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.
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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
What is the one detail in your application you would like us to overlook?
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
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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.
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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
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"You are a third year dental student on clinical duties. You are working with another dental student, a senior student, and a staff clinician, Dr. Kerry. During rounds, Dr. Kerry and the senior student make several demeaning comments to the dental assistance. After rounds in the doctor’s lounge the conversation continues. Dr. Kerry and the senior student said several condescending comments about the patient management suggestions made by the dental assistant. You are bothered by the comments. You know that Dr. Kerry and the senior student will be doing your evaluation at the end of the clinical period. Other students tell you that you will get a better evaluation if you just fit in. However, you decide that it is necessary to do something in this situation. What will you do?”
So, as you are given the prompt by the interviewer, and prior to delivering an appropriate and strong response, you will need to remind yourself of the key steps and strategies that were discussed earlier in this video when it comes to dealing with situational based questions. Note that, the steps and strategies that were discussed in the earlier parts of this course are to be considered rapidly and simultaneously as you hear the question, so that you can develop talking points for your response.
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