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What To Do On Your Gap Year

If you’ve received four rejections for your Dentistry application you’re probably wondering what to do with your time! Fear not, as this guide will give you some inspiration for your year ahead.

So, get ready some insider tips on what admissions tutors love to see students doing during their gap years and some advice to help you get that Dentistry offer.

1. Get gap year work experience

What will you do on your Dentistry gap year? Get Dentistry work experience!
What will you do on your Dentistry gap year? Get Dentistry work experience!

There’s a high chance that while you were studying for your A Levels, you had very little time to spend completing work experience placements. Luckily, having a year off means you’ve got loads of time to do just that! Plus, getting rejected and taking a gap year means you’ll be able to apply to more placements in a wider variety of settings.

It would be useful to experience Dentistry in both NHS and private dental practices. Then you could reflect on how the two compare.

You might also want to spend some time observing different dental specialities, such as orthodontics or oral surgery. More information about work experience in Dentistry can be found on The Medic Portal Application guide.

Ultimately, getting a wider range of work experience will show admissions tutors that you have a greater knowledge of Dentistry, that you are enthusiastic about becoming a Dentist and that you have the maturity required to preserve after rejection. Great, no? Soon you’ll be saying  that being rejected was the best  thing to have happened to you!

2. Travel

Dentistry gap year? Go travelling!
Dentistry gap year? Go travelling!

I’m sure you know that a gap year is an amazing time to spend travelling and going a bit crazy. There will be loads of other students in your situation who are looking to explore the world.

Admission tutors often encourage students to take gap years as it reduces dropout rates, and they also appreciate that it is the last chance for students to have a break before starting on a long, demanding degree programme.

Where you want to travel is completely up to you, but there are several companies who run organised groups which makes travelling easier. Whilst you are travelling you might want to spend some time discovering what Dentistry is like in other countries. Gap Medics run travel placements specifically designed for exploring Dentistry abroad.

Whatever you decide to do, or wherever you go, remember to speak to the locals. Ask them questions about dentistry even if you’re not on a work placement – why not? You may get some interesting answers that you can further discuss in your personal statement and interviews. Plus, it’ll be something that many candidates won’t have.

3. Volunteer & work

Volunteer on your Dentistry gap year!
Volunteer on your Dentistry gap year!

You may want to spend some of your year working. It helps to work in an area related to healthcare or Dentistry. This would really improve your application.

You could get a job as a Dental receptionist or work in a care home as a care assistant. Admissions tutors like to see that you have spent your year developing the skills required in Dentistry. These skills include empathy, leadership and communication skills.

Working will also prepare you financially for being a student, studying Dentistry is a demanding degree and you will have little time for working. Therefore, saving in advance is massively helpful.

You ABSOLUTELY must remember to reflect on your experiences in your new role and make sure you include these in your personal statement!

Either as an extra, or alternative, any spare time you may have during your Dentistry gap year could be spent volunteering and helping those who need it. Find a cause that you feel passionately about (such as helping at a local hospice or animal shelter). This will further help you to develop skills needed for Dentistry and show admissions tutors that you are committed to helping others!

4. Work on your application throughout the year

Work on your Dentistry application!
Work on your Dentistry application!

Ultimately the aim of your year will most likely be to gain that Dentistry offer! With this in mind, spend some time reflecting on your previous application. If you failed to get any invitations to interview, it may have been because:

– you missed the grades required,
– you missed the minimum UKCAT score,
– your personal statement was lacking something.

If this is the case, spend time focusing on the areas you are weak in. You may need to look into resitting exams, completing another degree first, having UKCAT tuition or getting someone to read over your personal statement before submission.

If you missed out after interview, ask Universities for their feedback! It’s incredibly useful and you can use this to research the areas you fell short on. Then you can choose whether or not you need to have interview preparation coaching.

5. Above all, enjoy your Dentistry gap year

Relax and enjoy your Dentistry gap year
Relax and enjoy your Dentistry gap year

Whatever you decide to spend your year doing, spend it wisely! You will rarely have a year to do anything you want to so make the most of it.

Set a plan at the beginning of the year and make sure that you take into account key application dates and a list of things you need to achieve to strengthen your application. This way you will be much closer to getting that Dentistry offer, and you can enjoy yourself along the way!

Uploaded by Joelle on 15 April 2016

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