Skyler Schubel- Future Dentist
First and foremost I would like to take this opportunity to thank my parents who have been there for me from thebeginning. There was more than one occasion where I wanted to give up on going to dental school, and without their support and guidance I probably wouldn’t be starting dental school this summer. I love you mom and dad.
On that note I would also like to thank anyone and everyone who has helped me on this journey in some way.
Even though all my teachers and professors over the years have positively impacted me in a number of ways I would like to take some time to make notable mention of several that have always stood out to me as important in my growth and success. I would like to start with Mrs. Finn from 5th grade who always believed in my ability to succeed regardless of what I may have thought. Mrs. Stoltz from my 6th and 7th grade designed-based learning class who taught me a great deal about hands on learning and how it could be applied in my life. I will always remember her saying “if you see you forget, if you hear you remember, if you do you understand.” To Mrs. Odwyer from my 8th grade history class who taught me that first impressions are not always correct. To all of my high school teachers such as Mrs. Lordi, Mr. Rodriguez, and my high school student counselor Mr. Ozaki. To my professors in college both at Cal Poly Pomona when I did attend there for the first couple of years of college, and of course to all of my professors here at Cal State Fullerton. Most notably I would like to thank Dr. Philip Janowicz, Dr. Merri Lynn Casem, Dr. Christina Goode, and the Health Professions Office for writing reference letters on my behalf, in addition to their support, guidance, and advice throughout my journey while attending CSUF to get to dental school.
I would also like to thank Dr. James Chae from Diamond Bar Dental Group, Dr. Byron Diehl from Diehl’s Orthodontics, Dr. Katherine Ahn from Impression Dental Care, and Dr. Frank Finazzo from Winning Smiles for their support and friendship, and for allowing me to volunteer over the years and do internships with many of them.
Unfortunately I cannot include every person’s name on here who has had a positive impact in my life, but that does not make them any less important. For those of you who I have not mentioned I want you to know that I appreciate you, and could never thank you enough for all you have done for me.
A Little About Me:
I grew up in the City of Diamond Bar here in sunny California. I went to elementary, middle, and high school in the area, and always struggled in school in some way due to my diagnosed ADHD as a child. I didn’t let that deter me, however, because I continued pushing forward with the help of my parents, family, friends, mentors, and other people I had who supported me no matter the obstacles I faced along my journey through life. As a result of my perseverance and support I successfully graduated high school with honors, earned my Eagle Scout Award, got accepted into and graduated college here at CSUF, became a published co-author in an Organic Chemistry journal, and now in the next chapter of my life I have been accepted to and will be attending Western University of Health Sciences College of Dental Medicine.
I would implore any of you who might be reading this to always push forward and get back up if you get knocked down, because no matter how many times you may fall or fail your successes aren’t necessarily measured by the goals you reach in life, but by the obstacles you face and overcome, and the impact you make in other people’s lives along the way.
A Little Background on my Dentistry Journey:
My fascination with teeth and dentistry began early on at age eight when I experienced how my first braces could change my smile, and also instill greater confidence in me. It wasn’t until late in 2012, however, that I reached a point where my passion grew into something more focused than the desire to produce an aesthetic smile. All of my life experiences up to this point have led me to view the body as an integrated whole, and that utilizing some holistic perspectives, such as the use of interprofessional collaboration to improve the success and quality of care, that can benefit patient’s in all aspects of their health and well-being. This view increased my passion for pursuing a career in dentistry due to its ability to profoundly impact and better one’s health. As a result I now would like nothing more than to emerge as a successful and caring healthcare professional who not only embraces life-long learning as essential in patient care, but also one who seeks specialization and further education to hone his skills. With these new skills I will apply what I have learned to effectively treat a multitude of dental-related ailments by offering comprehensive dental care, while also making it a point to discuss and educate my patients on the importance of oral health and teeth preservation in their daily lives.
Application process and advice for applicants:
The application process is a long and tedious one, but there are definitely things you can do to help maximize your chances of success. First and foremost – APPLY EARLY, or at least as early as possible. This entails first taking full advantage of what the health professions office offers in terms of their intent to apply application. This is a very good place to start since it gets you started early on with what to include in your actual dental school application, as well as helping guide you for ultimate success. Applying for and getting approved for the intent to apply application offered by the Health Professions office was one of the first big steps for me in my entire application process. I feel without the office’s support and guidance I wouldn’t be where I am today in terms of my dental school acceptance. So thank you Dr. Goode and everyone in the health professions office for all you do :).
In addition, I applied fairly early for my AADSAS application, which I completely finished and turned in towards the end of July, but I would recommend applying in June if at all possible since that would give you a better chance of getting noticed, and getting interviews. Next, find out which schools to apply to based on your stats and which schools accept a good percentage of CA residents. Apply broadly – at least 12-15 or more schools even if they may “seem” like schools that have higher GPA and DAT scores than yours. You want to maximize your chances, and the whole process really can be a bit random and you never know why a school will like or not like you as an applicant. This was my first application cycle and I applied to 14 schools, and thus far as of February I had 4 interview invites (WesternU, USC, Howard University and UCSF, although I never interviewed at UCSF because I already accepted WesternU), 2 acceptances (WesternU and Howard), and 1 waitlist (USC). My GPA was about a 3.2 with a DAT score of 19, but I honestly feel that my personal statement, letters of recommendation, extra-curricular activities, volunteering, and how genuine I was during my interviews are truly the things that helped set me apart for me to receive two acceptance letters even though this was my first round applying.
In terms of being a successful applicant here are some of the things I had to consider during the application process:
1) GPA/DAT scores are certainly important, but don’t skimp on extra-curricular activities and life experiences
I may not have had the highest GPA while attending CSUF, or even the highest DAT scores, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to get the best grades possible for yourself. I would try and achieve the best scores you can since they will open more doors and opportunities for you. However, also try and balance any volunteering, and other life experiences and extra-curricula’s that will help you be a well-rounded person. I feel your people skills, unique life and extra-curricular experiences, and your genuine nature in both your essays and interviews are what will give you that competitive edge for you to ultimately get those acceptance letters.
2) Be True to Yourself, Be Genuine
In other words, don’t do something because you think it will improve your application, do it because you genuinely enjoy it. Being fake on your application will be evident in your interviews and it will absolutely hurt your chances.
Also, I feel it is important to apply when you truly feel ready. Even though I had an interest in Dentistry for some time from elementary school until college it took me some time over the years to really develop a passion for it. As a result it took me longer to apply them some, but when I did feel ready I knew without a doubt that this is what I wanted to do, and I was going to get there no matter what, or how long it would take. Once I had the true passion and drive to apply and take the necessary steps then everything else seemed to fall right into place :).
3) People skills are equally as important (if not more so) than your numbers could ever be alone
In your interviews, demonstrate that you are genuine and personable, and that you can relate to any type of person in an everyday setting by being able to talk about how their day is going, discuss any recent or old movies they may have seen, and ask them about their hobbies to name a few. I feel this is so vital it can’t be stressed enough. These essential skills will go hand in hand with what you learn in the classroom in terms of fostering good relationships with your patients and making them feel comfortable with you, so that way you can make a lasting impact in their lives.
4) Embrace Life-Long Learning and Growth
This may seem silly to some, but I can’t emphasize enough how important it will be for you to embrace the concept of life-long learning. It will not only help you for your interviews, but also in life since we should never stop trying to learn and improve ourselves in all aspects. This will also aid you in improving both yourself as a person, and as a health professional who wants the best for his or her patients.
One of the things that I would like to mention and that I believe in is that behind any of my successes, or anyone else’s growth and success for that matter… is a great support system of people from past and present that have positively impacted their life no matter how seemingly fleeting the interaction, or deep the bond.
In closing, I know that the road to professional school is an arduous one that seems to drag on forever, and may even seem like an impossible goal to achieve at times, but if anything, always remember your passion and the true reason why you are pursuing a career in the health professions. All of the studying and sacrifices you make will be more than worth it when you receive those admission letters. I wish you all the best of luck, stay focused, and push forward no matter what life may throw at you.