Here’s a question I get asked very often:
Should I take the NBDE 2 or do you think I have a chance without it?
My answer is always the same:
-You do have a chance without it, but passing the NBDE II will increase your chances.
Do you mean I should take it, or not??
-Up to you, I say, calculate the time and effort it will take and think about what else you can do in the same amount of time. Apply without it first, then take it and update your applications and apply to more programs.
NOBODY can tell you exactly what to do to get into a program, there is no magical answer. Admissions in the states is very different from most countries international dentists come from;
back in our countries it was pretty obvious what needed to be done to get into dental school, you do those things and you were in. This isn’t the case in the states, and you’ve gotta understand the fundamental difference; it’s all about increasing your odds in a smart way, in the least amount of time possible. You only need one school to say yes to you, at the end you can only attend one program anyways.
Every school that has advanced standing programs have their own criteria for selecting students. I’ve seen many applicants getting just one interview and getting accepted in that program. All the other programs they applied to didn’t even bother sending them an interview invitation, but one school did, and they rocked at the interview and proudly made it.
How did they know what to do to make that one program invite them for the interview?
-They didn’t, they had no idea.
What should I do then? You’re not giving me a clear answer!
-I can’t, I just told you. There is no one magic thing you can do to make sure you get accepted. If there was, everyone would do it so it wouldn’t work anymore anyways.
Those people who get accepted into the only program that interviewed them wouldn’t have made it if that school decided not to give them a chance. Most school’s didn’t, so they almost didn’t make it. So work on what you can, or everything you can within the given time frame to increase your chances. Every single thing you submit counts. I wouldn’t not apply this cycle because I didn’t take part II yet, however, because that’s wasting a chance I can get this year. I would never do a mediocre job and hope that just one program calls. By the way those that I know that made it into their only interview did a good job with their application – they didn’t skimp on anything. They had a horribly low GPA or NBDE I score, however, which couldn’t be fixed. It was more like, they did an amazing job in everything they could and as a result one school called them.
In summary, my opinion is: If it’s application time apply without it first, don’t waste that opportunity. After you’ve done what you can, then take it.
Happy strategizing everyone!!