Joelle is a Dental Student at King’s College London. In the following Case Study, she talks about how she succeeded in the Dental School application process. Read about her motivation to study Dentistry and her thoughts on the future.
What was your pre-Dentistry School experience?
I studied Medical Science and the University of Exeter as my undergraduate degree. As part of this I completed a professional training year in Sydney Australia researching sleep medicine which was a great experience.
For me, Dentistry was not always the career I wanted to pursue. I had applied for Medicine when I left school but my application was unsuccessful. In hindsight, I think this was certainly a good thing! Apart from getting Dental check-ups, I’d had very little interaction with Dentists – I hadn’t even considered it as a career! It was not until I had orthodontic treatment as an adult that I realised that Dentistry had many different specialities and a creative element. After completing some work experience with my local dentist, I was certain that this was the career I wanted to pursue. For me, Dentistry has the ideal balance of science, hands on creativity and patient interaction.
After deciding on Dentistry, what steps did you take next?
During the summer period I completed two weeks of work experience with my local dentist. He was really passionate about teaching students and I learnt a lot just from observing many different procedures. I had previously worked as a care assistant in a home specialising in palliative care, and I also had a great deal of patient interaction during the sleep medicine clinical trial that I worked on. I was able to incorporate all of this into my personal statement which helped with my application.
Why did you choose the schools you applied for?
I am studying at King’s College London which was luckily my first choice of university. I was drawn to King’s mainly due to its excellent reputation and its location. Being in London as a dental student is great. There are often conferences and talks relating to Dentistry taking place, so it’s a perk to be able to attend these. KCL also has an accelerated graduate program so that was another advantage for me. I also applied to the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN), Liverpool and Cardiff. I wanted to apply for mainly graduate entry courses so this was the main reason for my choices. I choose Cardiff because I had heard that the facilities were good and that there was a high degree of patient contact.
When choosing Dental schools to apply for, look into their entry requirements, teaching style and also how they rate in student satisfaction.
How many times did you have to apply before you were successful?
I was extremely lucky and managed to get an offer from both King’s College London and the University of Central Lancashire when I first applied. I know many others who were unsuccessful despite similar and even better applications.
My advice would be to not become disheartened if you are unsuccessful. Don’t give up, as often the quality of applications changes from year to year. Even the number of places available can change! If you are unsuccessful, try to spend the year strengthening your application. Keep up to date with dental news and try to gain some more work experience to keep yourself driven!
How has Dental school matched your expectations?
I’m currently in my first year of studying Dentistry at Kings College London (although I am in the second year of the undergraduate course, because graduates do not sit the first year). Studying Dentistry has been very challenging and clinic days can be exhausting. It’s been great so far to learn from the academics. I have learnt that dentistry often isn’t clear cut and there is a range of techniques to be learnt for a single procedure.
What about the future?
I’m looking forward to treating my first patients at the end of this year and to learning more about the discipline. After my degree I hope to specialise in perhaps Orthodontics or Paediatric Dentistry, although it’s quite early to decide! I have an interest in oral public health so I anticipate that I will be involved with that to some degree.