Sample Personal Statement
As an undergraduate student at the University of New Mexico I have become increasingly aware of the complex network problems that I face as a citizen of the world. I have also realized the progress and success that I enjoy in the same capacity as the frontiers of medicine, technology and communication continue to expand. My desire to participate in the resolution of those problems and in the further expansion of those frontiers had inspired me to seek a degree in biology and entrance into a School of Dentistry.
I intend to successfully complete program of dentistry and further my specialization in the area of endodontics. Upon completion of my degree programs I would like to return to the southwest region of the country to make my services available to the underserved population of the area. I would also like to spend some time serving the populations of Central and South America where I could gain invaluable experience and provide the much needed services of a specialist. My desire to enter the field of dentistry has grown as I’ve participated with professional oral health care providers in the field and observed a wide range of procedures.
My interest in dentistry began early on as I was involved in orthodontics for eight years before undergoing corrective jaw surgery. I gained a deep appreciation and understanding of what people in need of such services are experiencing, as well as a great respect and admiration for the professionals of that field. Through the practice of dentistry I desire to have a positive supportive impact on the lives of those I serve, as I experienced in my own life through my oral healthcare providers.
I also desire to be a respected, contributing member of the community, and I feel that the field of dentistry will afford me such opportunities as I participate in it. I will be successful in dental school because of my dedication to the pursuit of academic excellence and my desire to succeed. I have gained experience in public speaking through my various service and academic activities and enjoy meeting and dealing with people, which will serve me in dental school and as a professional healthcare provider.
I have increased my fine motor skills and manual dexterity through my study of guitar, which will also aide me in pursuit of a DDS degree. My service as a missionary in Mexico gave me a better understanding of the world and of life as I worked with people in many different situations. I struggled and succeeded in my search for ways to serve and help people in a language, land and culture that was not my own. Those experiences have given me needed skills and attributes to become a successful servant of the community and participant in the dental community.
I have repeatedly shown my determination in the environment of the university as I have faced and conquered challenges. I was able to successfully return to the university after my two-year absence and have been successful each semester since in maintaining my scholarship. I have maintain my academic standing as I take full loads of course work and hold employment outside of class as well as sustain my family. I feel that I have been able to accomplish this because of the balance I seek as I participate in the academic, spiritual, social and family spheres of my life.
The smell alone used to make me nauseous. I could barely get through the front door before I would feel the hair at the base of my neck stand on end. I would sit uncomfortably in the waiting room chairs praying that my mom would have a change of heart to take me back home. This was the scene each and every time I had a dental appointment. Needless to say, I feared the dentist. My memories of the dentist are not highlighted with visits to the treasure box or the joy of picking out a new toothbrush.
By the time I reached this part of the dental visit, I wanted nothing to do with anything that would keep me in the office even a second more. My first exposure to dentistry, out of the chair, came when I began babysitting for a dentist. He worked on the weekends, and his daughter and I would tag along. Initially I stayed as far away from the dentist chair as possible, but later, I became curious, and gradually observant. By the time I reached high school, I was intrigued by every aspect of dentistry. The procedures quickly turned from one of torment into something more familiar.
Coming from a family of engineers and contractors, I recognized the doctor’s instruments because they were similar to tools I had grown up watching my father use. I began to think of dentistry as performing small scale construction in a small hole. Performing such intricate procedures while simultaneously utilizing my mind and hands both excited me and complimented my detail attentive personality. Since my interest first peaked, I have continued towards my goal to become a dentist, not only through high academic achievement, but with life experience.
I obtained my dental radiography license and worked as a dental assistant during high school and was provided with the opportunity to observe a variety of dental procedures. I also gained exposure to the additional responsibilities of a dental professional ranging from the billing process to dealing with insurance companies. I got a glimpse of the organizational skills necessary to run a small business. I continued gaining experiences upon entering college by volunteering at a dental clinic that provides free services to the homeless. My service at this clinic has strengthened my desire to become a dentist.
Volunteering at the homeless dental clinic has taught me the importance of dental hygiene and how it can affect every aspect of a person’s life. Most of the homeless patients have neglected their teeth for years, and realize that they need help. It is an amazing experience to watch the transformation in a person as their teeth are fixed. For most patients, it is a long process, and their self esteem visibly increases with each visit. By the end of the treatment, some finally have the confidence to get a job, and may return to let us know of their new found success.
The personal contact incorporated with dentistry is appealing as it provides the opportunity to interact with individuals of diverse ages, cultures, and backgrounds. As a student and an employee I have to realize the importance of integrity, responsibility, and hard-work. I know that in order to earn the respect and trust of my patients, I must be dependable, energetic, and professional. I must have the confidence to take on the role of authority, while as the same time be willing to follow the lead of someone else if necessary.
I have equipped myself with these necessary traits to be a successful dental student and professional through my classes, employment, and extracurricular activities. Working as an administrative assistance has equipped me with communication skills, and has taught me how to efficiently organize my time. Conversing with children with a mental illness while working as a mental health technician has built my character by improving my patience and revealing the traits necessary to earn the trust of others.
Leading my university’s pre-dental society as president has taught me leadership skills and how to organize a group to work together. As a native New Mexican, I realize the states vast need for dental health care professionals, and would like to contribute by returning to the state after completion of my dental degree. Becoming a dentist has been my desire throughout both high school and college, and I have worked at becoming a well-round, educated, and experienced individual to achieve this goal.
I have developed a strong work ethic, which, when combined with my choice of dentistry as a profession, has been greatly enhanced by the opportunities that I have had to work in this field. I firmly believe that I have built a foundation from with I will move forward to earn my dental degree. I am determined to success, and ready to begin this challenge. Essay # 3 – Author Accepted for 2006 Entering Class I can vividly recall my grandfather opening his tool shed in hopes of inspiring his five year-old grandson to create something beautiful out of pieces of wood that were old and otherwise discarded.
A passion for intricate artwork has seemingly always been a part of my life. Whether it is “throwing” a pot on a wheel or tying flies to mimic aquatic insects for the art of fly fishing, I have always loved to create pieces of art with my hands. A true love for intricate artistic work is a necessary and an essential characteristic of a dentist. I have devoted five years to playing guitar, and it has become part of my everyday life. Great manual dexterity is required to play the guitar, and this manual dexterity bears a direct correlation to dentistry.
When trying to undertake a new musical piece, the initial excitement overwhelms me and accomplishing a beautiful musical piece provides great satisfaction. Similarly, in dentistry, when a patient has a problem, the dentist will assess and treat the individual. On many occasions, I have found that the dentist is eager to start the procedure and pleased with the work and the well being of the patient. It is my belief that dentists’ hands not only have the power to grasp the world but the power to change it. I feel that dentistry will afford me with the opportunity to do something I love, working with my hands.
The manual dexterity involved in dentistry is only a fraction of what makes the profession wonderful. To a further extent, a dentist must have a humanistic instinct to provide care to others. As a college freshman, I volunteered every weekday of my summer as a literacy leader for Americorps. While volunteering as a literacy leader 40 hours a week at Cesar Chavez Community Center, I had the privilege of mentoring and teaching young boys how to read. Spanish happened to be the children’s first language and overcoming the language barrier became easier as I immersed myself deeper into the language.
Teaching these children allowed me to develop a greater understanding of people and a trusting and caring relationship with each child. For the past three years, I have been part of Healthy Smiles, Special Smiles, and Give Kids A Smile Day. These three volunteer events give opportunities for the entire dental community to work together for the sake of children’s dental healthcare and I have established that this is important to me and my character. I have had many memorable experiences from these volunteer events and they have all taught me how to be kind, gentle, and comforting to the patients.
I look forward to dedicating my time to such volunteer events as a dentist. In addition to these volunteer events, I also enjoy participating in extracurricular activities such as running, lifting weights, snowboarding, reading, and fly-fishing. All of these activities help me cope with stress and give me time to see where I fit in this world. For the past year, I have been working at Starbucks as a Barista. This job has shown me people from all walks of life and has given me a better understanding of people. Many people who come into Starbucks are fascinating and I enjoy learning about their lives.
The social skills obtained from this job are an invaluable asset to my character. One of my greatest accomplishments has been being an active member of the Pre-Dental Society for my entire career at the University of New Mexico. It was my pleasure to be the Vice President of the Pre-Dental Society for the past year. I am currently the President of the Pre-Dental Society and look forward to the upcoming year. These two leadership positions have enriched my public speaking ability and given me the confidence to articulate my ideas clearly.
Extracurricular activities give you a time to reflect on the type of person you are and the merit of your character and this, too, is important to me. These extracurricular activities have refined me as a person and given me new and satisfying experiences. There is something unique about dentistry that draws you in the more you immerse yourself into the profession. Maybe it is the dedication to excellence or the altruism that gives you a sense of belonging. Regardless of what brought me to dentistry, I am here to stay because it is where I belong.
Activities that challenged my curious mind such as solving crossword puzzles and riddles thrilled me as a child, and my love for challenges expanded into other areas as I grew older. I began playing musical instruments at the age of six, beginning with the piano and ultimately moving on to the clarinet, which I have played for the past 9 years. The clarinet allowed me to achieve greater manual dexterity through countless hours of practice, as I have trained my hands to move carefully and precisely. There is no greater feeling than that of having mastered the fingering for a particularly difficult musical piece.
Similarly, it will be necessary as a dentist to devote many hours perfecting the techniques essential for providing high-quality oral healthcare and I will feel great satisfaction in doing so. Not only should good dentists acquire great manual dexterity, but they should also have excellent hand-eye coordination. While helping a PhD student conduct research using Drosophila flies, I was required to manipulate the small specimen to identify their species, sex, and size. This experience permitted me the opportunity to improve on the eye-hand coordination skills that are crucial for good dentistry.
The challenges I will confront throughout my course in dental school do not daunt me, but motivate me. It has always been exciting for me to take problems and solve them using my mind and my hands. Not only has the technical difficulty of playing an instrument satisfied me, but also the sheer beauty of the art form. Music has the ability to impact the emotions of people. I see a similar opportunity in dentistry to bring joy and happiness to people’s lives. By providing a person with the appropriate treatment, a person who has a low self-esteem due to untreated dental problems can be transformed into a person who has self-confidence.
As a child, I had a terrible overbite and was in dire need of an orthodontist. The result of braces was more than a corrected bite. It yielded a higher self-esteem and a greater sense of self-confidence in me. I would like to provide others with the chance to have this same experience. Shadowing in many different dental offices allowed me to realize that all forms of dentistry can have this effect on patients, whether it was crowns from a general dentist or a set of dentures from a prosthodontist. Helping people psychologically is an additional result of what is most important, which is taking care of the patients’ overall oral health.
One of the most influential moments that lead me to pursue a career in dentistry was the day a UNM Pre-Dental Society guest speaker discussed the underserved communities in New Mexico. I was astonished to learn that all but a few counties are in dire need of dentists. From that day forward I made it my personal goal to become a dentist so that I could help the people of New Mexico. Helping people has always been a part of my life. I have always enjoyed helping classmates with schoolwork as well as spending many hours teaching my younger sisters.
In the past year, I was employed as a Biology/Chemistry tutor, which allowed me to help other students succeed. I have also been able to help others through community service and volunteer work such as annual clothing donations to homeless shelters, participating in volunteer events such as Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk, Give Kids a Smile and Special Olympics Special Smiles. These events helped me to realize that I want to continue helping people in the future. Being elected Historian of the UNM Pre-Dental Society gives me yet another way to help other students, now in their pursuit of a dental career.
I would like to have the opportunity to continue helping others through dentistry. The desire to help people was instilled in me by my family. They have always encouraged me to work hard and praised me for my accomplishments. As the first person in my family who will graduate from college, I can understand the importance of family encouragement in having accomplished this goal. In the future I would like to have my own family, providing the same encouragement I was so fortunate to have as a child. I will be successful in dental school because I possess perseverance.
Being determined and persistent has helped me overcome many obstacles in the paths towards many goals in my life, and these attributes will prove just as beneficial in my pursuit of a dental career. Essay # 5 – Author Accepted for 2006 Entering Class My name is “name of author. ” I am twenty-four years old and have graduated from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. My studies were concentrated on Biology as my major, and Spanish as my minor. I was adopted from South Korea when I was seven months old. My family and I resided in Milwaukee, Wisconsin until I was four, then Chicago, Illinois until I was twelve.
After that we lived in Glendive, Montana. I have a unique perspective of lifestyles and culture due to the diversity of the places that have shaped me and helped me become who I am today and they have defined what I want to pursue professionally, which is Dentistry. I have come to understand the importance of comparative and contrasting qualities. In Chicago, the city was the hub of civilization and in Montana the citizens relied on and lived for the land and cattle. Presently, in Albuquerque, I have come to love and appreciate the Southwest style and diverse culture.
Everywhere that I have lived and traveled has taught me something new and offered irreplaceable life experiences. I chose the University of New Mexico because I wanted to be far enough away from home to be independent, and also because they offered majors in biology and dance. I was on the UNM dance team for three years. Throughout college my interests have expanded which is why I now still study Spanish as well as biology. After attending an exchange program to Trujillo, Spain, I plan to utilize the Spanish language in the dental practice. I have come to respect and love the now-thriving language in America.
I plan to educate and assist people in upholding a condition of well being of every ethnicity and background. I am constantly seeking new experiences as well as responsibility and have been a resident advisor for two years and then a Student Head Resident for one year. This is my second year that I am an Area Coordinator in the residence halls. Working directly with student, faculty, staff, and peers, I know I thrive to work directly with many people in a personal setting. With the responsibilities of these occupations, I have also learned many managerial skills, which are applicable to the dental field.
My family is an important aspect of my life. Since I am adopted I have learned that the value of a family is measured in love, not in bloodlines. My family has supported me in everything that I do, especially now as I apply to dental school. They have taught me trust, responsibility, respect, determination, honesty, and of course, love. With these attributes and the support from my family, I am confident in myself to further broaden and excel in the pursuit for an education in dentistry. I have been involved in a variety of activities throughout my life.
These experiences have helped me to define who I am as a person and where I fit into society. Trying different activities has broadened my horizons and raised the expectation for myself. They have taught me how to learn and attempt to strive for my ultimate best. They have also taught me that trying new things is constantly a good lesson to remember throughout my life. The most important thing that I have taken from these different activities is the ability to narrow and define exactly what it is that I want to do with my life, which is working in the dental field.
I started thinking about career choices while attending college; and while I have always had a passion for biology and the fact that it is the study of life, I have not had a desire to be a dentist since I was little. From my love for biology derived my compassion and drive to improve the quality of life for others. Having worked with people all my life, there is nothing I would rather do. The field of dentistry gives hope, confidence, and health to others. I want to give back to the community my erudition to better the lives for individuals and families in sustaining a soundness of body and mind.
I am determined to do whatever it takes to excel in the field of Dentistry. Essay # 6 – Author Accepted for 2007 Entering Class He gave me something valuable, something I could not have done for myself. That is how I felt each time I left my dentist’s office as a teenager. I wondered how the dentist must feel on the giving side of the relationship and I hoped to one day be in a profession that would allow me to help people daily in such a tangible way. As I matured and became more serious about choosing a profession during my college career, I realized that dentistry is exactly what I want to do with my life.
In my preparation for a dental career, I have spent many hours observing this same dentist who inspired me years ago as he helps others maintain their dental and overall health. I clearly see the satisfaction that can be achieved by practicing dentistry. I have also been able to observe all the nine dental specialties (except radiology and pathology) seeing a wide variety of dental procedures ranging from simple fillings to more technical gingival grafts, osseous regeneration surgery, apicoectomy, veneer smile makeovers, etc. The more I see, the more eager I become to actively participate in such an exciting profession.
Success in the dental field requires dedication, compassion, and the ability to work intimately and effectively with people. I am well prepared to take on this challenge. I have worked as a corporate trainer for a 500-employee quick-lube franchise in the Southwest for the past three years while completing a Bachelor of Business degree at the University of New Mexico. My professional experience continuously hones my interpersonal communication skills, public speaking skills, and leadership as I help manage a business and educate hundreds of people.
As a corporate trainer, I have become more self-motivated, organized, and detail-oriented through being responsible for designing company training programs, modifying company policies, and teaching new skills to managers and employees alike. I have also developed further dedication and commitment working to provide for a family while attending classes full time and participating in other extracurricular activities. Dentists frequently tell me that managing a practice is one of the activities they struggle with the most.
My business background and strong interpersonal skills will enhance my ability to succeed in dentistry. I am serving as the Vice President of the New Mexico Pre-dental Society this coming year where I can use these skills to help New Mexico produce more dentists and reduce the state’s immense shortage. As a dentist I would like to be actively involved in advancing the profession and promoting improved oral health in my underserved state and our nation. My professional experience provides a strong foundation to achieve these goals.
I spent two years living in remote areas of Brazil serving an ecclesiastical mission and learning to read, write, and speak fluent Portuguese. In Brazil I witnessed the great suffering caused by poor oral health. So many teenagers had mouths full of decayed permanent teeth, which must have caused great pain and loss of self esteem. They did not even have a way to get these teeth safely extracted. Access to dental care and proper oral hygiene education could have prevented nearly all these problems.
I hope to someday participate in humanitarian health care programs in Brazil and I also know that there are far too many Americans with limited access to care. I plan to serve in one of the smaller towns of New Mexico to help alleviate this great need. For the past three years I have volunteered for a program called Taxhelp New Mexico where I did free tax preparation for low income and elderly families. I love working with people and enjoy the opportunity to teach them ways to save money on taxes. They leave so grateful and I get that same feeling that I gave them something valuable they could not do for themselves.
I greatly enjoy teaching others and have already started to ponder ways to educate and motivate patients to better maintain their oral health. These, and many other events, have kindled my aspirations to become a dentist and have prepared me to be successful during and after dental school. Dentistry is a perfect way to combine my affinity for business, my passion for learning the biological sciences, and my desire to teach and serve others. I am anxious to achieve my goals and consider it a privilege to be starting a career in a field that is so respectable and that gives back so much to our communities.