It takes a long time and a lot of hoops to become a dentist. A solid grade-point average (GPA) and Dental Admission Test (DAT) score, dental volunteer work, and community service are just a few of the requirements for dentistry school. But it’s not simply about checking boxes when getting into dental schools. To get into the best dentistry programs, you must impress admissions committees. You don’t want to be perceived as a cliched pre-dental student, otherwise. You need to stand out.
You also don’t have much time to do everything. Dental school requirements alone require special attention. You’ll have to learn how and where to concentrate.
It’s easy to look around and assume you have to take the same academics and perform the same extracurricular activities as others. What if some of those steps aren’t needed? What if you end up looking like the people that failed? What will make you impressive?
Read this article if you’re a pre-dental student curious about dental school preparation and requirements.
This one is for you.
Begin Developing A Solid Academic Foundation
Dentists need strong math and science knowledge. So, take college prep classes in high school seriously, preferably science classes. That is physics, biology, and chemistry. Consider taking Advanced Placement (AP) science courses to prepare for the DAT and better your application. Also, it doesn’t hurt to take calculus, algebra, or trigonometry. Try to develop solid study habits and keep above-average grades, as GPAs are heavily weighted in dental school admissions.
Complete The Academic Pre-Requisite Courses
You can contact the pre-dental office to help you gain knowledge on what’s best for you to give more focus on. Not every university or college offers a pre-dental advisor, but most do. Use this department to find out your major or communicate with dentistry alumni.
A bachelor’s degree is required to become a dentist.
It requires a selection and completion of general education requirements.
Unlike in many other countries, health care professionals begin their careers immediately after high school graduation. Those who have studied biology, history, or exercise science for a long time are valued highly in the US system.
The goal is to demonstrate your ability to learn and thrive, not prepare for a specific career.
Pre-requisite courses must also be completed. The Dental Admission Test (DAT) confirms your mastery of the topics in these courses.
While some pre-dental students major in non-science fields, most do so in:
- Biomedical Engineering
- Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
- Physiological, Biomedical, and Biological Sciences
Choose a major that you value and enjoy. If you like it, you’ll probably do well at it. If you do well, you’ll be a good candidate for dental school.
Review Ahead Of The Dental Admission Test (DAT)
To pass the DAT, you need to review everything related to dentistry. Read as much as you can. Doing so will help you ace your admission test.
Also, set a schedule for taking the DAT. Remember that due to the rolling admissions, your application should be completed and submitted on time.
While you can submit your application without taking the DAT, most schools won’t consider it final until they get your results, which can take up to six weeks after taking the DAT.
Engage In Relevant Pre-Dental Activities
Most of your extracurricular activities will come from your undergraduate years.
Many students ask which extracurriculars are crucial for dentistry school acceptance. Knowledge of the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) Associated American Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS) application format might help you go for the most meaningful extracurricular activities.
The dentistry school application features a section for ‘supporting information’ with descriptions of extracurricular activities.
Volunteering, for example. Volunteer with a student group or a non-profit organization. It will allow you to meet new people, learn about yourself and have fun too. Doing internships in dentistry offices or other healthcare businesses is another technique to understand the profession.
Moreover, for college applications, you should identify at least three important extracurricular activities that also demonstrate your leadership ability. You want to demonstrate that you will not only be a brilliant dentist but also that you can lead a team or work effectively with others. Even something like the track team could be significant to your dental career, whether it seems obvious or not.
Your dental school preparation will be full of challenges. You will go through an adjustment period and may feel overwhelmed.
Be confident in your abilities and live an active and balanced life. Ask for guidance from peers and instructors at any moment, especially if you’re feeling burnt out.
While many things will be unfamiliar, your work ethic, commitment, and ambition for dentistry will continue to be your foundation and strength.