Top Ten Tips for Applying to Study Dentistry
The application process for Dentistry is complex and lengthy. There are many hoops to jump through, so here are our top ten tips to help you through it!
1. Always apply through UCAS
No dental school in the UK accepts direct applications, you have to apply through the standard UCAS procedure. The deadline for medical and dental applications through UCAS is 15 October.
2. Have good reasons for choosing Dentistry
Universities will be looking for reasons why they should give you – out of hundreds of applicants – an interview. Don't say you're applying because the money is good, or because your dad does it. If those are your reasons, maybe have a rethink about your future.
3. Get as much work experience as possible...
For medical subjects, universities will want to know that you have relevant knowledge, and that you are aware of what you are getting into. Have plenty of work experience – two weeks should be the bare minimum before you apply, but aim for more.
Also, try and get experience in different areas, for example, endodontics, paediatrics or general surgery.
4. ...but not just work experience, other stuff too
Be interesting! Universities don't want people who can't offer leadership qualities and the ability to think on the spot. You won't necessarily gain these skills if you are only shadowing one dentist for a month. If you play a sport, are in a theatre group, play a musical instrument, or have any hobby at all, shout about it. It will work in your favour.
5. Be passionate
Similar to the second tip, make sure to show off your dental knowledge, and prove that you really care about the subject. Express this in your application, and don't be modest.
6. Prepare for the UKCATs
Every university has clinical aptitude tests which determine your suitability to study the subject. These come very late in the process, usually after interviews. Some universities don't regard them as important as interviews, but failing the tests won't be helpful.
7. Run through your academic references with your school
All departments will expect good references from schools for the students they select. Talk through your application with your school – most have a member of staff who takes care of careers and university applications.
8. Top grades are necessary
You can have perfect experience, references, ace the UKCATs, dazzle all with your wit and charisma at the interview stage – but if you get BBB in your A Levels, you are unlikely to get accepted onto a Dentistry course. So revise, hard!
9. Practice your interview technique
There will be an interview for Dentistry applications. Relax and don't be scared – the university is interested in you and wants you to be there.
See if there is a teacher or family friend who can practice interviews with you. Plan questions to ask the interviewers also. This demonstrates your knowledge and interest (but don't answer a question with a question).
10. Research, research, research
Look around the internet and speak to different people to gain a wealth of advice. UCAS have tips for applications, and the university websites will be able to offer help. Good luck!