Getting into dental school is a competitive process. Use this timeline to plan your undergraduate years. If you aren't already an ASDA predental member, join today. Your involvement will give you exposure to important dental issues through ASDA communications and give you something to talk about when you meet with dental school admissions. ASDA membership also introduces you to dental students from across the country who are happy to answer questions you may have about their school or life as a dental student.
Ongoing Activities During Undergraduate Studies
- Shadow practicing dentists and record hours. Be sure to visit a variety of practice models.
- Participate in campus activities (quality is more important than quantity).
- Maintain your ASDA membership — try to attend chapter events to learn about dentistry and meet dental students nationwide.
- Build relationships with professors and pre-health advisors.
- Draft your personal statement about why you want to be a dentist.
- Speak with admissions committees to gauge your chances at acceptance.
- Think of dental schools you want to attend and visit their websites often. Schedule site visits (some even offer predental student tours). Explore the city around the school.
- Practice mock interviews with professors, pre-health advisors, dentists and dental students before your dental school admission interviews.
- Search for volunteer positions or research opportunities. Apply for leadership positions at ASDA or local or state clubs.
- Meet with pre-health or predental advisor to identify future classes that will keep you on track with dental school requirements. It is important to build a good relationship with a pre-health advisor since many schools prefer committee letters in place of individual letters of recommendation. To find a pre-health advisor, go to www.naahp.org. If you are interested in admission requirements of a specific school, visit the school website and find admission requirements page.
- Participate in a simulation course. Contact a dental school near you to find out complete details. Most sim courses contain:
- Developing hand skills using dental instruments and high-speed handpieces
- Modeling teeth to proper form and function using wax
- Restorative cavity preparations with amalgam and/or composites
- Taking impressions of typodonts
- Participating in discussions and presentations with current dental students and school faculty/staff.
- General chemistry 1 and 2
- General chemistry lab 1 and 2
- Pre-calculus and calculus
- Biology 1 (possibly second semester)
- Biology 1 and 2
- Organic chemistry 1 and 2
- Organic chemistry lab 1 and 2
- English 1 year requirement if not complete
- Possibly biochemistry (not on DAT but some schools require biochemistry)
- Possibly an anatomy and physiology class
- If taking the DAT sophomore year:
- Participate in a test preparation class or self-study during the spring of your sophomore year. Consider taking Kaplan’s DAT preparatory classes and get 10 percent off as an ASDA member.
- Schedule the test near the end of year when required classes (chemistry, biology and organic chemistry) are fresh on your mind.
- Shadow a general dentist.
- Physics (not on DAT but required for dental school)
- If you are interested in any specific schools, check their individual requirements.
- Other upper level biology electives
- Make an appointment with pre-health or predental advisor to ensure you are on track.
- Take the DAT.
- Start asking professors to write letters of recommendation. If your college does not write committee letters from the pre-professional committee, most dental schools will request letters from science faculty and/or a dentist you’ve shadowed.
- Fill out AADSAS application online at www.ADEA.org. (All U.S. Dental Schools accept the AADSAS application.)
- Required materials:
- Copy of all college transcripts from all institutions attended
- DAT scores and SAT/ACT scores
- AADSAS Letter of Evaluation Matching Form
- Personal statement
- Apply to dental school early. Many schools start to interview candidates in August and September and begin to extend offers of admission around Dec. 1.
- The AADSAS application generally opens at the beginning of June. The sooner you complete the application, the better your chances of being seriously considered for interviews.
- Complete major classes and dental school requirements if you have not already. Continuing to take upper lever science courses will look favorably and may better prepare you for the first year of dental school.
- Some schools also look favorably on business and psychology classes. Others actually require them as a prerequisite to dental school.
- Complete dental school applications (and supplemental applications)
- Interview at your top choice dental school
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