Profile Building Guide
Hey there, thanks for checking out my new blog. In case you missed the first session on profile building, here in this blog, you can find the resources I mentioned in the session and more. I used these resources and found them quite helpful. Read through these and feel free to leave a response in the comments below.
The COVID pandemic has raised many challenges for the dental profession and especially for DDS aspirants in finding appropriate opportunities. Considering these challenges, I put together a list of experiences/exposures that can be build-up as a part of competitive dental school applications.
Network or NO work
Reach out to as many current students, alumni, and dentists as you can. Create an informal network of people from the dental schools you are interested in. Every dental school has its uniqueness in the DDS/IDS curriculum and that information will be valuable when you interview at those schools. When you come across any unique projects or ideas, approach the people working on them, ask for any open volunteering or work opportunities. Don’t be shy to reach out, most people are friendly and approachable. What could be the worst that might happen? they will say no or won’t respond. No problem, don’t give up!
Dental schools’ websites list many opportunities available for pre-dental students or international scholars. As Advanced Standing Program Applicants, we are eligible to get involved with most of these opportunities. I highly recommend going through every dental school’s website thoroughly, approaching faculty/alumni/current students as required.
Online didactic courses or certifications
Herman Ostrow SOD has a variety of online courses that I found were helpful. They also have online master and certificate program options. There are not many other dental schools that provide academic courses online in dentistry. But I will update this list as I come across others.
COVID response teams all over the world have opened many public health, leadership, volunteering opportunities. If you are planning to apply for any of these courses, I recommend completing this free online course by Johns Hopkins.
These are some of the roles
CI (Case Investigator)
CT (Contact Tracer)
CICT Leadership Roles
Vaccination site volunteering or paid roles like greeter, coordinator, etc
Tech/back end roles
Vaccination site leadership roles
Content creation/public education-related roles
Research (school, researchers, students, faculty, or your own)
Research departments at dental schools are one of the best ways to start your research exposure if you don't have it already. A few masters' programs include some introductory research methodology training embedded into their curriculum. From my personal experience, those projects won't give us the type of exposure that is needed in research. The best way to learn about how research is conducted is to perform your own! There are many introductory courses to research methodology and biostatistics/data analysis on Coursera.
Whether you plan on working as a DA or RDA while trying to get into dental school, getting these certificates or completing these courses will give you an edge in finding good jobs in dental offices. The methods you are exposed to during these courses will help you get accustomed to dental back offices along with the overall perspective of a working office. Here are some institutes that offer dental auxiliary courses in Northern California.
I was in constant search of good virtual online hands-on courses in dentistry. I joined school before I could participate in any of them, here is a list of some available options.
Stevenson Dental Solutions
Dr. Duggan’s courses
Your X factor!
Work on your hobbies, interests, extracurricular, and try to get opportunities that might fit on your resume. For example, starting your food blog, start-up ideas, business, any academic position in art school, achieving a certificate, or winning a competition in photography, hiking, or other sports competitions. All these mentions in your resume will be your X factors, that are unique from many mundane experiences schools/dentists read on applicants' resumes.
I don't have much experience getting involved with digital dentistry. But if you have opportunities to volunteer, work, or learn at any of these cutting-edge tech digital dentistry ventures, that would be a perfect cherry on this cake.
Your CV or resume is going to be one of the most important parts of your application. Here is a resume format I started with while applying to dental schools.
Wait and take a deep breath!
After all the efforts you have put into getting your name to stand out, take a break. Remember dentistry is not your entire LIFE! Disconnect with CAAPID for a while and try to connect with yourself. You have given your 100% and you have all it takes to be in that seat you have been wanting for the last many months or years. And one day it will be yours!
Apurva Dabak, BDS, MPH, DDS candidate