Interviews and Collegiality

I’m going to try something new in which I post on this blog as interesting dental- or dental school-related topics arise. I thought I would update thethirdmolar every three or four weeks, but events and activities happen so frequently that updating once month would require multiple subheadings for each post. So instead, I will post three updates from this month, and then I hope to update thethirdmolar either weekly or biweekly.

Below, a post from Friday, October 7th.

Earlier this week, I sat on an interview panel for UCLA dental school applicants. It was UCLA’s first interview of the cycle, and there were 11 applicants! (There were only 4 of us when I interviewed last year.) Seeing the dental applicants in their interview outfits reminded me of how nerve-wracked I was during the interview season. But do not fret – over time, you learn to get into the swing of things, perhaps feel less awkward in your formal interview outfit, and develop your own pre-interview preparation process. As I answered questions from the applicants, I felt that I had learned so much about dental school, from the types of classes and curricula to the numerous extracurriculars offered. But compared to the D2, D3, and D4 that also fielded inquiries, I realized that I have many, many more months ahead of me to learn and grow.

Most of the questions asked were pretty straightforward, such as, ‘do you feel stressed?’, ‘what’s the housing situation like?’ or ‘what do you like the most/least about your school?’. One question that tends to get a little hairy is, ‘how did you decide on XYZ school?’ because there often exists the implicit question of ‘to which other schools were you accepted?’, assuming it has not been asked already.

I understand supplying the pros of your school by saying, ‘I wanted a combined medical/dental school curriculum’ or ‘I know I want to do general dentistry, and I know this school has a great reputation for emphasizing hand skills from day one’, but I have come across students from various schools (including UCLA) that have put down other schools instead. It is unprofessional, and I’ll admit that I always try to check myself before answering that question. To any dental students reading this blog: let’s please be collegial!


Short anecdote: Over the summer, I visited a friend who just started dental school; some of her friends blatantly told me that they disliked UCLA. One of the actually explained why he thought UCLA dental school was terrible, and said his views were valid because UCLA was his alma mater. It was a little awkward, so I politely said it was great to meet them and I wished them good luck.


If you’re a pre-dental student, and a dental student has begun rambling about how they greatly dislike a school or two, I would encourage you to take their response with a grain of salt. However, there is no shame in asking how students made their ultimate decision. I certainly asked that question, and it was extremely helpful to hear candid answers.


One Comment Add yours

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