With application season right around the corner I thought it would be a great time to post some resources that I commonly use. While most of these have similar information, each one of the websites recommended below has a unique attribute that makes it stand out over the others. To best prepare for dental school, I would recommend bookmarking and using all of these resources along the way.

ADEA AADSAS

  • AADSAS, the Associated American Dental School Applied Service, is an organization run under the ADEA (American Dental Education Association) specifically designed to provide a universal application to dental schools. As you can guess, this is a vital resource if you want to become a dentist. It is the best and only way to apply for all the dental schools you are interest in attending. One application will contain and deliver all components of the application including your personal statement and your letters of recommendation to every school on your list.
  • Application season starts June 4th, and since you want to get into your dream dental school, you should give yourself every advantage possible. Submitting your application early is the simplest and most effective way to significantly improve your chances of getting into your dream school. This is due to the fact that the early applicants get more interview opportunities since none of the seats have been filled yet. As time goes on, seats begin to fill and schools begin slowing down admittance rates. Make sure to have everything ready as soon as possible so that you can submit and complete your application within the first few weeks of the application season.
  • This is the best resource for talking to other pre-dental students. In my opinion, these individuals are the experts of how to get into dental school. Many of them have already gone through the process and are there to help spread their knowledge to get others in. The people who put a lot of effort into this website usually can be considered experts and as a result many of them have outrageously high GPAs, DAT scores, and achievements. Please do not feel intimidated by them. These students are commonly the “cream of the crop” when it comes to applicants.
PreDents.com (Shut Down) – Alternatives: predentals.com & dds.studentdoctor.net
  • This is the best resource for statistics on dental schools. While the website does not have the greatest design, the information it collects is unique and I would recommend anybody applying to dental school to use it. PreDents.com is a great way to keep track of one’s stage in the application process versus others applying the same schools.
  • It is member driven in the sense that members update their status at the dental schools they apply to. For example, when somebody gets an interview at a specific dental school, they update their status which automatically updates the statistics for that dental school. This data is obviously not complete since many pre-dental applicant do not know of this website. Although the system is not perfect, it is the only way to keep track of the status of the current application season. You can get a good idea of the interview rates, acceptance rates, rejection rates, and attendance rates. You can also look into the previous years worth of data collected by this website and you can compare statistics over the years. As with StudentDoctor.net, the people who use this website are commonly the top students. Please do not be alarmed about the high averages posted by people on this website.

ASDA

  • ASDA, the American Student Dental Association is an excellent group to be a member of. Their mission statement (below) defines the purpose of the association perfectly.
The American Student Dental Association is a national student-run organization that protects and advances the rights, interests and welfare of dental students. It introduces students to lifelong involvement in organized dentistry and provides services, information, education, representation and advocacy.
  • If you are interested, you can become a registered member. ASDA has free resources, but I would highly recommend being a paid member for at least one year so you can take advantage of the resources they provide you with. For $58 dollars you get:
  • Free subscriptions to our publications, Contour (10 issues per year), ASDA News (archive), Mouth (archive), and our e-newsletter Word of Mouth (emailed monthly)
  • A copy of our handbook “Getting Into Dental School
  • Members-only access to our website
  • Discounts on products and services that are valuable to students, including T-Mobile wireless phone plans, Kaplan’s DAT courses and materials, Bank of America ASDA credit card, Geico insurance and more
  • Opportunities to network with 18,000 dental students through our national, district and chapter events as well as our Facebook page

ADEA

 

Please visit these resources! They are there for pre-dental students to take advantage of. I would highly recommend reading through these to learn tips that will help you get into your dream dental school. If you know any other great sources, please comment below or email me using the “Ask Elias” page. I would love to expand this list as more excellent resources are discovered.

AnnouncementGood afternoon! I am excited to announce that for the 2012-2013 school year, I will be the External Vice President of ASDA @ UCI! I am glad to see that my hard work as the 2011-2012 treasurer has been recognized. My role as the External Vice President is:

1) To assist the President and preside at chapter meetings and events in the absence or incapacity of the President.

2) To contact different dental schools’ admissions personnel and invite them as guest speakers.

3) To contact different dental schools in order to schedule field trips.

4) To purchase gifts for guest speakers and take care of their parking tickets and arrangements.

5) Contact representatives such the military, etc.

I am looking forward to getting the ball rolling! A good friend of mine was chosen as the president of the club and we  have an excellent history of  working well together. We have a plan already in development that will require the whole board to step up and surpass their written responsibilities, but the pay off will be tremendous. Our club has the potential to grow to a new level just like the pre-dental club at UCLA has!

The current board members who will also be serving on the board next year have done excellent work in improving the club. This year we managed to become closely associated with Vinmar Solutions, Inc. which has lead to a lot of support from its owner, Mark Hunt. His pre-dental course for tooth waxing and denture  making, which were previously only offered at UCLA, are now at UCI at a fraction of the cost for taking the same course in UCLA. He has also come several times to meetings as a guest. One of these  events was a “Carve a Tooth” challenge in which the two individuals with the best sculpted teeth made out of clay received a free voucher to one of his courses. We have also had an excellent opportunity to visit a dental technician lab in orange county which is considered to be one of the best and most advanced labs in the nation. And last but not least we have built a relationship with local schools to offer oral health education for pre-school and kindergarten students. As you can see, we have accomplished a lot this year!

Next year we plan to continue doing all that we have done and plan to implement many new attributes. One of our focuses for next year is to develop a system that will allow general members to be more acquainted with one another. We want our members to grow a network of peers so that they can find support and help for any needs. We hope that creating “families” will result in more people participating  in social events and fundraisers throughout the year. We also plan to redesign our meetings so that they will be more connected and interesting by reducing the lecture environment experience and emphasizing more on  interaction. We found out this year that the majority of members find a lecture-like experience exhausting especially after a long day of attending courses. Last but not least, I aspire to begin a new focus on a cause that will help drive members to come out and participate at fundraisers.

I plan to start fundraising and support for Smile Train which is a foundation that goes to third word countries and corrects cleft lip and palate problems for free.  I have been interested in helping this organization since a research project I did in high school English about dentistry. The following is an excerpt from their website that shows why this issue is so important and has been motivation behind my dream to one day partake in this life changing experience.

Most cannot eat or speak properly, aren’t allowed to attend school or hold a job. Being born with a cleft in a developing country is truly a curse. Every baby born in Uganda with a cleft is given the name Ajok which means literally, “cursed by God.” Some newborns are killed or abandoned right after birth. The good news is that every single child with a cleft can be helped with surgery that costs as little as $250. It’s a true modern-day medical miracle that gives a child back their life.

I am really excited to get the ball rolling in this. Changing these kids’ lives only requires $250 dollars and a surgeon. Supporting this organization has been a passion of mine and I am exited that a door has opened that will give me an opportunity to finally get involved.

Cleft Palate Excerpt from SmileTrain

As you can see, I am really excited to start on next years goals!

Congratulations to all the 2012-2013 board members, and I am looking forward to working with you all!

At my interview a few weeks ago for the research position, I brought several documents with me in a binder. Two copies of my resume, a business card, a letter of recommendation demonstrating a strong work ethic, and 2 awards I received demonstrating good team work skills. The key document in that binder was the resume which is a brief account of one’s professional or work experience and qualifications. Apart from the application, the resume is the first thing an interviewer will look at, and as a result, it’s perfection is key. A resume should be sculpted to perfection and geared towards EVERY specific position so that the interviewer will be amazed with the accomplishments you have achieved and can clearly apply your skill set to that needed to fill the open position. The personalization also helps impress the interviewer as it gives them an idea of how important getting the position is to you and how serious you are about it. For these reasons, I believe it is vital  for the first guide in the portfolio building series to be dedicated to creating and perfecting a resume.

When I wrote my first resume in 2008, I had no idea what I was doing. It was for a job search engine optimizing (SEO) a website that sold home made crafts through an online store. I was asked for a resume hours before the online interview and since I didn’t have one prepared, I quickly make one from scratch. I had no idea how to write a proper resume, let alone what to write in it. I had no confidence in my own accomplishments and was not able to display my achievements effectively. Here is the original copy I emailed to the business owner. Needless to say  I didn’t get the position.

The next resume was for an Intel Internship during the summer of 2009. This was a much more serious position and I had plenty of time to prepare and create the resume for the position. I researched the basic parts of a resume and modified my original design to be better structured and more informational. Unfortunately, I didn’t get this internship either; however, that same summer I found another internship at Prima Games, a company that publishes most of the video game guides sold for games like Call of Duty . The resume I sent them was a modified version of the one I gave to Intel.

The following school year I was required to make a new resume for my dental assisting courses from scratch. Using resources provided by the dental assisting school, I created a resume template that I am still satisfied with and still use as my primary template today. This template has gone through many revisions including: a job as a dental assistant, a position as the ASDA @ UCI treasurer for the 2011-2012 school year, and my recent research position. As you can see, they are all slight variants of each other with emphasis on qualities that are related to the position. I would recommend loading up all of the resumes listed above and compare them side by side to see how they differ and evolve over time.

Regardless of how far you are already in the resume making process I would undoubtedly recommend reading through the following guide, tips, and examples.

In my experiences mentoring other pre-dental students, I have noticed that many of my mentees do not have a resume yet. And when I ask them for their reasoning, their answer is that they do not feel like they have anything to write about. This seems to be the biggest hurdle for everyone. I felt exactly like that when I was writing my resumes for the home craft online store. However, by giving my resume time to evolve through several intermediate revisions, I turned my disaster of a first resume into a professional document representing me. For those just starting, my advice is to begin with a brainstorming phase. Just start writing down things you have done and skills you have gained from these experiences. Experiences as simple as being a club member are great to have and can be used to show what you are involved in. Give this brainstorming period a fair amount of time and energy and you’d be surprised at how much you have accomplished over the years. Taking this first step by writing things down in a list will help relieve the stress involved in drafting your first resume.

Start adding details to this list. Gather as much detail as possible. Experiences, like internships, or events, like fundraisers, should have names, dates, phone numbers, and descriptions. Group the skills into categories  and write a description of how that skill could benefit an employer in general. Going through this brainstorming phase will not only start building a foundation network to your resume, but it will also help you explain any part of your resume when asked about it in an interview.

Now open a new document and begin composing the resume. Writing a resume involves balancing several factors just enough to come off as professional to an interviewer. The key factors are design, which includes formatting and organization organization, detail level, and experience. Composing the resume involves balancing these factors to work in unison.

Design, is very important. A resume with a good design will catch the readers attention, and if well structured, can impress an interviewer even with less experience than the other guy. Look through templates online and search google for resume examples. Microsoft Word and Publisher have many templates to choose from which are accessible by navigating to File->New and searching for “Resume”. This process should take some time. Pick a template that fits you, demonstrates professionalism, and is easy to read.

 

Once you have found your template, begin filling in the basic fields and experiences and skills sections based on the brainstorming done earlier. I recommend referencing a guide sheet for resume writing, which helped me write my own. It explains the goal of each section in a basic resume.  Find and use “resume verb” lists like this one to help write your resume using professional and proper diction. Some of these words can completely change the emphasis on a specific experience or skill, and as a result this step is highly encouraged.

After you have filled out the resume template as best as possible, share it with some friends and have them evaluate several factors. The evaluation point is the resume’s first impression when you handed it to them, if it was professional, cluttered, too much white space, etc. Next have them evaluate the content for any cliche or odd areas. These areas will stand out like a sore thumb, and so it is important to not have anything that deters from the resumes primary focus. The final part of the evaluation is grammar usage. When it comes to resumes, one grammar mistake could easily leave your resume in the trashcan.

After receiving your evaluations modify the resume accordingly until it is approacing a final draft stage. At this point I would highly recommend going to a resume workshop and having your resume evaluated by somebody who has much experience doing so. You will get great tips and revision recommendations from these professional individuals.

My final piece of advice is, do not lie, do not lie, DO NOT LIE! It’s not worth it. Trust me! The lie may slip through the cracks and you may get the job, but eventually they will find out and when that day comes your integrity will disappear.  Earn the position the right way.

UPDATE 5/03: What perfect timing! Apparently Yahoo’s CEO, Scott Thompson, lied on his resumes to Yahoo and PayPal about his education history by claiming he had a computer science degree. Unfortunately for him, his lie was exposed today, and now his reputation in the technology industry is for sure tarnished.

If you would like me to review your resumes send them in using the Ask Elias page. NOTE: The only accepted file types are .doc, .docx, .pub, .pdf. If I am missing your file type, send me an email using the same form and I will add it.