Line for Dental School
Pre-dental requirements for the
majority of dental schools can be satisfied at SLU. For additional
information on planning your pre-dental curriculum, please refer
to the SLU student handbook for your entering year or see a DOA
officer. Applicants with a college degree often have the best
chance of getting into dental school, but it is possible to be
accepted after three years of undergraduate work. Choosing a Major.
Any major at the University is acceptable, as long as the above
requirements are fulfilled. There is no required or preferred
Back to Top
The dental school application
process begins in the summer of the year preceding the one in
which you wish to enrol in dental school.Most dental schools participate
in the American
Dental Education Association Application Service
(AADSAS). This service allows students to submit a single application
and college transcripts to AADSAS. This service will collect and
collate data, compute grade point averages, and transmit standardised
applications to the schools to which you wish to apply.The complete
AADSAS application consists of an application booklet, an official
transcript of grades from each college you've attended,and a processing
fee. At the time you send your AADSAS application, you may be
required to submit additional information directly to the AADSAS
schools you have designated on your application. Additional materials
may include a photograph, additional biographical data, or an
additional fee. Your original AADSAS application will contain
an Information Booklet that lists each school and its application
requirements, including additional materials requested.
Request cards for the AADSAS
can be obtained at the Career Center; or by writing to AADSAS,
1625 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Suite 101, Washington, DC 20036-2212;
or call (202) 667-1887 or (800) 353-2237 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or download from http://www.aads.jhu.edu.
IMPORTANT: Out of over fifty dental schools, only five
do not participate with AASSAS, they are: Louisiana State University,
Medical College of Georgia, Northwestern University, University
of Mississippi, and University of Tennessee.
To apply to the dental schools
not participating in the AADSAS, you should write directly to
the schools for an application and related materials. Many schools
prefer to receive applications no later than September of the
calendar year prior to the one for which you are seeking admission.
While early application is strongly advised, some deadline dates
are as late as March. To check on your AADSAS application, call
(800) 353-2237. AADSAS does not have a fee waiver program.
The average number of applications
sent by each student is approximately 7 (on a national scale),
but that should not stop you from sending out more. A fee is paid
based on the number of schools to which applications are sent.
Consult the admissions requirement book for information on the
number of out-of-state students accepted at schools outside your
state of residence. In the 2000's, the increasing number of applicants
has made admission much more competitive.
Private schools normally are
much more expensive than state schools. Therefore, it is best
to check with each school to see what financial help is offered.
Costs per year range from $7,000 to well above $20,000 for books,
instruments, supplies, tuition, and housing.
Most schools are seeking to increase
their enrolments of students traditionally under-represented in
dentistry. Refer to individual catalogs.
Back to Top
Grade Point Average - Most schools
consider your grades for all courses in pre-dental preparation
with particular attention paid to the required science courses.
Year-by-year improvement will be considered favorably.
Dental Admission Test (DAT) -
This test is administered on computer almost any day of the year.
There is no paper and pencil testing. The DAT includes sections
on Natural Sciences - biology, general chemistry, and organic
chemistry; Reading Comprehension (dental and basic sciences);
Quantitative Ability (math problems) and Perceptual Ability (two
and three dimensional problem solving).
Applicants will be able to test
by scheduling a sitting at their convenience. Scores will be available
immediately. The linear format is used. That is, the questions
do not get harder or easier based on the prior answers.
Most schools will take the highest
DAT score; however, some take the most recent test. The DAT should
be taken no later than the time the AADSAS application is filed
and long before school deadlines.
Application or request cards
for the DAT are available at the Testing Center or can be obtained
by writing the American Dental Association, Department of Testing
Services, 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611-2678. Call
the ADA at (312) 440-2689.
Letters of Recommendation - A
number of the schools require letters of recommendation from either
physics, chemistry or biology professors; however, do not hesitate
to submit letters from other professors and practicing dentists
with whom you have worked. The schools' specific requirements
for letters are outlined in the AADSAS application. You are not
penalised for sending letters to schools which do not require
them. Average number of recommendations is three.
Interviews - Many schools require
Experience - All persons considering
dentistry (or any other profession) are urged to obtain first-hand
experience in the field so that they may test their interest and
ability. There are a number of sources for finding places to obtain
experience. Contact DOA for internship possibilities through school.
Back to Top
The Dental Admission Test is
administered on computer on almost any day of the year.
The Dental Admission Test (DAT)
is conducted by the American Dental Association and has been in
operation on a national basis since 1950. The testing program
is designed to measure general academic ability, comprehension
of scientific information, and perceptual ability. While all dental
schools require candidates to participate in the Dental Admission
Testing Program, test results are only one factor considered in
evaluating the admission potential of a candidate. Validity studies
conducted by the testing program have shown that test scores in
conjunction with collegiate records are useful in predicting performance.
Therefore, the admission process should involve an evaluation
of test scores, collegiate records, and other information. The
relative importance of these predictors is determined by the dental
A candidate can apply and retake
the test as many times as the candidate wishes. Candidates are
required to submit a new application and fee for each re-examination.
A candidate must wait 90 days before retaking the DAT.
$160 examination fee (five official
transcripts of scores, candidate's and advisor's copies), $5 additional
(beyond five) official transcripts of scores at the time of application.
Scoring of Examinations
Dental Admission Test scores
are based on the number of correct answers, therefore, candidates
are not penalised for guessing.
The results are reported to dental
schools in terms of standard scores rather than raw scores. Through
the use of standard scores it is possible to compare the performance
of one applicant with performance of all applicants. Scores used
in the testing program range from 1 to 30. While there are no
strict passing or failing scores, the standard score of 15 typically
signifies average performance on a national basis.
Each test includes equating and
pretest questions. The purpose of the equating questions is to
form a link among tests administered on different dates so that
examinees' standard scores can be placed on the same measurement
scale. Because of these equating questions, examinees' scores
have the same meaning regardless of the test they were administered.
Unscored pretest questions are included on the test in order to
gather information. This information is used in the test construction
process to insure that these questions are appropriate before
they are included among the scored items.
The candidate will have a total
of 4 hours and 15 minutes to complete the four tests in the DAT
battery. A 15-minute break is optional after completing the second
test in the battery. The DAT battery includes:
Survey of Natural Sciences 90
Perceptual Ability Test 60 Minutes
Break (optional) 15 Minutes
Reading Comprehension Test 60 Minutes
Quantitative Reasoning Test 45 Minutes
Candidate Score Report
A test report is provided to
each candidate immediately following the test. These are the applicant's
personal copies and are not to be sent or taken to dental schools.
We suggest that each candidate confer with the pre-dental advisor
regarding the test results. Scores will be automatically sent
directly to the pre-dental advisor if indicated on the application.
When a candidate repeats the examination, the results of the four
most recent attempts are released on the official transcript forwarded
to the dental schools. Also, for all candidates, the total number
of attempts is listed.
All U.S. dental schools require
an official transcript of DAT scores for each applicant. Official
DAT scores are not reported through AADSAS (American Association
of Dental Schools Application Service). An official transcript
of scores will be sent to the dental schools requested on the
Dental Admission Test application form. It is best to have an
official transcript of scores sent to each of the dental schools
to which you are considering application even though you have
not yet completed filing admission applications to these schools.
Requests for transcripts after the examination are subject to
delay and additional expense. Studies regarding the Dental Admission
Test have indicated significant predictive validity relative to
performance in dental schools. Therefore, DAT scores are used
with other predictors in the admission process for these schools.
There is no information of comparable validity which is available
to support using DAT scores for other purposes.
Release of Candidate Test Scores
Results of the Computerised DAT
will be announced to the candidate immediately upon completion
of the test battery. These results will be sent to dental schools
within two weeks after the examination.
Back to Top
Dental School Interview
Before you are selected to enter dental school, you will most
likely be interviewed. While the most important factors determining
whether you get in is your college GPA and DAT score, and to a
lesser extent, letters of recommendation, the interview for dental
school is quite important. There are definitely some do's and
don'ts for the interview. For example, you will need to dress
in a conservative, professional style. That means a suit for men,
and a dress suit for women. Make sure your personal and dental
hygiene are good.
You may be asked a wide variety
of questions. Always remember to be truthful, and upbeat. Many
times it is not what you say, but how you say it. I remember one
story where an applicant put down that he liked boating under
a hobbies section of an application, which was a lie. The interviewer
by chance happened to be an avid boater, and began asking him
questions about it. When it was clear that he had lied, he knew
he had blown the interview by being dishonest.
Prepare for your interview by
asking a few dentists in your area (or your dentist) some questions
about their careers, especially what they like about dentistry.
This will give you a bit of a background that can help you on
the interview. Also, by reading this article, it will give you
a great deal of perspective about what it takes to become a dentist.
One question that you will most
likely get is, "Why do you want to become a dentist?"
You need to come up with a good answer for that one. In general,
keep the answer more on the lines of giving patients quality dental
care, and not on the financial compensation you might expect as
Never come to an interview with
a negative attitude, and always show all people involved the utmost
respect. Don't ever cast aspersions on any other person or profession;
it is in poor taste, and is considered very unprofessional. Lastly,
keep in mind that the person who interviews you will most likely
be a faculty dentist or administrator that will have to deal with
you, and vise-versa, in some capacity, for the next four years
if you are accepted.
Back to Top
Make an appointment with an advisor
to get acquainted. Explore ways to prepare for the DAT. Open a
Request letters of recommendation.
Take DAT. Most schools will use the highest set of scores; however,
others will use the most recent set.
Pick up an AADSAS application
request card from the Testing Center or DOA office. Contact AADS.
Make an advising appointment
with your advisor, and bring your DAT scores, draft of your personal
statement, along with a list of your choice of schools. Write
to dental schools not participating in AADSAS to obtain applications.
File application(s). Transcripts
of each college attended are to be mailed to AADSAS along with
the application and should include Spring work. Mail other information
directly to AADSAS schools only as directed in instruction booklet
of AADSAS application.
Interviews are usually conducted at the individual dental school.
We also have information on succeeding through interviews.
Recheck letters of recommendation
if they were not on file earlier. Requests for supplementary information
and interviews begin and run through next Spring.
Send postcards to schools to
double-check that all requested information has been received.
Back to Top
of Dental School
Most dental school programs require
four academic years. Normally, the first two years deal with the
study of biological sciences and the basic principles of oral
diagnosis and treatment. The latter two years are spent in a broad
clinical training. At the completion of the curriculum, students
are awarded either a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or a DMD (Doctor
of Dental Medicine).
Back to Top
Tips for Pre-Dental Students
Back to Top
- Major in the field which interests
you the most, while showing good ability in science.
- Explore the field of dentistry; be
sure you know the positive and negative aspects of being a dentist,
and about the future of dentistry.
- Pursue in-depth, extra-curricular activities
which interest you. Dental schools like interesting people. Leadership
skills and the ability to work with others, particularly in our
multicultural society, are valued.
- While grades are important, more than
academic performance is considered. Grade trends are important;
a less than spectacular year can be overcome.
- You will need letters of evaluation
from teachers and others who know you and your work well. These
come best from people with whom you have a "natural relationship,"
e.g., shared interest in academic and/or professional matters.
- Develop your ability to read, write,
and think. Only part of dentistry is science.
- Pursue an academic interest in depth,
e.g., research. However, research need not be in a laboratory.
- Selectively enjoy what SLU has to offer.
Make friends and do things. Keep alert to opportunities.
- Don't let your drive to be a dentist
become you. Your worth should not be measured by your success
in getting into dental school.
- There are many paths to dental school.
People of different backgrounds, experiences, and ages, etc.
all get there.