My biggest encouragement and advice would be to trust the education you're receiving at Berkeley. By education I don't just mean the classes you're taking but also all the skills and experiences you gain along the way. Berkeley can be so tough, but in it, you grow and learn so much about yourself. That can mean building good study habits and knowing how you learn best. But it also means finding out what makes you're interested in and passionate about (or equally as important the stuff that you AREN'T interested in) -- maybe some of that stuff is related to school or dentistry or your future profession, but hopefully some of it isn't! There are so many things that are important that are not school. Most of all, my advice is to take it one day at a time. Remind yourself what your goals are but don’t forget to enjoy what’s in front of you. One step at a time!
Cal Class of '18 | UCSF '22
There's a lot of advice about how to get into dental school. The thing is, getting in is just the beginning. The struggles don't end once you have a white coat in your hand. A white coat isn’t a ‘congratulations’ on what you have achieved, it’s a ‘bon voyage’ to the difficult journey ahead. The best thing to do now to really prepare for the grind of dental school is to get experiences that make you fall in love with dentistry, to have something to reflect back on and give you strength to keep going when school just seems like too much. It doesn't matter how much you know coming in or how much dexterity you have. Sooner or later, what matters is hanging in there when all you want to do is give up. I hope this doesn’t discourage anyone from pursuing dentistry: nothing worth doing comes easily, and dentistry is definitely a very worthwhile pursuit.
Cal Class of '15 | UCLA '18
If I could give advice to any pre-dental student, it would be to be genuine in everything you do. If you are genuinely interested in dentistry, you will take classes and selectives that help you reach a dental school, not because you have to, but because you're actually interested in learning what they have to offer. If you are genuine to those around you, you will make friends who will always be there for you through thick and thin. If you show a genuine interest in dentistry when you go to dental schools or meet dentists, they will pick up on your interest and help you to reach your goal in any way that they can. There is no need to be someone you're not because sooner or later dental schools will weed out the applicants who are not actually interested in bettering the profession, and if they don't patients will. You have nothing to prove to others... just have fun, study hard, and be yourself.
Cal Class of '15 | UPenn Class of '20
My one piece of advice for pre-dental students is to get as much dental-related experience as possible! It makes the first few weeks easier when you know off the top of your head what a Class I restoration or tooth #28 without having to look at your textbook every time. Eventually everyone gets to the same level, but it definitely doesn't hurt to know about your field before starting school. Also make sure to relax, pre-dental is stressful, dental school is even more stressful, but you'll have lots of friends and colleagues that feel the exact same way and they're all their to help!
Cal Class of '15 |Midwestern Class of '20
Don't be afraid to take risks and be part of unconventional extracurricular activities. It is more important to love what you are doing rather than just be doing something because you "have to". Find out what you're passionate about outside of school and commit to it, these activities will impart lifelong skills and be extremely rewarding.
Cal Class of '15 | UoP Class of '18
There's no better way than to follow your passion. Know why you do what you do and keep at it. Dental school and after won't be easy, but it'll be worth it if your intentions are pure. In the end, everything will work out somewhere and somehow.
Cal Class of '15 | ASDOH Class of '20
And the one thing I would recommended is that you should definitely get involved in community service early on because it's so fulfilling to be able to help people and dentistry is all about having a positive impact on your patients lives.
Cal Class of '16 | USC Class of '20
Let’s be honest. There are only a very few select people who know exactly what they want to do. The rest of us, well, you already know where you are but you don’t know where you’re headed. A lot of people have asked me how is it that you find out what you want to do and the answer I always give them is this: try everything. When you take that proactive approach of saying yes to events here and there, whether it’s just a friend’s invitation or through PDS you open yourself up to so many opportunities in not only experience but meeting people and finding out about possible things you may learn to find an interest in. Just go for it. I’ve met countless numbers of people who I would never have imagined to get me to where I am today. I am a compilation of all the things that I have done and I am so grateful for where I am because of the things that I chose to do. It doesn’t have to all be related to dentistry. I was a Botany fanatic in IB who doubled in psychology. Are they more related to the field of dentistry than MCB or the other Bio majors? No, but what I’ve gained from those experiences are not only life hobbies and character but also great mentors who have helped me get into dental school through their letters and guide. Don’t follow the path of others and be the champion of yourself.
Cal Class of '14 | UCSF Class of '19
Keep an open mind and embrace all the opportunities you’re going to have! College is too exciting of a time to only keep to your studies, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Meet new people, try new things, and discover what makes you happy. There is the pressure to check everything off on the laundry list of becoming the “perfect” dental school applicant, but my advice is to stick to what is most meaningful to you, after giving everything a try. If you are genuinely interested in something, your passion will shine through and the schools will know you want to be in this profession for the right reasons. Don’t forget to take care of yourself, and develop personal skills along the way. The pre-dental path is challenging but you are all brilliant and will make it in the end if dentistry is the career you are truly passionate about!
Cal Class of '16 | UCLA Class of '21
A piece of advice I would give would be to never let fear of not succeeding stop you from doing anything. As a Cal student, I remember feeling immersed in a sea of amazing peers and would often doubt my own abilities. Your peers are amazing, but so are you! Let this belief allow you to get out of your comfort zone and take advantage of the plethora of opportunities that your undergrad environment offers. Let it guide you to what you are passionate about. Another piece of advice I can give is to always take time to reflect. Constantly ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing, and you will feel more grounded during times of uncertainty.