Hello everybody, I would like to introduce the new Pre-Dental Society of UC Irvine!

After some discussion we decided to rename the UC Irvine pre-dental club, previously named American Student Dental Association at UC Irvine ([email protected]), to Pre-Dental Society of UC Irvine. The decision of a name change came due to several reasons. The first being the fact that most other pre-dental clubs at universities use the name “Pre-Dental Society”. This change would improve our clubs visibility to pre-health students across campus through the use of a standardized and easily recognizable name.

The second reason is because we are not associated to ASDA (a pretty big deal!). I learned this my freshman year during my interview for the pre-dental board. I asked how our $30 dollar membership fees managed to cover our costs as well as ASDA member registration fees which are roughly $50 dollars. The interviewers told me that we were not actually associated to the organization. Later on, out of curiosity, I researched how the club ended up using the organization’s name and I learned that in 1999 the American Student Dental Association started a program to bring undergraduate chapters to universities. The program flopped and as a result it was completely abandoned by ASDA. Details about what caused the program’s termination have been difficult to find since this occurred over 10 years ago.

Schools were expected to switch their names from ASDA, but, apparently, it was never enforced strictly. By 2012, most organizations switched over to “Pre-Dental Society” with our own UCI club being one of the few exceptions nationally. After learning about my new position on the next years board, I spoke to the other 2012-2013 board members and we decided that it was time we left the ASDA name behind and moved on to become the Pre-Dental Society of UC Irvine. While this move may result in losing some connections with contacts we have accumulated over the years, it also has the benefit of making it easier for dental-career-curious individuals to find us. Since helping other students is what we are here to do, this is a very important benefit to us!

Another side effect of the name change was the fact that nearly everything we have must be redone to accommodate the new name. Everything from our website to our constitution needed to be rewritten to reflect our new name and goals of the organization. I took on the task of building the new website because of my long history building websites. Immediately following finals,  I started extensively working on these projects. After nearly 20 days of coding, debugging, repeat, I would like to announce the new website for the Pre-Dental Society of UC Irvine!

I find the website design to be very professional looking which is important for a pre-health organization, and I am particularly proud of the adaptable structure of the website that allows a fairly significant modification of content using a drag and drop interface. Keeping the website editing simple is important just in case next year’s board (or the one after that) has no web experience.

There is still a ton of work to do as part of the name change process, but I really enjoy doing it. The more I refine our documents, the more I realize that this review needed to be done someday. Many of our documents are the victims of poor editing throughout nearly a decade and as a result have lost their professionalism.

Now that much of the work is done on the new website, I will be back on here writing more frequently! I am looking forward to writing several new blog posts throughout the summer. If you are waiting for a specific topic, please submit a request through my Ask Elias page and I will be sure to write it!

Have a great weekend!

P.S. Get those Dental School Applications in! July is almost here!

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!