Specialist Dental Group has launched an on-going series of blog posts by our individual dental specialists. All views provided are the dentist’s own opinions and are posted on this blog as part of our on-going efforts to educate the public about dental issues and other matters of interest relating to dentistry and healthcare.
Recently I was honoured to be involved in the interview process for dental school applicants at the National University of Singapore (NUS).
In general, the applicants had excellent A-level results. There are a few hundred A-level students with close to perfect results from this A-level cohort. The challenge was that there were only less than 50 places for the first year dental school class at NUS. Thus, gaining successful admission into the Faculty of Dentistry at NUS was ultra-competitive.
It is no secret that some of the applicants applied to both the dental and medical schools. However, the combined number of first year places for both disciplines at NUS added up to only a fraction of the number of all the students with excellent results.
As all of those who are qualified for an interview had excellent A-level results, the interview itself became an important element in the selection process.
Imagine if a person was a little shy, or overly confident, he or she could be easily outshone by other applicants in the dental school interview process. However, unlike most competitive sports, one cannot adjust his or her efforts by seeing how the others performed. Applicants generally had absolutely no idea how their fellow ‘competitors’ were doing.
Assuming that excellent grades is a given (i.e. all the applicants have made it to this point based on stellar academic results), it seems that the only way to get through the dental school interview process successfully is to have some truly desirable outstanding intrinsic personal and interpersonal qualities.
This is not a bad thing – an important aspect of being a dentist is being able to communicate with patients and building a rapport with them… in addition to being equipped with basic clinical skills. Dentistry is one of the professions where there is constant interaction with people. If an individual is introverted or prefers to be left alone, he or she would be better off seeking a career in another profession where there is less interaction with people.
Developing EQ skills including the ability to carry a conversation and make people feel at ease with you is something that while not taught in dental school, would greatly assist a fledgling dentist in developing his or her practice.
The challenge is that there is no crash course for these skills… Go figure it out…
Dr. Ansgar C. Cheng is a Dental Specialist in Prosthodontics (Teeth Replacement) with Specialist Dental Group™. He is also an Adjunct Associate Professor with the National University of Singapore. He has a special interest in dental implants, cosmetic dentistry and treatment of medically compromised patients, including cancer patients. For more information about Dr. Cheng, click here