Shadowing a Doctor

May 20, 2014

Writing A Personal Statement For Dental School

Clinical exposure to dentistry in Tanzania Your personal statement plays a key role in your dental school application. It is based on this document, along with your transcripts and letter of recommendation, that Universities will decide whether or not to invite you to interview with them.

Unlike some other non-professional courses, dental schools do not admit applicants without an interview and you will not get an interview without a good personal statement, so it is crucial that you get it right and that your personal statement stands out from the rest.

So where do you start?

Keep in mind, the admissions office receive thousands of applications every year. Making their work easier for them by drafting a personal statement that is well structured and easy to read will ensure that it gets read.

A well-structured personal statement will consist of the following 4 sections:

First Section: An Introduction

Your introduction should detail when and why you realised you wanted to become a dentist. Mention any particular reasons or specific life event that triggered your passion for dentistry and helped you pick this course. It is very important to customise your personal statement exclusively for dentistry and give reasons why certain aspects of your life may have contributed to your decision to apply for dentistry. Financial benefits are rarely accepted as a motive so it is best to leave your monetary expectations out of your statement.

Second Section: Relevant Work Experience

Most UK dental schools require a minimum of ten working days dental work experience. This could be through a volunteer programme in your neighbourhood or a dental placement programme abroad. Merely mentioning that you’ve acquired some work experience is not enough however. What is important is your ability to relate what you saw and what you learnt to your understanding of a career in dentistry and also convey how that experience reinforced your desire to become a dentist.

Third Section: Extra Curricular Activities

Admissions authorities want to know more about you outside of your academic scores and your personal statement is the perfect means to let them know. Include a paragraph mentioning what you do outside of school hours. This could be anything from drama, sports or performing arts to travelling, playing a musical instrument or volunteer work. Mention any awards you’ve won for outstanding performance in any field. You can talk about virtually anything as long as you tie it up to how it can contribute to making you a good dentist. A long list of interests and achievements with no link to dentistry will be unlikely to impress the reader enough to want to grant you an interview.

A successful personal statement will link interests and achievements to valuable transferable skills such as team leadership, functioning in a team, decision-making, patience, communication skills or manual dexterity.

Fourth Section: Compelling Conclusion

In this final section, summarise your qualities and reiterate your core reasons for wanting to be a dentist and how you would be a credit to their school.

Three important points to remember before submitting your personal statement:

– Do not lie about your achievements or your skills.

– While you should maintain your own style while writing your personal statement, you should be careful not to come across as arrogant or smug. Nobody likes a cocky student.

– Get your statement proofed and edited before sending it off.