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Dental School Personal Statement: The Ultimate Guide (Examples Included)

Learn step-by-step how to write a unique dental school personal statement, including full length examples.

what to write in dental school personal statement

your dental school personal statement can mean the difference between and acceptance and a rejection

Part 1: Introduction

Part 2: how to write a dental school personal statement, part 3: common dental school personal statement errors to avoid, part 4: full length dental school personal statement examples.

If you’re applying to dental school and beginning to contemplate your dental school personal statement, you likely fall into one of two categories:

You aced the DAT, have an excellent GPA, and after all of the work you put in for those scores you’re thinking, “I have no energy left… Does the personal statement even matter?”

Your DAT and/or GPA are good or average, and you’re stressed about how you can improve your overall application by writing an absolutely amazing personal statement.

Whatever position you find yourself in, this guide will address your concerns. We’ll explain the importance of the dental school personal statement and why it can make or break even the best application. We’ll also provide detailed, step-by-step guidance on how to write an excellent personal statement, along with multiple full-length dental school personal statement examples so you can see for yourself how it’s done. 

How much does your dental school personal statement matter?

If you’ve got a good score on the DAT and a high GPA, this question has likely crossed your mind. It is true that admissions committees can and do use these scores to quickly sift through the thousands of applications they receive each year. That said, these scores are not on their own sufficient to get you accepted to the dental school of your dreams.

There are plenty of stories of applicants who had a strong GPA and an unbelievable DAT score but were not accepted to their top choice dental school (or any dental school at all). Often, the personal statement is the distinguishing element that can ruin a great application or significantly enhance an average application.

The good news is that there are predictable strategies for writing an excellent dental school personal statement—more on those momentarily.

(Suggested reading: How Hard Is It to Get Into Dental School? )

What is the goal of a dental school personal statement?

With both your GPA and your DAT score, the goal is quite obvious—the higher the better. It may be tempting to assume that the applicant with a 22 DAT and 3.8 GPA will be accepted over the candidate with a 20 DAT and 3.6 GPA, however the admissions process is not nearly this cut and dry, and it is often the personal statement that can separate these two candidates in the minds of an admissions committee.

So, what is the goal of a personal statement? The answer is remarkably simple: the goal of the personal statement is to get the admissions committee interested in you as a person, and to make them want to meet you. 

The entire goal of your application is to land an interview at as many dental schools as possible (or at least at your dream school), and the personal statement is your opportunity to demonstrate your unique and interesting characteristics.

Think of your application as building a house. 

Your GPA and DAT scores are like the blueprints. They are mathematically based and must meet specific structural and engineering requirements in order to support the eventual home. While there is certainly variation in blueprints between different homes, there are specific benchmarks and requirements that must be met for blueprints to meet city building codes and be approved. 

Your personal statement, however, is a much more creative process similar to the interior and exterior design of the home. What color of paint will you choose? What type of windows do you want? Will you select a specific theme for the furniture, drapes, and paintings? After all of these creative decisions have been made, two homes with identical blueprints could have a drastically different appearance. 

While the creative and subjective aspects of writing an excellent personal statement may feel overwhelming to the more analytical students who make up a large portion of dental school applicants, the good news is that there are very clear strategies that can help guide you in this creative process.

According to the ADEA , “ Your personal statement is a one-page essay (not to exceed 4,500 characters, including spaces, carriages, numbers, letters, etc.) that gives dental schools a clear picture of who you are and, most importantly, why you want to pursue a career in dentistry .”

That doesn’t quite convey the real goal of your statement, which is to convince the admissions committee that you, as a person, are interesting and unique, and to compel them to want to meet you off the page. 

Just as understanding the goal of your personal statement is critical, starting the brainstorming process with a general roadmap can help simplify an otherwise overwhelming process.

Fortunately, there is a simple and well-tested format that has been followed by many successful dental school applicants. 

Outlining your dental school personal statement

We’re fans of knowing exactly where you’re going before you even begin writing. Here’s the general format that we recommend using for your personal statement:

Intro : Engage the reader immediately with an interesting introductory paragraph

Body : Illustrate your unique dental journey in 3–5 paragraphs

Conclusion : Reinforce your passion for dentistry and tie back to the introduction

But how do you fill these in paragraphs with information that’s engaging and, most importantly, conveys what’s unique about you? What should you include? Next, we’ll go over five steps that will help you draw out the best topics for your dental school personal statement.

Step 1: Brainstorming

Begin by brainstorming possible topics or areas for your personal statement. Our recommendation is to come up with far more than you’ll actually end up writing about—even as many as 30. 

We know what you’re thinking: Why would I brainstorm 20+ ideas and experiences when only 3–5 will actually make it into my personal statement?

The answer: Often a bad personal statement comes about because an applicant has chosen the wrong topic. Sometimes applicants choose clichéd material, or material that isn’t personally meaningful. Then they feel locked into the essay they’ve begun. But, by brainstorming strategically, and working with someone whose opinion you trust on subject matter, you can position yourself to enter the writing phase confident that you’ve got a subject you can write about fluently and passionately.

To get there, we like an exercise called “ the Rule of 5s ” that provides a systematic approach to guide the brainstorming process.

While we’re calling this the Rule of 5s, it could just as easily be the Guideline of 5s—the number five is simply a good target to help you stretch. However, don’t get too caught up on it. If you have three or four examples in one category and seven in another, that is fine. 

Here’s the Rule of 5s: Brainstorm five good examples in each of the five categories listed below:

Five significant life experiences

Five unique and interesting accomplishments

Five unique and interesting hobbies or interests

Five failures and five lessons you learned from them

Five challenges or setbacks you have faced and had to overcome

Step 2: Your personal journey to dentistry

After completing the Rule of 5s brainstorming activity, your next step is to outline your personal journey to dentistry in a way that clearly answers the question of why you want to be a dentist. This outline should be concise and can even be in bulletpoint form. That said, be detailed and try to think of any key experience, interaction, person, class, conversation, or “aha!” moment that influenced you to ultimately choose a career in dentistry. 

When your outline is finished, review it and identify 3–5 of the most interesting and unique aspects of your journey. If you are having difficulty narrowing it down, consider reviewing the other areas of the ADEA AADSAS application (Dental Experience, Employment, Extracurricular Activities, Research, Volunteer) and see if some of your experiences can be included in sections other than your personal statement.  

Step 3: Choose a memorable opening

Admissions committees will be reading thousands of statements every application cycle, and many applicants will have similar stories about why they want to become dentists. Perhaps they had a good experience in dentistry early on. Perhaps they like science and want to help people. Those aren’t unique attributes in dental school applicants. You’re going to have to begin with something that’s more particular, interesting, and specific to you. 

Let’s look at two different openings to see how they work and why.

Here’s June’s first attempt at an opening paragraph:

Growing up in a middle-class community I had the opportunity to go to my family dentist every six months. For most of my childhood, these visits were fairly routine as I had good oral hygiene and no major dental issues. However, when I was 16 years old, I chipped my two front teeth in an accident. My dentist was able to repair them and they looked even better than before the accident. At that point, I knew I wanted to be a dentist. I attended college and selected biology as my major as I have always enjoyed the sciences. I view dentistry as the perfect combination of art and science that will allow me to help other people the way my dentist helped me.  

What aspect of herself is June emphasizing here? It’s hard to tell. She’s beginning with a story of wanting to become a dentist, but the writing is noncommittal and generic. It doesn’t give us something memorable about her to hold onto, and this paragraph is in no way unique to her experience or dental journey.

Let’s take a look at Marissa’s opening:

As I looked down, I couldn’t believe what I saw. One of my central incisors had been knocked completely out of its socket and sat in a small but noticeable circle of blood near the free-throw line on the basketball court. Just seconds before, I had taken an elbow to the face at the start of the fourth quarter of our state championship high school basketball game. As any high school senior would do, I picked up the tooth, put it in a cup and handed it to my coach. I finished the game with only one central incisor. My parents still have a picture of me on their fridge, hoisting the state championship trophy with an awkward, closed-mouth smile as I tried to hide the missing tooth. Little did I know that six months later, after a failed attempt to save the tooth and the eventual decision to get an implant, the determination and effort I had previously put into basketball would be transferred into my passion of becoming a dentist.

What works here? It’s simple. Marissa tells a story. She gives us images, characters, and a scene. Then she immediately ties that scene into her long-term narrative: becoming a dentist .

By opening with an anecdote and setting the scene the way a movie director might, you draw us into your story and stand out from the pack.

As you think about what anecdote you might use to open your personal statement, remember that it does not have to be directly related to dentistry. Ultimately, however, you will want to tie the anecdote into your dental journey.

Step 4: Connect your opening with your personal journey to dentistry

With your memorable opening created (step 3) and your unique journey to dentistry outlined (step 2), you are most of the way to completing your personal statement.  

The key to an excellent personal statement is finding a creative yet smooth way to connect your personal experiences with your professional journey into dentistry, with a clear and concise answer to the question of why you want to be a dentist.

Let’s take one example from Yasmin: 

I can still remember my heart pounding before my first “major” performance. I was six years old and had been asked to sing “Happy Birthday” in front of the entire family for my grandma’s 80th birthday. I love singing, and in high school and college I sang in a folk band with three of my friends. At times, singing has been my life, providing an escape from the day-to-day stresses and difficulties that we all face. And oddly enough, there’s something we don’t think of when we think about singing: teeth. They’re critical to singing. My desire to pursue a career in dentistry stems from a chance encounter with a singer in Argentina who taught me about the significance of our dentition.

While the transition from singing to dentistry is somewhat abrupt, this candidate has effectively and concisely described a unique personal characteristic, singing, that transitions smoothly into telling the story of her journey into dentistry, which started in Argentina. After reading this paragraph you immediately know something unique about the candidate—she sings—and you are interested to learn more about how her interest in dentistry developed. 

Step 5: The conclusion

In most high school and college writing classes, you are taught that the conclusion should simply summarize your essay. However, in a one-page, 4,500-character personal statement, there is no room to repeat yourself. Rather than summarizing , consider using your concluding paragraph to reinforce two things in the mind of the admissions committee:

Why you want to be a dentist

Your personal and unique story

Your conclusion might refer back to one of your experiences, pulling through a message of how you hope to make an impact in the field of dentistry in the future.

Let’s look at two quick examples.

Here’s Eveline’s first attempt:

I have had several experiences that have all led me to pursue a career in dentistry. The opportunities I have had to shadow dentists have taught me that dentistry is much more than restoring individual teeth, as it incorporates a much larger scope including both oral health and systemic health. I am grateful for the opportunity to apply to dental school and I look forward to completing my studies and becoming an oral health professional focused on both the preventive aspects and restorative aspects of dentistry.

This concluding paragraph is full of buzzwords like “oral health,” “systemic health,” and “prevention,” however it ultimately does not leave the reader with any strong sense of the unique characteristics of this applicant. A paragraph like this could be found in almost anyone’s personal statement. It fails to reinforce the applicant’s specific and unique passion for dentistry, and it does not refer back to any personal experience or unique story. Eveline’s personal statement will blend in with all the rest and she will be less likely to get an on-site interview.

Here’s the conclusion that Yasmin, the folk singer, wrote: 

Much has changed since my “performance” as a scared, six-year-old singing at my grandmother’s birthday. I never would have guessed that my passion for singing would have led me on a 16-year journey: to Argentina and, eventually, to dentistry. But I know I’ve found the path for me.

This concluding paragraph is quite brief at only three sentences, but it effectively reinforces both the unique origins of this applicant’s interest in dentistry as well as the applicant’s memorable history as a singer. The reader is left thinking about the unique aspects of this applicant and will be much more inclined to want to meet them in person by extending an interview.

While there is no perfect formula that encompasses all excellent personal statements, there are some fairly common errors that can quickly transform a good statement into a poor one, drastically decreasing your chances of getting an interview. Below we will discuss six common errors to avoid.

Error #1: Writing a dental school personal statement that reads like a medical school personal statement

It’s no secret that medical school and dental school applicants have many shared characteristics. The prerequisite courses are almost identical, the overall undergraduate experiences mirror each other, and the extracurricular, leadership, research and clinical shadowing experiences have significant overlap. That said, dental admissions committees don’t want lukewarm applicants who appear to have been on a premedical route their entire undergraduate career, as this brings up questions of whether the applicant is truly dedicated to a career in dentistry or merely views dentistry as a backup plan to medicine.

Of course, many students are “pre-health" during their freshman and sophomore years as they take prerequisite science coursework and explore various health professionals including dentistry, medicine, pharmacy, PA, etc. It’s normal to have had experiences in research, leadership, direct patient care, or other extracurriculars that span various health professions and which you may want to include either in your application or your personal statement.

The secret is tailoring all of the experiences you include in such a way as to leave no doubt about your interest in dentistry. 

Let’s look at some example sentences that show how pre-health or premedical experiences can be described in a way that reinforces an applicant’s interest in dentistry.

Here’s what not to do: 

While conducting research on the production of insulin in pancreatic beta cells, I became fascinated with the human body which sparked an interest in pursuing a career that would enable me to help other people. 

An interest in the sciences and a desire to help people are two common characteristics found in nearly every applicant to any healthcare-related profession. While these are important characteristics, it is essential to take them a step further and make sure you connect them directly to dentistry. 

 It can sometimes be difficult to make that connection to dentistry if the experience occurred while you were either investigating all healthcare professions or perhaps were focused on a profession other than dentistry (i.e. medicine or pharmacy).

One tip is to realize that the connection does not have to be synchronous, meaning that even though you were not thinking about dentistry at the time of the experience, you now see how that experience connects to dentistry and enhances your interest in the field. 

We can easily imagine that the candidate who wrote the previous example was conducting research regarding diabetes during their sophomore year as a premedical student. A year later, during their junior year, they decided to switch to pre-dental. While there is a year-long gap between the research and the eventual interest in dentistry, the link between the experience and their desire to pursue a career in dentistry is easily made in an honest and genuine way as follows:

While conducting research on the production of insulin in pancreatic beta cells, I gained an appreciation for the systemic effects of diabetes. I have subsequently become fascinated with the oral manifestations of this disease, which can allow dentists to recognize the oral signs of pre-diabetes, sometimes even before a physician.  

This example takes what could be viewed as a very medical experience (research on pancreatic beta cells) and seamlessly connects it to the applicant’s interest in dentistry. Sometimes you may need to do additional research—for instance, learning about the oral manifestations of diabetes—in order to make these connections.

Taking the time to focus any story or experience in your personal statement on dentistry will transform your essay from average to excellent. As you write your statement, continually ask yourself whether the examples and descriptions you have included could just as easily be found in a personal statement for medical school or pharmacy school or any other health profession. If the answer is yes, go back and find a way to make it hyper-focused on dentistry. 

Error #2: Telling rather than showing, or using clichéd statements rather than specific examples

It is a common pitfall to tell rather than show the reader what you are trying to say.

For example, most students choose to pursue a career in dentistry for their shared interests in science, art, and helping people. It is completely appropriate if these are your reasons as well. The secret, however, is avoiding these clichéd statements by diving in-depth into the experiences and journey you have had that has ultimately led you to a career in dentistry. Rather than telling the reader that you enjoy science, art, and helping people, show them through your unique stories and examples. 

As you write your statement, make sure to frequently ask yourself whether each paragraph and story uniquely describes you or could just as easily apply to someone else. Be sure to include details such as your hometown, family, culture, heritage, creative hobbies, physical characteristics, and anything else that is distinct to you.

Let’s look at a quick example of how you can add personalized elements and descriptions to a clichéd statement to transform it into something that is uniquely you.

What not to do: 

Growing up, I was always interested in artistic and hands-on activities. The opportunity to pursue a career in dentistry, which is a perfect blend of both artistic freedom and working with your hands, is therefore particularly appealing.

What works:

As the only child of two working parents in a rural part of Oklahoma, I often had time alone and gravitated towards hands-on, artistic pursuits, eventually developing a passion for building model airplanes. Visualizing how each small piece would eventually come together to form an airplane actually has many similarities to the field of dentistry.

Notice how the first, clichéd example tells very little about the applicant. We have no details about what makes them unique, and the sentence “tells” us that the applicant enjoys artistic and hands-on activities; however, it does not “show” this through an example.

The second example, on the other hand, provides details that likely only apply to this candidate regarding two working parents and growing up in a rural part of Oklahoma. Additionally, rather than simply telling us about their interest in hands-on, artistic pursuits, they provide a specific example of building model airplanes. 

Putting yourself in the shoes of the admissions committee, which of these two candidates would you rather meet? 

Also, take heart: the second example isn’t telling some dramatic, flashy story. It begins with something simple—being an only child in rural Oklahoma—but ties it to the larger point of the applicant’s interest in hands-on activities as well as art. You do not need to have a life-changing or dramatic story to paint a unique picture of who you are as an applicant.

Error #3: Trying to convince the admissions committee that you are smart

The hypercompetitive nature of dental school admissions can lead applicants to use the 4,500 characters of their personal statement to try to demonstrate their superior intelligence. 

This can be evident in either the specific examples and stories an applicant chooses to use or in the language the applicant employs to write their statement. Either way, this approach is rarely effective.

Here is an example of what not to do: 

As valedictorian of my high school, my teenage years were occupied by hours of studying and homework each night in order to maintain my 4.0 GPA. When I entered college, I increased my level of discipline and dedication to my studies allowing me to maintain that same level of academic excellence throughout my collegiate career, finishing my undergraduate studies with another perfect 4.0 GPA. 

Having a 4.0 GPA and being valedictorian of your high school are certainly accomplishments that should be included in your application. However, trying to convince the admissions committee of your intellectual abilities by including them in your personal statement is not wise. 

Your GPA will be apparent from your transcripts, and the “achievements” section of the AADSAS application is a perfect place to include the distinction of being valedictorian. Neither your GPA nor your high school class standing are directly related to your desire to be a dentist and therefore need not be included in your personal statement.

Personal stories and unique experiences that relate to why you want to be a dentist or that help the admissions committee get to know you on a more human level should comprise the majority of your statement.  

Remember, the goals of your personal statement are to convince the admissions committee that they want to meet you in an interview and to demonstrate that you’re personable enough to be in this patient-facing field. Sounding pompous, self-satisfied, or unrelatable will work against you.

Error #4: Repeating or summarizing what you have already described elsewhere in your application

Another common mistake is simply telling a chronological story that includes or repeats information from the rest of your application. This type of personal statement often reads like a resumé in prose form.

While it is certainly appropriate to use the personal statement to expand upon something mentioned elsewhere in your application, make sure that you are providing additional, specific information that cannot be gleaned from other parts of your application. 

For example, if you have mentioned your shadowing experience in your application, it can be appropriate to include a story in your personal statement that occurred while shadowing a dentist. Make sure, however, that you focus your personal statement on a very specific event—remember, a story or an anecdote—rather than just mentioning your overall shadowing experience.

Here are two examples that illustrate the difference between simply summarizing what you have already described elsewhere in your application and providing additional, specific information. 

What not to do:

My shadowing experience at the Jamestown Public Health Clinic taught me the importance of oral health education and prevention, especially in socioeconomically disadvantaged groups.

The above sentence provides little information beyond what can already be assumed by this applicant listing their shadowing experience at a public health clinic. Stacking sentences like these one after another wastes valuable space in your personal statement. 

One day, while shadowing at the Jamestown Public Health Clinic, a three-year-old patient named Alice came in with her parents. Nearly all of her teeth were black and carious and she was crying because of the pain. Unfortunately, this situation of early childhood caries is not uncommon, especially among socioeconomically disadvantaged groups. It was sobering to realize that, while the treatment options available for Alice were now limited, the entire situation could have been avoided by providing her parents meaningful oral health education and prevention techniques a mere one to two years earlier.

This example dives into the applicant’s shadowing experience in detail by describing a very specific patient encounter. The story brings to life this applicant’s shadowing experience and highlights the applicant’s ability to think critically and observe specific patient encounters with empathy while making broader connections to oral health education at a population level. This type of critical thinking will certainly be noticed by an admissions committee.  

Error #5: Including too much information rather than focusing on a handful of meaningful experiences

With only 4,500 characters, and your chances of being admitted to dental school on the line, it is understandably tempting to attempt to fit as much as possible into your personal statement. Fight this temptation!

With a personal statement, depth is more important than breadth. You can offer an angle on yourself, a story about why you want to be a dentist, and 3–5 compelling details from your personal and professional history. Don’t try to do more.

Remember, the personal statement is only one portion of your application. There are several other sections that allow you to include many experiences and achievements beyond what you discuss in your statement (i.e. Academic Enrichment, Dental Experience, Employment, Extracurricular Activities, Research, and Volunteer). 

Additionally, you will also be asked to write secondary essays for most schools, which provide additional opportunities to bring in other experiences to your application. 

And remember: this work will help you in your interviews!

The personal statement can initially appear daunting. Following the process outlined above and avoiding the five common errors can help you craft a unique and genuine statement that catches the eye of the admissions committee and secures an invitation for an on-site interview.

Additionally, taking the time to write a thoughtful, introspective, and unique personal statement will not only help get you an interview, but will be some of the best time spent in preparation to set you up for success in your interviews.  

(Suggested reading: How to Ace Your Dental School Interview )

Error #6: Not leaving enough time to edit, revise, and get feedback from trusted readers

As one of the most important components of your entire dental school application, you’ll want to invest considerable time not only in writing your personal statement, but also in editing and revising it. Part of that process involves recruiting trusted readers, such as friends, mentors, and admissions consultants, to give you valuable feedback from an outside perspective.

For these reasons, it’s a good idea to begin the writing process well before you want to submit your application. We recommend beginning about six months before you plan to apply—so if you’re counting on submitting your application on June 1st, the earliest possible day, you’ll want to start brainstorming in December.

Aim to have a full-length first draft completed by no later than the end of April. This will give you at least one month to edit, revise, and solicit feedback before submitting your application in June or July.

Part 4: Full-length dental school personal statement examples

Let’s now take a look at two full-length examples in order to put together everything we’ve discussed. Each of these essays successfully conveys who its writer is, what is unique about them, and why dentistry is their ideal career.

Dental school personal statement example #1

The summer after my freshman year, I studied abroad in Buenos Aires to learn about Argentinian culture and history, especially Argentinian folk music. I spent many evenings in town squares and restaurants listening to local folk bands. One evening, I introduced myself to an impressive lead singer after a concert. We connected, talking music and influences. I was shocked when he reached into his mouth and removed a “flipper,” which included prosthetic teeth for all four maxillary incisors. This Argentinian singer became emotional as he recounted the story of a serious motorcycle accident that had left him without his four front teeth, making it physically challenging and emotionally impossible to sing in front of a group. Unable to afford any dental treatment, he had to quit singing wholesale for several years. Fortunately, a friend eventually introduced him to a dentist who restored his pronunciation and his ability to sing in front of a crowd.   

Upon returning from Argentina, I began shadowing in dental offices. One afternoon, I observed Dr. Ashani, a general dentist, deliver a set of overdentures to a 36-year-old woman named Ashley. She had lost all her teeth due to xerostomia caused by radiation treatment for throat cancer. As Dr. Ashani placed the dentures in her mouth and handed her a mirror her entire face lit up. She had regained a sense of dignity and self-worth. I also noticed a change in Dr. Ashani. Later that day, we talked, and he said he’d been anxious about delivering the dentures as he understood both the responsibility and the opportunity he had to dramatically change this woman’s life. Those two words, “opportunity” and “responsibility,” seem to capture the essence of dentistry.

As I continued along this path, I sought a research assistant position in the lab of Dr. Delia Acosta where we focused on stem cell tooth regeneration. While we are several years away from re-growing teeth, the possibility of stem cell treatment in dentistry is fascinating at a scientific level and potentially life-changing at a human level. It is exciting to think that I might be able to provide stem cell treatments to people like Ashley or the Argentinian folk singer to restore not only dentition, but also function and confidence. And while stem cell tooth regeneration is an exciting possibility, even a traditional root canal on a painful molar or a class III filling on a maxillary incisor can have a significant impact on the life of a patient.

What this essay does well:

As mentioned earlier, this applicant does a fantastic job of opening with a personal anecdote that hooks the reader. This humanizes the applicant and gives some insight into their personality as well as their interests.

In the following paragraph, the applicant continues the anecdote with a direct connection between their personal experience and their journey to an interest in dentistry. We get a front-row seat to the encounter that sparked her passion.

The applicant does a great job of naturally peppering the essay with dental-related vocabulary—a signal to admissions committees that this person is not only interested in dentistry, they’ve done the work to learn about it individually. Additionally, they have highlighted their knowledge in the essay in such a way that avoids the trap of error #3; trying to convince the admissions committee that you are smart.

The essay continues accentuating key moments along their journey as they delve deeper into their interest in dentistry—showing instead of telling why they are determined to pursue dentistry as a lifelong career.

The applicant then concludes their personal statement organically, tying it back to the introduction and reiterating their enthusiasm for the field through a recap of their entire journey and stating clearly that they’ve found the path for them.

Dental school personal statement example #2

With spindly legs and frizzy hair, I backhanded the bright yellow tennis ball across the court to my opponent. She quickly ran up to the net, hit an overhead shot, and the ball zoomed towards me faster than I had expected. The next thing I knew, I was on the concrete court with a handful of blood gushing from my mouth. The ball had hit me in my face, knocking out my front tooth. I was horrified—our yearly school photographs were the next day. The first thought that raced through my mind was how I would have to smile with lips glued together, fearful of being teased by my classmates. It was in this moment that I recognized how my teeth and, specifically, my smile were so integral to who I was as a person. My teachers and friends described my smile as a contagious form of love, and the thought of losing this trait was terrifying. This experience laid the foundation for my keen interest in dentistry, a career that will afford me the opportunity to enable my patients to smile brightly and to feel like their most confident selves.

My interest in dentistry matured after I traveled to India to assist with a dental health mission in the rural town of Dwarka. Here, our team set up a clinic in several tents and offered free dental services to those in need. I assisted dental hygienists with cleanings, observed dentists fill cavities and fit dentures, and helped with dental hygiene education. I recall meeting Mona, an 8-year-old girl with a lopsided ponytail. She inquisitively wrapped the bubble gum flavored floss around her fingers and mirrored my motions guiding the tasty strings through her teeth. Her mother told me that she had received floss before, but no one had taken the time to explain how to correctly floss or the benefits of flossing. Though a simple exchange, I recognized the power of dental education.

Upon returning from India, I began volunteering at a general dentistry practice. My main duties involved welcoming patients to our practice, performing health screenings, and coordinating their follow-up care. Through this experience, I also had the opportunity to shadow Dr. Simon, a pediatric dentist who had a cabinet overflowing with yo-yos and an ability to put children at ease despite the painful procedures they were anticipating. I was frequently reminded of my own experience as a child, as many of our patients came in with broken front teeth secondary to various misadventures. Dr. Simon took the time to ask each of his patients about their favorite class in school and any new comic books that he should know about. As we developed a closer relationship, Dr. Simon told me that he was drawn to dentistry because it enabled him to both help kids live healthier lives and have beaming, confident smiles. He spoke with genuine conviction, and his words resonated deeply with me.

My experiences working with patients motivated me to pursue research related to dentistry. My main project observed various demographics and categorized which adult patients have increased access to dental care as classified by yearly cleanings and required fillings. Here, I saw a stark contrast in which patients have stable access to dental care and gained a deeper understanding of the disparities that contribute to the less reliable care of those from underserved communities. My research motivated me to institute an outreach program at the pediatric dental clinic I volunteered at. I described the problem and constructed a proposal for which I received community funding that I subsequently used to create educational brochures for patients. We also utilized this funding to offer patients free cleanings and screenings on Friday afternoons for over a year. Through this experience, I recognized that, as a dentist, I would be able to serve as a health advocate and restore smiles across several communities.

Although my experience of losing my front tooth occurred at a young age, it left a lasting impression, just as a smile does when you first meet someone. I have been fortunate to learn about dentistry through the lens of different practitioners and patients in a variety of environments. All of these experiences have culminated in my strong desire to pursue dentistry, a career that will empower me to deliver care ensuring that others can live healthier lives with confident smiles. I will carry my compassion for helping others and my desire to increase equal access to healthcare services with me forward as a future dentist.

The applicant opens their essay with a life-altering anecdote and one in which they realized the a healthy smile is important to one’s sense of self-worth as well as to their identity. The realization mentioned in this anecdote grants the reader a deeper insight into the writer’s sense of what it means to be a dentist and their motivations for pursuing the profession.

The writer then does an excellent job of developing this idea further, showing—as opposed to telling—how their interest in and passion for dentistry grows. Furthermore, the applicant naturally showcases their genuine motivation to help others by discussing their dental service to those less fortunate. This also opens up an opportunity to highlight leadership qualities when they institute an outreach program for the underserved population in their community.

The applicant then wraps everything up by reminding the reader of the lost tooth that kickstarted their journey and calling attention to the compassion they feel for others that inspires them to help patients achieve their best smiles.


  • Dental School

10 Dental School Personal Statement Examples

Including key tips for a strong dental school personal statement.

Dental School Personal Statement Examples

Before you start crafting your own stellar dental school personal statement, you must review some dental school personal statement examples. Why? These sample essays can help you brainstorm and reflect on what you would like to include in your essay. This blog dives into some dental school personal statement examples from our own past successful students, and then our  dental school advisors  will go over our proven strategies to help you create your own from scratch! As you review these examples keep in mind that these are final works and the result of multiple rounds of reviews by our admissions experts as part of our  application review  programs. Writing fantastic statements for dental school requires patience and multiple rounds of revisions before a perfect statement can be written.

>> Want us to help you get accepted? Schedule a free strategy call here . <<

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Article Contents 15 min read

Dental school personal statement example #1.

In the final moments of a key game in a hockey tournament, I jumped over the boards and onto the ice without putting my mouth guard back in place. It was attached to my helmet, but I had a chance for the puck, and I took it. Moments later, an opponent’s stick caught me in the face, knocking out my front tooth. Play stopped, and my team found my tooth on the ice. I looked to the bleachers. My mom was already on the phone getting initial instructions from our dentist for saving the tooth. Within 15 minutes, we were outside the clinic as my dentist unlocked the door, despite it being a Saturday night. As I was treated within half an hour, my tooth could be saved by stabilizing it as it healed. Until that moment, I thought of my dentist as someone I only saw every six months; I hadn’t seen her as a critical part of my healthcare team.

I realized from this experience that time is a factor in dental care, and thus a career in dentistry. My tooth was saved because I lived in an urban centre and had immediate access to care, not to mention the continuity of care I’ve had since I was a child. My mother is employed and has good dental coverage, but this is not the case for many. Without timely check-ups, both oral and medical issues that could be detected and prevented can become more serious conditions.

With this awareness, I have for the last 6 years volunteered in two ways. In the time since my hockey accident, I’ve worked with my dentist on a safety awareness campaign for young hockey players and their families, teaching about the necessity of mouth guards, as well as how a quick response to such injuries may help in recovery. I’ve also worked alongside dentists for the Smiling Children Foundation in vulnerable neighborhoods, where dental neglect is not uncommon, and continuity of care is rare. Recently, we set up a mobile clinic in a school, where I record personal information and take a medical history for each child. A young boy, 10 years old, complained of constant headaches and pain in his body. Upon examination, the dentist noticed his gums were dark purple in places and bled easily. Our team alerted a community doctor of a potential immune disorder, and the young boy was diagnosed and treated, returning to good health within months. That day, I learned that oral healthcare is holistic healthcare, and that it is a privilege to support those who may not have time, resources, or access to oral healthcare.

I have had this privilege in what began as dental shadowing and is now part-time employment, where I liaise between patients and insurance companies, manage team schedules, and comfort anxious patients. This might be as simple as holding a hand while the dentist performs the procedure. Or, I might hold a baby while the father sees the hygienist. I’ve learned to read an X-ray accurately, prepare the instruments needed for a procedure, and balance the books. I have been mentored by both a medical and business professional, and I have borne witness to our patients’ high and low points. I have worked hard to understand what goes into growing and maintaining a successful dental practice and feel capable to meet the challenge of the multiple roles required in this dynamic vocation.

It bears mentioning why my first-year grades are not what I’d hoped they would be. I joined a good number of co-curricular clubs with the intention of participating in our campus community and developing my professional skills. By midterm, I realized I had oversubscribed myself. Unfortunately, willpower and desire were not enough. My grades suffered as I tried to manage my responsibilities. By attending time management seminars and learning to manage time rather than be managed by time, I was able retrieve my grades. From 2nd year forward, I’ve maintained a 4.0 GPA while moving up the ranks of student organizations and taking an active role in a research project. Resilience is like a muscle that needs time, exercise, and perseverance to build.

From a sports accident, to volunteer work in an underserved community, to employment in a dental office and an academic career that shows both mistakes and recovery, I have thought carefully about what dentistry is. A dentist is part of a larger healthcare team, and a dentist can often treat not only a single patient over decades, but provide intergenerational care to a family. I aspire to dentistry to accompany my patients through life, 6 months at a time, offering compassionate, whole-person healthcare. (4,497 characters, including spaces)

  • Inciting incident: the moment that influenced the student’s outlook on dentistry as a career is highlighted in spades. Seeing the structure here as almost like a story, you’re taking the reader on a journey from point A to point B. For the personal statement, your opening should hook in the reader. This writer does this well.
  • Addresses weaknesses: the student mentions how their first-year grades weren’t what they’d hoped for. They acknowledge their faults and briefly outline the circumstances without making excuses before getting into the most important part: what they did to improve or learn from their mistakes. If you’re in a position to use your personal statement as a way to address gaps or inconsistencies, then you can follow the same rule.
  • Major experiences are detailed: you need to show the admissions committee that dentistry is the right career for you. The best way to do this is to describe clinical experiences, ideally in a dental setting. The student who wrote this sample described their experiences shadowing, being a part-time employee, and volunteering at a foundation. If you have many experiences like these, don’t simply list them off, but select a few to describe in more depth.

Want some tips for writing a dental school personal statement? Check out this video:

"Ready, Set, Bake,” shouted the host of Bake-Off. I was 16 and a contestant of a televised baking show. Our 6th challenge gave us 3 hours to perfectly bake the most decadent and timing consuming dessert: the mille-feuille – layers of puff pastry, filled with whipped cream and custard, and glazed on top. Despite being the only teenager in a field of contestants ranging from 20-70 years of age, I’d made it through several days of cuts for one of the spots on the show. I wish I could say that my dessert was a masterpiece, but as the timer counted down and I plated it, the filling oozed, and the pastry crumbled. I’d made to the Top Six, but the mille-feuille defeated me and I was asked to hang up my apron. As I reflect on this experience, the solo and team challenges, the practice to get on the show, the mastery needed to gain a top spot, I realize that I’m grateful even for the defeat, because I learned valuable lessons that helped me develop key qualities and skills that are in-line with the core competencies necessary for dentistry, my chosen profession. Both dentistry and competitive baking require innovation and excellence, communication and accountability, and the necessity of precision, focus, and a steady hand.

Both of my parents are dentists. While the influence of their careers on my own access to knowledge cannot be underestimated, I have been deeply cognizant of making an autonomous career decision. That decision is my own, but my parents have admittedly opened unique conversations around ethics, technology, and patient care to me. My earliest memories include attending dental conferences with them and being encouraged to explore the Exhibits Floor, where I learned about the newest dental products and treatments and “test drove” the latest innovations in dentistry. I developed an aptitude for predicting which products and technologies were gimmicks and which would effectively support excellence in patient care. This knack has made me something of an informal consultant for my parents and their colleagues, who value my insights on innovation and efficacy of new treatments.

While technology is at the forefront of change, what remains consistent over time is the importance of communication and accountability to provide excellent patient care. I’ve had the privilege to shadow Dr. Ann Lee, an oral surgeon, over the past 3 years. Among many things, she showed me that inherent in communication is accountability. Many of her patients are children and teens having teeth extracted for orthodontic reasons. The son of a family who had been Dr. Lee’s patients for over a decade arrived for a complicated wisdom tooth extraction. Despite familiarity with the family, the doctor painstakingly reviewed the extraction process to prepare them effectively. The procedure went well in the office; however, on the way home, the boy began haemorrhaging. An artery had been compromised during the surgery. I watched as Dr. Lee packed bone wax around the artery to stem the bleeding. What struck me about this experience was the standard of accountability to which the surgeon held herself, as she communicated with the family by phone, made a house call later that evening on her way home, and remained on-call over the weekend to ensure the safety and healing of the child. The family maintained their trust in Dr. Lee because of her open communication and sense of accountability. I also learned just how fragile and technical dental work is, requiring both dexterity and precision.

Volunteering in a dental brigade in Haiti, Mirlande, 6, taught me about vulnerability and trust. Mirlande was scared and reluctant to open her mouth for her first dental exam. I took her aside and, as she watched, I carved a perfect tooth from soap using dental instruments. I carved slowly and precisely, and then presented her with the gift. She put the tooth in her pocket and then allowed me to clean her teeth. I was immediately struck by the vulnerability of not only soft tissue, but of hearts, as she leaned back and opened her mouth in trust. This moment solidified my decision to become a dentist.

Though the earlier comparison between baking and dentistry is merely an analogy, it is one that suggests I have developed key skills and am aware of the core competencies a dentist must hold to best serve their patients professionally and ethically. Dentistry is my vocation, baking a hobby, but both speak to my investment in excellence, precision, and doing for others.  (4,500 characters, including spaces)

A dental school personal statement is your opportunity to show admissions committees who you are as a person and aspiring dental professional, aside from your CV, GPA, Dental Aptitude Test (DAT) score, and other quantitative data. As any personal statement essay, the dental school personal essay should be a narrative account that gives the admissions committee the opportunity to learn more about you than what can be conveyed in a dry document like a CV or transcript. 

For dental school  ADEA AADSAS  applications, the American Dental Education Association requires an essay of no more than 4,500 characters (including spaces), which must demonstrate your key personal qualities, aspirations, and reasons for pursuing a career in dentistry to the schools to which you are applying. This process isn’t as standardized in Canadian programs, so you’ll need to check the application requirements for the programs and schools to which you are applying to see if a personal statement is required. In doing so, you can also learn whether there are any specific requirements regarding the length of the essay, whether there is a specific prompt to which you must respond in your dental school personal statement, and whether there are any other application requirements.

Want some more personal statement examples? Watch this video:

Writing a Strong Dental School Personal Statement

If you're applying to  dental schools in Canada  or the US, a personal statement, or similar essay, is often required as part of your application package, regardless of whether you're applying through AADSAS or  TMDSAS . It’s important to craft a statement that draws from your experiences, such as your dental school extracurriculars. You can also refer to your dental school application experience examples , or even your dental school letter of recommendation for help. This blog will help you understand the key things you must do (and that you must avoid) in composing your essay, with dental school personal statement examples that demonstrate these strategies, so that you can draft the strongest, most compelling dental school personal statement possible.

1. Tell a story

Ideally, you will craft a story or detail a defining moment that helped you realize why this is the profession you want to pursue. Providing an anecdote or vignette – perhaps an experience you’ve had as a dental patient, an interaction you’ve witnessed as a volunteer or while shadowing a dental care professional, a story about someone you know, etc., – is often a useful way of giving the evaluators a window into your life and motivations.

2. Demonstrate why you’re a “good fit”

Your dental school personal statement should also express why you are a strong candidate and a "good fit" for the school and program, while stirring the interest of your reader. Review our blog,  dental school acceptance rates  to find out which schools are best suited for you. Admissions committees will review hundreds of these personal statements, so draw on the values of the profession and the mission of the institution to highlight your alignment with the vision and goals of this vocation, and do so in a way that is engaging and enjoyable to read. Again, narrative is a great way of doing this – people love stories and are often naturally drawn in by them. Bear this in mind as you begin drafting your essay.

Here are some more tips for writing a dental school personal statement:

3. Be authentic and readable

In your personal statement, you want to present your very best self, emphasizing your genuine passion for the field and your enthusiasm for working in a healthcare profession like dentistry. Don’t try to cram in complicated terminology or jargon, thinking it will make you sound smarter (it won’t – true experts know how to explain their ideas effectively to an audience of non-specialists), and don’t rely on clichés (e.g., “I want to help people” – this is a lovely desire, but it’s over-used and too generic). Use polished prose that represents your genuine voice and reasons for pursuing the profession, and write in a way that will be comprehensible even to those outside this particular specialization. This can take practice. You might go through multiple drafts of your essay before you’re confident in submitting it. If you’re having trouble getting to this point, consider dental school admissions consulting . 

4. Express your desired contributions to the field

Quite simply, you need to explain why you will be a good dentist, in both practical terms and in terms of devoting yourself to patient care. You need to show that you know how to become a dentist in terms of skills and experience; there will be other opportunities to address other aspects of your candidacy through things like the dental school manual dexterity question or the multiple mini interview (MMI) collaboration station . For now, answer the following questions: what does it mean to you to dedicate yourself to the profession and to patients? What experiences have you had with the dental profession so far, and how have these impacted you? What are your priorities as an aspiring dentist? Thinking through these questions, while also pointing to concrete experiences or accomplishments that support your responses, will help the committee see not just who you are now, but who you are working to become as you pursue the goal of becoming a dental professional.

Need help with your dental school application? Learn what our students say about our services:

Things to Avoid in a Dental School Personal Statement

Here are some key “don’ts” in composing your dental school personal statement:

1. Don’t summarize your CV

Your personal statement shouldn’t simply repeat information available elsewhere in your application materials. Referring to experiences discussed in those materials, for the purpose of expanding on them or contextualizing them, is fine. Just ensure that you’re actually doing that work and demonstrating the significance of the experience(s) you describe. For example, if your CV indicates that you’ve done volunteer work at a dental clinic or with an organization, it’s totally fine to discuss this volunteer work in your personal statement; however, that discussion must go beyond what is offered in your other application materials. Your dental school personal statement shouldn't be a dry recitation of events in your CV. It should be a persuasive and engaging work that draws on just a few select experiences that epitomize your interests, priorities, and the work you've done so far in working toward becoming a dentist. For example, instead of giving names, dates, and general facts about your experience as a volunteer, you can tell a story of a particularly meaningful accomplishment or interaction, reflecting on how it helped solidify your desire to pursue this career.

2. Don’t dwell on negative experiences

If you’ve overcome challenges or if there are less-than-ideal aspects of your educational experience so far (such as a term where your GPA took a dip), it’s fine to address these in a personal statement essay. However, it is crucial that you reflect on this from a perspective of growth, resiliency, and capacity for improvement, rather than focusing on the negatives. If your grades took a hit one term because of extenuating circumstances, by all means, take some time to explain this, if you think it will be helpful (and it often is). However, the discussion around the circumstances should be minimal – just a set-up for a more substantial discussion of what you learned, how you grew, etc. – and you shouldn’t use this as an opportunity to make excuses. Rather, briefly describe the event, own up to your mistake or misstep (if applicable), and then spend the most time explaining how you addressed the issue, how you moved past it, and why you will be a better future professional for having gone through it.

Probably the biggest mistake students make is to not take the personal statement seriously enough, waiting until just a few days before it’s due to even begin. You must begin early – a strong personal statement essay can take months and numerous revisions to be the best it can possibly be. You need to put a lot of thought into this document, as it is a very important component of your application. This is your chance – and often your only chance – to address the evaluators on a human level, prior to answering  dental school interview questions , including   MMI questions . So, rather than thinking of this as a chore, think of it as an opportunity to demonstrate your best self to the admissions committee. 

4. Don’t submit your dental school personal statement without getting expert feedback

The personal statement isn’t just about what you’ve done, it’s about who you are – what your values are, what your priorities are, what your reasons for pursuing this profession are, and how all of these things align with the discipline and school you are approaching with your application package. Getting expert feedback from those on the “other side” of such applications, those who have gone through the process successfully or those who have been part of admissions committees, will give you incredibly valuable insights into how to make your own personal experiences stand out and work for you most effectively. At this stage of your professional development, you face a wealth of “unknown-unknowns”; i.e., things that you don’t even know to look for or consider, because it's likely that you simply haven’t been exposed to the field or the process long enough or in an official capacity. This can be a considerable hindrance, so don’t try to take on this task alone. Seek out expert feedback, and do so early enough that you can review, revise, and implement any necessary changes to make your dental school personal statement the best it can possibly be.

8 Dental School Personal Statement Examples

Dental school personal statement example #3, dental school personal statement example #4, dental school personal statement example #5, dental school personal statement example #6, dental school personal statement example #7, dental school personal statement example #8, dental school personal statement example #9, dental school personal statement example #10.

  • Starting too late. Getting your personal statement right requires multiple edits and revisions. If you start working on your statement too late, you risk running out of time for proper revisions and edits, leaving a rushed, sub-par statement. Remember, your personal statement is a direct reflection of who you are as a person, and who you'll become as a dentist. It's not something that can be, nor should be rushed.
  • Showing instead of telling, for example, saying “I'm a great listener” instead of demonstrating that you're a great listener through real examples in your essay.
  • Focusing on too many experiences. In general, it's best to discuss 2-3 experiences in your personal statement. You should be able to discuss each experience in-depth, and reflect on what you learned from a particular experience. Too many experiences crammed in doesn't allow you to really expand on each experience and doesn't provide an in-depth analysis of how this experience was transformative on your path to becoming a dentist.
  • Listing information that's already found in your application materials. Your personal statement is not a list, instead, it should be a story of your journey to dentistry.
  • Jumping around in time. Your personal statement should be in chronological order, beginning with your initial interest in dentistry and evolving to your absolution that dentistry is the right career path for you. Jumping around in time makes for a disjointed essay that will come across as confusing to admissions committee members. In addition, you want to ensure that you utilize strong transitional sentences, as these tie together paragraphs and aid in the overall flow of your essay.
  • Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Mistakes and errors in your personal statement are harmful because they tell admissions committees that you're not detail-oriented, you rushed your statement and because of that, you don't really care about it, or their program. Ensure your statement is reviewed multiple times, ideally with a professional's help, to ensure your essay puts your best foot forward and is free from any spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.
  • Boasting. While you can certainly highlight a few key accomplishments in your statement, such as finishing at the top of your class or raising money for a good cause, it's important that you are tactful in how you phrase your accomplishments. You always want to be humble, and think about what an achievement means to you and why. Lastly, it's a good idea to reflect on what you learned from your achievements and how that can translate in your career as a dentist.

While the majority of your personal statement should be about you - your experiences and how they relate to your decision to pursue dentistry, you can certainly include information relating to another person. For example, you could mention a family member's struggle with a disease, a patient's story, or a conversation with a dentist. As long as you circle back to why this story is significant in your pursuit of dentistry, what you learned from the experience or even how an experience changed your point of view.

Your personal statement must adhere to the ADEA's character count of 4500 characters, including spaces. However, this doesn't mean that you must include this many characters. As long as your essay is below the count, it's most important that you focus on creating a powerful, in-depth essay that proves to the admissions committee why you want to be a dentist and why you would be suitable for a career in this field, then it's perfectly acceptable.

Your personal statement is one of the most important aspects of your entire dental school application. It will serve as your introduction to admissions committees – letting them know who you are a person, who you are as a candidate, and essentially, that you're suitable for a career in dentistry. A poorly crafted personal statement can result in rejection from dental school, so it's essential that your statement is both engaging and memorable to secure you an invitation to interview.

No, remember, this information will be included elsewhere in your application, so it's not suitable to include this in your personal statement.

  • Brainstorm ideas.
  • Create an outline.
  • Focus on body paragraphs first using a maximum of 3 experiences.
  • Ensure you SHOW what you learned (don’t tell) by using examples.
  • Write your conclusion.
  • Write your introduction last.
  • Attention-grabbing introduction: Not just a thesis statement, but something interesting to draw the reader in, like a quote or a story.
  • Transitions: These should lead from one paragraph to the next, creating flow. Use linking words such as however, additionally, also, next, etc.
  • Strong examples: This way you are showing, not telling.
  • Clear and direct language: Your language does not have to be fancy, what's most important is that it's easy to read and follow. For example, “utilize” is one of the most over-used words in academic essays and “use” works just as well.
  • Conclusion: This should summarize your main points, but also leave the reader with a compelling closing sentence that makes them want to find out more about you. For example, include a call back to your opening anecdote and highlight how far you have come.

Dental school personal statement editing, just like medical school personal statement editing , is very important. Begin by writing the BEST first draft you can and then begin your edit. Don’t write something of average quality, half-done, or way over the character limit. Trying to work from these copies will only create confusion and delays. Next, you should read your essay out loud to yourself sentence by sentence to ensure it flows well and to catch any grammatical errors. Each sentence should be contributing to the overall point. If you find yourself repeating your thoughts in multiple forms, think about paring your sentences down. Quality is more important than quantity.

Next, repeat this process 2-3 times. Resist the urge to keep tinkering over and over again. There are multiple strong ways to word sentences and express your thoughts. There are probably even multiple experiences you could highlight and have an equally strong personal statement. However, obsessing over each sentence and word once you have written a strong statement will just lead to changing too many things, delays, you feeling nervous, and sometimes even a weaker essay than you started with!

Yes, you can definitely mention experiences in your personal statement that are non-academic or not related to dentistry. A strong experience to mention should be one that taught you important skills and that influenced your decision to pursue dentistry. Personal experiences can also have a strong influence on which profession you pursue, so you can definitely mention non-academic experiences.

It’s certainly normal to want input from others when we are crafting personal statements. A strong reviewer is one who has experience and expertise with professional school applications and has helped other students before. For example, someone with an advanced degree like a practicing dentist or other professional. Even though you may feel tempted to ask friends and family, you may want to refrain from this, as they are often invested in your success and may find it hard to be objective.

Try to find someone who does not know you so well so they can give objective guidance. The other thing you want to avoid is having “too many chefs in the kitchen.” Too many different people reviewing your statement is only going to pull it in too many different directions, ultimately leading to confusion and even more delays. And again, some students might feel more comfortable using a dental school admissions consulting service for this aspect of their application.

Just like you would address this during an interview, your statement can address areas of concern by following these steps:

  • Take responsibility.
  • Explain mitigating factors.
  • Don't make excuses.
  • Share strategies for what you learned and how you would avoid a situation like this in the future. 
  • Make sure you end on a positive or proactive note.

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Have a question ask our admissions experts below and we'll answer your questions.

Yutika Maharaj

Hi there Do you have any sample personal statements for a foreign trained dentist applying to ADEA PASS and ADEA CAAPID. Thanks

BeMo Academic Consulting

Hi Yutika! Thanks for your comment. As an international applicant, your personal statement should follow the same structure and contain pertinent info about yourself and your application. Use these samples to construct your own, unique narrative!

It is remarkable, very good information

Thanks, Code!

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what to write in dental school personal statement

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Your personal statement is a one-page essay (not to exceed 4,500 characters, including spaces, carriages, numbers, letters, etc.) that gives dental schools a clear picture of who you are and, most importantly, why you want to pursue a career in dentistry.

Although there is no set of rules mandating what a strong personal statement should include, here are a few tips to help you successfully craft a winning personal statement:

  • Explain a defining moment that helped steer you toward a career in dentistry. Consider using that moment as the focal point of your essay.
  • Be colorful, positive, imaginative and personal when discussing why you’re a good candidate for dental school. Ask yourself—in a pile of 100 applications, would I enjoy reading my statement? Be sure to convey your passion for dentistry in your statement.
  • Be yourself.  Don’t use jargon, clichés or big phrases that you would not use in daily conversation. Remember, dental schools want to know about the real you.
  • Be original and thoughtful: Discuss how you would contribute to the profession and patient care, all of which will help you stand out from other applicants.
  • Tell your story—make sure the essay is your story, not someone else’s. 
  • Recruit a friend. Ask a friend, relative or faculty advisor to read your essay and provide constructive criticism. Ask them to think about whether the essay is a good representation of your character, and what they know of your ideals and aspirations.
  • Give yourself time to organize your thoughts, write well and edit as necessary. And don’t forget to proofread, proofread, proofread!

Here are a few things to avoid when writing your personal statement:

  • Writing what you think the admissions committee wants to hear.
  • Using a gimmicky style or format.
  • Summarizing your resume or repeating information directly from your transcripts or recommendation letters.
  • Emphasizing the negative.
  • Waiting until the last minute to get started on your statement.

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what to write in dental school personal statement


Dental Schools Council

The principal source of informed opinion and advice on education and research in dental schools in the United Kingdom and Ireland

Personal statements

The personal statement is your chance to explain who you are and why you believe you are an ideal candidate for dentistry.

What to write about

The personal statement is your opportunity to articulate why you would like to study dentistry, and explain what skills and experience you possess which would make you a good dentist.

Remember that your personal statement should be individual to you rather than a series of clichés. The personal statement is the same for each course you apply for, so avoid mentioning any universities by name.

In your personal statement, you should:

  • Tell the reader why you are applying – include your motivation to study dentistry, as well as what interests you about the subject
  • Explain what makes you suitable for a career in dentistry – this could be relevant experience, skills, or achievements you have gained from education, work, or other activities
  • Reflect on your work experience and what you learnt about yourself or the profession
  • Talk about any current affairs in dentistry or healthcare which you have heard about, explaining what you found interesting and why
  • Mention any other higher education outreach activities you may have attended, explaining what you found interesting and why
  • Include some information about what you like to do in your spare time and explain how this has developed your skills
  • If there are any personal circumstances which have affected your educational performance or qualification choices, outline them in your personal statement. For example, this might be something that caused you to miss school, such as a physical or mental health condition, or caring for a family member.

What makes a good dentist?

When writing your personal statement, keep in mind the values, attributes and skills that make a good dentist. Dentists need to be able apply their scientific knowledge in clinical settings, and therefore academic ability and an aptitude for problem solving is key to the selection of candidates. However, other attributes such as commitment, motivation, resilience and concern for others are all important too.

Skills and attributes of an ideal candidate to dentistry

  • Motivation to study dentistry and genuine interest in the dental profession
  • Insight into your own strengths and weaknesses
  • The ability to reflect on your own work
  • Personal organisation
  • Manual dexterity (you could include examples of hobbies that require steady hands or good coordination)
  • Academic ability
  • Problem solving
  • Manage risk and deal effectively with problems
  • Ability to take responsibility for your own actions
  • Conscientiousness
  • Insight into your own health
  • Effective communication, including reading, writing, listening and speaking
  • Ability to treat people with respect
  • Empathy and the ability to care for others

Writing your personal statement for dental school

The most important thing about your personal statement is that it is written by you and that it is an honest reflection of your thoughts, skills and interests. When writing your personal statement, keep these key attributes in mind. Rather than simply stating that you embody these attributes, give examples of how you have demonstrated them in the past, for instance while on work experience or through extracurricular activities.

The fifth choice subject

Since dentistry is your chosen course, never try to tailor your personal statement to another course within the same personal statement. Contact the course provider for the fifth choice to find out if they will accept a personal statement focused on dentistry.

Assessing personal statements

Dental schools vary in how they assess personal statements. Some score them while others do not. They commonly use personal statements as a basis for conversation during interview, so it is a good idea to write things which you would be prepared to expand on if asked.

When writing your personal statement, think about the values, attributes and skills you possess which would make you a good dentist.

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Last updated: 05/10/2022

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Writing a dentistry personal statement that you’re proud of is hard.

Many students struggle to boil down their skills and experiences to just 4,000 characters and it is tricky to know where to focus. 

Example statements are a great way to gain this insight.

In this article, we cover the following:

  • Strong and weak dentistry personal statements 
  • A breakdown of other peoples’ successes and mistakes
  • Ideas for what to include in your own personal statement 

Once you've read this, check out dental interview questions to build on what you've learnt.

For an overview of personal statement writing, read our Personal Statement Guide for Medical and Dental Schools . This is essential reading and goes further than just examples!

Strong personal statement example

“I first became interested in studying dentistry between the ages of 12 and 15, when I visited my local dentist frequently to get my braces checked and tightened. 

I talked with her at length about the nature of her job and was struck by the huge impact she could have on the people she met daily. 

She actively improved the quality of life of every patient she encountered, and had to astutely apply scientific principles in a social setting in order to make patients feel at ease and achieve the best results. I was truly inspired by this experience and decided to investigate dentistry as a career.

In order to deepen my insight into the profession I carried out a week’s work experience in a local dental hospital. I saw how dentists of every stage were keen to learn, constantly assessing their performance and striving to improve. 

This drove home the importance of self-awareness and constant reflection, but also introduced me to the idea of lifelong learning which is something I find particularly attractive. 

During this placement I also took my first look inside a patient’s mouth and observed dentists constructing bridges, veneers and crowns. This exposed me to the aesthetic side of dentistry - a dentist not only aims to alleviate pain but can engage with the more cosmetic aspect of healthcare, something that most medical specialties cannot match. 

I organised a number of work experience placements in local dental surgeries, and throughout my shadowing was struck by the bonds dentists formed with their patients. They often had to utilise great communication skills and empathy to calm down or reassure anxious patients, and they worked hard to build up a rapport with everyone who entered the surgery. This encouraged patients to attend checkups more frequently and be more open about their worries, thereby improving the quality of care they received. 

As a result of my reflection on these experiences, I took up weekly volunteering in a local care home and reading to children in the dental hospital. These opportunities helped me become a far better communicator, as many of the residents of the care home were elderly or suffered from dementia meaning I had to adopt different visual or verbal strategies to get my message across. Many of the young patients in the dental hospital felt lonely and nervous, and by empathising with them I was able to help them relax and focus on the positives.

Outside academia, I play water polo and run in my school’s athletic team. Both of these sports have helped me become a better team player and I’ve learned that you can always achieve the best results by working efficiently in a team rather than going it alone. 

I am a particularly ambitious sportsperson and I’ve received the Most Valuable Player award in my waterpolo league for three years running, and have been a captain for four. 

As a captain, I am a decisive leader; In the heat of a match it’s important for me to make snap decisions and for my teammates to trust me. However, out of the pool I take every view into account and try to make sure that everyone has been heard and feels involved. 

I also try to identify the strengths and weaknesses of everyone in the team - myself included - so that we can play to our strengths in matches and work on our weaknesses in training.  

I think that the ambition, teamwork and leadership I’ve demonstrated through my sports will serve me well as a dentist, allowing me to work efficiently with others while constantly striving to improve personally. My participation in these sports has also allowed me to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Becoming a dentist would allow me to have a truly positive effect on the people I work with, while also challenging me and ensuring I’m always learning and improving. I believe that my work experience, volunteering and extracurricular activities have provided me with the skills and insight necessary to become an empathetic and effective dentist.”

Strong personal statement analysis

This example displays many characteristics of a good personal statement. 

  • Well structured.
  • The candidate comes across as well-rounded and motivated, without appearing arrogant.
  • There are some minor areas that could be improved, but overall we think that this personal statement would impress university assessors.


  • The introduction uses an anecdote to illustrate the candidate’s interest in dentistry. This is a good way to show how your interest in dentistry might have started, but it wouldn’t be suitable to write that you decided to apply to dentistry simply because you liked seeing your dentist as a child. The candidate doesn’t fall into this trap, and makes sure to highlight that this experience only inspired them to do further investigation into the career.
  • The candidate goes on to describe how they deepened their insight in the main body paragraph, adding cohesiveness.
  • The candidate also demonstrates some good insight into dentistry by discussing the unique blend of social skills and scientific knowhow required by dentists.

Main body paragraphs 

  • Variety - the candidate’s three main body paragraphs discuss some of their work experience placements, volunteering roles and extracurricular interests. 
  • Quality over quantity - they focus far more on individual experiences while going into more detail, and avoiding lists (although they witnessed a huge number of things during a week of work experience, they choose to focus on a couple of key experiences).
  • Insight - the statement demonstrates insight into the profession on multiple occasions. They talk about the prominence of lifelong learning, the aesthetic/cosmetic side of dentistry, and how building a rapport with patients can lead to better outcomes.

Re-read the example, consider how the candidate: 

  • Reflects on their experiences 
  • Built on their experience
  • Demonstrates relevant skills
  • Demonstrates that they are ready for the challenges inherent in dentistry


  • Short, brief, and succinct. It doesn’t introduce any new information.
  • The candidate doesn’t really speak enough about why they chose to study dentistry over medicine. They mention the dual focus on health and cosmetics, but could mention some other factors as well - for example, the fact that dentistry is more specialised from the start of the degree than medicine.
  • They could show some more awareness of current news in the dental world.
  • The candidate could also speak a little more about the challenges dentists face in the workplace and how they would cope.
  • Discussion of paid employment would also have been beneficial.
Find more in-depth advice, tips and examples in our Personal Statement Course .

Weak personal statement example

“Dentistry has fascinated me from a very early age, as to me it seems like the perfect combination of practical and mental challenges. This has become even stronger since my brother found work as a dentist, having recently graduated from manchester University.

For the past 4 years, I’ve been looking after a local elderly lady who sometimes struggles to go shopping or carry out her daily tasks. This has helped me appreciate the satisfaction one can gain from helping others, and inspired me to pursue a career which will allow me to improve the lives of those around me - like dentistry!

As a result of my interest in medicine, I studied biology, physics and maths at A-Level. 

I’ve also carried out a variety of work experience placements over the years. During my GCSEs, I spent a week volunteering in a local NHS surgery, which exposed me to some of the challenges dentists face; they were often overworked, and had to deal with frustrated and anxious patients on a daily basis. 

I really enjoyed this experience, so I decided to take on another two week block at a dental hospital . While I was there, I shadowed receptionists, helping them to book appointments and organise the dentists’ timetables. I also managed to see dentists make diagnoses and watch a huge range of different dental procedures, from regular checkups to fillings and root canals. I spent time in the in-house dental laboratory, and was taken through the construction of veneers, crowns and bridges. I was also able to shadow dentists over a whole day in their life, seeing the admin and meetings they had to trudge through on top of the more exciting clinical work.

In my free time I enjoy playing the violin and listening to music. I am also a dedicated member of a number of sports teams, including basketball, tennis and hockey. I am proficient at both individual and team sports, showing that I can work well with others, but also self-motivate and set my own targets. 

I also enjoy watching films and socialising with my friends. More recently, I’ve really enjoyed keeping up with current dental news by reading the Journal of Dental Research and my brother’s old copies of the British Dental Journal.

Looking to the future, my great ambition is to work within the dentistry profession, where I believe I could have a really positive impact on the lives of the patients I work with. 

My work experience has set me up well to succeed, and I feel I have the desire and commitment to stick the course and become a successful yet empathetic dentist”

Weak personal statement example analysis

  • Likely not to score well
  • It isn’t nearly long enough (2520 characters) 
  • It hasn’t been proofread and contains errors
  • Did the candidate genuinely want to study dentistry from a young age? If it is true, it implies that they made this important decision based on an emotional impulse as a child.
  • Being inspired to go into dentistry just because your sibling did is also not recommended. Just because it was right for them doesn’t make it right for you. 
  • The mention of helping an elderly neighbour is good, but too brief. This is a great experience to reflect on and use to demonstrate both your motivations to study dentistry and your suitability for a caring role.
  • At no point in the statement does the candidate explain why another caring profession wouldn’t be just as suitable for them. 
  • There’s no mention of anything particularly specific to dentistry.

Main body paragraphs

  • The first paragraph follows a list, with the candidate demonstrating that they have a real range of work experience placements (which is good) but without going into sufficient detail.
  • There is very little reflection throughout these paragraphs. The candidate clearly has a good breadth of experience but can’t really explain anything they learned from it.
  • They demonstrate very few relevant skills throughout the statement. They should talk more about how each experience they’ve had has improved them, either by helping them develop or demonstrate key skills that dentists need. Then, they should explain why dentists need these skills in the first place. 
  • Describing the dentist’s admin and meetings as a ‘trudge’ and clinics as ‘exciting’ isn’t wise. This may be the case, but the reality is that dentists do spend a lot of their time writing notes, filling out paperwork and liaising with other healthcare professionals. If you find this particularly boring you either won’t be able to handle the job in the first place, or you’ll cut corners and thereby put patients at risk.
  • There’s no mention of the importance of a work-life balance when talking about how they relax.
  • It is crucial not to lie in your personal statement. It is possible that they do 'really enjoy' reading dental journals, but it is likely that your interviewers will latch onto this and quiz you repeatedly on it. 

However, it is worth mentioning the things these main body paragraphs do well:

  • There is some reflection on the challenges faced by dentists, which will reassure the assessors that the candidate does have some insight and can reflect on their experiences.
  • The candidate discusses the skills they demonstrated through their sports which is exactly the right thing to do. The only thing they’re missing is a linking of this to dentistry.
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  • Remains brief and concise while summarising the rest of the statement and finishing with a strong, confident claim. 
  • It is better to show “desire and commitment” to the profession earlier in the statement before introducing it in the conclusion. 
  • Saying that work experience will set you up well for a career in dentistry is simply not true. Watching a couple of weeks’ worth of dental procedures will not make you a better dentist later in life. It is the reflection on those experiences that assessors are looking for.

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Table of Contents

Have you ever wondered what parameters determine your admission to a dental school? 

Do you know that among many factors, your dental school personal statement is one of the most important? 

This blog will shine light on everything you need to know about writing a successful personal statements for dental school.

At the end of the blog, you will: 

  • Learn How to write a dental school personal statement 
  • Understand the correct structure from dental school personal statement examples 
  • Get useful tips from the experts 

What is Dental School Personal Statement?

Dental school personal statement is one of the many criteria used by dental school admission panels to select candidates for their programs. It is a self-written document by the candidates showcasing their relevant academic qualifications, experiences, and passion for the program.

What is the Length is a Personal Statement for Dental School?

The length of a dental school personal statement is relative to the institute where you wish to study. Some institutes specify it so candidates can adjust their write-up accordingly.

When you don’t have any direction as to the length, you can adhere to the below rules. 

Structure of a Dental School Personal Statement

You must write your personal statement in a formal structure by logically dividing it into an introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. 


Body paragraphs.

The introduction of your dental school personal statement is where you, well, introduce yourself, tell how you got interested in the dental field, and what you are going to discuss in the writeup.  

To get the introduction right, consider it like answering the following questions: 

Why do you wish to get trained in dentistry?

What are your inspirations for choosing dentistry, what makes dentistry an apt choice for you over other courses, body paragraphs (main body).

Coming to the main body, you may divide it into multiple paragraphs and then assign each paragraph with a specific set of information. For instance, in the body paragraph one, you will talk about your academic background. In paragraph two, you will focus on experiences and in paragraph three, you will talk about your skills and strengths. 

To give you more perspective while developing your body paragraphs, consider reviewing the following questions. 

How much exposure do you have in dentistry through self-learning, reading, working and online courses?

What have you found interesting and attractive in choosing a career as a dentist, what are the specific characteristics, traits or qualities of a dentist that you identify with, do you possess the relevant soft skills, which fall outside your academic, required for a good dentist such as communication skills, interpersonal skills, and teamwork, how skilful are you at balancing your personal life along with academic formation.

A perfect personal statement will flow smoothly from the introduction to the main body paragraphs and from there to a reiterating conclusion. The conclusion should serve as the final message you want the selector to take away from your write-up and remember. 

To write a powerful conclusion for your personal statement, ask yourself the following questions. 

Is the conclusion compatible with your perspectives?

Does the conclusion prove your in-depth understanding of the dental school program and what it demands from you, does the conclusion act as the summary of your write-up, does the conclusion impress the reader and make him remember you, does the conclusion contradict any information in the essay, dental school personal statement examples.

Dental School Personal Statement Example 1 1

I was nine when I had the opportunity to interact with a dentist. Having broken both my lower canines while playing cricket in our school playground, I was more in a state of panic than pain. Someone imposed on me the strange belief that my face would be disfigured throughout my life, and I would have to live with that till I grow old. Well, I wouldn’t have worried to that extent, had I been familiar with dentistry, like I am today. As I recall our colony dentist reassuring me about the sheer falsehood of the statement, a sense of gratification overwhelmed me. I keep thinking about the psychological impact that these professionals have on their patients. Thanks to the composites, I am no longer ashamed to display my pearly teeth. Well, my interest in dentistry dates back to this incident. As an individual, I have been empathetic to the people around me. Walking in the shoes of a dentist will help me cultivate this virtue, as I channel my efforts to relieve patients from pain and restore an aesthetic smile.

Hailing from a family of doctors, I got the opportunity to volunteer in different city hospitals in my late teens. Particularly, I spent time significantly in the radiation department. It was fascinating indeed for me to learn about different mapping and scans of radiation for cancer patients. Closely interacting with patients, I fostered a sense of care and empathy for them. Nurturing this natural inclination toward the healthcare industry, I evolved as an entry-level dentist over the years. Here I stand today, having completed my Bachelor’s degree in dentistry, along with substantial industry experience.

During my graduation, I capitalized on the opportunity to foster intense interactions with dentists. One aspect was common for all these professionals: they all loved their jobs. This passion for their profession appealed to me further, shaping my professional psychology significantly. During my internships at the regional dental care centre, I realized that passion for work makes it a pleasurable experience. Incorporating this concept in the context of my profession, I took an interest, particularly in endodontics. It was in the third year of my dentistry program that I got to study this subject. It was a wonderful experience for me to check the x-rays of the root canal during my internship. The minute operations inside these canals call for professional dexterity as well as care. Over the last three years, I have polished my professional skills, taking a number of courses in endodontic treatment, rotary endodontics and anterior composite to strengthen my competence. In the digital age, I have found a reliable assistant on YouTube, which provides me with valuable information to strengthen my grasp on any given aspect.

Throughout my academic life, I have been consistent with my results, as evident from my mark sheets. Apart from academics, I proactively participated in several extracurricular activities. While playing chess at the college level enhanced my mental agility, outdoor games like basketball and cricket infused me with the virtues of leadership and organizational skills. Particularly, I developed skills like teamwork and coordination while playing basketball. I have also participated in debates and public speaking competitions, which significantly leveraged my oratory skills. Working on arts and crafts, I engage myself with creative pursuits during my leisure hours. I believe that dentists require an artistic flair somewhere behind their core competencies. This ideology complemented my efforts as I worked in dental clinics as a part of my profession for the last couple of years.

I look forward to integrating myself into the pragmatic academic environment at your esteemed university. I believe I can contribute to some extent through peer learning and knowledge sharing, given that I have been working at various dental clinics in India for over two years. As a fervent learner, I remain open to knowledge acquisition. This program will propel me closer to my ambition, where I visualize myself walking in the shoes of an accomplished dentist.

Enhance your perspective for writing your own dental school personal statement by going through a realistically written example.

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Examples Personal Statement for Pediatric Dentistry Residency

Pediatric Dentistry Personal Statement Sample 1 1

My desire to establish myself as a paediatric dentist is not a dream that developed in a single day. Its roots go back to my childhood. Around the age of 14, the constant love of sugary foods I had as a child led to tooth decay. At first, I wasn’t even aware of it. But the pain grew more intense with each passing day. I was quite anxious to visit the doctor when my father accompanied me to a dental clinic. I was avoiding getting my teeth cleaned and having a check-up until then. I still recall the doctor’s pleasant smile as she greeted me and her slow explanation of what had happened to my teeth. My doctor was the one who first introduced me to the term “root canal.” Although I was shocked, the doctor patiently went through each step of the process with me and made an effort to keep me calm throughout the procedure. Each subsequent check-up helped me realise that dental hygiene was a necessary component of a person’s wellness, particularly for kids. I received the best care and attention from my dentist and I was wearing a smile when I left the facility. I want to do the same for other kids as I realised how much the doctor helped me relax. So I made the decision to enrol at XYZ University in ABC to earn a degree in paediatric dentistry.

My academic abilities have always been strong. I received recognition for my scholastic performance through a number of awards. I received a 9.22 CGPA after completing my tenth grade at XYZ, and I chose to study science for my plus two. I received 92% in it. I chose science because I was interested in learning more about the human body’s numerous functions. I gained a basic understanding of how the human body works and why each bodily component is necessary for maintaining good health.

I sought to use my free time to obtain field experience in dentistry as I decided to pursue a career in paediatric dentistry. So I made the decision to work as an intern at a nearby dental clinic. I was given the responsibilities of greeting the patients, getting them ready for the treatments, cleansing the equipment, and assisting the doctor throughout the operation. My organising and communication abilities improved as a result of these activities. Being a clinic intern taught me the value of having patience while handling children and I gradually became familiar with the language used in the dental field. Among the many kids that came to see the doctor, I saw myself; the same anxious and fearful expression. However, everyone left with a smile on their face.

My experience enabled me to develop the organisational abilities and interpersonal skills that are essential in the field. I have always wanted to start my own clinic in my hometown so I can practise medicine like my childhood doctor. Children deserve to smile, and I want to contribute to their self-assurance by providing my services. XYZ University is the ideal setting for me to realise my dreams. In order to get the right field expertise, the institute offers the most qualified instructors and lab facilities. The BS Paediatric Dentistry program provides an updated and thoroughly researched course curriculum. I could utilise the facilities to hone my technical and analytical skills for a professional life.

The world’s future lies with children. It is critical to protect their health, particularly in dental care. Otherwise, various illnesses can burden them for the rest of their lives. That is not how I want them to be. Without any constraints, they should be able to enjoy the joy and happiness of childhood. As a dentist who specialises in paediatric dentistry, I wish to contribute to the upbringing of children with confident smiles. Therefore, if given the chance, I can demonstrate my enthusiasm for and commitment to the programme at your university. I am hoping the admissions panel will take my application into account.

Personal Statement Dental School Examples

Dental School Personal Statement Sample 1 1

Being a hyperactive child who wouldn’t stop running around and getting into mischief caused problems for myself and my family. During one of my greatest mischievous actions, I stumbled when I ran through the stairs. My entire mouth started bleeding as soon as I reached down the stairs. My mother suddenly contacted my dentist, and she drove me to the clinic. Despite the fact that it was a Sunday, my dentist treated me well and welcomed us. Prior to then, I had never considered dentists to be crucial players in the healthcare sector. He was just someone I saw once every six months. But on that particular day, he was crucial in helping me regain my self-assurance when I smile. I also realized that a dentist’s job requires patience and a friendly demeanor. I aspired to be like him and use my career to bring joy to others. I may achieve my aspirations to become a dentist by obtaining a graduate degree from XYZ University’s dentistry programme.

After that episode in my life, I considered it necessary to see visiting the dentist as an essential component of everyone’s health. I had quick access to all the medical services because of my residence in an urban area. My family can pay for those medical expenses. However, many people are still unaware of the significance of oral health. Oral issues could worsen if you don’t receive the necessary examinations and treatments. With this problem on my mind, I took a part-time job at a dental office close to my house, where I discovered that the job of a dentist requires full-time commitment and enthusiasm.

I did a great job of balancing my studies and my part-time work. I earned an X CGPA while completing my SSS at XXX and an X CGPA in my higher secondary at XXX. I was very certain about what I needed to study after finishing my education. The desire to become a dentist has always been a source of passion for me.

I had participated in a dental care campaign that was organized by my school with the assistance of the Dental Clinic. Since I was already a part of the clinic, the school appointed me as the event’s overall organizer. On that particular day, we even built a mobile medical unit for the pupils. I took note of the students’ issues and realized that many people aren’t even aware of the state of their oral or dental health. Someone must continually remind them till it gets ingrained in their daily lives. Building and running a dental care clinic that emphasizes the value of oral health through various campaigns and examinations is something I wish to do. I want to concentrate more on rural residents who cannot afford regular checkups and medications, so that I may craft a future generation that is concerned with their own health. Hence, I decided to pursue a graduate program in dentistry after finishing basic schooling.

Engaging with campaigns and work helped me to uncover my organizational skills as well as communication skills. Communicating with patients, organizing the event, helping the procedures etc intrigued me more about the field and created a desire to explore them more. I made the decision to enroll in the dental programme offered by XYZ University, one of the most renowned universities in the world, in ABC after thorough research. The education provides exposure to and experience on a global scale that I never found in India. With the assistance of their knowledgeable professors and the lab facilities they offer, I can obtain expertise and the necessary practical skills. I intended to learn more about the subject on a more pragmatic level. I need to lay a solid foundation before I can achieve my dream. In a vibrant campus environment, I want to hone my technical abilities and soft skills.

Dentistry is a field where people are appreciated for their contributions to society. Indirectly they are always here for us. The patience and commitment they have towards society is something I have understood through my work in the Dental Clinic. Being a part of someone’s smile and confidence is something meaningful. I want people to recognize dentists like every other medical professional. If given the chance, I can showcase how my knowledge in academia and commitment to my career can actually benefit your institution to prosper. I am definitely looking forward to learning and connecting with people through your university.

Things to Avoid in Your Dental School Personal Statement

Writing your dental school personal statement without being aware of the following mistakes will cause you to lose the race early on. So, avoid them in your writing.

Do not wait for the eleventh hour to write:

Dental school applications are invited earlier than other programs. So, it is highly recommended to have your personal statement ready as earlier as possible. 

Do not replicate your resume:

Do not replicate what’s in the CV exactly as it is in your personal statement. Instead, elaborate on achievements or experiences in the CV with more depth in the personal statement. 

Do not hesitate to seek feedback:

No matter how good you are at writing, there is always room for improvement. For a crucial document like a dental school personal statement, it is always good to seek expert feedback. 

Do not sound regretful over negatives:

It is totally okay to have certain negatives in your profile such as a dip in GPA. However, do not sound regretful over them. Instead, show how you defeated the odds and improved. 

Do not plagiarize:

There are plenty of personal statement for dental school examples online. Do not be tempted to plagiarize any of them. Institutes strongly detest plagiarism in application documents like personal statements.

Tips for Writing Your Dentistry Personal Statement

The following are a few proven tips suggested by experts from the dental school academia for writing a powerful dentistry personal statement. Try to incorporate them into your writing for better results.

Adopt a storytelling approach:

Storytelling is a good way to start your dentist personal statement because it gives your write-up the power to attract readers and compel them to read fully.

Show what you can contribute:

Show how much and precisely what you can contribute to the field of dentistry after you have completed your program. This will convince selectors about your vision and goals. 

Bring readability:

The very purpose of a personal statement is to communicate your thoughts to the selection committee. This will happen only if you write it in a readable fashion.

Substantiate ‘why’ you:

In your personal statement, you need to answer two ‘whys’ – why you are a good fit and why this dentistry program. If these are answered well, your write-up will impress the panel.

Be true to yourself:

When you try to include things that are not true to you, your personal statement will seem detached from you and that hollowness will easily catch the attention of your selectors.

Did We Clarify Everything?

We are truly honoured if this blog has been of any help to you. 

Are you ready to write a dental school personal statement now?  

Remember that a powerful personal statement can rewrite your future. 

We are excited to know your feedback on this blog.

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Which program are you applying to?

A dental school application essay, get accepted speak with an admissions expert today.

In response to popular demand, we are including a sample dental school essay. Note how the author reveals a lot about herself without overtly saying "I am this and I am that." She is obviously hard working and disciplined, probably compassionate and kind. Interested in dentistry for a long time, she has clearly considered other options. And she tells a good story . Our experts can help you tell your story just as effectively -- check out our AASDAS application packages here .

I could hardly keep myself from staring at the girl: the right side of her face was misshapen and bigger than the left. Only later did I notice that Cheryl, about nine at the time, had light brown hair, lively brown eyes, and a captivating smile. When she walked into the candy shop where I worked six years ago, Cheryl told me she was a student of my former fourth grade teacher with whom I had kept in contact. We talked then and spent time talking each time she visited. She became a very special friend of mine, one whom I admire greatly. At the time we met, I was taking honors and AP classes, working about twenty hours a week, and feeling sorry for myself. Cheryl's outgoing confidence and good cheer put my situation in perspective. Cheryl was strong, kind, and surprisingly hopeful. She never focused on her facial deformities, but always on the anticipated improvement in her appearance. Her ability to find strength within herself inspired me to become a stronger person. It motivated me to pursue a career where I could help those like Cheryl attain the strength that she possesses.

At the time, my initial interest turned toward psychology. Impressed with Cheryl's outlook, I overlooked the source of her strength: she knew that treatment will improve her appearance. Focusing on the emotional aspects of her illness, I volunteered at the Neuropsychiatric Institute. There, I supervised the daily activities of pre-adolescents, played with them, and assisted them in getting dressed. I worked with crack babies, autistic children, and children who had severe behavioral problems. I enjoyed interacting with the children, but I often became frustrated that I was not able to help them. For instance, a young autistic boy frequently hit himself. No one was permitted to stop this child. We had to turn away and allow him to continually strike and hurt himself until he tired.

I was increasingly disappointed with the lack of progress I saw in my volunteer work at NPI, but my job again pushed me in the right direction. During the fall quarter of my junior year in college, I left the candy shop where I had worked for nearly five and a half years, and I began working as a senior clerk in the Anesthesiology Residency Program. Ironically work, which frequently made study difficult, helped me find the right path. There I learned about the oral and maxillo-facial specialty, which will allow me to help people like Cheryl.

To explore my interest in dentistry, I volunteered as a dental assistant in Dr. Miller's dental office. Dr. Miller introduced me to various dental techniques. Although I was mainly an observer, I had the opportunity to interact with the patients. I came in contact with a diverse patient population with different problems and dental needs. I observed as Dr. Miller dealt with each patient individually and treated each one to the best of his ability. He familiarized me with strategies for oral health promotion and disease prevention. I learned a great deal from him, and as a result, my interest in dentistry grew.

I choose to pursue a career in dentistry after following a circuitous path. My friendship with Cheryl motivated me to enter a field where I can help the severely disfigured cope with their condition. Although I initially turned to psychology, I found my work at the Neuropsychiatric Institute to be frustrating and was searching for a different way to achieve my goal. Ironically, Cheryl had told me all along the source of her strength: the knowledge that her condition was treatable and improving. Through maxillo-facial dentistry I will help others with serious facial deformities have the same knowledge and source of strength.

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Other Sample Essays >>

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What Makes a Great Personal Statement? (Part 1 of 3)

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This is part one of a three part series. Read part two , part three .

Visit our Admissions Services to learn more about how we can help you get accepted to dental school!

A personal statement can be approached from many different angles. However, all personal statements should answer the basic question of why the applicant is pursuing the profession, while shedding light on their personal qualities that can’t be evaluated from test scores. The best statements concisely answer these questions using specific life experiences that provide insight into the applicant’s background and personality to the admissions committee.

Let’s evaluate a personal statement and show you how to turn an average essay into an excellent one .

Sample Personal Statement:

Sample Personal Statement

When you evaluate a personal statement, it can be broken down into ten main components:

  • organization / flow

We’ll be taking a look at the bolded components for part one.

We start an evaluation by reviewing grammar . Are there obvious grammar errors such as improper spelling, punctuation usage, or formatting? Multiple grammar errors and typos in a personal statement shows the admissions committee the applicant does not care enough to have their statement reviewed and edited. If the applicant can’t take the time to fix simple errors, how can the admissions committee believe the applicant will put in the time and effort to pursue the dental profession? Correcting grammar errors is an easy fix that every applicant must do.

2. Organization and Flow

We follow grammar review by evaluating the statement’s organization and flow ; an incredibly important component of every personal statement. In the sample statement, the applicant follows a logical timeline, referencing life experiences that have led him to dentistry. However, there is no thesis or mission statement that gives the reader a sense of direction. In the context of a personal statement, a thesis statement lets the admissions committee know why and how you have chosen the dental profession. The thesis statement should be written first so that the remaining essay can be written and structured based on it. In the sample statement, the applicant references a mission trip and working at various clinics as how they learned they were interested in using their hands through dentistry to treat underprivileged patients. While mentioned in places throughout the statement, it needs to be stated in the beginning.

I would recommend the following thesis statement for the sample:

“After having gone on a dental mission trip to Mexico and working in various dental clinics, I have learned that dentistry will allow me to combine my manual dexterity with my desire to treat the underprivileged while constantly being challenged to improve myself professionally and as a person.”

This sentence encompasses the main idea of the statement, but more importantly, gives the admissions committee a general idea of who the applicant is as a person .

The clarity of a personal statement is dependent on its organization and thesis statement. One of the most common mistakes made while writing a personal statement is distracting the reader with topics that are not found in the thesis. Unfortunately, this only serves the purpose of “fluff.” Keeping your personal statement concise is especially important because of the limited character count. Organization and flow help maintain an easy-to-follow timeline that creates clarity. Each paragraph should have a clear purpose , and should not deviate too far from that purpose.

4. Perception

When reading an article, you sometimes conjure up a mental image of the article author – this is your perception of the author. A statement’s perception is one of the most important components an admissions officer considers. An applicant should ask themselves the following questions when revising their essay:

  • Does the essay portray a future physician or dentist?
  • Does the essay portray an intelligent and well-informed medical or dental student?
  • Does the essay portray the applicant’s true personality while being positive?

Perception can be interpreted differently depending on who is reading the essay. It’s important that the statement portrays the applicant’s personality while maintaining a professional tone. The medical and dental professions are combinations of elements from different professions. There is a balance between multiple different aspects, but a few of the major elements are treating patients, learning the biomedical sciences, and being a leader in the field. It’s important not to overemphasize one component without addressing the others. The statement should not make the reader believe that another profession is more suitable for the applicant. For example, overemphasizing the desire to serve people without mentioning an interest in science and medicine would have the reader believe that ministry or social work is a better professional match.

5. Vocabulary

When you are done writing a draft of your personal statement, one of the most important things you can do is to review the vocabulary you used. You may be tempted to add "big" and "fancy" words to your essay because you want to impress the reader. However, remember that the goal of a personal statement is to "write to express, not to impress" . Avoid trying to use words that you would not typically use on a day-to-day basis (for example, don't say "I was zealous to pursue dentistry" when you could just "I was passionate about dentistry"). Part of being a great dentist is to be able to communicate clearly to patients by speaking in a clear, easy-to-understand way.

Continue to Part Two of "What Makes a Great Personal Statement?"

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