Most of the suggestions made for medical school applicants are applicable here as well.
- Coursework: The requirements for dental school admission are similar to those for medical school admission. In addition, many dental schools now require a course in biochemistry. Students from any major who have completed these requirements can be admitted. Evidence of manual dexterity is also necessary (ex. playing an instrument, crafting, painting, woodworking, etc.).
- Volunteering and shadowing: HPEC requires that students complete a minimum of 50 volunteer hours and a minimum of 50 shadowing hours (check with the schools to which you are applying to see if they require more.) Shadowing should involve experience in a dental office, dental clinic, or hospital setting working with dental-related specialties.
- Research activities and teaching experience are considered favorably by most dental schools.
- Testing: The Dental Admission Test (DAT) is required. This exam is computer based and you will receive your results immediately. It consists of four sections: Survey of Natural Sciences (Biology, General and Organic Chemistry); Reading Comprehension; Quantitative Reasoning; and Perceptual Ability. This test is sponsored by the American Dental Association. There are many commercially available review books with practice examinations as well as prep courses from Princeton Review and Kaplan available. Most dental schools will not review your application until you take the DAT, so check the application deadlines and make sure you take it well ahead of time, certainly no later than October of the application year. You do NOT need to take the DAT before you submit your application.
- Application: The American Dental Education Association (ADEA) sponsors an application service, the AADSAS, that provides one common application that is then sent to all dental schools to which the student is applying. ADEA GoDental is very helpful and informative. The application is available online around June 1 of each year. APPLY AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE! It takes time for AADSAS to process this application and send it to the dental schools on your list. Early submission puts you at the greatest advantage and provides the best chance to be in an early interview pool. Once the dental school receives the AADSAS application they will review it and may send you a secondary application if you have fulfilled all the requirements for admission. Fill the secondary application out promptly as well. After review of the secondary application, you will be invited for an interview if you are to be considered further. Not all schools require a secondary application. Interviews may begin as early as late August and the first round of acceptance letters are mailed around Dec. 1.
- Suggested Timeline (ADEA)
Opportunity for Delaware Residents
In 2006, the Delaware Institute for Dental Education & Research (DIDER) entered into an agreement with the Maurice H. Kornberg School of Dentistry at Temple University, Philadelphia, PA to reserve a limited number of admissions slots in each entering class for qualified Delaware residents. Eligible applicants for the DIDER program must meet the academic requirements of Temple University and be legal residents of Delaware.
Advice for Future Dentists
The following advice has been primarily provided by UD students who successfully made it to dental school. Upon graduation many reflected that they wished they had known as freshmen what they knew as seniors. They agreed to share their wisdom with future students, so the following thoughts are for you!
Freshman Year (first semester)
- Get off to a good start. Admission to dental school is very competitive. Your overall GPA as well as your science GPA is important.
- Begin taking core (required courses): Calculus, Biology I and II, Chemistry I and II, Organic I and II, Physics I and II, Biochemistry and two English courses. Check individual schools for specific requirements and recommended courses.
- Meet with a health profession advisor in the Center for Health Profession Studies
- Join UD's Pre-dental society (contact the Pre-dental society at email@example.com for more information).
- Get to know your professors. Attend their office hours. Begin thinking about personal references.
- Save everything from the required courses (for the DAT) - this will save you a lot of money when studying for the DAT. Note: physics and biochemistry are not covered on the DAT.
- Get familiar with the ADEA web site.
Freshmen Year (second semester)
Freshman Year (summer)
- Contact a dentist - ask to "shadow" him or her. It is helpful to establish a "shadowing" relationship with a particular dentist, but also shadow a variety of specialists.
- Look into volunteering/shadowing at a dental clinic. Check out the website for the Delaware State Dental Society (DSDS) for a list of dental clinics in Delaware. For clinics in other states, check the website of that state's dental society. Remember, if you choose to go through HPEC, you need 50 hours of shadowing.
- Try to find a job in the dental field.
Sophomore Year (first semester)
- Continue doing well in school (especially your required courses).
- Start asking for recommendations from professors and open your HPEC file at the Center for Health Profession Studies located in 105e Pearson Hall.
Sophomore Year (second semester)
Sophomore Year (summer)
Junior Year (first semester)
- Open up your folder for the HPEC if you have not already done so.
- Continue getting personal references (this is VERY important - do not put this off!).
- Consider taking BISC 422, Teaching Experience
- Refine your personal statement. The Writing Center (016 Memorial Hall and 017 Morris Library) is a good resource and can provide valuable suggestions.
- Start taking upper level courses that dental schools recommend. Consult dental school websites for suggested courses.
- Begin to research dental schools - find out their requirements (some schools require extra courses).
- Continue doing research and/or teaching at the university.
Junior Year (second semester)
- Finish getting personal references.
- Finish and submit your final draft of your personal statement.
- Make sure that your file is complete for the committee.
- Prepare for the interviews with the HPEC (advice: do mock interviews with yourself in the mirror; ask others to interview you - the interview is important so be prepared. The Career Services Center offers mock interviews which they videotape and review with you.
- Upon notification, promptly contact your interviewers to arrange for interview appointments. Dress appropriately for your HPEC interview. Arrive for the interview on time. Write a letter thanking the interviewers for their time.
- Begin studying for the DAT. If you saved the books from your courses you may not need to take an instructive course, but many students find prep courses helpful. Find books that will help you study for the exam such as "Barron's Guide to the DAT." Get familiar with the computer format; get the free computer tutorial. Use a stopwatch and practice under time constraints.
Junior Year (summer)
- Take the DAT - Be sure you are ready. If you are unhappy with your scores, you cannot retake the DAT for 90 days. Make sure that you take it early enough, so if you need to retake it, you can retake it before the application deadlines. (Example: Take it in early June, so you can retake it in September).
- Receive letter from HPEC - (if it isn't what you expected, find out why).
- Fill out the AADSAS application online. ADEA GoDental is very helpful and informative.
- Research dental schools - consider finances, location and reputation. (If you are unsure, you can call the schools and ask them how they scored on Part 2 of the boards - most will tell you). The ADEA site is also very helpful.
- Begin preparing for school interviews (financially as well).
Senior Year (first semester)
- Be persistent in finding out the status of your application - make sure the school received all of the necessary information.
- Fill out the secondary applications. Do this quickly but accurately... be persistent to insure that all the necessary information and fees were received... wait to hear the dates of your interviews.
- Before going on the interviews, study dental school web sites - this is very important in giving you an edge. Find out what the school concentrates on and try to remember some key names.
- Go on the interviews. Be confident that you are prepared. Be ready to discuss your accomplishments. The interview is your chance to see what the school is about. ASK QUESTIONS and find out everything you can about the school. It is especially important to ask the current students questions since they will give you the best perspective of the school.
- Write thank you notes to those who interviewed you. Try to mention something unique from the conversation you had with the interviewer so it sounds more personal.
- Wait to hear their response.
Senior Year (second semester)
- Decide which dental school you will attend
- Fill out your FAFSA AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
- Fill out the necessary paper work, especially financial aid applications.
- Search for scholarships. You might want to try FastWeb, a free scholarship search service.