“Dreams are not those that we see in sleep, but those that don’t let us sleep”
DDS is a dream which so many of us budding dentists and established dentists wish to live. With this dream in my eyes too, I started on this long journey during my internship. But every step seemed to be clouded with doubts and queries. I was blessed to have some great senior friends to guide. I can never thank them enough. So, to express my gratitude, I am here to pen down my experience which I hope benefits you all and atleast answers some of the queries you may have.
Like most of us, I was also confused with-‘What after BDS?’ DDS or MDS?
I wanted to go-in for DDS but then the million dollar question was still unanswered. YES!!!...The question of d million dollars which is needed to do DDS!!!....Well this is first thing you all should be make sure- that you have a co-signer from US to help you with loan if you need one to pursue your studies.
Some people prefer to go by the route of BDS-MPH (Master’s in Public Health)-DDS. So, if you wish to opt for this route then you need to take GRE.
Benefits of MPH- -
You would be in US, so easier to take your exam and for application procedure and interviews later for DDS
You would have MPH as US degree to enhance your resume
More investment is needed in terms of both money and time
I didn’t go through this process, so, can’t really guide much with it.
I took the direct route. I am describing you the steps I took on the path to DDS-
Step 1- Arrange for the following study materials-
-Kaplans review notes
-ASDA Question Papers
These are a must!!!....Other than that...your textbooks you used during BDS would always be there to refer back to.
Other books are- First Aid book
-First Aid Question Bank
The preparation time varies from anytime between 4 months to 1 year. This is purely one’s own discretion.
I relied on self-study only...with my great teachers and seniors to guide me all along.
Step-2 USA has GPA system and not percentage. So, you need to get your BDS marks converted into GPA. Information for this process can be found on- www.ece.org.
Step-3 Apply for DENTPIN through www.ada.org
Step-4 Then book a date for your NBDE Part-1 exam through www.prometric.com
Step-5 Then take date for Visitor visa interview at the embassy near you. You need to take exam date before visa interview so that you can show them a proof that you are going for exam and would be back after that.
Step-6 Prepared for 15 days for TOEFL and took the exam.
Books for Toefl- Kaplans and/or Barrons and/or Princeton
Website for registering for TOEFL exam- www.ets.org
Step-7 Continued my preparation for NBDE post-TOEFL exam.
Step-8 Went to USA to take my exam 1 week before my scheduled date.
Step-9 The exam D-day came, those grilling 8 hours got over!!!....And after that I was in no state to evaluate how the exam went ...so then the eternal wait began....the wait for the RESULT....It took 5 weeks for my result....By God’s grace, I cleared the exam with good score.
Step-10 Some schools like NYU and Columbia are now asking for DAT exam and NBDE part 2....Since I didn’t take these exams, so I can’t advice on them. But details on both can be found on- www.ada.org
Step-11 Then begins the never ending process of CAAPID applications...Decide which Universities you plan to apply to...that is your own decision depending on your priorities ...All the details needed on the documents required by each University and the CAAPID application and also deadlines for each can be found on -http://www.adea.org
Step-12 Then start working on drafting your resume and ‘statement of purpose’. Also get Recommendation letters from Dean of your University where you did BDS and also from some of your professors. Another Recommendation letter is needed from your current employer.
Once you are done with your documents, fill the CAAPID online application and send the required documents to each University you are applying to. You also need multiple sealed copies of your TOEFL,ECE and NBDE reports to send to Universities, so order for them.
Step-13 Once you have sent out all your applications, another cycle of prayers and wait begins...wait to get INTERVIEW calls from Universities...which is generally start in September...
Step-14 Once you get the call for Interview, prepare for your Bench exam and Interview. Bench exam varies from school to school. Generally it consists of preparation of Class 1, Class 2 cavities and Crown preparations like PFM.
Step-15 Do your best on the exam. Maintain your calm...Don’t panic!!!
Step-16 Then begins another eternal wait...Wait for RESULT of Interview!!!
Step-17 Soon all your prayers would be heard ...ACCEPTANCE LETTER!!!....Your dream finally coming trueJ......
Step-18 Then begins the happy cycle of paperwork- medical tests, fee, I-20 form etc, which vary slightly from school to school and your school will help you with these at each stage.
Step-19 Then make an appointment for –‘STUDENT VISA’ at the nearest US embassy. Make sure to take all your documents along with you.
Step-20 Then start the ‘Student loan’ process if you are applying for one. Your schools financial aid office will guide you with it.
- Make sure to perform well during your BDS course , as the percentage you score, when later converted to GPA , has high significance on your resume
- Ways to enhance your Resume-
-Attend CDEs and conferences
- Poster presentations
- Research projects
- Voluntary work
HOPE THIS HELPS.....ALL THE BEST!!!