Pre-Dental Program

Preparing for study after EMU

It’s harder than ever to get into dental school these days. To be a competitive applicant, note the following tips – successful applicants will complete all or most of them!

  • Complete the required science courses. It’s easiest to do this with a a biology or biochemistry major, but any undergraduate major is acceptable for dental school.
  • Follow the required course list for pre-medical students, and take biochemistry as an elective. If you earn a C grade or lower in any required science course, you must take it over for a B+ or higher, the second time. A science GPA of 3.25 is competitive; if your science GPA falls below 3.0 you should re-take some of the courses that have grades less than a B.
  • Take the DAT (Dental Admissions Test) at the end of the junior year or when you complete these courses: General Chemistry I & II, Organic Chemistry I & II, two Mathematics courses, and the first four Biology courses.
    • Register for the test on-line
    • DAT exams are administered at approved testing centers. Seven are located in Virginia; the nearest are in Roanoke and Lynchburg.
    • DAT scores are typically valid for three years.
    • A competitive score averages about 19; if any section is lower than 17, you should plan to strengthen that area via additional coursework and then re-take the DAT.
  • Get involved in dentistry on some level, maybe by shadowing a dentist, volunteering at a clinic, or working at a dental clinic. Maybe do more than one. The experience(s) should reinforce the notion that you find dentistry exciting. Set up an Excel sheet to accurately track the time you spent in dentistry clinical activities.
  • Be active in your community. Get out there and gain experience working with people of all ages and backgrounds. These experiences do not need to be “dental-related”. Document your time and specific experiences.
  • Try out extra-curricular activities – it’s important and dental schools notice what you do in your spare time. Your extra-curricular activities indicate your broader interests and experiences. EMU offers many clubs and organizations for students.

Other information

The American Dental Education Association will take you through all of the things you need to do for the application process. Everyone applies through AADSA so you must do this. The registration opens up on May 15, but it is a good idea to look at the site ahead of time because they give you a list of things you can be collecting for the application (writing a personal statement, references, and transcripts). You want to apply as early as possible.

DentalSite.com lists all of the dental schools in the US and provides a link to each. From there, you can explore all the dental schools have to offer and what they expect of their dental applicants.