Dentistry Personal Statement Writing and Editing by Dr. Robert Foster Edinger
Often, in both the questions that I write for you as well as the statement itself, I contribute creative ideas that help to make your case for admission much more powerful. Dental school is extremely competitive. It is not enough to suggest that you are hoping to contribute to the diversity of the program; you must demonstrate in especially creative ways how your own combination of high motivation and cultural background makes you uniquely suited to dentistry and that you have enormous potential for meeting the oral health care needs of the planet’s underserved populations.
Increasingly, those who are most poor, the ‘underserved’ in terms of oral health care today, are central to the mission and priorities of the dental profession. My own academic training was in the area of religion and ethics, set into history, especially with respect to the global south or Developing World. The Gospel of a ‘preferential option for the poor’, and among the poor, those who are ‘most poor’ was central to my own social and political as well as religious thinking. Nowhere do I see this emphasis on the importance of being of service to those most in need better expressed than in the case of dentistry, where a great deal of effort is expended by the profession as a whole on attention to the ‘underserved’.
As the public’s oral health care needs increase in complexity, there is renewed attention to the ethical dimensions of community oral health decision making. Calls are often heard for renewed, more creative and encompassing applications of ethics to global public health issues, especially with respect to teaching and research in dentistry. Despite their reduction globally, oral diseases persist with a particular distribution pattern that is a reflection of the increasingly widespread inequality in access to community oral health preventive and dental care that characterizes global economic and political structures. Vast disparities exist between levels of availability, accessibility, and acceptability of oral health education and care.
As a result of my editing and enhancement of their rough draft material, and based on their interview, where appropriate, I make it clear in the Personal Statement that the applicant is concerned with the importance of equity, human rights, and social justice in providing oral health care to the underserved. The very best strategy possible, in fact, is to suggest something especially creative that the member of the Admission or Selection Committee seldom hears, something that grows naturally or logically out of your accumulated experience, something to help vulnerable populations in particular.
Global patterns of oral diseases continue to reflect widespread inequality in terms of access to public preventive and dental care and it is often a good idea to express your concern for this situation in your Personal Statement. Suggesting a concern for refuges and/or migrants can also be an excellent strategy.
I finished my PHD in Religion and Social Ethics at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles in May of 1995 (See my doctoral dissertation online at USC) . Since that time, I have dedicated my life to helping others to have the beautiful and noble opportunity of a higher education, or to be selected for a fellowship, scholarship, internship, or residency opportunity - especially in Dentistry. An eloquent statement can often make the difference.
Most of my clients are people for whom English is a second language. Almost all are multilingual and many have extensive experience from outside the United States. Some are already dentists who have completed their training and already practiced dentistry in their country of origin; and now they are applying to Advanced Placement Programs leading to the DDS degree in America, Canada, England and Australia. Most of my clients also share an interest in serving the desperate need for extensive new initiatives in oral health care geared towards meeting the needs of societies’ most vulnerable sectors in the Developing World.
I am convinced that one’s ethnicity, language skills, and multicultural experiences need to be woven together in a most eloquent fashion in your Personal Statement, as interconnected themes that radiate throughout your admission essay. Your ethnic or racial background and international aptitudes are your greatest assets as an applicant, and they need to be carefully related to both your short and long term goals. I do everything that I can to make your personal statement to dental school as effective as possible. After a careful review of your material, I often ask you highly specific questions born from my many years of experience writing dental statements. I am a seasoned expert concerning what is important to include, and what is not. I have also had a great deal of practice at condensing a lot of material into a very limited space limitation. (I like to think of it as brain surgery). I leave you with pictures of me with the princpal light of my life, my only child, David Dylan Edinger (now 10 years old).