What To Do the Summer Before Dental School

By: Savannah Craig

Congratulations on your acceptance to dental school! What an incredible accomplishment! You’ve put in the time and effort, and finally, it has paid off with an offer letter from a dental school.

You have probably spent the last several years working jobs, volunteering, and gaining new skills to make your dental school application stand out.

You did it! You’re probably counting down the days until orientation and have found yourself asking, “what should I be doing the summer before dental school?”

How To Spend the Summer Before Dental School

If you have made it to this point, you are probably a highly motivated individual and want to be as prepared as possible when you enter dental school in the fall. You’re looking for resources to help you prepare your hand-eye coordination and learn human anatomy more quickly.

While I appreciate your effort, let me be the first to tell you- there is no possible way to prepare to start dental school.

The best advice I could give you is to use this small bit of time off to celebrate your accomplishment and spend time with your loved ones. Take a break so that you can start dental school with a full battery instead of a deficit.

1. Spend Time with Friends & Family

Once school starts, your time is going to be controlled by class schedules, exams, and practical exams. You may not be able to make it to every family gathering or cousin’s wedding during your four years, so spend some extra time with your family and friends during this time before school starts.

I made a list of all the people I needed to see before moving away and scheduled time with each of them. If you’re moving away for dental school, maybe make a list of your favorite places and restaurants and make sure you visit them too.

2. Travel

Many of my classmates and I took time to travel during the summer before dental school. It is not often in life that you get a large amount of unstructured time, and I wanted to take advantage of it.

I took a 10-day trip to Europe and visited Scotland, Hungary, and France. Some of my classmates took road trips across the United States. Others took trips to the beach or amusement parks.

When you’re spending late nights in the preclinic lab learning to do crown preps, it was nice to have memories of faraway adventures to keep you sane!

3. Volunteer

Another great way to spend your summer before dental school is to volunteer. I spent a week volunteering as a camp counselor for children with serious illnesses. Others find dental mission trips to go on.

These can be great opportunities to remember why you have chosen to enter a career in healthcare and having a larger amount of free time to volunteer can be very rewarding.

4. Earn Some Extra Money

You can also find ways to make money before you start dental school. You could work as a dental assistant, or babysitter, or continue working a job you had before you were accepted to dental school.

It is no secret that dental school is expensive, so having some extra money lying around is never a bad thing!

Take Advantage of Your Freedom the Summer Before Dental School

However you choose to spend your summer before dental school, I encourage you to take advantage of your freedom before school starts.

You will learn how to become a dentist in the next four years, and no one expects you to start on day one with any additional skills.

Instead of worrying about what is to come, find ways to rejuvenate your mind and body to prepare for these next four years of challenges.

Up Next: You Are More Than Just a Dental Student

Photo by Nathan Cowley

Savanah Craig

Savanah Craig

Savanah Craig is a graduate of Baldwin Wallace University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology. She is currently a 2022 D.D.S. Candidate at The Ohio State University College of Dentistry. She will be pursuing a General Practice Residency in Columbia, SC following graduation. In her free time, Savanah enjoys reading, exploring new restaurants, and traveling.