My journey to dental school: Dental School Coach

– Hi, my name is Zia, and
I’m the Dental School Coach. Today I’m gonna share with you
how I got into dental school. (mellow music) I came to the States in
2006 from Bangladesh. When I came here, I already
finished 10th grade, so I had to go to a public school to finish my two years of high school. Now the public school I went
to was an inner city school, so it didn’t come with too many
good goodies, AKA resources. But I took the most out of what I had. Well, as a South Asian
boy, that means taking lots of AP classes and
failing your gym exams. Well I did fail my gym exam. And eventually someone told
me how to pass the gym class, it was to show up and do the work. Anyways, I got a good enough GPA to go to Syracuse University in Upstate New York. I had a great time being a pre-med and living in an all pre-med dorm. I think the last time I
checked, only two out of the 25 students I lived with
got accepted to med school. Like all the folks I dormed
with, I was a bio major ’cause I don’t know any better. After a year of Syracuse
University, I decided that I had too much fun partying
and not much studying. So I decided to transfer to
Penn, which is supposed to be more prestigious, and
also make my mom happy. The first semester of Penn was
like hitting the brick wall. I got a B minus in
physics, and a B in orgo. It wasn’t that good and I quickly learned how to study better. During my second semester, I
got an A in many of my classes. And also got a B plus. So life was better. One of the main reasons I came to Penn was the opportunity to do research. Back then, Penn had more than 200 labs. I picked an orgo lab, or you
can say an orgo lab picked me. I worked crazy hours over the summer, and got a paper published
by the junior year. So life was good, and
everything was going as planned. I was gonna become a doctor. But then something terrible happened. I didn’t wanna do pre-med anymore. Penn had this unhealthy pre-med culture that I totally hated. And I thought it wasn’t the best option for me going forward. Anyways, I dropped pre-med,
but I was super confused with life, I didn’t know what I was doing. So I took bunch of random
classes such as sculpture. I made this and this. I knew that I wanted to
do something with science but I wanted to be creative and artsy. That’s why I picked dentistry right? Well not exactly. I was still soul searching,
so I went to my friend Maryam Naim who got accepted
to dental school by then. I asked her what career I should go into, and she told me to look into dentistry as a potential career option. So I started shadowing
Dr Pintu at Penn Dental. He’s not a general dentist but
an oral medicine specialist. So I got to see some
super cool stuff like him treating a patient with
HIV AIDS, or cancer that I would not get to see
at a general dentist’s office. Shadowing him was super
cool and that’s what made me interested in dentistry. This was in my senior year of college. I didn’t know any better,
so I stayed one extra year in college to finish up
my application process and take some pre-requisite courses. So in the summer I took
the DAT and applied. I had a pretty good GPA
and also a good DAT score, that really helped. On top of that, I also had
good shadowing stories and volunteering activities. For the DAT I spent most
time on PAT and reading. For PAT, I had to see
things in three dimension which was kinda hard
for me in the beginning. So I practiced a lot. I used DAT Destroyer for my sciences, and also used Chad’s Video. For PAT I used the
Crack the DAT, also used the DAT Achiever Exams. Personal statement writing
was a bit challenging because I just switched from pre-med
to being a pre-dental. So it was hard to explain
why I switched to pre-dental. I think I did a good job
writing the personal statement with the help of my
friends and classmates. Now I help other pre-dentals writing their personal
statement for dental school. I got my first interview at UMDNJ. I’ve never had to do interviews
for any other school before, so I didn’t know how to prepare, and what to do for the interviews. So I went to my friends
who are dental students, and asked them what I should do. They took a few mock interviews
and I was feeling prepared. Then I went to UMDNJ
for my first interview and it went terribly. The interview went so
bad that the interviewer thought I was hypoglycemic
because I was falling asleep while answering the questions. To be honest with you, I just needed a lot more preparations. So I prepared super hard. For the next interview,
I video recorded myself, did many more mock
interviews with my friends, and also looked into all the
questions that could be asked at the next interview. I’ve written extensively about
my interview prep process on my blogs, so check it out below. I got into all the
schools that I applied to. UCSF, Upenn, NYU, Rutgers and Pittsburgh. Although I was set to go to Penn Dental, in the fall of 2013, my mother became sick all of a sudden, so I had
to take care of the family. And like 70% of Penn
students who either go into consulting or banking, I chose consulting as a career option. Do I still think about dental school as a potential career option? I do, I may go back at
some point in my life. But my passion for helping
pre-dentals remains. And that’s why over the last two years, I’ve helped out 250 pre-dentals. Well, pre-dents, that’s my story. If you have any questions,
hit your boy Zia up at [email protected] And if you like the video,
give it a big thumbs up, share and subscribe with your friends. Thanks, and I’ll see
you in the next video.


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