David Comstock has wanted to be a dentist since he got braces in high school.
“I love being creative and working with my hands. When I started wearing braces in high school, I began realizing that orthodontics is really using creative engineering to perfect one’s smile.” explains Comstock. “The field did wonders for me personally, and I am continually fascinated by what dentistry can do for one’s life, physically and emotionally.”
He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Franklin College in 2015, but he made the decision to attend IUPUI for a pre-professional non-thesis (PPNT) Master’s Degree in Biology to help him make his applications to dental school that much more competitive.
“I wanted to bolster my application for the highly competitive admission to dental schools. An accelerated pre-professional master’s program could show dental schools I am prepared for the rigors of professional school,” says Comstock.
The pre-professional non-thesis biology M.S. degree at IUPUI is an intensive one-year program that prepares students for the rigors of professional school. Students complete the program with a better understanding of biological sciences, and upon graduation, our alumni enter programs in dental, medical, physical therapy and pharmacy school.
“The PPNT program expanded my knowledge of biological sciences and truly honed my studying habits and study skills. Those two aspects of the program specifically prepared me for entering dental school and shortened my adjustment/transition period from undergraduate studies to professional school,” explains Comstock.
Comstock believe the program is a great stepping-stone between undergraduate studies and professional school, and he credits the program with helping him excel at evidence-based learning, a necessity in dental school.
“The courses strongly emphasize and test your understanding of scholarly papers and literature, past and present. It makes total sense looking back now, as professional schools and careers revolve around evidence-based learning and decision making, but it was fairly new territory for me entering the master’s program,” says Comstock.
While at IUPUI, he was introduced to the dental school at Tufts University. The associate dean for admissions at Tufts visited campus several times to speak about the program. After learning more, Comstock felt it’d be the best fit for him.
“Tufts is a phenomenal dental institution and was on my radar. Dr. Robert Kasberg, currently a dean at Tufts Dental and strong advocate for the PPNT program, really helped put Tufts on my map,” says Comstock.
He completed the PPNT master’s program in 2016 and has since also graduated from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. He returned to IUPUI this year to begin his residency in orthodontics at the IU School of Dentistry. He encourages any student thinking about the pre-professional master’s program to think of it like work.
“Treat your master’s degree like a full-time job, and then work overtime,” says Comstock. “You will thank yourself for how prepared you will be entering your future professional program.”