongside dentists for the Smiling Children Foundation in vulnerable neighborhoods, where dental neglect is not uncommon, and continuity of care is rare. Recently, we set up a mobile clinic in a school, where I record personal information and take a medical history for each child. A young boy, 10 years old, complained of constant headaches and pain in his body. Upon examination, the dentist noticed his gums were dark purple in places and bled easily. Our team alerted a community doctor of a potential immune disorder, and the young boy was diagnosed and treated, returning to good health within months. That day, I learned that oral healthcare is holistic healthcare, and that it is a privilege to support those who may not have time, resources, or access to oral healthcare.

I have had this privilege in what began as dental shadowing and is now part-time employment, where I liaise between patients and insurance companies, manage team schedules, and comfort anxious patients. This might be as simple as holding a hand while the dentist performs the procedure. Or, I might hold a baby while the father sees the hygienist. I’ve learned to read an X-ray accurately, prepare the instruments needed for a procedure, and balance the books. I have been mentored by both a medical and business professional, and I have borne witness to our patients’ high and low points. I have worked hard to understand what goes into growing and maintaining a successful dental practice and feel capable to meet the challenge of the multiple roles required in this dynamic vocation.

It bears mentioning why my first-year grades are not what I’d hoped they would be. I joined a good number of co-curricular clubs with the intention of participating in our campus community and developing my professional skills. By midterm, I realized I had oversubscribed myself. Unfortunately, willpower and desire were not enough. My grades suffered as I tried to manage my responsibilities. By attending time management seminars and learning to manage time rather than be managed by time, I was able retrieve my grades. From 2nd year forward, I’ve maintained a 4.0 GPA while moving up the ranks of student organizations and taking an active role in a research project. Resilience is like a muscle that needs time, exercise, and perseverance to build.

From a sports accident, to volunteer work in an underserved community, to employment in a dental office and an academic career that shows both mistakes and recovery, I have thought carefully about what dentistry is. A dentist is part of a larger healthcare team, and a dentist can often treat not only a single patient over decades, but provide intergenerational care to a family. I aspire to dentistry to accompany my patients through life, 6 months at a time, offering compassionate, whole-person healthcare." (4497 characters, including spaces)

Dental School Personal Statement Example #2

"“Ready, Set, Bake,” shouted the host of Bake-Off. I was 16 and a contestant of a televised baking show. Our 6th challenge gave us 3 hours to perfectly bake the most decadent and timing consuming dessert: the mille-feuille – layers of puff pastry, filled with whipped cream and custard, and glazed on top. Despite being the only teenager in a field of contestants ranging from 20-70 years of age, I’d made it through several days of cuts for one of the spots on the show. I wish I could say that my dessert was a masterpiece, but as the timer counted down and I plated it, the filling oozed, and the pastry crumbled. I’d made to the Top Six, but the mille-feuille defeated me and I was asked to hang up my apron. As I reflect on this experience, the solo and team challenges, the practice to get on the show, the mastery needed to gain a top spot, I realize that I’m grateful even for the defeat, because I learned valuable lessons that helped me develop key qualities and skills that are in-line with the core competencies necessary for dentistry, my chosen profession. Both dentistry and competitive baking require innovation and excellence, communication and accountability, and the necessity of precision, focus, and a steady hand.

Both of my parents are dentists. While the influence of their careers on my own access to knowledge cannot be underestimated, I have been deeply cognizant of making an autonomous career decision. That decision is my own, but my parents have admittedly opened unique conversations around ethics, technology, and patient care to me. My earliest memories include attending dental conferences with them and being encouraged to explore the Exhibits Floor, where I learned about the newest dental products and treatments and “test drove” the latest innovations in dentistry. I developed an aptitude for predicting which products and technologies were gimmicks and which would effectively support excellence in patient care. This knack has made me something of an informal consultant for my parents and their colleagues, who value my insights on innovation and efficacy of new treatments.

While technology is at the forefront of change, what remains consistent over time is the importance of communication and accountability to provide excellent patient care. I’ve had the privilege to shadow Dr. Ann Lee, an oral surgeon, over the past 3 years. Among many things, she showed me that inherent in communication is accountability. Many of her patients are children and teens having teeth extracted for orthodontic reasons. The son of a family who had been Dr. Lee’s patients for over a decade arrived for a complicated wisdom tooth extraction. Despite familiarity with the family, the doctor painstakingly reviewed the extraction process to prepare them effectively. The procedure went well in the office; however, on the way home, the boy began haemorrhaging. An artery had been compromised during the surgery. I watched as Dr. Lee packed bone wax around the artery to stem the bleeding. What struck me about this experience was the standard of accountability to which the surgeon held herself, as she communicated with the family by phone, made a house call later that evening on her way home, and remained on-call over the weekend to ensure the safety and healing of the child. The family maintained their trust in Dr. Lee because of her open communication and sense of accountability. I also learned just how fragile and technical dental work is, requiring both dexterity and precision.

Volunteering in a dental brigade in Haiti, Mirlande, 6, taught me about vulnerability and trust. Mirlande was scared and reluctant to open her mouth for her first dental exam. I took her aside and, as she watched, I carved a perfect tooth from soap using dental instruments. I carved slowly and precisely, and then presented her with the gift. She put the tooth in her pocket and then allowed me to clean her teeth. I was immediately struck by the vulnerability of not only soft tissue, but of hearts, as she leaned back and opened her mouth in trust. This moment solidified my decision to become a dentist.

Though the earlier comparison between baking and dentistry is merely an analogy, it is one that suggests I have developed key skills and am aware of the core competencies a dentist must hold to best serve their patients professionally and ethically. Dentistry is my vocation, baking a hobby, but both speak to my investment in excellence, precision, and doing for others." (4500 characters, including spaces)

Writing a Strong Dental School Personal Statement

In applying to a dental program, a personal statement essay is often required as part of your application package. This blog will help you understand the key things you must do (and that you must avoid) in composing your essay, with dental school personal statement examples that demonstrate these strategies, so that you can draft the strongest, most compelling dental school personal statement possible.

What is a Dental School Personal Statement?

A dental school personal statement is your opportunity to show admissions committees who you are as a person and aspiring dental professional, aside from your CV, GPA, Dental Aptitude Test (DAT) score, and other quantitative data. As any personal statement essay, the dental school personal essay should be a narrative account that gives the admissions committee the opportunity to learn more about you than what can be conveyed in a dry document like a CV or transcript. 

For dental school applications, the American Dental Education Association requires an essay of no more than 4,500 characters (including spaces), which must demonstrate your key personal qualities, aspirations, and reasons for pursuing a career in dentistry to the schools to which you are applying. This process isn’t as standardized in Canadian programs, so you’ll need to check the application requirements for the programs and schools to which you are applying to see if a personal statement is required. In doing so, you can also learn whether there are any specific requirements regarding the length of the essay, whether there is a specific prompt to which you must respond in your dental school personal statement, and whether there are any other application requirements.

Qualities of a Strong Dental School Personal Statement

A strong dental school personal statement will do several things:

1. Tell a story

Ideally, you will craft a story or detail a defining moment that helped you realize why this is the profession you want to pursue. Read more…

5 Hardest Dental School Interview Questions and Expert Answers

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It is imperative that you begin your dental school interview prep as soon as possible. One useful way of preparing for this important step in the application process is to review sample questions and expert analysis. This will help you understand what makes for an ideal answer, and how you can build such ideal answers using your own ideas and insights. Here are 5 of the most difficult dental school interview questions (panel/traditional and multiple mini interview), each followed by expert responses and commentary.

Dental School Interview Question #1

Prompt: 

What is the one detail in your application you would like us to overlook?

Discussion: 

This question asks you to face head-on and talk about something you’d probably like to avoid discussing, if possible. It might also be thought of as a limitation question (e.g., “What is your greatest limitation?”), or a question about your challenges (e.g., “Tell us about a time you failed”), and, as such, may be something you’re understandably hesitant to address. No one likes to talk about their weaker spots, particularly in a high-stakes, high-stress situation like an interview! However, it's best to own up to the low grade, or the gap in extracurriculars, or whatever that weak-spot might be, by re-framing it with a growth mindset. Think of this question as an opportunity to show how you have developed grit and determination to overcome academic disappointment, or to focus attention on the transferable skills you’ve developed from your experiences. As long as you are able to learn from the experience, no loss, misstep, or set-back is truly a failure.

The responses to a question like this will be highly individualized, but let’s walk through the process with a few examples, which can help you work on this in the context of your own life and experiences.

Strategy: Accentuate the Positive 

Read more…

How To Ace The Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) Collaboration/Team Work Stations

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How should you effectively deal with collaboration/group/team work multiple mini interview (MMI) stations?

During my third multi-mini interview (MMI) - the one that finally got me into medical school - I found myself in a debate station with one of the fellow interviewees. He started to politely present his argument to me while two evaluators observed. He presented a weak argument but didn’t actually stop talking. There was no natural break around the three-minute mark for me to start presenting my arguments and I knew we only had a total of eight minutes, including giving each other feedback. Read more…

Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) Evaluator Reveals Her Top MMI Interview Preparation Tips!

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I was pathetically nervous for my first multiple mini interview (MMI). It was 2007. I was interviewing at a med school. They asked me a question about breast-feeding. I do not know what the question was. I do not recall my answer. I do, however, recall the intense corporal anxiety associated with me fumbling for an answer to the question. I was so focused on figuring out the correct answer that I did not spend any time telling that interviewer about my relationship to the topic, how I think, the way I problem-solve, or who I am. I did poorly on that interview. And I was not accepted that year.

Since 2007, I have participated in three MMI interviews as a candidate and two more as an evaluator at McMaster med school. Of the dozens of MMI questions I have encountered since my first MMI experience, I only felt Read more…

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