I think the best strategy for the personal statement of an international or foreign-trained dentist is to make use of one’s multicultural and multilingual background and experiences in such a way as to make important contributions to the oral health care of the underserved. Increasingly, over the last few decades, as admission to dental school has become more and more competitive, admissions committees have increasingly come to place a high priority on one’s experience and plans for the future helping the underserved as an oral health care professional. In many cases, with many applicants from India, for example, I have suggested and helped them to express a desire to help the underserved not only here in the USA, their new home, but also back in India, where the need is so very great – in accordance with the global perspective and mission of today’s dentistry profession.

Few people know exactly how the selection process for international dentist programs works with respect to ethnic background. We only know the result, the ethnic composition of the class that is selected, which generally represents the population of many if not most countries of the world, especially populous ones like China and India. All information having to do with ethnic quotas, however, is kept strictly confidential by the school because it is legally sensitive - they could be sued. Nevertheless, a lot of it is very logical. What is central is that diversity is very important. The admissions committee wants people from all over the world to attend an international dentists program, with each corner of the planet represented.

Of course, as with other things, it is a question of supply and demand. From my own experience as a professional writer of personal statements for dental school admission, Indians, for example, are way overrepresented in the ranks of applicants to International Dentist Programs. Around 90% of the Indian clients that use my writing/editing service, have already immigrated to the US or another English-speaking country. I know this because while Indians are only about 17% of the world’s population, at least half of the people who turn to me for help with a statement to an International Dentist program are Indian. This leads me to the conclusion that you may well face the stiffest competition from another applicant from your same country of origin. Questions or issues of ethnicity often combine in powerful ways with language capability when it comes down to choosing between two equally-well-qualified applicants A Latino applicant born and raised in the USA who does not speak Spanish, for example, might be passed over for an applicant from Latin America because of the great need that exists for Spanish-speaking dentists in North America.

Dentistry is not like Nursing in the Americas, there is no shortage of dentists in the USA as there is in the case of nurses. Thus, admissions committees want very much to accept applicants who are going to help the underserved. And where are the underserved? You need to make this part especially clear.

 I think the best idea for the Personal Statement is to make a convincing argument and have creative ideas about helping the underserved both here in America as well as your country of origin. Focus on your long-term plans for the underserved in both places! Most people are weak on this point, saying only general and vague things like “I want to help people in developing countries.” You need specific and concrete, creative ideas for the long term, and in this way show greater maturity and dedication than your competitors. Almost all are multilingual and many have extensive experience from outside the United States. Some are already dentists who have completed their training and already practiced dentistry in their country of origin; and now they are applying to Advanced Placement Programs leading to the DDS degree in America, Canada, England or Australia.

My clients generally share an interest in serving the desperate need for extensive new initiatives in oral health care, geared, in particular, towards meeting the needs of the most vulnerable sectors of society in the Developing World. I am convinced that one’s ethnicity, language skills, and multicultural experiences need to be woven together in a most eloquent fashion in your Personal Statement, as interconnected themes that radiate throughout your admission essay and which you connect to your dedication to helping the underserved, in particular. Your ethnic or racial background and international aptitudes are your greatest assets as an applicant, and they need to be carefully related to both your short- and long-term goals.

I do everything that I can to make your personal statement to dental school as effective as possible. After a careful review of your material, to the extent to which it is necessary, I ask you specific questions by email; and I have gotten good at this as a result of nearly a quarter of a century of professional experience writing dental statements. I am a seasoned expert concerning what is important to include, and, perhaps even more importantly, what is not. I have had a great deal of practice at condensing a lot of material into approximately 5200 characters with spaces or even less.

To the extent to which they come to me, I sometimes contribute creative ideas that help to make your case for admission much more powerful. Dental school is extremely competitive. It is not enough to suggest that you are hoping to contribute to the diversity of the program; you must demonstrate in especially creative ways how your own unique combination of high motivation and multicultural background makes you uniquely suited to dentistry and that you have enormous potential for meeting the oral health care needs of the planet’s underserved populations in particular. 

Experienced Indian Dentist Application for DDS/DMD Program, Dental Oncology

I understood the importance of a simple smile very early in my life. My dental imperfections made me a very self-conscious and shy child growing up. Crowded teeth with my love for chocolates, made me an early visitor to the dentist.

I vividly remember my Dentist, Dr. Kumar who knew exactly how to handle a scared and shy child like myself. An Orthodontist by specialization, he made the procedure so painless and fun, that I actually looked forward to going to his clinic every time. This transformation not only boosted my confidence but I felt like a different person with a new, much more positive appearance. This experience left such a positive imprint on me that dentists became my personal heroes and I have seen dentistry as an especially glorious calling ever since.

What was initially a childhood fantasy soon shaped into my ambition. To further explore the field before making a career choice, I volunteered at Dr. Kumar’s clinic after high school. ”Philosophy begins in wonder”, said Pluto and so did my romance with Dentistry.

For the past year I have been making a new home with my husband in Chicago and giving my all to learning everything that I can about dentistry in the USA.

India has some of the highest oral cancer rates in the world and for this reason I have been heavily engaged for many years now in this struggle. This probably also helps explain why I ended up marrying the man that I did, a medical doctor and an oncologist. We spent a lot of time talking about cancer; for us, the struggle against cancer is very romantic- standing at the center of our world.

The greatest possible contribution to global society that I can imagine making would be to give my all for the balance of my professional life to the study and advancement of dental oncology. Of course, the logical next step is for me to earn the DDS or DMD degree so as to have the cutting professional knowledge and education that I need to excel on the cutting edge of this field.

After completing dental school, I hope to pursue a fellowship in dental Oncology. My extremely high level of motivation to pursue this area of dentistry was enhanced still further by helping my uncle to deal with and ultimately survive oral cancer – nothing has ever brought me such profound joy as this personal experience in dentistry. I have also worked with cancer patients as a volunteer at AIMS cancer center in India and I am very well read generally speaking in the areas of radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and surgery for head and neck cancer.

Throughout my practice so far, I have had the privilege of working with underserved populations and have gradually come to better understand the complexity of the challenges that they face, most of all an abysmal lack of awareness of the importance of dental hygiene and oral health care. I have passion for teaching and research and I look forward to someday serving in an academic institution where I can have a balance between clinical, teaching and research responsibilities.

Very little is known about field of dental oncology in India. Thus, I have the long-term goal of organizing workshops for dentists in India concerning how to care for these patients. I stay in touch and involved with the cancer center where I volunteered in India and look forward at some point to helping establish a specialized dental unit there for underserved populations especially hard hit by oral cancer.

I feel that I am a competitive applicant for your program because I am an experienced and extremely hard working dentist with 5 years of experience in India before coming to America. I feel confident and prepared for the rigors and commitment to succeed in a world-class dental program.

I thank you for considering my application to your program.

All of the Statement samples on this web site were written more than 2 years ago and all are anonymous.

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Sample 1st Paragraph Indian Oral Surgeon, Prevention

I did well at school and many career paths were open to me. I wanted to do something very useful with my life and to ‘make a difference’ for the benefit of others. Seeing so many grimaces of pain turn into smiles of relief and gratitude during my dental training and career to date has certainly provided the satisfaction that I sought from a career and I am very glad that I chose dentistry. My long term goal is to become an expert oral and maxillofacial surgeon. I was given the opportunity to ‘shadow’ an expert in the specialty and saw the dramatic difference that his skills, knowledge and dedication made to his patients’ lives. I am also passionately interested in providing health education and free clinics to rural populations in India and specifically to do a part in reducing the very high incidence of fatal oral cancers caused by late diagnosis.

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Dentistry Summer Enrichment Program Personal Statement Sample, Applicant from Yemen

Now a US citizen, I grew up mostly in our native Yemen where my dentist uncle took me under his wing as a child and taught me the satisfaction to be gained from service to those who are weakest among us, especially those suffering from agonizing pain. I come from the poorest country in the Middle East with the least public health capacity in oral health. Nevertheless, my uncle found the time to treat refugees from Somalia in addition to his regular patients. He is my hero and my personal honor is built upon my dream of following in his footsteps here in the United States.

Dentistry appeals to me because of its breadth; involving, as it does, aesthetics, pain relief, corrective surgery and oral and dental disease prevention. I am aware that the aging of the population will have a direct effect on dentistry. I come from a culture in which the aged are treated with great respect and I look forward to working with the elderly especially those living in difficult financial circumstances and in underserved communities. I intend to work in an underserved community and to do all that I can to educate its members of the importance to general health of oral and dental hygiene routines.

In High School, I joined programs to prepare myself for a career in healthcare provision. The programs included the ‘shadowing’ of various health professionals in a hospital and confirmed my already strong desire to become a dentist.  I have worked as a volunteer in dentists’ offices observing a wide variety of procedures, gaining an understanding of the roles of their staff members and providing general assistance. These experiences have provided me with a good basic understanding of dental techniques, the operation of a dentist’s office and of the dental health environment in the US.  I have also undertaken much informal reading about dentistry and am excited at the rapid and continuing developments in techniques and materials that are occurring and am very keen to assist in the research bringing about these continuing advances.

I am aware that many people are reluctant to find themselves in the dentist’s chair out of apprehension and fear of pain. I understand that interpersonal skills and the ability to inspire confidence in patients and empathize with them are almost as important as technical knowledge and skills. I believe that I have the natural characteristics that will enable me to do so successfully. I have happily studied, worked and socialized with people of many cultural and social backgrounds.

I currently work as a retail manager to support myself and my family during my studies. I was rapidly promoted to this position because my employers recognized various skills and characteristics that I believe are directly applicable to a career in dentistry.  I lead, supervise, motivate, direct, plan and budget whilst, most importantly, providing excellent customer service.

I know that there will be many well qualified applicants for the program. However, I consider myself to be an excellent candidate. I have a passionate desire to become a skilled, knowledgeable and caring dentist and believe that I have the potential to do so.

Diversity in Dentistry