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Gaining Experience

Although most dental schools do not require previous dental experience, acquiring such experience may boost your application and give you a good sense as to the area of dentistry in which you wish to specialize. 

Shadow Dentists

  • Shadowing a dentist is a great way to gain experience and confirm your interest in the field of dentistry. You may begin this process by reaching out to your personal dentist and asking for his or her ability to accommodate you. For more information on shadowing, check out the American Dental Education Association (ADEA)’s page on shadowing.  

Become a Dental Assistant

  • In order to gain experience before applying or before going to school, you may take a certification course to gain your radiology certification and dental assistant certification. Requirements vary depending on the state you wish to practice in. 

Participate in Research 

  • Although dental schools do not require research experience from their applicants, acquiring research experience may boost your application and demonstrate your dedication to the field. For more information, visit the ADEA's page on research. 


  • Serving the community shows that an individual values helping others. Service can be done in your hometown, at Hamilton, and/or in the surrounding area of Oneida County. Graduate schools look for students who volunteer in service to their communities even if unrelated to healthcare. The Community Outreach and Opportunity Project (COOP) houses many opportunities for students interested in service and can be found on the third floor of the chapel. The COOP oversees a variety of opportunities and organizations such as the Hamilton Association for Volunteering, Outreach, and Charity (HAVOC), A Better Chance (ABC) Tutoring, Hamilton Reads and many more. For more information, visit the COOP website. Additionally, the majority of these programs will send out all-campus emails at the beginning of each semester regarding descriptions of upcoming volunteer opportunities and instructions on how to become involved. 
  • Volunteering may reflect the caring qualities that dental schools look for in an applicant. For more information and ideas about service opportunities, visit the ADEA's page on community service

Explore Other Resources

Contact Information

Leslie Bell

Director of Health Professions Advising
315-859-4338 lbell@hamilton.edu
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