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A Day in the Life of a Predental Student

Leigh and Taylor tell what it's like to be a predental trying to get into dental school. For more tips and resources like this, become an ASDA member.

Leigh Reynolds, predental member, Fort Hayes State University

Leigh Reynolds

I knew I wanted to be a dentist when I was in the sixth grade. I was participating in “Take Your Daughter To Work Day.”

Choosing the right dental school is all about location and philanthropy. I want to contribute to my local community while in dental school and afterwards. However, I am also visiting every school I plan to apply at so that I can base my decision off of other factors too.

The application process is all about preparation. Attending events at local dental schools has been the most helpful for me to prepare for applying to dental school. Mock interviews help, too. To get ready, I have prepared portions of my application in advance. I have already written my personal statement and received several letters of evaluation. In addition, I have volunteered in as many dentistry-related opportunities as possible such as the Special Olympics Special Smiles, Team Smile, Give Kids a Smile and the Kansas Mission of Mercy. To prepare myself for leadership, I created my school’s predental club, organized our state’s first predental consortium and accepted one of ASDA’s leadership positions for predental students as a 2013 Predental Advisory Committee member. I have written two articles for ASDA publications. I also try to stay involved in my schools pre-med, chemistry and biology clubs.

I’m looking forward to making my many years of preparation come to fruition. I can’t wait to learn all of the lab techniques and then use my skills to bring my passion for oral health to life!

I’m anxious for the course load. I constantly hear from dental students that the course load can be overwhelming during the first two years. I know that dental school is what you make of it and it will be worth it in the end.

The hardest thing is maintaining a good GPA. It’s a constant challenge trying to fulfill other admission requirements while keeping up with studying.

I first heard about ASDA through research on the ADA’s website. I joined because I knew that ASDA would help me network with dental students at the schools I plan on applying to.

Taylor Velasquez, predental member, Arizona State University

Taylor Velasquez

I knew I wanted to be a dentist when I was 13-years-old. I’m the oldest of five children and every time we had an appointment, whether it was for the doctor, dentist or school, all the kids would come with me. I would watch how the dentist handled my siblings and thought to myself that I could be that man one day.

Choosing the right dental school is very important. Cost hasn’t crept into my mind when picking the right one because I’ll be in debt no matter what. I want a school that encourages teamwork with classmates and involvement in the local community. Going to a school that makes you feel welcome from day one will make it easier to pick. I know it is going to be a hard decision, but I will go with what I believe is the best choice to start my career.

The application process is arduous, but exciting. I will be applying to 10-12 schools throughout the country. Location will not be a concern for me. Right now, I’m building my application. Whether it is volunteering in a clinic or shadowing a dentist, these activities will be helpful down the road.

I’m looking forward to my first day as a dental student. Being nervous, meeting my classmates and faculty, and realizing that I’m finally here are some of the things that I think about all the time. I’m also looking forward to work in the SIM labs to learn the skills that I need to interact with patients.

I’m anxious for the acceptance letter. I can’t wait to tell my family that I will be going to dental school. I’ve had dreams of that day and I hope it comes sooner than later.

The hardest thing is keeping my confidence high. It's hard to do when you see other people get turned down their first time applying and you think that they are a better applicant. I can’t have a pessimistic attitude and get into dental school. I fought that battle when I was in my undergrad years and now I have an optimistic view for the future.

I first heard about ASDA while I was at a predental workshop at Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health. I didn’t sign up for ASDA until I went to an event that ASDOH was setting up, which was Give Kids a Smile. I volunteered that day as an escort and interacted with the ASDOH students, faculty and the kids that came. I was approached by the ASDA chapter’s president and vice president after the event and we had a conversation about ASDA. They gave me great information and told me how much they have learned from being part of the association. I joined because of their stories and how much they care about the community. I’m very proud to be part of this association and I know this will help me in becoming a better dentist.


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