Applying to Dental School
Although the application process is done completely online and usually in late May, there is a lot involved. As an applicant you will only fill out one application at the Associated American Dental Schools Application Service. The site, part of the American Dental Education Association, distributes your application to every school that you want to apply.
Dental schools look for three main things from applicants: Dental Admission Test (DAT) scores, GPA, and community service. A DAT score of 16 signifies average performance on a national basis according to www.kaplan.com.
While applications for undergraduate universities and dental schools are similar, applications for dental school are much more involved.
One big difference is the costs associated with dental applications. In addition to the application, schools often charge a processing fee (approximately $50), and if you are asked for an interview you may have to pay for a plane ticket and hotel room depending on where the school is. Obtaining an interview is different for every program, but most schools look for a DAT no lower than a 17 on the DAT, at least a 3.2 GPA, and as much involvement as you can get.
On average, there are approximately 2,500 applicants per university, and classes aren't large. Depending on the university, anywhere from 45 to 80 students are usually accepted into the dental program. Keep in mind that there are not many dental schools in the U.S., which makes getting into a school very competitive.
Because the acceptance number is so competitive, it's important to stay diligent. Success in rigorous undergrad academics, involvement in your undergrad campus and pre-dental societies, and employment within the dental school or the field itself will only improve your chances.
It's important to set yourself apart from the other thousands of applicants in order to get in to the school of your choice. Working at the dental school or shadowing a dentist, for example, is a good way to get an "in" at a school.
Getting experience in the fieldwill reassure you that this is what you want to do, it shows the dental schools that you are serious about the field, and it shows that you would give your personal time to practice dentistry.
By Natalie Pezzenti, staff writer