Hi! I am interested in bio-dental programs (7-year BA/BS-DDS/DMD) programs, what are the medical related activities that I can do as a high schooler to help gain admission into these programs and to further my interest in dentistry? Are there any dental based research internships for high schoolers to attend? Also, I am interested in volunteering at the hospital (after covid), and regardless of whether it helps or hurts my apps, I will do it. Would hospital volunteering hurt or help my bio-dental apps? Thanks!
Finding dental-specific extracurriculars as a high school student will likely be difficult. You can absolutely try to shadow a dentist, but it's unlikely that labs will take high schoolers for a research internship. You can still certainly try to ask around though, especially if you or your family have connections. Many dental schools have high school programs, but they may be pricey. If they're not within your budget, see if they offer financial aid, or see if there are any cheaper opportunities offered by your nearest dental society. Here's a page that might help: https://www.ada.org/en/education-careers/careers-in-dentistry/be-a-dentist/high-school-and-college-students
In terms of general health-related ECs, you might find this article helpful: https://blog.collegevine.com/extracurriculars-for-the-prospective-bsmd-student/
This article also recommends improving your fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, through activities like woodworking or playing an instrument: https://dentistry.uic.edu/blog/how-high-school-students-can-prepare-dental-school-now
Hospital volunteering is a good idea, as it will better expose you to the healthcare field. Colleges understand that dental-specific opportunities are limited for high school students, so if you can't find any beyond shadowing, general healthcare-related ECs are the next best thing.
Hope this helps, and good luck!
Hi! I am also interested in applying to programs similar to the ones you mentioned (except they're BS/MD or BS/DO) and am a rising junior.
Frankly, I don't see how hospital volunteering can hurt your application. I believe that it would only boost it, as you would gain skills relating to communicating with Healthcare Providers and Patients. While on the topic of interacting with Healthcare Providers, be sure to reach out to a local Dentist (maybe even yours!) to establish a relationship with them, and ultimately ask if they would be willing to have you shadow them. This is extremely important, as it would give you a chance to see if you are fully committed to dentistry. There's also a possibility that you could volunteer at this Dentist's clinic if they end up having opportunities!
As for programs that you could participate in, check with your local university's School of Dentistry to see if they have programs. Here in Seattle, the UW School of Dentistry has a Health Scholars program that is open for High Schoolers to apply and takes place throughout the school year. I apologize for not knowing of any programs that are open to students from anywhere in the US, but I'm sure if you search deep within Google, you could find a few!
If you're interested, consider reaching out to Public Health Specialists/Epidemiologists (that research dental-related topics) or Dentist-Researchers (perhaps those with DDS/PhD or DMD/PhD degrees) to inquire about assisting in their lab or programs. Make sure to read through and try to understand their publications before you reach out, so you can have an idea of what their research interests are. Lastly, keep in mind that you might be able to register and complete a Dental Assistant training program at a Community College, and possibly get a job as a Dental Assistant at a local clinic if you're 16+.
Hope this helped. Best of luck with your future endeavors! Feel free to respond to this answer if you have questions.