The Path to Dentistry
According to the American Dental Association, "dentists give patients smiles they are proud to wear by helping people maintain and improve their oral health, quality of life, and appearance." Admission to dental school is competitive, and dental schools review a candidate’s eligibility on multiple factors such as GPA, DAT (Dental Admission Test) scores, and service and volunteer experience. Pre-Dent is considered an area of interest, in addition to your chosen major. Dental schools accept a variety of majors, as long as a student fulfills all requirements for admission.
If you intend to apply to a public dental school in Texas, you may want to look at the statistics for the 2018-2019 entering class. According to the Texas Medical & Dental Schools Application Service (TMDSAS), the average applicant had a GPA of 3.46 (3.32 Science and Math GPA), while the average matriculated student had an average GPA of 3.68 (3.59 Science and Math GPA).
For students looking to apply outside of Texas, they should contact individual dental schools for specific prerequisite information.
Coursework requirements recommended by American Dental Association (ADA) include:
- A year of general chemistry with laboratory
- A year of organic chemistry with laboratory
- A year of biology with laboratory
- A year of physics with laboratory
- A year of English
- A year of calculus or other advanced math classes, including statistics
Service & Volunteerism
Dentists and other health care professionals are expected to perform community service while in school. The Pre-Health Professions Office can assist you in researching service and volunteer opportunities; following are a few local opportunities.
What Is the DAT and When Should I Take It?
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), the DAT (Dental Admission Test) is designed to measure the following areas:
- Natural Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Organic Chemistry)
- Perceptual Ability
- Reading Comprehension
- Quantitative Reasoning
Typically, students take the DAT in the spring of their junior year so their scores are submitted in time for the opening date for dental school applications. It is recommended that students review the content of the exam and take some form of DAT prep course the semester leading up to the actual exam. Never take the DAT for practice. The DAT is administered year round at test centers operated by Prometric Inc. For further information on the DAT, visit the ADA.