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Advice For Applying To Dental School
Application Advice
Dental Application Info & FAQ
DAT Information & FAQ
Secondary Application Info
Dentistry as a Career
Life in Dental School
Dental School Interview
Dental School Statistics
Paying For Dental School
Dental Licensing Exam Information
NBDE Part I Information
NBDE Part II Information

Applying to Dental School can be quite an intimidating and challenging process. Most pre-dental students have many questions that they are unable to get answered through their undergraduate pre-dental / pre-med advisors. This page seeks to answer any questions you may have regarding the DAT, the application process and dental school in general, as well as to provide some advice on improving your chance of admission.

My Dental School Application Advice

Dental school is becoming more and more competitive as many former pre-med students become interested in dentistry as they realize dentists on average make more money, work less hours, do not have as much trouble with insurance companies, and own their own practices. To stay up with the competition and improve your chances of getting accepted, the first obvious recommendation is to keep your GPA up and score well on the DAT. These are the two most important pieces of your application. If you struggled in college for your first year or two, that's okay. Just make sure to get strong GPAs toward the end of your college career, especially in your sciences, and dental schools will take into account your improvement. Shoot for a GPA of at least a 3.3, but a 3.5 or above is obviously preferable.

The DAT is something that can really help you if it's too late to make a significant improvement in your GPA. Do what it takes to study for the DAT and score in the 20's. This will not completely make up for a low GPA, but it will certainly improve your chances. Take the Kaplan course and buy the Top Score Pro CD ROM from scholarware and study. This will significanly improve your chances of scoring well on this test.

If your GPA is significantly below 3.3 and your DAT is less than average, you may want to consider taking additional science courses or pursuing a master's degree. Doing well during an extra year of science courses will help bring up your GPA and will also demonstrate to admissions committees that you can succeed in the sciences despite any past poor performances.

Maybe the most important piece of advice is to Apply Early. The application becomes available in the middle of May a full year and a few months before school starts. Start on this application as soon as you can and submit by the end of June or July if you are able to. The deadline for applying for your top schools might not be until January or later, but the application is a rolling admission, so if you apply in December, by the time your application gets reviewed, there might only be a handful of seats left in the class. Keep in mind that AADSAS takes 4 to 8 weeks to process and then send out your application. If you're a 4.0 / 25 DAT person, well then maybe you don't need to worry, but for everyone else, get your application in asap.

Also, I would recommend applying to a minimum of five schools, but applying to 8 to 10 is advisable. You never know why your top school might reject you, so you want to have several options. Plus, if you get several interviews, it will give you a chance to compare schools to see what you like best and what exactly you are looking for in a school.

Dental School

Speaking of interviews, this is not just about the school seeing if you're the right fit for them. This is also a chance for you to see if that dental school is right for you. Ask questions of your interviewers and any current students. Does the school have the latest technology and equipment? Do the students seem generally happy? Are there fun things to do outside of the dental school? Also, for your interview you want to dress and act professionally. Show up early in your best clothes and be prepared with answers to why you are interested in dentistry, why that particular school, and what are your strengths and weaknesses (do not say you don't have any weaknesses!). This is your one chance to talk to admissions staff face to face so be at your best. But also remember to relax and don't be too tense.

Leading up to the application process, make sure you get in some dental related experiences. Ask your dentist if you can shadow him or her for a few days. See if you can shadow a few different dentists and a specialist or two so you can get a good idea about what a dentist does and how different types of practices operate. Dental schools like to know you have taken the time to really investigate the profession. It shows that you understand what dentistry is and that you truly are interested in the dental profession.

If you have extra time, make sure you are involved in some clubs, sports teams, or organizations. Or better yet, do some volunteer work and community service. As a dentist you need to have social skills, leadership abilities, and a sense of compasion for others. Your extracurriculars are one area that dental school admissions committees look to determine if you have these traits.

Best of luck and let me know if you have any specific questions about the application process, dental school in general, or any of the books or resources posted on this site.

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