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What to Expect

Unlike in some other programs, students in dentistry can follow a case from start to finish and see what they've accomplished.

Tina Hembree came into the Medical College of Georgia with an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering.

"I was disappointed with engineering because the one engineer never completes a whole project, and I didn't get to see the results of my work," she says. "Dentistry allows me to solve problems several times a day and see my work progress from beginning to end."

Kathryn Freedman is a dentistry graduate of the Medical College of Georgia. Freedman says she was drawn to dental school for many reasons. She wanted a career where she could be her own boss as well as run her own business.

"I enjoy working with people," she says. "And I have known since high school that I wanted to work in the health-care field. Dentistry requires a person to use art, science and fine motor skills to perform tasks which benefit and improve the health of his patients."

Freedman appreciated the fact that her school encouraged students to get a good grasp on clinical skills.

"We are introduced to patient care much earlier than most dental schools, and therefore we have an excellent clinical background," she says. "We also have an externship program that allows senior students to work in real dental offices so that we are introduced to private practice as early as possible."

How to Prepare

Freedman has a few suggestions for high school students who want to follow her career path.

"A high school student who is interested in dentistry should really focus on math, science and art classes," she says.

"Math and science are very important because the college courses needed to apply to dental school include chemistry, biology, calculus and other science courses."

Hembree has more general advice: "Do well in everything," she says. "Art is very helpful, as much of dentistry is about shape, contour and color. Psychology wouldn't hurt either, because it takes some creative psychology to deal with patients sometimes."


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