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Steps to get into Dental School

If you think a dental career might be in your future, you can begin taking steps now to make yourself the most competitive applicant possible. Here is a basic overview of the steps you will need to accomplish to get into dental school.

  1. Get your academic life in good shape.

    Dental school acceptance required a strong academic record, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of the running if you’ve made a mistake or two. When you decide to pursue dental school, make a plan right away to ensure you can complete the required prerequisite classes and to bring up your GPA if needed.

  2. Think strategically about your extracurricular activities.

    Participating in extracurriculars you are genuinely interested in not only gives you a break from rigorous predental academics, but shows admissions committees that you’re a well-rounded individual. Think about how your balance of volunteering, shadowing, research, work experience, and other activities shows your dedication to your future career field, as well as your unique interests and individuality as a person.

  3. Prepare for and take the DAT.

    Doing your best on the DAT takes approximately 1.5-2 months of preparation. Do some research to find out which resources are best for you and then make a study plan that is rigorous but not so challenging that you can’t keep up with it.

  4. Ask the appropriate people to write you letters of recommendation.

    The best people to write your LOR’s will vary depending on your circumstances, but they may include two science professors, one non-science professor, and a dentist. How you ask can be as important as who you ask. Make sure you are professional in your communication, provide all the information necessary for the writer to put together a solid recommendation, and follow up appropriately.

  5. Decide where to apply.

    Before you put money and effort into submitting your applications, do your research to make sure you’re applying at the right schools. Every school has it’s own “flavor”; it’s important to make sure you apply to schools were you will be competitive academically, but also where the school’s personality and emphasis fits your own.

  6. Prepare for interviews.

    Make sure you are familiar with each type of interview you may encounter at the dental schools where you plan to apply. Then spend some time making a list of potential questions and planning the main points of your answers. (SDN Interview Feedback can help you with this!)

  7. Update your file if necessary.

    At strategic points throughout the admissions cycle, update schools with information about what you have been doing since completing your application. You can use this as an opportunity to reiterate your interest in their program.

Of course, this is all just scratching the surface of the application process. Our free dental school admissions guide, “How to Get Into Dental School” goes into intricate detail for each of these points and more. View this online or download the PDF now to learn how to become the strongest applicant you can be.

15 thoughts on “Steps to get into Dental School”

  1. Dentistry is one of the best fields to get into to. There will always be a demand for dentist. Because of the things we now consume, we will always have problems with our teeth.

  2. Dentistry is definitely not an advisable career path considering the surplus of dentists already. In the future, dentists will have a very hard time getting jobs. If you want to get into the health profession, study medicine instead and become physician. The salary is better, and you will always be needed.

  3. Dentists do get better pay than general practitioners don’t be fooled… There is nationally a shortage of dentists now as the ratio of dentists retiring each year is significantly larger than the number of graduates from dental schools.. Get your facts straight before you make sily comments

  4. If you really want to make such comments, join a Medical Forum instead kumar/kumai. The US and Canada are short on dentists on a whole, so its an excellent career path for aspiring dentists and dental surgeons. I’m a 1st year dental student and also a registered dental hygienist.. I would know 🙂

    • hey im actually graduating as an rdh this may and i was thinking strongly about dental school how did it go? and wat r the steps to take after hygiene?

    • I’ve been working as a hygienist for 4 years now and I am back at school because I want to pursue dentistry. What steps and advice do you have for me? thanks!

    • @latoya Cud u guide me,on how do i get to do my dds from the Us,i mean is there any specific exam thai i have to give,as a foreign student? I have already done my bachelors in dentustry and am looking forward to do the masters.

  5. dear sir
    i am a p.r in canada and i have completed my degree in veterinary medicine,but i donot like it and want to change my field and study dentistry.i would be grateful if you tel me what shoul i have to do?

  6. I am considering dental school (next year). I did B.S. in Biological Science (2001), certificate in Biotechnology. I was in Research for about 6 years. Then I got my MBA (2010) – working as consultant (part-time). To be honest, I missed science while I was in Business school. That is why I am considering dental school. Where do I start? I need to take Anatomy and Physiology I and II. Do I also need to take organic chemistry? Its been over 12 years since I had Organic Chemistry. And ofcourse I need to study for DAT. Any recommendation on how to study for DAT. Any advice will be helpful.
    Thank you,

    • Hello Shilpa,
      I am in the same place in my career as what you have described. I got my MS in Biotechnology, worked for two years and the got my MBA. I always wanted to be a dental doctor as well but could not develop my career in that direction because of several other constraints. I would really appreciate if I can get in touch with you to learn from your experiences in this direction that may help me kickstart my career in dental as well. If it is OK, could you please let me know your contact number or email?

  7. Hey Latoya,
    My Fiance is a RDH in Toronto, Canada and shes looking to goto dentistry. How did you do go from RDH to DDS? Are there any “direct entry” programs out there?

  8. I’m a high school student and i plan to major in dentistry i was wondering after high school should i look for a 4 year dental college ad apply there or should i look for a college that does pre-dentistry before going to a four year college?

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