I’m a Pre-Dental student in a unique situation … – Dentistry


There’s a lot to my story, but I’ll try to sum it up. I’m in a junior in college right now (second-year because I had credits from high school). My plan is to apply this early this summer. For context, I live in Virginia and want to go to VCU since it is the only dental school in the state.

Here is where my story is unique. My dad is/was a dentist who owns his own practice in our small town. He recently retired following the passing of my mother from cancer in September (she was diagnosed only 4 months before so it was a huge shock). She was a pharmacist once a week, but did the bookwork/managing for my dad’s office. My plan growing up was always to take over my dad’s business. Things have obviously changed but I think I still want to do it.

I think its a great idea still because we live in a small town (<20,000 people) that I like. There have only ever been 2-3 small private dentists at a time. My dad only had 2 chairs, but had room for a 3rd that he never needed. Over the past years, he was able to take tons of time off from work to do the things he loves (fishing, family vacations, etc.) while still making good money. He worked Mon-Fri, usually 8-11:30 then 1-4:30 with plenty of vacation weeks. I recently learned that he still made ~170k last year. To me, this is a great situation.

Fast forward to now… I think I have everything it takes to do it. I am usually very humble, but I think it’s important to share how “smart/skilled” I am. I have always been very good with my hands/organized. I get organization from my mom and perfectionism from my dad. I am also smart: 1490 SAT, 3.95 GPA, “A” in both calc2 and org chemistry. I am getting ready to start shadowing since VCU recommends having ~150 hours before applying.

Here are my questions:

  1. What is shadowing going to be like? How many days it take to reach ~150 hours?

  2. Will I be in a better than usual situation since I will have a practice ready for me? Disclaimer: It is old-school, so I would need to by lots of new equipment, but I enjoy learning new technology. Also, my dad is going to keep his certification, so I’m sure he could help me out in the beginning and who knows, he might start enjoying it again on the side.

  3. I hear a lot of negatives about the dentistry field, including from my dad from time to time (however, my mom always encouraged me to consider dentistry and would point out the times my dad would enjoy). Is it really that bad?

  4. Do most dentists get to have the same luxuries as my dad or was he just lucky? I was always in love with the idea of how much freedom he had. One of the memories I cherish is during elementary school. He would take me out of school nearly every friday and we would go fishing at the lake or bay. He would also take off whole weeks whenever we had breaks from school + 2-3 weeks off each summer. I feel like most jobs don’t provide this opportunity considering the pay.

This was probably a lot to read, but I think it was necessary to understand the unique place I’m in.

Thanks for any feedback



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