Tips for graduates applying for dentistry

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toothdoc
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#1
Here is a thread on tips for getting an offer and what it's like studying dentistry as a graduate. Hopefully I can reassure some of you who are seeking to pursue this entry pathway.

-Biomedical science isn't the only accepted degree for dental schools. You can get an offer with biology (as for my case), or alternative courses. I know people with pharmacy, chemistry and medical bioscience prior qualifications. Biomedical science often gets a reputation as a necessity for graduates; however, this isn't the case, nor is it much more beneficial. Every graduate comes with differing experiences and resulting areas of expertise based on their prior degree.

-Undergraduate entry courses don't prejudice against graduates in any way! This was a concern I always had when applying - thinking that as a graduate I would be less desired. In fact, bar certain universities like Newcastle which caps the number of graduate admissions, everywhere else is advantageous to apply to as a graduate. If you look at FOI requests, across many dental schools, graduates have far better offer rates when applying for undergraduate courses. I believe KCL has the best offer rate for graduates applying to the undergraduate course of any dental school.

-It's not more difficult to build friendships as a graduate. I came into my course - where the majority of students are 3 years younger than me - thinking that it would have been difficult to make friends. This isn't the case (especially at my dental school) and I've built plenty of great relationships with colleagues. Avoid dental schools with few graduates - these tend to be a bit less friendly to graduates (just from general bias as you stick out more).

-Graduate-entry dentistry is far more competitive to get into than undergraduate entry dentistry. Please remember this if you have the required A-level grades, but simply didn't get an offer. Unfortunately, there are only 2 graduate-entry dental schools in England - offering 40 places per year. Aberdeen has 3 places roughly for RUK (non-Scottish) applicants each year. The competition for offers is around 3 times more competitive than undergraduate entry, plus against more qualified candidates; graduate-entry dentistry at KCL and UCLAN had applicants per place being ~20:1 and 10:1 respectively based on 2021 data. If you know you want to do dentistry and have nothing to gain from a degree, please take a gap year. However, you can still get a lot of value from a degree - improved communication skills, confidence, maturity and drive.

-It isn't impossible to have a job or a family whilst juggling the responsibilities of dental school. I'm saying this as someone in neither position, but have just been very wasteful with my free time (so far in the degree). However, there is certainly enough time to have a part-time job easily working beyond 10 hours per week whilst balancing the work of university.

-You are covered for NHS bursaries and tuition fee funding as a student on a graduate-entry course, or someone from an undergraduate-entry course. For the graduate entry course, you get maintenance loan and tuition fee contributions from the NHS between BDS3-5 - these you don't pay back. You also are eligible for full student finance as for your prior degrees for the remainder of the money (bar ~3500 which is a one time payment). For undergraduate entry as a graduate you are NOT eligible for NHS tuition fee loans, but you can receive some contributions for maintenance loan. The NHS pay the tuition fees for BDS5 in full - so you pay 9250 for only 4 years, despite the course being 5 years.

-You have the same things admissions process as students applying straight from school for everything in the application. You have to sit the UCAT, apply via UCAS, get work experience, boost your application with volunteering, evidence of interest in the field, etc. There are some additional requirements for graduates - you have to sit the GAMSAT exam if applying to Plymouth (Peninsula Dental School) or the Verification of Prior Learning exam for UCLAN.

-Getting into dentistry is worth it if this is your passion and dream. It can be a long process as a graduate, but ultimately you reach the same goal of being in dentistry. Most students would be even more competent with a couple years of experience prior to starting university, so being a graduate can only be an advantage in this sense. If you want to achieve dentistry it's certainly possible! Many graduate students apply through several cycles to get offers from graduate-entry or even undergraduate entry; resilience is a core attribute of applicants - it's a tough process, but you just need to have the chance to show your suitability in one interview.

In summary, dentistry is certainly worth applying to as a graduate. If you have the skills of a dentist and are prepared for 4-5 more years of university then giving an application a shot is well worth it.
Last edited by 04MR17; 1 month ago
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zeel_04
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(Original post by toothdoc)
Here is a thread on tips for getting an offer and what it's like studying dentistry as a graduate. Hopefully I can reassure some of you who are seeking to pursue this entry pathway.

-Biomedical science isn't the only accepted degree for dental schools. You can get an offer with biology (as for my case), or alternative courses. I know people with pharmacy, chemistry and medical bioscience prior qualifications. Biomedical science often gets a reputation as a necessity for graduates; however, this isn't the case, nor is it much more beneficial. Every graduate comes with differing experiences and resulting areas of expertise based on their prior degree.

-Undergraduate entry courses don't prejudice against graduates in any way! This was a concern I always had when applying - thinking that as a graduate I would be less desired. In fact, bar certain universities like Newcastle which caps the number of graduate admissions, everywhere else is advantageous to apply to as a graduate. If you look at FOI requests, across many dental schools, graduates have far better offer rates when applying for undergraduate courses. I believe KCL has the best offer rate for graduates applying to the undergraduate course of any dental school.

-It's not more difficult to build friendships as a graduate. I came into my course - where the majority of students are 3 years younger than me - thinking that it would have been difficult to make friends. This isn't the case (especially at my dental school) and I've built plenty of great relationships with colleagues. Avoid dental schools with few graduates - these tend to be a bit less friendly to graduates (just from general bias as you stick out more).

-Graduate-entry dentistry is far more competitive to get into than undergraduate entry dentistry. Please remember this if you have the required A-level grades, but simply didn't get an offer. Unfortunately, there are only 2 graduate-entry dental schools in England - offering 40 places per year. Aberdeen has 3 places roughly for RUK (non-Scottish) applicants each year. The competition for offers is around 3 times more competitive than undergraduate entry, plus against more qualified candidates; graduate-entry dentistry at KCL and UCLAN had applicants per place being ~20:1 and 10:1 respectively based on 2021 data. If you know you want to do dentistry and have nothing to gain from a degree, please take a gap year. However, you can still get a lot of value from a degree - improved communication skills, confidence, maturity and drive.

-It isn't impossible to have a job or a family whilst juggling the responsibilities of dental school. I'm saying this as someone in neither position, but have just been very wasteful with my free time (so far in the degree). However, there is certainly enough time to have a part-time job easily working beyond 10 hours per week whilst balancing the work of university.

-You are covered for NHS bursaries and tuition fee funding as a student on a graduate-entry course, or someone from an undergraduate-entry course. For the graduate entry course, you get maintenance loan and tuition fee contributions from the NHS between BDS3-5 - these you don't pay back. You also are eligible for full student finance as for your prior degrees for the remainder of the money (bar ~3500 which is a one time payment). For undergraduate entry as a graduate you are NOT eligible for NHS tuition fee loans, but you can receive some contributions for maintenance loan. The NHS pay the tuition fees for BDS5 in full - so you pay 9250 for only 4 years, despite the course being 5 years.

-You have the same things admissions process as students applying straight from school for everything in the application. You have to sit the UCAT, apply via UCAS, get work experience, boost your application with volunteering, evidence of interest in the field, etc. There are some additional requirements for graduates - you have to sit the GAMSAT exam if applying to Plymouth (Peninsula Dental School) or the Verification of Prior Learning exam for UCLAN.

-Getting into dentistry is worth it if this is your passion and dream. It can be a long process as a graduate, but ultimately you reach the same goal of being in dentistry. Most students would be even more competent with a couple years of experience prior to starting university, so being a graduate can only be an advantage in this sense. If you want to achieve dentistry it's certainly possible! Many graduate students apply through several cycles to get offers from graduate-entry or even undergraduate entry; resilience is a core attribute of applicants - it's a tough process, but you just need to have the chance to show your suitability in one interview.

In summary, dentistry is certainly worth applying to as a graduate. If you have the skills of a dentist and are prepared for 4-5 more years of university then giving an application a shot is well worth it.
omg!!
Thank you for the information very useful!! 😊👏
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