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The dentist featured in this news report is Dr. Jean-Paul Banh, a dentist in Auburn, Washington. Dr. Banh volunteers his time at the Union Gospel Mission Dental Clinic, Seattle/King County Dental Clinic, and United Way Community Resource Exchange, which

Volunteer Work as Preparation for Dental School

Ideally, the type of volunteer work you have done in the past should include volunteering for community service and volunteering for positions where you get exposure to work in the dental field. It might be a good idea to pay a visit to your closest Public Service Center, to connect with organizations that are involved with community service. The earlier you can start doing volunteer work, the better for your application. Dental schools recommend that prospective students already start volunteering in their freshman years. You can start your own project or become part of a sorority or fraternity organization. Another option is to join a club at MIT, or to volunteer at a nearby shelter or hospital. Be sure to get involved with a public service project that you are passionate about, as your commitment will show through the amount of hours you spent volunteering there and you will also sound more convincing during your interview. If you decide to volunteer through a public service center, keep in mind that they usually have a very high workload, which might be detrimental to your studies. You don`t want to do volunteer work at the cost of your grades, as the latter is even more important for your acceptance.

Rather wait until your summer vacation to start volunteering? Either way, a dental career is something you need to prepare for and dental schools highly favor applicants who show evidence of having a passion for helping others. If you are unsure about which community service work to do, or where to find dental volunteering opportunities, speak to the consultants at the public service center or go to your nearest Pre-professional Advising Office. One of the ways to get exposure to work in the dental field is to physically arrange appointments with local dentists and to ask them whether you could shadow or volunteer at their practices. If you struggle to set up an appointment, you could also contact any dental society in your area to give you some extra information on where to find volunteer work. A list of societies can be found on the website of the American Dental Association. In the end, volunteering is beneficial to everyone involved. After some volunteering, by the time you get accepted to dental school, you will know what you are letting yourself in for after having obtained a wealth of experience both in dentistry and in working with people.


Dental School & Volunteer Work

Dental school and volunteer work go hand in hand. Getting admitted to dental school is not all about having good grades. You might have been advised that you need to take subjects such as chemistry, math, algebra and biology, but volunteer work can also help you a great deal to get accepted. Admissions officers especially favor students who, besides having excellent academic achievements, also seem to have a humanistic nature and genuinely care about other people. When considering your application, they want to see proof of humanistic activities, such as your participation in community services and volunteer work. Yes, you will still have to do well in your DAT or dental admission test, but the type of volunteer work you have done could get you ahead of other applicants. The volunteer work you participated in reveals a lot about your character and interests. Admissions officers will use it to determine your human relations capabilities and integrity and will also see it as an indicator of how motivated you are. Any community service you took part in is important to your application, whether or not it was related to the dental sector. 

Bridge2Aid - February 2011 Dental Volunteer Programme