Who should apply to dental school? According to NYUCD's Director of Admissions, Dr. Eugenia E. Mejia, that question is as important as "How does one get into dental school?"
Often, says Dr. Mejia, advisors don't know about the skills and interests common to people with an aptitude for dentistry, such as a preference for working autonomously, an interest in science, an ability to excel in artistic, esthetic, and creative endeavors, and a penchant for fixing things.
To address these issues, Dr. Mejia and Ms. Madina J. Bhatti, NYUCD Student Affairs Administrator, brought 25 undergraduate advisors from 25 northeast colleges and universities to NYUCD on April 23, 2010, to meet with admissions directors from seven of the region's dental schools.
"The admissions directors described the qualities they seek in applicants and offered insight into the admissions process," Dr. Mejia said.
"All too often," she added, "college counselors assume that students who express an interest in helping others are automatically cut out for a career in medicine. We wanted to alert them to characteristics that suggest an ability to succeed in dentistry, and the significance that dental school admissions directors place on seeking applicants with those qualities."
Two speakers representing the American Dental Education Association - Dr. David Brunson, Director of Program Services for the Center for Equity & Diversity, and Dr. Anne Wells, Executive Associate Director of the Division of Educational Pathways - emphasized the importance of encouraging minority students to pursue careers in dentistry. Speakers from NYUCD included Dean Bertolami; Dr. Richard I. Vogel, Executive Vice Dean; Dr. Andrew I. Spielman, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs; and Dr. Anthony Palatta, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs & Admissions.
"The conference was a great opportunity to talk about our programs, our challenges, and our aspirations," Dr. Elaine Davis and Dr. David Brown, Co-Directors of Admissions for the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, wrote in a post-conference thank-you letter to Dr. Mejia and Ms. Bhatti.
The other dental schools represented at the conference were Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-New Jersey Dental School, and University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine.