This past weekend the CDA ran a free clinic titled CDA Cares at Cal Expo in Sacramento, CA. CDA Cares is a collaborative effort between the California Dental Association (CDA), the CDA Foundation, the Missions of Mercy, and the dozens of sponsors of the event. CDA Cares strives to provide free dental care to Californians in need.

Stephen O’Donnell, the president of the Pre-Dental Society at UC Irvine, and I volunteered both days at the clinic in every way we could. Throughout the two days we got the opportunity to guide patients around, assist with hygiene and extractions, and take x-rays. The event was an excellent place for pre-dental students to network, learn, and have a great time with other dental professionals. Volunteers kept the atmosphere cheery and efficiently worked to achieve a organization record breaking 1,100+ treated patients per day. This is truly an AMAZING accomplishment! To put that into perspective, the organization typically averages 1,500 patients across two days.

Throughout the experience, we met amazing new people like Dr. Craig S. Yarborough, the Associate Dean of the University of the Pacific Dental School, ran into old acquaintances, and got to work with dental companies who sponsored the event. We were shocked to see that while there were hundreds of dental professionals hard at work, there were hundreds more of volunteers who had no relation to dentistry and attended the event for the benefit of the community. Everybody was working together so efficiently!

Volunteering at this clinic has really opened up my eyes as to how many people in California do not have access to dental care. It is estimated that one in three individuals in California do not have access to dental care. We have learned through this experiences that some of these individuals truly care about their oral hygiene and will go to great lengths to get the dental help they need. Many of these people waited outside of Cal Expo for OVER 24 hours in order to get dental treatment.

If you get the chance, we would highly encourage coming out to one of these events so you can experience it firsthand. Everybody is friendly and you will not be asked to do anything you do not feel comfortable doing. If there is anything you have never done before, all you have to do is ask and most doctors will get a thrill out of getting to teach a future dental student a few pointers.

If you are interested in participating in a future event we plan to keep all PDS Irvine members updated by posting these events on the facebook group page. To Check out more photos from this event please visit our photo gallery for the event!

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.

Traditionally, when someone wanted to learn more about a potential new employee or an applicant, they would need a copy of a resume given by the individual in question.  Now, in the age of information based services, it is important for basic information about yourself to be easily accessible online. The information expected is roughly equivalent to what one would see in a resume.

Since 2003, LinkedIn has been providing this sort of service for free. The idea of LinkedIn is to be a business oriented social network that is designed for professional networking. LinkedIn originated in the internet revolution referred to as the Web 2.0 era along with many of the most famous social networking websites that we use today. The idea of Web 2.0 was that the users of websites would create the content and that content could be shared with their friends or the whole world. In 2003-2005, the evolution of the internet from “Web 1.0” to Web 2.0 resulted in the creation of many of the most famous websites used today like FacebookMyspace, Flickr, YelpWordPressYouTube, and Blogger.

A LinkedIn profile is important for anybody who is looking to be professionally recognized. I do not know a single professional that does not have one. From doctors to lawyers, researchers to photographers, EVERYBODY has a LinkedIn account. Some companies even require employees to have accounts. For this reason, I believe it is important for pre-dental students to also have LinkedIn accounts that are properly filled. It is possible that future employers, dental colleagues, or even admissions officers could look at your profile to get quick access to a summary of you.

To get started visit their website at www.linkedin.com. Fill out the basic information on the front page to create your account. Once your account is created, reference your resume and add as much information as you can into the designated fields.  Give this time, treat it as if you are rewriting your resume. Upload a profile picture that represents you as a professional. Remember, everything about your LinkedIn page should scream “Professional” when somebody views it. I would recommend looking through LinkedIn’s new user resources to get more detail on what one should add to their profile.

Like many other Web 2.0 websites, LinkedIn allows us to add “friends” better known as Connections. This appears on your profile and is a great way for individuals looking into you to learn more about the kind of people you are networking with. I would advise to be very picky as to who you add as a connection. Only add people you believe are valuable and reputable connections; after all, who you add is a representation of yourself and your professionalism.

If you want some ideas of the kind of things one should add, check out my profile (Elias Almaz). Also check your privacy settings to make sure your profile is completely public. The main reason we made this is so potential employers and admissions officers will be able to view the content without difficulty. The easier it is for them to find the information they want, the better their impression of you will be.

Hope you enjoyed the quick introduction to LinkedIn, if you haven’t already….go on and make that LinkedIn account now!