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How Juniata Helped Me Get into Dental School

Maggie Peck
Maggie Peck ’21 Biology/ Pre-Dentistry POE

When I was in high school, I realized that I wanted to be a dentist. However, I did not have the slightest clue how I was going to get there. The journey to become a dentist involves a variety of steps. Dental schools are competitive, looking for well-rounded, compassionate, insightful candidates. Before you plan to matriculate into dental school, you must take the Dental Admission Test (DAT), score in the competitive range, and apply to schools of interest. If a school likes your application and feels that you are qualified, they will offer you an interview to determine if you are the right ‘fit’ for that particular school. Once admitted, you must complete another 4+ years of schooling in order to become a dentist. Daunting, right? As a high schooler, I was overwhelmed.

At Juniata College, I was fortunate to receive ample guidance which made this process simpler. In my first semester, I met with Dr. Jim Borgardt who was assigned as my academic advisor.  Dr. Borgardt advises all of the pre-dentistry students at Juniata, which means that he knows a lot about the admissions process for dental school. We meet every semester, helping to track my progress and keep me on pace for my goals. He also is an awesome guy who has made my overall experience at Juniata a great one.

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An MBA with a Healthcare Administration Concentration is a Solid “Now” Decision

Juniata Admission

In Pennsylvania, we recently saw Alison Beam succeed Dr. Rachel Levine at the Pennsylvania Health Department. Beam holds a Bachelor of Science in Health Policy and Administration and is just one example of the pathways available to those exploring a healthcare administration career.

The truth is the need for healthcare administration professionals exists across the nation, making it one of the upward trending career decisions in the United States. 

Why all this growth and will it last? 

The complications in healthcare, data, and artificial intelligence to drive decisions and an aging yet long-living population have driven the demands. Add to that all that we have learned during COVID-19, the expectations for growth are expected to continue well past 2030. People with a passion for healthcare administration and the right education are sought out by hospital systems, physician networks, nursing homes, home health agencies, and governmental positions. Consider compliance alone. As national administration changes every 4-8 years, so does the regulatory environment. Healthcare systems rely on administrators to ensure that they remain compliant while driving up quality care. 

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How I learned to ask for help early and often

Jules Slater
Jules Slater ’21, Advocacy Communication POE, Future Mayor of Picklesburgh

One of the best things about academics at Juniata, as many will attest to, is the two-adviser system. Assigned to you upon the start of your freshman year, you’ll have an academic adviser, someone who knows the ins and outs of your POE, as well as a mentor, someone who is there to guide you through your college experience. The pros of the two-adviser system are abundant if you know how to use it.

I believe that I began my first year at Juniata at a disadvantage to many of my peers, simply because I was unaccustomed to asking for help. In high school, I felt like there was a stigma associated with receiving help from teachers. When I began college, I tried to figure things out on my own instead of going to my advisers for help. So for my first two semesters, I relied on myself to schedule my courses, understand my POE requirements, and learn what each requirement meant and how to fulfill it.

It wasn’t until my second year at Juniata, when I decided to change my POE, that I finally admitted to myself that I would need help if I was going to be successful at Juniata.

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My journey through Juniata’s pre-dental program

Madison Wrightstone
Madison Wrightstone ’23

I tend to get one of two reactions whenever I tell people I want to be a dentist. The first being some variation of, “I could never put my hands in someone’s mouth!” or “Mouths are so gross; I have no idea why you would want to do that.” The second is some reference to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Hermey saying “I want to be a dentist.” (shout out to you, Dad). Since the 7th grade, I have had my mind set on being a dentist, and the path Juniata has taken me on is one that continues to turn this goal into a reality.

A unique component of Juniata’s pre-health professions program is specialized advising from summer orientation before your freshman year. As a pre-dental student, I was matched with an adviser who specializes in pre-dental advising, making it easier for my advising sessions to be personalized to me. As a student in health professions, you have an adviser specifically for this, as well as a general adviser outside of your designated POE to help you incorporate a holistic approach into your education and help you include your other passions into your academics. From your first day of classes, you are immediately introduced to the entry-level science courses you will need for professional school. With small class sizes, it is easy to seek out help from your professors in class and build personal relationships with them.

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Inside Washington Seminar in D.C.

This winter, I had the opportunity to live in Washington D.C. for two weeks and participate in a seminar called Inside Washington, through the Washington Center. I lived in a suit-style apartment with three other girls, one was from Juniata and the other two were from Suffolk University in Boston. This was one of the most amazing experiences I have had and one of the most mentally challenging. Not only was I immersed in the politics of D.C. by attending lectures each morning, by speakers like former Senator John Kerry. But I also visited embassies and think-tanks across D.C., while learning about the historic impeachment going on right now.

You might be wondering what life was like living with three strangers and going grocery shopping by ourselves each week…

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