Tuesday, March 27, 2012

How to get into dental school as an international applicant

I dropped by the international office last week to chat with my advisor because I need my records transferred out. The advisor enthusiastically congratulated me on getting into dental school. "That's four internationals we've sent to med school since I've been here!" That seemed awfully small for Rice. A third of our incoming freshman is pre-med.

At my first session with my pre-health advisor Dr. McD, we reviewed my statistics. GPA, DAT score, great, great. But what state was I a resident at? "Um, I'm not a U.S. citizen." "Oh, we need to come up with a game plan for you." 263963_10150296327025169_694830168_9343282_2050593_n
I'll be the first to admit this. Being an international student trying to get into dental school sucks. First, you can't even apply to some state schools. For others that prefer their state residents, international students come last after other U.S. residents. Some schools even charge a higher application fee for non-U.S. citizens. That little blip at the end- "Oh, I am international"- often resolves puzzled looks when you tell them you haven't gotten any interviews yet.


But there are private schools that do not distinguish between citizens and non-citizens, at least not officially.

In addition, there are few financial resources for international students. There is no option of Health Professions Scholarship Program, no subsidized loans or FAFSA. This makes the application process more of a family affair unless you have 500k tucked away somewhere.

But couple of notes, from my personal case:
- Check dental schools' admission policy on international students. Pore through the admissions page. You don’t want to drop $80 on the application fee to find out that they do not accept non-U.S. citizens.

- Stop whining. Digging a pity hole and burying yourself in it doesn't achieve anything.  I filled many Kakaotalk family chat rooms whining. "Oh, I wish I was a citizen so I could apply to X." "Can I become a U.S. citizen in four weeks?" I think my family simply turned off their phones whenever I went on my rants.
chattin
- Don’t worry about post-graduation plans. You haven't gotten in anywhere. Why sip on the soup when the party hasn't even started? (Korean proverb) You have four years to figure out what you are going to do once you earn your degree. Relax.

Getting into dental school is hard, but not impossible. Dozens of international students get into dental schools every year. Besides, if you are not a U.S. citizen, you are a citizen somewhere else. For me, a summer visit to Korea reaffirmed that this is home.

6 comments:

  1. I love your blog! I am currently an international student pursuing my bachelor's and preparing for the application process to dental school. What schools would you say are most "international" friendly?

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    Replies
    1. If you get a copy of ADEA's book with all dental schools, you can look at the stats and see what schools have interviewed AND accepted international students. Definitely not the state schools.

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    2. Thank you very much for your response! And best of luck in dental school. PS.Your blog is very informative and inspiring. Keep up the great work! :)

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  2. What are the chances of getting admission in dental school as an international student, if you have masters or PhD degree from US?

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