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DDS Dental School, Non-Traditional, Korean Artist

A non-traditional applicant at 33, I feel strongly that I am an excellent candidate for dental school due to my experience as an artist and computer consultant. I have been in the U.S. now for 14 years, having emigrated with my family from our native Korea. I have fully adjusted and adapted to full-time English, and the American way and have matured significantly. I am a good listener and get along well with people from all walks of life.

Ten years from now, I would like to be a dentist who is sufficiently successful in devoting a large part of my time and resources to providing dental care to the underserved, especially minorities and immigrant populations in the inner city. I am especially drawn to the plight of inner-city children, in particular. The idea of being able to help them to better appreciate and respect themselves and their community through dental care is my long-standing dream of service.

My grit, determination, and appreciation for the less fortunate were all very much reinforced while I was in middle school in Korea and my father's business went bankrupt. We soon found ourselves living in only one, tiny, room in a rural area, all four of us. Every night we slept right next to each other, and I listened to my sister, trying not to sob. One night, I stretched my arm to see if I could reach her and my father and mother with my hand. I felt their hair and the reality of underprivileged life so acutely at that moment that I vowed that this would never happen to my children. I started delivering newspapers before dawn to support myself, paying my own school expenses so as not to be a burden to my parents. At 5:00 in the morning, in freezing winter weather that numbed every part of my body, I began my struggle to succeed in life.

Even after immigrating to the US, my family struggled financially. I had to work full-time as a janitor for several years while taking courses at a nearby college. After moving to a four-year university, I did the dishes in the dining hall. I worked as an administrator at a computing lab while maintaining heavy loads of academic responsibility. I was a computer science major; however, by the time that I had fallen in love with the physical sciences as a senior at the University of XXXX and it was too late to change my major. I discovered my greatest passion, in particular, while working at the Genetic Programming Research Laboratory learning about biological metaphors and evolutionary biology. I made a vital contribution to my research team by creating a software tool for automated data analysis and experimental support that saved a lot of time. Of course, I am pleased to have advanced computer skills, and I am sure that they will also be helpful to my career in dentistry.

Upon graduation, I accepted a position at IBM as a consultant; constantly traveling, and involved in numerous projects at major automotive companies, I had the opportunity to cultivate many qualities that will serve me well as a dentist: persistence, endurance, insight, sound judgment, and the ability to deal with all kinds of difficult situations. Although I thrived in my career, I resigned from my consulting position to finish preparing for a career in dentistry. A few years before I moved to New Jersey to enroll in the Pre-Dental Program at Rutgers, I started volunteering with a group of people at a nursing home in Dearborn, MI helping to organize events for the residents. Many, if not most, of these elderly residents, had trouble eating correctly due to deteriorating dental conditions. There was a volunteer dentist who often came to the nursing home and checked their oral health. Sometimes, I could assist him with his work, and I was amazed by his dedication and passion. I enjoyed sharing the patients' joy upon emancipation from the pain they suffered. For these reasons, my dedication to dentistry has become increasingly firm.

Finally, I feel that my keen sense of hand and visual dexterity fomented by playing classical guitar, model ship building, and graphics design helps to make me a competitive candidate for dental school. I also believe that the montage of priceless life experiences that I have accumulated will help to make me a compassionate and highly responsible dentist, and I look forward to dental school with keen anticipation. I want to thank you for considering my application.

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