CU Interview Experience

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CU Interview Experience

The CU Interview unexpected moments that change your life. For me, this moment came while sleeping in the back seat of a Greyhound bus. I woke up weary and checked my e-mail as always, and there it was. My invitation to interview at the CU School of Dental Medicine. Truly, a dream come true. In my head, my CU interview experience started much before the actual Q&A

Almost the next day after receiving the invite, I began contacting students and faculty at CU. I anticipated the same extent of poor responses I had received from other schools. I was put to surprise But I was proven terribly wrong. Every student I reached out to, ISP and DS, were friendly and helped me in the best way possible. They shared stories and motivated me at every step. Dr. Udhaya Bhasker, CU Class of 2018 gave me the most useful 3 tips for the CU interview day – “Don’t get intimidated by the 79 others interviewing with you, breathe out and stay hydrated” Aren’t these the most important? I remember Samidha Patel, CU Class of 2020’s advice – don’t forget to smile. People smiled a lot at CU, which gave me a very pleasant feeling.  

Honestly, dental school applications can make you bankrupt. Especially for someone like me, who can’t earn in the US and only had funding from friends all the way through applications Luckily, CU had me covered Or should I say the students had me covered? I met the nicest people in this school. Andrew Tyus, CU Class of 2020, and his beautiful wife, Jamie, who offered to have me stay at their house during the interview. They stocked food for me and drove me to school. Is the whole school like this, I wonder?

Our host Dr. Andrew. (Also a dentist from CU)

With CU, it’s not just the students who are supportive, their faculty are truly the most friendly and approachable. Because of my interest in special needs dentistry, I had the chance to connect with Dr. Puranik, Director of the predoctoral pediatric dentistry program at CU via email and met him in person before my interview. Speaking to students at CU, I learned that faculty place a special interest in helping students achieve their goals. My conversation with him was a validation of that. He was very encouraging and discussed various research projects I could embark on when I get accepted into the program.

Fast-forward to the day of my CU interview, it was a beautiful sunny day in Colorado. I dove into a nice crisp suit from Brooks Brothers, groomed myself, and had a scrumptious breakfast at Andrew’s. On arrival I noticed Dr. Towne, the Director of the International Student Program,  standing near the front door welcoming all the interviewees. Her big bright smile was the most pleasant greeting one could get. I was terrified at first overwhelmed by the sea of suits and scrubs, and looks of excitement and anxiety But that feeling passed when I tried relating to every single person in that room “They must all be going through the same thing – nervousness, excitement, happiness”, I assured myself.  

I enjoyed interacting with students from diverse backgrounds They had a delicious spread for breakfast with sandwiches and croissants. I skipped it and thought to instead spend time getting to know these people better. 

One of the things CU followed religiously was ‘Time’. They organized everything meticulously to ensure nothing was delayed even by a minute. Volunteers, working like clockwork, guided us to another building, ED 1 for orientation. Settling down with my 80 fellow mates, I saw a charming young woman on stage. “Good morning!” said Swarada Karmarkar, a student from the ISP Class of 2019, breaking the silence in the huge room. She was a bright, delightful person who shared about Colorado, the school, and her experiences. Marci Colb, the manager of ISP Admissions briefed us on the day’s schedule she explained the day’s events, and made sure we understood by asking questions. Truly classroom style!

I was the first person to be interviewed that day  Nitin Jaggi helped me find my room. It was honestly a bit nerve-wracking to be alone in the quiet waiting room. But I wasn’t there for long. One of my interviewers Kaissey walked out to welcome me and calm me down a bit had four interviewers in total- two faculty and two ISP Students. They were warm people. Probably, the best thing I did was to go into the interview room with just one preparation – to be confident and be myself. 

After my interview, I had the school tour led by Sanskriti Narain, ISP Class of 2020. She was patient and answered all the questions that we had to ask about the school. She also shared her experiences. I was thrilled to see that their clinic is called Miles Markley, named after the person who invented the famous #330 bur. My favorite spot was what the CU family affectionately calls “the meatball”. I had a chance to understand the significance of this massive structure from a dear friend, Mary Eisenstein, the director of development at CUSDM. I think it’s a perfect indication of the school’s mission to achieve excellence. 

After the school tour, a student panel answered questions about life in dental school, managing stress, future prospects, and student loans. This session was very informative and gave first-hand information on everything about the school and student life at CU. 

cu campus
CU campus from the outside.

Following this, we had Sirisha Mahesh, ISP Class of 2019 take photographs of each of us. We were then given a questionnaire with 5-6 questions, mostly personal. It challenged us to organize our thoughts and to express them within 4-5 sentences. The questions make me introspect and think about things I have experienced but never had the chance to talk about. 

After a packed first half, we broke for a delicious lunch. I treated myself to salad and sandwiches. Networking, this time around, I had the chance to meet some interesting personalities and listen to inspiring stories. 

Yes, you guessed it. We were back to the drill when I came to the bench exam. I was pumped. CU students guided me to the room and helped set up my station. Honestly, it was a bit intimidating to be working in a room filled with 40 students, literally drilling their way into school. The only thing that helped me stay focused was to direct my concentration on my patient Joe (the manikin), my hand, and my instrument. Oh! And to breathe. The proctors and Dr. Towne were always around and made sure we were comfortable. The day ended with an informative lecture on financial aid for dental school. I used this time to question and sufficiently learn and add to the research I had done about student loans. 

End of the day drained, I headed out with a couple of other interviewees for coffee and treated myself to a nice chocolate milkshake! We shared our experiences and had a good laugh. I pretty much slept all evening thereafter.

I stayed a day longer after the interview to explore the city. I went trekking at Garden of the Gods. Colorado gripped me with its fascinating mountains and lakes. I swam in the beautiful Quail Lake letting the water take away all my stress. I spent the evening in Denver downtown walking the streets, taking the free mall ride, visiting the Union station and had ice cream from the famous Little Man Ice cream shop. A day is definitely not enough to explore this beautiful state. 

Exam was good but the electric hand piece was little slow and took a lot of time for prepping the tooth. It was a class 2 prep on tooth number 14 and FGC gold prep on tooth no 30. My advice to others would be that the hand piece was slow and its speed was 40,000 rpm. What we practice at home is 1,20,000rpm. That makes a lot of difference. Try practicing at 40,000rpm would help us at the exam. The cheeks are flexible but try finishing the prep at least 5 mins before time. So that you can clean the debris and make your preps neat and clean. Immediately stop after the time is up. If you still try working even after the time is up , the proctors gets annoyed and they make a note.
CU Bench Attendee, 2024 (2023 Cycle)