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Joon Park
Joon Park

UMBC Program: Post-baccalaureate
Current Institution: University of Maryland School of Dentistry
Anticipated Completion Date: 2012


I didn’t have a basic science background before starting my post-baccalaureate work at UMBC. In fact, I was an information systems graduate and had been working in IT consulting and computer programming before deciding to apply to dental school. When I came back to UMBC to begin my prerequisite courses, I was nervous but soon found that the instructors were very committed to teaching and their first concern was the student’s understanding of the material. Working in the biology and chemistry tutoring center also helped my studies because teaching is the best way to learn. As a result, the first year of dental school went smoothly for me because of the preparation I received at UMBC. I was able to confidently and scientifically explain my reasoning and stand strong during many discussion sessions.


The application process for dental school is very involved and Ms. Roelke and the Advising Office were very efficient in organizing the information and helping me stay on track. I received personalized advising and always felt up to date through the information I received during seminars and one-on-one meetings. I couldn’t have done it without Ms. Roelke.


It’s important to form connections with the many different people you encounter on campus. UMBC has great professors. Seek their advice whenever you can—whether for helping with coursework or when the time comes to request research opportunities and recommendations. It’s also very important to find ways to stay healthy and live a balanced life. Exercise boosts brain RPM and an active social life teaches you how to get along with many different people. Along with making the experience more enjoyable, admissions committees at professional schools also take note of applicants who are well-rounded. My advice is to work hard, play hard, be your best, and stay humble.


The dental school experience is neither short nor smooth. If you like an active workplace, building long-term, meaningful relationships, studying science, and working with your hands, then it may be a perfect fit. If you can’t imagine yourself working in the field with happiness and joy for the rest of your life, then take a few steps back and reassess. But, if you are up for the challenge, go for it!

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