Handbook for Foreign Trained Dentists

Excerpt from my upcoming book!

I am a foreign trained dentist based in Seattle. A few years after graduating from dental school in Manipal University, India, I began my 2 year long Advanced Standing DDS program at the University of Washington in 2016. 

University of Washington. Photo by Georg Eiermann on Unsplash

I get asked about my journey as a foreign trained dentist fairly often. There are several resources such as Student Doctor Network, ADEA and school websites that detail the process of applying to US dental schools in a step by step format. What is missing from all of these, however, is students’ personal experiences and specific advice that would give candidates a fighting chance. When I was applying, although I tried contacting everyone I knew for help, I knew I was going in ‘blind’ for my first few interviews.

This is why I am compiling a book about my own experience and that of others colleagues’, detailing for candidates, pitfalls to avoid, and advice in developing a competitive edge. 

Why did it take me three years (or cycles) to get into an American dental school? Is that too long a time or too short? 

I graduated from Manipal University thinking I’m exactly the kind of candidate that most dental schools are looking for. Driven and motivated, I had been President of the Student Council, had hundreds of volunteering hours, received a gold medal in community service and high academic scores. Many successful students I knew at the time had gotten into DDS programs within their first cycle. I assumed it would be the same for me. 

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Naturally introverted, most dentists don’t feel comfortable asking others for help. This is where we fail collectively. Many times it is ego that stops us from addressing our own shortcomings, other times it is lack of knowledge. In my case, it was both.

It wasn’t until a year and a half into the process, that I decided to ask a dear friend for feedback. Up until then, I didn’t even know I needed that feedback.

Think of this book as a friend who is gently prodding you to re-evaluate your application.

Advice in this book has been compiled with the help of several foreign trained dentists like yourself, some of them having been through a string of rejections, and who are now in their dream job/practice/city.

Consider their recommendations as personal feedback and work relentlessly on your shortcomings.

Photo by carolyn christine on Unsplash

This is a book tailored with advice for those applying to a DDS program in the US. Additionally, you will also find information about work opportunities post graduation in the US and Canada.

Before you jump in, just a reminder: you are not alone, you got this. 


  1. Staying true to your why
  2. Becoming the ideal candidate 
  3. School requirements and recommended timeline to follow
  4. Gap year
  5. Bench test preparation
  6. Personal interview
  7. Choosing a school 
  8. Life in school as a FTD
  9. Work opportunities after school
  10.  Residency programs
  11.  Practicing in Canada 
  12. Final words of wisdom
  13. Resources and references

I hope you are as excited in reading this book as I am in publishing it. Stay tuned for more. Questions? Reach out to me!

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