We had the pleasure of helping with the 2020 South Carolina ASDA Predental Day on January 25th. Fifty predental students from across the southeast attended and participated in the event. Remembering what it felt like to be in the predental students’ shoes makes it so much more rewarding to support them through their beginning steps to pursue a career in dentistry. We loved being able to give them tips and get them excited for dental school!
As predental students, we were constantly stressed about our GPA, our DAT scores, and every other 3 letter acronym that came to mind. SC ASDA’s Predental Day always gave us the opportunity, as predental students, to relieve some of that stress. Paying that forward made this a fulfilling experience for all of our volunteers.
This year’s event consisted of personal stories about our individual journeys to dental school, an overview of all dental specialties, mock interviews, and campus tours. Also, the predental students were able to receive practical, hands-on experience with a suturing lab, crown preps, fillings, and waxing teeth.
As the day began, Dr. Torchia started on a high note with his crash course on suturing. One student noted that Dr. Torchia, “was very hands on and interactive with [us] and showed that he truly cared, which I really loved. Overall, it was a great experience.” After the classroom sessions were over, we moved to mock interviews and campus tours.
I (Keith) moderated the mock interviews. Our structure for the interviews was similar to “speed-dating,” where each predental student was paired with a dental student.
After the two-minute mock interview, the dental students had sixty seconds to give the predental students feedback and tips for future interviews. One predental student stated, “it was so fun and kept me on my toes, but [the mock interviews] also really calmed a ton of my fears about the whole dental school interview process.” Another student noted, “the dental students were so kind, positive, and helpful with their feedback. I truly enjoyed this experience.”
As a tour guide, I (Matthew) had the opportunity to escort groups of students around our campus. We intentionally made the tour groups small, 4 to 5 each, to create an atmosphere that was open and easy for the students to ask as many questions as possible.
A special and exciting part of the tour took place in the clinics as we took professional headshots of each attendee. One predental student stated, “I was truly blown away on the tour with how much of an emphasis MUSC puts on new dental technologies.” It was very encouraging to see the predental students’ eyes light up with excitement as they walked through the campus imagining their possible future home.
After lunch, we spent the afternoon in our Simulation Lab where the predental students were able to get a great deal of hands-on experience. They did a crown prep on #19, learned different filling preps on a learn-a-prep block, and waxed up tooth #8.
Needless to say, this was one of the most exhilarating parts of the day. One student noted, “I absolutely loved SimLab and getting that hands-on time,” while another stated, “I would’ve stayed in the SimLab for another two hours if allowed. Such an incredible and unique experience.”
Overall, South Carolina ASDA’s 2020 Predental Day was a major success, and we are already counting down the days until next year!
- Keith Tormey, D2 and Matthew Willis, D2