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The Requirements to get into Dental School

Updated on August 5, 2016
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Following my last article, I mentioned writing down categories that are required in order to apply to dental school. This list should include prerequisites, DAT scores, shadowing and a four year degree. These are the bare bones of what is needed to be able to apply to dental schools.

Let's first take a look at the prerequisites. You may be asking yourself prerequisites? Prerequisites are classes that are required by all dental schools. Now each dental school varies a little bit on which classes are required. The vast majority will require these classes at minimum: 2 semesters of English, 2 semesters of general chemistry with the lab, 2 semesters of organic chemistry with the lab, 2 semesters of biology with the lab, and 2 semesters of general physics. with the lab. In addition to these they may also require classes such as histology, anatomy and physiology, biochemistry, and psychology. The point of having these classes required is to ensure that the applicant has an understanding in the basic sciences and would be able to handle a full course load.

The next step after having the prerequisites complete is to take the DAT. Understanding that the DAT is a standardize test to be able to evaluate applicants on a more even playing field. Therefore it is very important to do very well on this exam because it carries a lot of weight when comparing you to other applicants. This is an five hour exam which is broken up into four sections including, the natural sciences, perceptual ability, reading comprehension, quantitative reasoning. I will be doing another article that goes into depth on how to prepare for the DAT. If your interested in that please leave a comment. Those prerequisites that we mentioned earlier will definitely help prepare you for this exam as well.

The next category which is required by dental schools is shadowing. I mentioned this in my earlier blog that going to a dental office and observing the dentist is a great way to see if this is truly what you want to do with your life. This is exactly why schools require you to do some amount of hours shadowing. The schools want to make sure you know what your getting yourself into and that you have been exposed to the dental field. This a very simple way to make yourself standout from the other applicants by recording as many hours as you can. This not only shows that your interest in the dental field, but also show dedication to learning more about dentistry.

Finally, many if not all dental schools require some sort of four year degree from a college or university. There are other ways around this such as getting into a 3+4 program. A program like this would allow you to do 3 years in undergraduate school and then move right on into 4 years of dental school. So technically you would be matriculating with out a four year degree earned at that time, but you would eventually earn it after a year of being in dental school. Certain college and university have programs like this linked with their affiliating dental school. To find out more information about this check out the schools website or see the pre-health advisor for more information. If you have any questions, I would be happy to answer them. Just leave a comment and I will get back to you. Stay tuned in my next blog I will explain how you can become an even more competitive applicant and make yourself standout from the others.


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