RESIDENCY 101 IN PARTS I, II, AND III
1. The sooner you decide between specializing vs general, the better you can coordinate your application for that field.
2. GPR vs AEGD: the main difference is that GPRs are usually in hospital settings, whereas AEGDs usually are in education institutions, or dental clinics. GPRs, to be accredited, have specific rotations each resident must experience. What does that mean? Be prepared and willing to go a few weeks without doing clinical dentistry! Some hospitals will put you through family medicine rotations, ENT rotations, etc. Do your homework and reach out to current residents to see what rotations they have, and what they do on them.
3. If you’re specializing, research ahead of time what additional exams you may need. For example, orthodontic programs usually require the GRE, while oral surgery programs require the CBSE. Some specialties/programs may highly favor an applicant who has taken the ADAT.
4. Match: Most programs participate in the National Match Service (NMS). After your interviews, you will need to submit a rank list of your preferred order to the NMS. The algorithm works its magic, and on national match day, you and the program find out who is going where. Even program directors don’t know beforehand!
a. Know the rules of the Match! Know what you can or cannot be asked during your interview, after, etc. Know what questions you are comfortable with and don’t be afraid to stand your ground. b. Phase I and II: depending on your specialty, the match service is separated into two phases. i. Phase I includes: Orthodontics, Periodontics, Anesthesia, Prosthodontics, and Canadian GPR programs. ii. Phase II includes: AEGD/GPR, Pediatrics, and Oral Surgery.
5. Non-Match: Since these programs don’t rely on any service or algorithm, the program can offer you a seat in their program as early as 1 hour after your interview! You are usually given a few days to decide whether you are committing to their program. If so, you must withdraw your application from other programs, as well as the national match service.
6. Use early winter to tidy up your CV/resume, and begin brainstorming your personal statement (max. character limit of 5,200!)
7. Research what the ADEA PASS application looks like and what information you will need to complete your application.
8. Visit programs during breaks (Winter, Spring and Summer), and know what each program will need. Some may require physical transcripts mailed directly to them, some may need physical headshots, etc.
9. Create a shortlist of who you will ask to write your recommendation letters (these get sent directly to the programs). a. Notify them ahead of time that you will ask them, so they are aware during the spring semester of how many they will need to write by summer. It helps to try
and work with them more this Spring, so they can recall your skills with fresh encounters! You will need to enter in their email address and their official school title. b. Each program may vary in how many they want. You can pick and choose which ones get sent to which program.
10. Last but not least, reach out to current fourth year students and residents! Program directors can only tell you so much. It’s the residents who have first-hand knowledge about what their experience has been like. Ask about being on-call or what types of procedures you will do. Don’t be shy! You’re dedicating an entire year after graduation to pursue advanced education. You may even discover throughout this journey that residency isn’t for you!
How do you know, what you don’t know? (GPR/AEGD specific) So, match day 2019 came and went, and you’re thinking, “I’m next!” Starting the process of looking into programs can be very daunting. You have many questions, but are they the right ones? Here are some items you may want to consider while beginning your search:
1) What other specialties exist at this hospital/school? Will complex cases be taken away from me, or are the GPs guided through them? Do they often accept specialty positions from those that have done a GPR/AEGD there?
2) How busy is the call schedule? Do you take call at home, or at the hospital?
3) What are the lectures/seminars like? Who teaches them?
4) How does the program help students look for career opportunities?
5) How many patients will you see in an average day? Is it comprehensive care, or does everyone share the same patient pool?
6) Do you have 1:1 assistants? Do you do your own hygiene appointments?
7) What latest piece of technology does the program use? Rotary endo? Implant systems? Intraoral scanners?
8) How reliable is the patient base? Are there are lot of no-shows?
9) Do you have specialists who rotate around, or are all the attendings general dentists?
10) Are there usually post-match positions?
When asking past or current residents, it’s important to take any input with a grain of salt. It’s easy to highlight the negatives – be sure to probe them for the positives too. Identify what you value in a program, and what you’re looking to get out of it. It can vary greatly even between applicants applying from the same school.
As you begin the process of vetting which programs you want to apply to, be sure to contact the program directors and request to visit! It’s best to visit before the end of June, as the new batch of residents will begin July 1 st . Visiting now-until then will allow you the opportunity to interact with the residents who are wrapping up their time at the program. While visiting/interviewing:
1) Be courteous and respectful of anyone you interact with, pre and post-visit. Be prompt and professional when communicating with anyone from the program.
2) Know your transcript, CV and personal statement inside and out. Be ready to explain any gaps in grades, or trends in your GPA.
3) Talk to as many residents as you can! Everyone will have their own 2-cents, and may shed light on different aspects of the program!
4) Similarly, talk to those interviewing with you! They very well may be your future co- resident. Ask them what they’ve heard about the program and share what you’ve heard as well! The more you know, the better.
5) Read up on the program you’re interviewing with. Know how many spots there are, who the program director is, their background, etc. You’ve done your research – now show it!
6) RELAX! This is nothing like dental school interviews were. If you’ve been offered an interview, your qualifications are already enough. Be confident in your candidacy! The interview is not just a chance for the program to get to know you better, but you the program better as well. This is the time to ask questions about the rotations, the neighborhood, the salary, etc. Asking these questions after you’ve matched there isn’t the best approach.
7) Do your best to schedule your interviews around one another, so that if you have to travel or take time off from school, you can maximize your trip(s). Even if you’ve confirmed a date and time with one program, it doesn’t hurt to ask to see if there’s an alternative date, should you need one.
Embarking on the interview trail is an exciting time! You’ve come so far in your dental school career and now is the time to shine. Best of luck, District 2! I’m always here if you need me.
Rachel Kim, Buffalo '19
District 2 Trustee ‘18’-19
HUGE CONGRATS TO RACHEL WHO MATCHED AT HER FAVORITE PROGRAM: Albert Einstein Medical Center (Pennsylvania)
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