Making a good impression during a pre-dental internship

May 27, 2016


Getting into dental school is competitive. Of course, it’s helpful to have a high GPA and do well on your SATs. But dental schools also want students who are well-rounded and show a commitment to their education. One way to boost your chances of getting accepted into dental school is by completing a pre-dental internship.

If you’re going to invest the time in a pre-dental internship, you want to make the best impression you can. Making a good impression is important for several reasons. The dentist you’re shadowing may be willing to write you a letter or recommendation for college or dental school. There may also come a time when you will appreciate job leads from the dentist. In many instances, a pre-dental internship is your first work experience in the field. Use this time wisely to start your dental career on the right foot. Keep in mind, doing well will also build your confidence.

There are several things you can do to make a good impression and develop your skills.

Treat your internship like a real job

Although you’re not getting paid, it’s important to treat your internship as a real job. Just because you won’t get a weekly paycheck doesn’t mean you should not take an internship seriously.

Be neat and professional

Ask about a dress code before your pre- dental internship starts. When it doubt, conservative dress is usually best. Your internship is not the place to try to the latest fashion trends.

Use titles, such as Dr. Mr. and Mrs. until told otherwise

It’s always better to use professional titles as a sign of respect. If someone you’re working for tells you to call them by their first name, that’s fine. But unless told otherwise, stick to more formal titles.

Put your cell phone away

Sure, you may need to text a friend or post a comment on Facebook, but don’t do it while you’re supposed to be working or observing the dentist. It is fine to take a break, go outside or in a break room and check email. But it’s entirely different to break out your cell phone and check a text message while you’re watching a dental procedure.

Be friendly, but not too friendly

A friendly demeanor is appropriate during an internship. But going overboard and trying to be everyone’s best bud is a bit much. Try to strike a balance between being social while still maintaining your professionalism. Remember, the dentist you’re shadowing may be willing to recommend you for dental school.

Attitude is everything

Nothing makes a bad impression on a pre-dental internship faster than a poor attitude. Every minute of your internship may not be exciting. But it’s still important to be engaged. You should act like you want to be there, and hopefully to do. Ask questions and show interest.

Take advantage of learning opportunities

Your pre-dental internship is more than a resume booster. It provides a real glimpse into the dental profession. Take advantage of opportunities to learn more about the field.

If you’ve completed some dental work experience in a local hospital, you might like to consider completing a work-shadowing program overseas. Our dentistry work experience placements are perfect for those who are still unsure about the career as well as those who are already training.

“I would definitely recommend doing a Gap Medics placement to anyone who’s interested in pursuing a career in healthcare; it’s a really educational, exciting and fun experience.”
Haydn Maclean, attended a Dentistry program with us in Morogoro, Tanzania



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Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives, and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.