We know that getting into Dental School in the UK is tough; the competition is high and the places are very few. So how do you boost your chances of success? Become A Dentist has outlined our Top Ten Tips for Applying to Dentistry:
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Our Free Definitive Guide to Boosting your Application to Dental School is the perfect place to start. We cover in-depth assessments of how to apply successfully via UCAS, the most important points to include in your application to stand out, and how to write the perfect statement. The free content found on our website also starts preparing you for the UCAT, and most importantly, for interviews as well.
You can find all of this at www.becomeadentist.co.uk
Get your grades up to scratch
Your grades are one of the factors in determining whether you receive an invitation to interview or not. Most Dental Schools require you to have a minimum of AAA at A-Levels (or predictions, at least). This does not mean that you will definitely be rejected if you do not meet those grades, but the stronger your grades, the more you will stand out. Strong grades will also supplement a potentially weaker UCAT score, so if you do not score as well as you had hoped in the UCAT, your grades can carry you forward to an interview.
If you feel you are unable to boost your grades to the required standard, you should read our blog on “Get into Dentistry (Dental School) with Low Grades”
Get your work experience sorted (and lots of it)
Work experience will provide you with the relevant knowledge and insight into a life and career as a dentist. You should spend time with dentists, but also with other professions in order to show that you have carefully considered a career in dentistry. However, just attending work experience is not enough. Dental Schools want to find out what you have learnt during work experience; what are the highs and lows of dentistry? How do dentists cope with stress? What attributes did you see from the dentist you were shadowing that you would like to emulate? How was the surgery run between dentist and nurse? How was the patient cared for?
These are just a few of the many questions you should be asking and answering during work experience. If you find that you are struggling to arrange work experience following the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, do not hesitate to contact us via social media or through our Contact Form – with our nationwide dentists, we will try to help you find some work experience!
Find an extracurricular sport or hobby that makes you interesting or talented
In order to stand out from the crowd, you need to be more than just academically gifted. Dental School (and University as a whole) is about broadening your horizons, taking on new challenges and exploring new possibilities. The Dental Admissions Boards want to see individuals who have that enthusiasm and passion for something already, and are looking for candidates who will bring that to their Dental School.
Your hobby does not need to be related to dentistry. Many candidates make the mistake of saying their hobby is knitting or calligraphy because they believe it shows their manual dexterity. This has become an extremely cliched answer in recent years; Dental Schools are not looking for evidence of manual dexterity as much as they used to. They now want to see evidence of other skills; teamwork, leadership, communication, decision-making and determination to name a few.
Find a hobby that portrays some, if not all, of these skills. When you tell the Dental School about these hobbies or activities in your Personal Statement or Interview, make sure to link them to the skills that are transferable in dentistry. Our Interviews Section has a thorough explanation of how to do this effectively in the interview.
Have a powerful Personal Statement
Your Personal Statement is what makes a lasting impression on the Dental School. If your statement is cliche and boring like all the others, then you will be forgotten amongst thousands of applications.
Your Statement needs to have an engaging dialogue throughout; you should focus on making your Statement as personal to you as possible. Decide why you want to study dentistry, and begin from there. Throughout your statement, you should highlight:
- What you have learnt during work experience
- What qualities or attributes the dentist had
- Voluntary/paid work or extra-curricular activities that show you have these qualities or you are developing them
- Why it is important for a dentist to have these qualities
Using these 4 guides to write the bulk of your Personal Statement will highly impress the Dental School
For more guidance, our Dental Admissions Specialists are on-hand with our Unlimited Personal Statement Review Package to help!
Score highly on the UCAT
The next of our Top Tips for Applying to Dentistry is your UCAT. Some universities have a UCAT minimum cut-off score; if you fall below this, your application will be rejected no matter how good your Personal Statement or your grades are. Therefore, it is essential that you score well in the UCAT. You should refer to our blog Top 5 Tips for UCAT Success for further guidance, as well as the FREE content on our site here.
If you don’t score as high as you wanted, you need to choose your university choices very carefully (see below).
Find out which Dental School is the right one for you (including their requirements)
One of the most important Top Tips for Applying to Dentistry is to think very carefully about which University choices you pick. You will be spending a minimum of 5 years at the Dental School, so you need to make sure it is the right one.
Look into the University and Dental School, their reputation and how successful they are. Pay attention to extracurricular and sporting events they hold, as well as social functions.
More importantly, you need to pick the universities that you have the best chance of getting into. If you scored 500 on your UCAT, but the Dental School’s cut-off is 650 every year, then there is no point wasting an application on them. You will get a rejection. Unfortunately, dental school applications are competitive and tough, so you have to play it smart. The same applies for A-level grades.
Have a reason WHY you want to study dentistry
Nearly every Dental School will ask “why do you want to study dentistry?” either at the interview panel or MMI. You need to have a solid reason why. Try to make it personal, but not cliched. In our Tips for Applying to Dentistry, we will give you an excellent model answer:
I want to study dentistry because it combines science with lifelong relationships with patients. As dentists you meet and interact with hundreds or thousands of patients a year, and you build strong and lifelong relationships with them. You have an ethical and moral obligation to look after them and improve their oral health, but you also see their lives develop. You will be able to look after families and see their children grow and move onto new chapters in their lives. This is something unique in the medical world because no other medical profession gives you this opportunity.
Practice and prepare for your interviews
The best way to prepare for interviews is to practice. Our Full Comprehensive Package has a library of over 150 interview questions, all with detailed explanations and model answers. Our recommendation is to start there.
Speak to someone when you need help
Our final Top Tip for Applying to Dentistry is to ask for help when you need it. Applying to Dentistry is tough and competitive, and sometimes you need the experience and guidance of someone to help. Our Admissions Tutors are available 24/7 via social media and Whatsapp, so feel free to get in touch today!