Frequently Asked Questions—Dental
- Which courses are required to enter a dental program?
Admissions requirements to the dental schools vary by school. It is important for pre-denal students to be aware of the specific requirements of the schools to which they apply. For more information, please go here.
To review program-specific requirements, please research your programs of interest at www.adea.org/publications/Pages/OfficialGuide.aspx.
- What is the typical profile of a successful dental program candidate?
"Schools seek to select applicants exhibiting evidence of high intellectual competence, demonstrated knowledge and interest in the profession, cultural sensitivity, and personal traits to relate compassionately to patients. Communication skills, leadership ability, good character, motivation, and knowledge of the field of dentistry are all evaluated by admissions committees.
The strength of academic preparation, as demonstrated by courses completed, grades earned, and DAT scores are important factors in admissions decisions. However, there are other factors. Many committees encourage the holistic review of applicants, considering factors such as challenges faced in pursuing a college education, improved performance, and successfully balancing academics, work, and extracurricular activities.
The best reference about dental school programs of study is the ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools, which is updated annually and provides descriptive information and statistics from each of the U.S. and Canadian dental schools.(National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions, 2013)
According to the guide, the total mean GPA for the class entering dental school in the fall of 2012 ranged from 3.20 to 3.9. The total mean science GPA for the same class ranged from 3.11 to 4.0. The mean DAT scores ranged from 17 to 23.2 (academic average, or AA) and 17.9 to 22.2 (perceptual ability test, or PAT).
*The academic average is the average of five scores rounded to the nearest whole number: quantitative reasoning, reading comprehension, biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry.
- When should I apply?
Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply early. The ADEA AADSAS application becomes available around June 1, for admission to the class starting in September of the following year. Dental schools begin receiving applications in late June, and generally begin interviews in August and September. Dental schools begin sending offers of acceptance starting December 1 and continue into July or up to two weeks before the start of dental school classes. (National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions, 2013)
- What does ADEA and AADSAS mean?
ADEA is the American Dental Education Association.
AADSAS is the Associated American Dental Schools Application Service, the centralized application service for most U.S. dental schools. ADEA AADSAS simplifies the application process by allowing applicants to complete one standardized application, rather than filling out multiple applications.
- Which resources can I review to prepare for the application process?
The ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools answers virtually every question about dentistry and the dental school admission process. More information can be found at www.adea.org/publications/Pages/OfficialGuide.aspx.
- Who can I talk to about my interest in becoming a dentist?
Please consult your HPAC advisor. If you would like to be assigned an HPAC advisor, please contact Tracy Broderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kim Marsella, director of academic advising, at email@example.com.
In addition, you may want to consider joining the Pre-Health Club or making an appointment with Shannon Rodriguez in the Career Development Center by calling 518-580-5790 or stopping by their office in Starbuck, second floor.