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From the Hill to Harvard - My Journey to Dental School


Aida Shadrav '17
Aida Shadrav '17

Aside from the phenomenal academic atmosphere that Hamilton provides, I chose to attend this college on a Hill because of a warm feeling I had when I visited. There were smiles everywhere on campus, friends chatting and walking from Commons to the library, students rushing to the Science Center, birds chirping, and squirrels climbing on trees. It was a feeling of belonging that brought me to this college. Five years later and I still reminisce about my growing, illuminating experiences on the Hill.

When I was a student at Hamilton, I took advantage of all the opportunities provided to the pre-health students. I joined the Pre-Health Careers Club to get to know other classmates also interested in the health field. My interest in dentistry flourished year after year at Hamilton as I started shadowing dentists of all specialties during the summer time. It reaffirmed my interest in dentistry and I began to tailor my education to my needs as a pre-dental applicant.

I decided to major in chemistry and Hispanic studies for several reasons. Chemistry became one of my passions at Hamilton because of the incredible faculty and facilities. It was also a great way for me expand on my scientific knowledge via research and all the courses offered by the Chemistry Department. I double majored in Hispanic Studies because I wanted to be able to effectively communicate with my future Spanish-speaking patients. It is easier to connect to a patient and cater to their needs if you are familiar with their language.

When it came to applying to dental school, I was privileged to have spectacular mentors who helped me apply with confidence. I interviewed at multiple dental schools, but once again I felt that warm feeling of belonging at Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM). My acceptance to my dental school has been one of the best occurrences in my life.

alumni career advice

Hamilton has a long history of connecting students with alumni and parents whose advice, expertise, and resources help talented young people achieve success for themselves and in their communities.

more from alumni in healthcare

At HSDM, dental and medical students study together for the first year. Dental students are incorporated into the hospitals to learn how to take patients’ histories, perform physical exams, and communicate with the healthcare providers. One of the many reasons I chose Harvard was the fact that dentistry is treated as a specialty of medicine. Harvard’s mission to bridge the gap between medical and dental care is essential to provide the best care we can to patients of all backgrounds.

Now in my second year at HSDM, I can safely say that Hamilton’s education, core values, and faculty are the reason I am studying at my dream school. I can’t wait to come back to the Hill soon and revisit the place that made me the person I am today.


Aida Shadrav graduated from Hamilton College in 2017. She is currently a student at Harvard School of Dental Medicine. At Hamilton, she was the president of the Pre-Health Careers Club, a QSR tutor for chemistry, Hispanic studies TA and peer tutor at the language center.

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