Writing a dentistry personal statement that you’re proud of is hard.
Many students struggle to boil down their skills and experiences to just 4,000 characters and it is tricky to know where to focus.
Example statements are a great way to gain this insight.
In this article, we cover the following:
Once you've read this, check out dental interview questions to build on what you've learnt.
For an overview of personal statement writing, read our Personal Statement Guide for Medical and Dental Schools. This is essential reading and goes further than just examples!
“I first became interested in studying dentistry between the ages of 12 and 15, when I visited my local dentist frequently to get my braces checked and tightened.
I talked with her at length about the nature of her job and was struck by the huge impact she could have on the people she met daily.
She actively improved the quality of life of every patient she encountered, and had to astutely apply scientific principles in a social setting in order to make patients feel at ease and achieve the best results. I was truly inspired by this experience and decided to investigate dentistry as a career.
In order to deepen my insight into the profession I carried out a week’s work experience in a local dental hospital. I saw how dentists of every stage were keen to learn, constantly assessing their performance and striving to improve.
This drove home the importance of self-awareness and constant reflection, but also introduced me to the idea of lifelong learning which is something I find particularly attractive.
During this placement I also took my first look inside a patient’s mouth and observed dentists constructing bridges, veneers and crowns. This exposed me to the aesthetic side of dentistry - a dentist not only aims to alleviate pain but can engage with the more cosmetic aspect of healthcare, something that most medical specialties cannot match.
I organised a number of work experience placements in local dental surgeries, and throughout my shadowing was struck by the bonds dentists formed with their patients. They often had to utilise great communication skills and empathy to calm down or reassure anxious patients, and they worked hard to build up a rapport with everyone who entered the surgery. This encouraged patients to attend checkups more frequently and be more open about their worries, thereby improving the quality of care they received.
As a result of my reflection on these experiences, I took up weekly volunteering in a local care home and reading to children in the dental hospital. These opportunities helped me become a far better communicator, as many of the residents of the care home were elderly or suffered from dementia meaning I had to adopt different visual or verbal strategies to get my message across. Many of the young patients in the dental hospital felt lonely and nervous, and by empathising with them I was able to help them relax and focus on the positives.
Outside academia, I play water polo and run in my school’s athletic team. Both of these sports have helped me become a better team player and I’ve learned that you can always achieve the best results by working efficiently in a team rather than going it alone.
I am a particularly ambitious sportsperson and I’ve received the Most Valuable Player award in my waterpolo league for three years running, and have been a captain for four.
As a captain, I am a decisive leader; In the heat of a match it’s important for me to make snap decisions and for my teammates to trust me. However, out of the pool I take every view into account and try to make sure that everyone has been heard and feels involved.
I also try to identify the strengths and weaknesses of everyone in the team - myself included - so that we can play to our strengths in matches and work on our weaknesses in training.
I think that the ambition, teamwork and leadership I’ve demonstrated through my sports will serve me well as a dentist, allowing me to work efficiently with others while constantly striving to improve personally. My participation in these sports has also allowed me to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Becoming a dentist would allow me to have a truly positive effect on the people I work with, while also challenging me and ensuring I’m always learning and improving. I believe that my work experience, volunteering and extracurricular activities have provided me with the skills and insight necessary to become an empathetic and effective dentist.”
This example displays many characteristics of a good personal statement.
Re-read the example, consider how the candidate:
Find more in-depth advice, tips and examples in our Personal Statement Course.
“Dentistry has fascinated me from a very early age, as to me it seems like the perfect combination of practical and mental challenges. This has become even stronger since my brother found work as a dentist, having recently graduated from manchester University.
For the past 4 years, I’ve been looking after a local elderly lady who sometimes struggles to go shopping or carry out her daily tasks. This has helped me appreciate the satisfaction one can gain from helping others, and inspired me to pursue a career which will allow me to improve the lives of those around me - like dentistry!
As a result of my interest in medicine, I studied biology, physics and maths at A-Level.
I’ve also carried out a variety of work experience placements over the years. During my GCSEs, I spent a week volunteering in a local NHS surgery, which exposed me to some of the challenges dentists face; they were often overworked, and had to deal with frustrated and anxious patients on a daily basis.
I really enjoyed this experience, so I decided to take on another two week block at a dental hospital . While I was there, I shadowed receptionists, helping them to book appointments and organise the dentists’ timetables. I also managed to see dentists make diagnoses and watch a huge range of different dental procedures, from regular checkups to fillings and root canals. I spent time in the in-house dental laboratory, and was taken through the construction of veneers, crowns and bridges. I was also able to shadow dentists over a whole day in their life, seeing the admin and meetings they had to trudge through on top of the more exciting clinical work.
In my free time I enjoy playing the violin and listening to music. I am also a dedicated member of a number of sports teams, including basketball, tennis and hockey. I am proficient at both individual and team sports, showing that I can work well with others, but also self-motivate and set my own targets.
I also enjoy watching films and socialising with my friends. More recently, I’ve really enjoyed keeping up with current dental news by reading the Journal of Dental Research and my brother’s old copies of the British Dental Journal.
Looking to the future, my great ambition is to work within the dentistry profession, where I believe I could have a really positive impact on the lives of the patients I work with.
My work experience has set me up well to succeed, and I feel I have the desire and commitment to stick the course and become a successful yet empathetic dentist”
However, it is worth mentioning the things these main body paragraphs do well:
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