Considering to go to dental school is a major decision which requires a lot of thought and as a first year dental school student it is definitely one of the best decisions I have ever made! To help prepare yourself I recommend the following:
1. Get some work experience to see if dentistry really is for you - try contacting dental practices/ dentists in your local area to see if you observe and shadow for a few days. This is the most realistic and informative choice as you can see what the everyday life of a dentist is like and see if you can relate yourself to the job
2. Research is key! Dental school is long and challenging but will provide you the skills and set you up in a career for life. Have a look online at all the universities/ colleges that have a dental school, look at the requirements for each, the course content etc. The more research you do in this stage the more prepared you will be. Also, applying to dental school is quite competitive - so make sure you choose the dental school which you know you meet all of the requirements for.
3. Make sure your study technique is the best it can be, organisation is essential and know how to deal with difficult situations. Dental school is really challenging at times and it can feel like there's so much going on as (most) dental students go through this. Academically, make sure you have a routine in place and know the best form of revision when preparing for exams, as university is very different to school!
4. Don't forget, dentistry is a profession where you'll be working with people ALL the time, not just patients but with other healthcare professionals so be sure about whether you can work well in a team and interacting with others aka being people friendly.
Becoming a dentist is a life-long career and its expensive too so i stress that its so important to do your research and get some work experience. Arm yourself with knowledge and the reality of the career to make an informed decision if dentistry really is for you and when you do get to dental school if you decide to do so - stick with it! Dental school has its ups and downs but trust me it will all be worth it in the end!
Wishing you the best of luck!
I just got back from my daughter's graduation from dental school at USC (class of 2021). 25 years ago, my wife graduated from the same dental school (Class of 1996). And as a person who did not going through this whole process of becoming a dentist, I can give you some perspective from an observer :
1 - Be sure that you want to be a dentist. Try to connect with local dentist in your area and ask them to let you go to their clinic to observe what they are doing (with the pandemic this would be difficult.) But make sure you know what you want to do. Volunteer, works, whatever to get yourself as much exposure as you can in the field. People like me can give you advise, but you need to make sure to know what dentistry is all about. People may hate it, but would not admitted it. People may love it (dentistry itself), but hate dealing with other aspect of working in the clinic.
2 - Dental Schools: You will need to do research on the dental schools: where you want to go, what is the program look like, what is the requirement to get in, what is the cost $$$ (and I think the most important of all what is support, dental student community, is like at the school.
3 - Once you have decide where to go, you need to work really hard and set your goal for the entrance process. (Most of the applicant to have 3 or 4 schools they like to apply to. But I think you should focus on one and set your goal and go for it.)
4 - STRESS!!! Be prepare mentally because dental school will be difficult! You will go to lectures and taking tests. But the most difficult and long hours will be spending in the lab doing hand on practice of whatever procedure being taught at that time. You will make mistates. You will be frustrated. You will think what did I am getting myself into. You will think your professors are jerks and unfair. You will hate them and you will love them. You will think that everyone is smarter than you because they can get thing done quicker than you (they are not.) That is why #2 above is so important. You need a strong networks of support, mom, dad, friends.... But you will make it. You will make new friends with fellow students - a life time friendship. You will find out who really are your friends.
5 - IF you really like dentistry. It's a great and rewarding career. And if you were to look back, dental school experience will be one of the most memorable time of your life.
The website "Student Doctor Network" (google it) was very helpful for me. Lots of Dental students and pre-Dents in USA and Canada having conversations about applying.