Becoming a Competitive Applicant for Dental School Part II

Becoming a Competitive Applicant for Dental School Part II

Part II. Grades and DAT Scores Getting a High Pre-dental GPA: Getting a high pre-dental GPA is not as challenging as it seems if you plan your courses appropriately. Whether you are an undergraduate or you have returned to school to pursue dentistry, consider planning your coursework early on. This means having a general idea of what courses you are going to take and when you are going to take each course. It is very important to be realistic in this process. Students sometimes get ambitious and take three or four challenging science courses in one quarter/semester, which can be overwhelming. We suggest you balance difficult courses with less challenging ones and take a combination of science and non-science courses together. Thinking about scientific concepts requires using a different part of your brain than thinking about the humanities. When you combine different types of courses, you are not just putting pressure on one part of your brain. We always encourage students to talk to upperclassmen and seek their advice about what combination of courses they recommend. Having said that, you also want to demonstrate to dental schools that you can handle multiple challenging courses at the same time so taking too many easy courses at once is also a bad idea. You can start with a lighter load earlier in your education and gradually take heavier courses to the extent that you are comfortable. Remember it is best to have a high GPA with a balanced load as opposed to a low GPA with a heavy course load. When you are choosing a major for your undergraduate studies, make...
Becoming a Competitive Applicant for Dental School Part I

Becoming a Competitive Applicant for Dental School Part I

Dental school admissions committees take the time to carefully review the many different elements of each dental school application.  If you know what dental schools are specifically looking for when they review applications, you can better prepare yourself during your pre-dental career.  Knowing why dental schools care about the things they care about is also helpful. Part I.  What do dental schools want in an applicant and why? In this section, we review what dental schools are looking for in applicants and why. This is not a list of dental school admissions requirements, but a list of the achievements that make an applicant competitive for dental school. In the following sections, we will review how you can become a competitive applicant for dental school by covering all the listed areas. 1) Grade Point Average (GPA):  Dental School is academically challenging and admissions committees want to know that you are capable of handling the rigorous coursework. A good undergraduate GPA is absolutely essential to proving that you are capable of academically succeeding in dental school. 2) Dental Admission Test Scores (DAT): Like the GPA, dental schools use the DAT score to determine an applicant’s ability to excel in the dental school coursework and to succeed on the dental boards.  The DAT is the great equalizer because it shows not just how you performed compared to students who went to the same college as you, but compared to all dental school applicants. For the majority of dental schools, different levels of emphasis are placed different sections of the DAT.  We have listed the general trend from most important score to least...