This section will spotlight a student who has come through the Health Professions Advising office at CSUF on their journey to professional school, and wishes to share his or her experiences and advice with current and future students.
Gurpreet Singh - Future Dentist
My name is Gurpreet Singh and I graduated from CSUF the summer of 2014 with my Biochemsitry degree. Currently I am working as a research assistant at Stanford University, an opportunity made possible through the CSUF CIRM Bridges program. I am ecstatic to be starting dental school at UCLA this coming September and planning to apply for PhD for a dual degree program.
During my time here I was very involved with Student Health Professions Association, holding positions from Volunteer Coordinator to being President. I also worked in research, completing my Honors research thesis with Dr. Srinivasan and Dr. Nikolaidis. Overall, my experience at CSUF was excellent and having completed my undergraduate education at CSUF, I would not choose to attend any other institution. The faculty and staff are fantastic at their jobs and do everything possible to provide support for students.
Going through the application process is long and strenuous so it is an excellent idea to get started early. I cannot emphasize the importance of this point enough, applying early is vital to maximizing your chances of interviews to get your foot in the door. Apply to a wide range of schools meaning at least 10 schools, but make sure to look up the school so you understand the mission of the school as well as the strengths and weakness of each school. Aside from applying early, use the Intent to Apply to get started on your application early as several questions on the AADSAS are similar or require the same information in some part. Finally, make sure you are on Studentdoctor.net as it is a great source to finding study strategies and other resources.
Having a wide array of extracurricular activities is nice but your numbers are what will get you in the door, so don’t use time that you would spending studying for class or for the DAT to go volunteer. However, this does NOT mean that you can ignore doing extracurricular activities, they are vital to having a successful interview. At some point, everyone tends to have the same numbers and it is at that point where your extracurricular activities differentiate you from your peers. I’m sure you have heard it before many times but be honest, the interviewers will know immediately if you are trying to lie. As a final piece of advice, work on your people skills. These are the skills that are going to help you interact with your interviewers and make a connection with them so that they remember who you are as a person instead of just another applicant. It is also these skills that are going to be utilized the most in your practice, dentistry is a people profession and there is a whole range of people that you will be interacting with in the future.
It may seem like a tremendous amount of work, but rest assured it will be worth it to pursue your dream and passion. Having to pass up on an event to study may seem like a sacrifice but it will be worth it when you get that interview call.
Best of luck and stay persistent!