One of my biggest reasons for choosing King’s, which I highlighted in my first blog, was the immense amount of opportunities we as dental students can take part in.
There are many unique, opportunities available to you at King’s. I have broken down some of the opportunities to discuss some of the things that you are able to do:
- Societies: both dental related and broader societies
- Academia: electives, conferences and international workshops
- Research opportunities
As a dental student, you are considered an “ipso facto” member of the KCL Dental Society, one of the oldest and most historic dental societies in the world dating back to 1894. The Dental Society runs a wide array of extracurriculars including:
- Aesthetics Masterclasses using advanced materials
- Evening lecture series on clinical topics to business
- The magnificent BDS3 Halfway Ball and BDS5 Graduation Balls
- Socials, including the largest dental boat party in Europe and fancy-dress party.
These events are all organised by an executive committee, which I have been part of for the last two years. The events are a great way to improve skills, learn and of course have fun with your friends!
Another society we have in the faculty is KCL Smile Society. The Smile Society hold workshops within the local community where volunteers (dental students!) give up their time to teach children in Key Stage 1-3 good oral health. All dental students can join and volunteer.
We also have a vast array of societies outside the faculty, which are part of KCLSU. You can get involved in sports clubs, media, volunteering, fundraising and other wellbeing activities. Last year, King’s was able to fundraise over £85,000 for charity! KCLSU also offer the opportunity to volunteer a project of your choice, which you can receive funding for. With these opportunities lets you develop new skills and meet new, like-minded people. The Student’s Union also runs a vast array of events throughout the year to help you relax and enjoy student life.
Many students are interested to hear about ‘electives’. Electives are part of the dental curriculum, normally undertaken at the end of Year 4 over summer, where you observe dentistry in a different setting. They must be a minimum of 7 days. Many students opt to experience dentistry in a different social and cultural environment, so may travel abroad. They can be a great way to experience how different dental systems work, or to focus on an aspect of dentistry which you may find particularly interesting.
Lauren, a BDS5 student, previously wrote a blog on electives which includes an interview with a student who had recently been on an elective. Additionally, to push yourself academically, some students enjoy attending conferences. The British Dental Student Association hosts two events yearly for all dental students in the UK, one being the dental conference. The location changes annually. This year, Birmingham hosted the event and next year Barts’ and the London will be hosting. The event welcomes national and international speakers who are often top in the field, and lots of networking opportunity. King’s in the past has always sent the largest cohort of students to these events.
Being in London comes with the benefit of having the opportunity to attend conferences and workshops. In the past, King’s has hosted the ADEE/ADEA conference which discusses dental education between key expert leaders. King’s also hosts its annual Dental Alumni Weekend. Often at these events, students volunteer and can benefit from listening to some of the talks. Some students have also had the opportunity to present some of their research!
There are three main ways which dental students get involved in research:
- Intercalated BSc – around year 3, you have the option to take a year out to pursue an intercalated BSc programme. his may contain a research component.
- King’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship – the opportunity over summer to learn alongside academics in a paid internship and research a title. Students may have the opportunity to present their findings which they have contributed towards.
- King’s Dental Research Society – a society within the faculty which organises Journal Clubs to collaborative undergraduate research events
I would like to end on saying good luck to all those who have/will be sitting their exams! And, as always, if you have any questions please feel free to ask myself on UniBuddy, follow our offer holder Instagram Page