The personal statement is your chance to explain who you are and why you believe you are an ideal candidate for dentistry.
What to write about
The personal statement is your opportunity to articulate why you would like to study dentistry, and explain what skills and experience you possess which would make you a good dentist.
Remember that your personal statement should be individual to you rather than a series of clichés. The personal statement is the same for each course you apply for, so avoid mentioning any universities by name.
In your personal statement, you should:
- Tell the reader why you are applying – include your motivation to study dentistry, as well as what interests you about the subject
- Explain what makes you suitable for a career in dentistry – this could be relevant experience, skills, or achievements you have gained from education, work, or other activities
- Reflect on your work experience and what you learnt about yourself or the profession
- Talk about any current affairs in dentistry or healthcare which you have heard about, explaining what you found interesting and why
- Mention any other higher education outreach activities you may have attended, explaining what you found interesting and why
- Include some information about what you like to do in your spare time and explain how this has developed your skills
- If there are any personal circumstances which have affected your educational performance or qualification choices, outline them in your personal statement. For example, this might be something that caused you to miss school, such as a physical or mental health condition, or caring for a family member.
What makes a good dentist?
When writing your personal statement, keep in mind the values, attributes and skills that make a good dentist. Dentists need to be able apply their scientific knowledge in clinical settings, and therefore academic ability and an aptitude for problem solving is key to the selection of candidates. However, other attributes such as commitment, motivation, resilience and concern for others are all important too.
Skills and attributes of an ideal candidate to dentistry
- Motivation to study dentistry and genuine interest in the dental profession
- Insight into your own strengths and weaknesses
- The ability to reflect on your own work
- Personal organisation
- Manual dexterity (you could include examples of hobbies that require steady hands or good coordination)
- Academic ability
- Problem solving
- Manage risk and deal effectively with problems
- Ability to take responsibility for your own actions
- Insight into your own health
- Effective communication, including reading, writing, listening and speaking
- Ability to treat people with respect
- Empathy and the ability to care for others
Writing your personal statement for dental school
The most important thing about your personal statement is that it is written by you and that it is an honest reflection of your thoughts, skills and interests. When writing your personal statement, keep these key attributes in mind. Rather than simply stating that you embody these attributes, give examples of how you have demonstrated them in the past, for instance while on work experience or through extracurricular activities.
The fifth choice subject
Since dentistry is your chosen course, never try to tailor your personal statement to another course within the same personal statement. Contact the course provider for the fifth choice to find out if they will accept a personal statement focused on dentistry.
Assessing personal statements
Dental schools vary in how they assess personal statements. Some score them while others do not. They commonly use personal statements as a basis for conversation during interview, so it is a good idea to write things which you would be prepared to expand on if asked.
When writing your personal statement, think about the values, attributes and skills you possess which would make you a good dentist.