Dentistry Personal Statement – Talking about Motivation for Dentistry

Alice Dentistry

Alice Gomm

Head of Dentistry

When writing your dentistry personal statement it is crucial to explain your motivation to study dentistry. This is one of the most important parts of your dentistry personal statement as you need to show the admissions team that you are driven and committed to studying dentistry and will be motivated to succeed throughout the degree. Keep reading to hear our top suggestions on how to write about your motivation for dentistry in your dentistry personal statement, and how to make yourself stand out! 

Why do I need to include this?

It is really important in your dentistry personal statement that you talk about the reasons why you want to study dentistry and why you think you would enjoy this career. The person reading your dentistry personal statement will be looking for applicants with a true passion for the subject and who are genuinely driven to pursue a career in dentistry. 

Some universities will even state in their application requirements that students must demonstrate their motivation to study dentistry. 

It is a challenging degree, which requires the university to invest a lot of time and money in their students and therefore the university will only want to accept students who are willing to put in the dedication and effort throughout their time as a dental student. 

Why dentistry?

One idea of what to include in your dentistry personal statement is to explain what initially attracted you to a career in dentistry. Maybe you have always been interested in the human body and when looking into careers relating to this subject you read about dentistry and thought you would enjoy working with your hands every day and getting to see patients from the start to the end of their treatment, whilst still having a human biology focus to your career. 

Maybe you did your work experience with a dental practitioner and were inspired by the work you saw there and could see yourself enjoying a career in that field. Remember, if you mention work experience be specific about what it was that inspired you (and check out our Dentistry Personal Statement – Talking about Work Experience guide for more tips!). Maybe you want a career where you can help other people whilst still being very practically involved, and you enjoy carrying out intricate work. 

If this is the case, maybe talk about an example of where you have helped people such as volunteering in a care home and an example of where you have demonstrated your ability to do intricate work with your hands, such as a model making hobby. Maybe you want a degree and a career that will challenge you throughout and that will push you to always improve and develop yourself as an individual. 

Whatever your motivation to study dentistry is, try and back it up with an example of how you think this is specifically relevant to you, and how you have shown that you are the right person for this career. The more specific and personal to you it is, the better, as this makes you stand out from all of the other applicants. 

The rewards of dentistry:

Another thing you could include as a motivation to study dentistry is the rewards you get from a career as a dentist and why this has attracted you to the career. By this we’re not talking about monetary rewards, we’re talking about the rewards from making a difference to patients’ lives. 

You will get to treat patients from the start to the end of their treatment plan, and will get the reward of seeing what a huge change this treatment has had on the patient’s life and their confidence and happiness, which is a massive reward of the career. 

Be aware of the difficulties:

When writing about why you are motivated to study dentistry it is important to acknowledge the difficulties of the degree and career as well. Dentistry can be a very challenging career to have, and by talking about this it will show to the admissions teams that you have considered both the pros and cons of dentistry and why you still think you would be suitable for this career. 

Whenever you mention one of the challenges of dentistry, make sure to then talk about how you would cope with this challenge and how you think you are the right person to deal with the difficulties that the career brings. For example, you will get difficult patients who hate the dentist and are very uncooperative with treatment and are rude to you. 

Maybe talk about how you’ve dealt with difficult people before, for example if you volunteered in a care home and had to work with some uncooperative residents there, how did you overcome this challenge? This will prove that you are up to the demands of the job. 

You can make a difference:

As a dentist you will have the ability to make a difference to society. You may be motivated by the potential you have in this career to make a big difference to a large number of people. Good dentists will help to promote good oral care to all of their patients who will then pass this on to their children and family, and ultimately help to improve oral care in the community. You can also make a difference to people’s perspective of the dentist. 

A lot of people are scared of the dentist from previous bad experiences that they’ve had, or purely from stereotypes of the dentist, but if you can give patients a good experience and help to change these stereotypes it will help to encourage even more people to visit the dentist and look after their teeth. 

Don’t talk about money:

Never talk about the monetary rewards of the career. Whilst you may have the opportunity to earn a decent salary as a dentist this should never be your motivation to study it. The university is looking for a person who is passionate about the subject and will enjoy the day-to-day work of a dentist, not somebody driven by money as you can get this from lots of other careers. 

Don’t say you’re motivated by the lifestyle:

As a dentist you may be able to work part time and you will normally have good working hours (e.g. 9am-5pm) but this shouldn’t be a motivating factor for you wanting to study it. Many careers can also offer these benefits and it won’t show to the person reading your dentistry personal statement that you are committed and motivated by a career in dentistry specifically. 

Don’t talk about social status:

Another thing you should not mention as a motivation to study dentistry is the social status that comes with being a dentist. Whilst being a dentist is a very respected job, you shouldn’t mention is as a reason for wanting to become a dentist as this sounds very egotistical and is not a valid reason for pursuing a career in dentistry. You should want to study dentistry because you will enjoy the work you will be doing, not because you think other people will be impressed by it. 

Explain and remember:

When writing about your motivation to study dentistry make sure that whatever you say, you explain it. Don’t just make a list of reasons, say why these reasons motivate you personally. 

Remember what you’ve written as your motivation to study dentistry, as it is not uncommon to be asked a question about this at your interviews (and the interviewer may have your dentistry personal statement in front of them), so it is important to be able to explain to those interviewing you exactly why you are driven to become a dentist. 

Hopefully this article has given you lots of ideas and guidance on how best to describe your motivation to become a dentist, and you are now ready to include this in your dentistry dentistry personal statement! 

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