Everyone talks about the secrets of gaining entry into medical school, but what about all the prospective dental students out there?
Little do many people know, gaining entry into a dental school is fiercely competitive – more competitive than many medical schools I might add! With only 15 dental schools offering undergraduate BDS programmes in the whole of the UK, with cohorts of 50-150 students; the pathway to becoming a dentist can seem daunting!
Fortunately, it really doesn’t have to be that way.
The pathway to gaining entry to one of the coveted 15 dental schools follows one that is fairly similar to medical school entry. The biggest difference I found was the sheer competitiveness of gaining a place. In comparison to 300-400 places offered to medical students within the same university – you’ll be fighting it out for 50-150 spaces.
Having gained offers with scholarships to all four of my preferred schools, I can say first hand that the application process is not as bad as it seems! Follow some of these tips to really make sure you’re maximising your chances at an offer.
The biggest tip I could offer to any prospective dental student is to play to your strengths!
Different dental schools will prize different aspects of your application. For example, it is rather well known that Bristol Dental School looks for an outstanding personal statement. King’s College London looks for candidates with high ucat scores. By playing to your strengths, your chances of getting that interview will be that much higher!
Make sure that you have the recommended amount of work experience completed before applying to any dental school.
Some schools will specify that they need 2 weeks in an NHS practice and adhere to this rather strictly whilst others will be slightly more lenient. After you’ve sat your ucat exam, make sure your scores meet the threshold for each school you’ve decided on! It’s a secret that some schools do release the threshold for the previous application cycle, so use this to your advantage!
As a general rule of thumb, check every prospective dental schools’ prospectus and entry requirements before making any choices.
Show a little flair in your personal statement!
Make sure you’ve included the basics such as why you’re interested in dentistry, what work experience you’ve done and the skills you have that’ll make you an ideal dental student. But don’t forget to include your hobbies and add that ‘personal’ element to your statement! After all, the admissions tutor will be reading hundreds of personal statements over the application cycle.
Make sure you fill out your UCAS form properly!
Little sections such as the achievements/qualifications can be utilised for more than your GCSE or A Level results. Add in those extra awards and qualifications you’ve completed to give your application that wow factor!
Most of all, attend the dental school open days and see if the environment is a good fit for you!
After all, you’ll be spending the best part of the next five years of your life there! Don’t be afraid to ask the students questions and walk around the campus yourself after the tour finishes.
Best of luck to everyone applying in the coming application cycle, follow these tips when writing your application and you won’t go far astray!
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