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Dental School Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated August 30th, 2018 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Job Interviews     Careers     Health    
Question 1 of 30
What achievement are you most proud of, so far, on your path to dental school?
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How to Answer
Perhaps you have maintained an exceptional GPA or maybe you excelled in school while also working a part time job. Maybe you finished top of your class and received a special award for your achievements. Think of any accolades that you may have received along the way.
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Answer Examples
1.
What achievement are you most proud of, so far, on your path to dental school?
Perhaps you have maintained an exceptional GPA or maybe you excelled in school while also working a part time job. Maybe you finished top of your class and received a special award for your achievements. Think of any accolades that you may have received along the way.

Rachelle's Answer
"The achievement that I am most proud of, so far, was completing my undergrad, top of my class. While maintaining very strong grades, I was also President of our school's Diversity Club, and I spent time volunteering at the local Smile drive."
2.
Who in your life mentors, or inspires you?
Your life's inspiration can come from a book, a mentor, your family, a celebrity, an author - literally anyone! Talk to the interviewers about who has inspired your life and why.

Rachelle's Answer
"I find inspiration in a variety of people and things. I would have to say that the person who has most greatly inspired me has been my grandmother. She always had a smile on her face no matter how hard she worked and she loved everyone. She was well respected and always gave more than she received. I try to live like her as much as I can."
Anonymous Answer
"My grandmother, she is my role model and inspires me in so many ways. She is so kind-hearted and such a strong woman. She gives her all and free time to help so many people. She used to be a volunteer firefighter. She still volunteers with the New Mexico search and rescue team and the Santa Fe Symphony. She has been my biggest fan, and she has supported me throughout all of my educational endeavors. We have done so much together; she has taken me all over the world. When I was a young girl, she started taking me on a yearly trip out of the country. It fostered in me the passion for traveling and seeing different cultures and ways of life. I have gone to over 20 countries with my best friend, my grandma."
Rachelle's Answer
Your grandma sounds like an INCREDIBLE woman. Wow! This is a heartwarming answer that any interviewer should appreciate.
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Anonymous Answer
"My life mentor is dad. My dad was born in a small town in China. He made himself millions with nothing. He is also the one that supports me financially and mentally the most to become a dentist. And my husband as well. He also told me that 99% percent of success comes from hard-working, and 1% of success comes from genius. Practice makes perfection."
Rachelle's Answer
Your dad sounds like a very wise man! Nice, heartfelt answer :)
"My life's mentor is my dad. He was born in a small town in China and made himself millions from nothing. Aside from my husband, my dad is the one who supports me the most, financially and emotionally, on my path to becoming a dentist. He taught me that 99% of success comes from hard work, and 1% comes from genius. Practice makes perfect, and I truly believe this."
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3.
What other dental schools have you applied to and where does our university rank?
Knowing where you are applying will help the interviewers to better understand if their school will be able to meet your specific needs and educational desires or goals. You should be transparent when answering this question but be sure to avoid saying anything offensive such as 'this school is my last choice'. Pick out the number one reason why you want to attend their university and focus on that.

Rachelle's Answer
"I have applied to four other dental schools. Those schools are A, B, C, and D. My interest in your university is strong because you are highly regarded in the dental industry. The reputation of your school is unmatched. I would be so proud to say that I graduated from this school."
4.
Tell us about an area of weakness that you would like to improve on while attending dental school.
Pick a weakness that is not a core skill for your success as a dentistry student. You can be candid in your answer; recognizing that you aren't great at something and acknowledging your need to improve. Be sure to have an action plan in place for improving on this weakness.

Perhaps you are watching TED talks to gain skills in a particular area, reading the latest-and-greatest book on the subject, or maybe you are taking a seminar at a nearby community centre. We are all human with our own weaknesses, so don't be afraid to share yours!

Rachelle's Answer
"I believe I could improve on my written and verbal communication skills as I tend to be more blunt than I would like to be at times. I have enrolled myself in a week long workshop this summer with the goal of becoming a more eloquent communicator. I hope to gain skills in this workshop that I can continue to utilize during my university career."
5.
We believe in the continual development of our students, both professionally and personally. What is your self-development plan?
Having a self-development plan is incredibly important for anyone. If this university is going to invest in you, they need to know that you have a plan in place for investing in yourself also.

Some ideas for self-development:

- Listening to an inspiring podcaster
- Attending personal development workshops
- Spending time volunteering in a capacity related to your career goals
- Utilizing a mentor
- Hiring a tutor
- Learning another language
- Reading books associated with success

Rachelle's Answer
"I agree that self-development is crucial for continual growth and achievement. I am committed to investing in myself and some of the ways I do this is by attending personal development workshops, and meeting with my mentor once per month."
Anonymous Answer
"I am in class for English speaking, which is useful for people who speak English as second language. It was fun and motivated because I get to know different type of people with different backgrounds. Also, the more I practice, the more I get better communication skills. I am reading a book called My Morning Routine. I love this book because it gave me ideas to have effective mornings for success."
Rachelle's Answer
It's wonderful that you are working so hard to be successful in everything that you set your mind to do! I have offered a slight reword, below. I hope you find this to be helpful practice in addition to your English speaking classes :)
"I am in a class for English speaking, which has been useful as English is my second language. The class is fun and motivating, and it allows me to meet people from different backgrounds. The more I practice my English, the better my communication skills become. For personal development, I am reading a book called My Morning Routine. This book presents great ideas for successful morning routines from accomplished people all around the world."
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6.
Talk to us about your experience and thoughts on handling blood and saliva. You will be subject to difficult scenarios in your role as a dentist. How do you feel about this?
You can keep your answer simple by discussing your ability to handle events involving blood, and other bodily fluids.

Rachelle's Answer
"I have never been a queasy individual and I fully understand the types of cases that I will see in my career as a Dentist. Currently, I work part time at our local drop in shelter and have seen a wide range of situations involving blood, and such. I don't think about the gore, but more about the fact that it's a human being who needs my help. I believe this mentality will get me through any undesirable situation."
7.
What was your DAT score? Were you happy with it?
The interviewers want to know specifically what your DAT score was and how you felt about the score. Keep your answer straightforward and concise.

Rachelle's Answer
"I scored xx in my DAT and yes, I am very happy with this score. I studied hard and was rewarded for my diligence."
8.
Many dentists have an area of specialty in which they work. What area of dentistry interests you the most?
Before your interview, you should conduct some research on areas of specialty that are offered in dentistry.

Some branches of dentistry:

- Endodontics
- Orthodontics and Dentofacial
- Prosthodontics
- Pediatrics
- Periodontics.
- Oral and Maxillofacial surgery

Rachelle's Answer
"I have always had my eye on a specialty in Pediatrics. I really like working around children and think it's great to influence people to take care of their smiles, from a young age."
Anonymous Answer
"Many specialties interest me. However, I am currently most passionate about general dentistry. I have spent most of my time assisting general dentists, and I have enjoyed every moment of it. I have first-hand been able to see the strong connection the general dentist makes with his/her patient. Since they see them so often, every six months or more, the continuity of care, allows for learning about their lives and provide a personal touch. I am open to changing once I am in dental school, and I have personal experience will all different specialties first hand."
Rachelle's Answer
Your interest in building connections and relationships with your patients shines through. Nicely done.
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Anonymous Answer
"Oral and maxillofacial surgeon is the area of dentistry interests me the most because oral surgeons include tooth extractions, corrective jaw surgery, and cleft lip. In fact, oral surgeons are the only health care professionals, other than anesthesiologists, who administer all sedation."
Rachelle's Answer
Fantastic answer! You are very clear about your career path, which is great to see.
"Oral and maxillofacial surgeon is the area of dentistry that interests me the most because oral surgeons perform tooth extractions, corrective jaw surgery, and cleft lip surgery. In fact, oral surgeons are the only health care professionals, other than anesthesiologists, who administer sedation."
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9.
How do you respond to feedback and criticism? Describe a situation where your work was criticized. What was your immediate reaction to the situation?
Not all feedback will be delivered in a friendly, easy to absorb manner. Think to a time when you received feedback or criticism that was bit hurtful or surprising. Discuss how you reacted in a productive way.

It is important that you highlight for the interviewers that you were able to take the criticism and learn from it. Talk about how you successfully implemented change.

Rachelle's Answer
"Last year I received a low grade on a chemistry project. When I approached my professor about the low grade, he said to me 'You can do better. I expected more from you'. I was taken aback at first but once I had time to absorb what was said, I realized that he expected more from me because he had high expectations of what I was capable of doing. It was a compliment, and a challenge, all rolled into one! I re-did the assignment with more gusto and passion the second time around. My grade improved significantly and I did thank that professor for holding me to a higher standard."
10.
Which dentistry related newspapers, journals or publications do you read to stay in touch with new dental discoveries, and current events?
The interviewers want to see that you have a keen interest in continually learning your craft. The dental industry is ever changing! Talk about how you stay up to date on industry trends, new breakthroughs, dentistry related concerns, and more.

List a couple of dental journals that you like to read and discuss how often you dive into dental related news. Perhaps you subscribe to a particular magazine, blog, or follow certain social media accounts.

It's also a great idea to ask the interviewers about their favorite ways to stay in touch on dental related current events. Asking this question in return can make for a great dialogue, and you never know what you will learn!

Rachelle's Answer
"I am sure to read Dentistry Today, and Journal of the American Dental Association, on a regular basis. In addition to these medical journals, I also subscribe to DentalEconomics.com. It's important to diversify where your news comes from and I would love some fresh suggestions. What are your favorite places for news on current trends?"
Anonymous Answer
"I am an ASDA member, so they send me the journal Mouth, which is great because it has different sections written by either dentists, dental students, or pre-dental students. It is awesome to get insight from all different people from different steps in their careers in the dental field. I have read varying articles on how to manage stress in dental school to yoga moves, which help dental students posture."
Rachelle's Answer
This journal sounds very interesting and helpful, offering you a wide range of topics to learn.
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11.
What research did you conduct before choosing to apply to our university?
The interviewers want to know which considerations you put in before sending your application to their university. What they really do not want to hear is that you blindly sent out a million applications, hoping that something would stick. Share with the interviewers the consideration you put into your application.

Some methods of consideration could have been:

- Talking to / interviewing alumni of their university.
- Attending an open house at their school.
- Extensive online research.
- Researching who the most renowned graduates of their dental program are.
- Meeting with a career counselor and asking for recommendations.
- Speaking with a current student at the school, specifically someone in the program you are interested in.

Rachelle's Answer
"I was sure to conduct a great deal of research before applying to your school. I started by interviewing some alumni that I know, and I also spoke with a couple of your current students who are in the dentistry program. Last year I attended the open house here as well. Your school left a very positive impression on me which is why I chose to apply here."
12.
Have you ever had significant dental work? Tell me about your experience as a patient. What made it memorable?
You can discuss your experience with braces as a kid, or maybe even a root canal! Did you have a favorite dentist, growing up? Keep your answer simple and positive.

Rachelle's Answer
"I had braces as a teenager and do remember that the orthodontist I saw was really great at keeping my nerves at bay. He had a cool office and let me pick the color of my elastics which I always really liked. This particular dentist showed me the importance of great dental hygiene. I hope to have similar bedside manner when I am a dentist."
Anonymous Answer
"I lost my front tooth when I was 11 years old. I was trying to learn how to ride a bicycle by myself. I had a removable denture bridge that was extremely uncomfortable and inconvenient. After many years, I was so lucky that I had an implant. I feel my life changed because I can smile and no worries about eating anything."
Rachelle's Answer
This would have been a struggle for sure, but also gave you an appreciation for what dental work can do. Nice response. I have tweaked slightly flow.
"I lost my front tooth when I was 11, after trying to learn how to ride a bicycle by myself. I needed a removable denture bridge that was extremely uncomfortable and inconvenient. Many years later, I was lucky to get an implant. This implant changed my life because it allowed me to smile, and I did not have to worry about eating anything. I certainly appreciate what Dentists can do!"
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13.
How does your family feel about you attending dental school? Do you have a great deal of support?
The interviewers want to know that if you were accepted into their university that you would have the support required for your heavy and challenging work load.

Discuss a bit about your family such as anyone who lives near you or how your family expresses their excitement for your career. You can also mention anyone in your family who may have had a similar path in dentistry.

Rachelle's Answer
"My family is incredibly proud of me for attending dental school. My father is especially keen as he also graduated from this university. Both of my parents, as well as my older brother, live in the area so I will have a very strong and encouraging support system should I be accepted into your school."
14.
Do you have aspirations to own your own practice in the future? What appeals to you about business ownership?
The interviewer wants to know about your future plans and if you have intentions of joining a existing practice, or starting your own. Be honest about your plans and desire for your career path.

Rachelle's Answer
"My ultimate goal would be to open my own practice one day, as I want to control the prices of my services and provide affordable dentistry services to my community. I do have an entrepreneurial spirit so I feel that opening my own practice would scratch that itch as well."
Anonymous Answer
"I do. I would gain some work experience after I finish school for 2 or 3 years. Eventually, I would open my practice, where my family decides to settle down."
Rachelle's Answer
Timing is everything! It's great that you can so clearly express your future career aspirations.
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15.
At our university, we seek students who have a true passion for dentistry. What appeals to you most, about working in the field of dentistry?
Your core passion is what will keep you going on the toughest of days at school. For the interviewers to understand how to motivate you, they need to know what fires you up!

It is okay to share a personal story when answering this question. Perhaps you can discuss what initiated your interest in attending dental school to begin with. Whatever drives you, make sure the interviewers can feel your passion!

Rachelle's Answer
"There are a number of factors that drive my passion for a career in dentistry. If I had to pinpoint one main driver, I would say that creating amazing smiles, every day, is the most significant for me. Everyone deserves a smile they are proud of."
More Interview Q&As
Explore expert tips and resources to be more confident in your next interview.
Behavioral
Common
Phone
Tough
Leadership
All Interview Topics
All Career Q&As
Suggested Career
Interview Q&As
Continue practicing by visiting these similar question sets
Dental Assistant
Dental Hygienist
Dental Laboratory Technician
30 Dental School Interview Questions
Win your next job by practicing from our question bank. We have thousands of questions and answers created by interview experts.
Interview Questions
  1. What achievement are you most proud of, so far, on your path to dental school?
  2. Who in your life mentors, or inspires you?
  3. What other dental schools have you applied to and where does our university rank?
  4. Tell us about an area of weakness that you would like to improve on while attending dental school.
  5. We believe in the continual development of our students, both professionally and personally. What is your self-development plan?
  6. Talk to us about your experience and thoughts on handling blood and saliva. You will be subject to difficult scenarios in your role as a dentist. How do you feel about this?
  7. What was your DAT score? Were you happy with it?
  8. Many dentists have an area of specialty in which they work. What area of dentistry interests you the most?
  9. How do you respond to feedback and criticism? Describe a situation where your work was criticized. What was your immediate reaction to the situation?
  10. Which dentistry related newspapers, journals or publications do you read to stay in touch with new dental discoveries, and current events?
  11. What research did you conduct before choosing to apply to our university?
  12. Have you ever had significant dental work? Tell me about your experience as a patient. What made it memorable?
  13. How does your family feel about you attending dental school? Do you have a great deal of support?
  14. Do you have aspirations to own your own practice in the future? What appeals to you about business ownership?
  15. At our university, we seek students who have a true passion for dentistry. What appeals to you most, about working in the field of dentistry?
  16. What do you know about our university?
  17. Are you aware of cases of medical malpractice in the dentistry field? How will you cope if you are faced with one of these situations?
  18. There is a high suicide rate among dentists. How do you feel about this fact and how do you plan on remaining grounded during your career?
  19. When you suffer a setback, how does that emotionally affect you and your work?
  20. What questions do you have for us about our university?
  21. Talk to us about your current GPA.
  22. Dental school is expensive. Have you made a solid financial plan for tuition costs at our university, and beyond?
  23. How well do you think you have performed in this interview today?
  24. What are you reading right now?
  25. Tell us something that we would not know about you from reading your CV.
  26. What do you feel is the single most important quality a dentist should possess?
  27. Why should we accept you over another dentistry student with the same qualifications?
  28. Tell us about your overall academic performance, so far. Where have you excelled, and where could you improve?
  29. In your opinion, what is the most concerning topic facing the dental industry today?
  30. It is important that our university exercises great discernment when choosing applicants. What is your plan if you are not accepted into our school of dentistry this year?
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