In addition to high academic achievement, dental schools will look for certain skills and attributes which they believe make an ideal candidate for dentistry. As part of your application, you will need to complete a personal statement. Some schools may also ask you to complete their own information form.
Some attributes that make a good candidate for dentistry include:
- 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
Keep these in mind while writing your personal statement. 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.
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.