Getting Accepted to Dentistry School
Involve yourself in activities which will improve your nonacademic credentials:
- Do volunteer and/or paid work at a health facility.
- Participate in an externship program.
- Participate in campus activities (e.g., Student Association Association, sports, clubs, etc.).
- Participate in community activities (e.g., volunteer work).
- Participate in church activities
Involve yourself in activities which will improve your academic credentials:
- Participate in undergraduate research and/or independent studies, especially those leading to a scholarly publication.
- Participate in the honors program.
- Enroll in writing-intensive courses to improve your communication skills.
Don't give up too easily if you are not admitted the first time you apply to dental school. Recognize any academic or nonacademic deficiencies brought to light by your application and take steps to correct them. Make realistic contingency plans. Keep the doors open to do any additional graduate or undergraduate work needed to improved your qualifications for admission.
Admissions test required
All U.S. schools use the DAT (Dental Admission Test). Canadian schools use the Canadian DAT. The testing program is designed to measure general academic ability, comprehension of scientific information, and perceptual ability. While all dental schools require examinees to participate in the DAT Program, test results are only one factor considered in evaluating the admission potential of an examinee. Validity studies conducted by the testing program have shown that test scores in conjunction with collegiate records are useful in predicting performance in dental school. The relative importance of these predictors in the admission process is determined by the dental school.
The DAT includes sections covering the following subject material:
|SUBJECT||NUMBER OF QUESTIONS||TIME IN MINUTES|
|Survey of Natural Sciences||100||90|
|Perceptual Ability Test||90||60|
|Reading Comprehension Test||50||60|
|Quantitative Reasoning Test||40||45|
The Survey of Natural Sciences includes subsections of biology (40 questions), general chemistry (30 questions) and organic chemistry (30 questions). The Perceptual Ability Test includes "angle discrimination, form development, cubes, orthographic projections, apertures, and paper folding." Each section or subsection of the DAT is scored on a 1-30 scale, with 15 signifying an "average" score. Scores from the biology, general chemistry and organic chemistry sections are combined for a Total Science Score. All section/subsection scores are averaged to get an Academic Average. For more information on the DAT contact The Department of Testing Services, American Dental Association, 211 E. Chicago Ave., Ste. 1846, Chicago, IL, 60611-2678, 1-312-440-2689.
Academic Average DAT scores of 17 or better are typical of successful applicants.
Typical dental school admission fees
Length of time to obtain degree
Four years for D.D.S. plus 12-24 months more for any of the nine specialties and general dentistry: endodontists (diagnose and treat diseases and injuries of the dental pulp and other dental tissues), oral and maxillofacial surgeons (treat diseases, injuries and defects in the head, neck, face, jaws, and associated structures), oral pathologists (study causes, processes, and effects of diseases of the mouth), orthodontists (treat problems of crooked teeth, missing teeth, and other abnormalities), pediatric dentists (specialists in treating children from birth to adolescence), periodontists (treat diseases of the gums and bone supporting teeth), prosthodontists (replace missing teeth with dentures, bridges, implants, etc.), and public health dentists (prevent and control dental disease through organized community efforts).