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High School Students

Plan Ahead

While in high school take math and science courses, enroll in chemistry, biology and algebra and consider taking AP (Advanced Placement) science courses. Find out everything you can about dentistry to discover if dentistry is a good fit for you and to demonstrate your interest in the profession.

How? Job shadow or volunteer at your family dentist's office, orthodontist or pediatric dentist's office.Contact a local practicing dentist to answer your questions. If there isn’t a mentor program in your area to pursue job shadowing or volunteering, contact the nearest dental society.

Find out if there are any dental camps or other programs for high school students at nearby dental schools.

Does your high school have health careers clubs? HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America) is a national organization with high school chapters offering health profession career information and Learning for Life (Exploring) offers students 14-20 years old programs to explore careers.

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Join American Student Dental Association (ASDA)

Here’s what some ASDA members say about the benefits of membership:

“Changing the way the laws work and protecting dental students is truly the greatest benefit.”

“The Mouth and other ASDA publications help me understand what life as a dental student is all about.”

“As a high school student I found out just what I need to get prepared for dental school.”

ASDA helps you prepare for dental school by sharing current issues important to dental students and dentistry. ASDA publications are written by dental students and include these free publications

  • Getting into Dental School: ASDA’s Guide for Predental Students,
  • ASDA News (monthly newsletter)
  • Mouth (quarterly journal)

Visit ASDA or call 800-621-8099 to become a member.

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Additional Resources: Links to Helpful Information

Career Exploring

Explore Health Careers
Accurate, up-to-date health careers resource information for students and advisors that includes links to health-related education and training programs, financial aid resources, specialized learning opportunities, and current issues in health care.

Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA)
A national organization to promote career opportunities in the health care industry and enhance the delivery of quality health care for all. High school chapters explore a variety of health related careers including dentistry.

Latinos for Dental Careers 
Information to encourage youth, particularly Latino youth, to take advantage of career opportunities in the dental professiondentistry, dental assisting, dental hygiene and dental laboratory technology.

Learning for Life—Exploring Programs
Information about “hands-on” career exploration program, for youth 14-20 years old from a diversity of backgrounds. National network of Learning for Life offices available online.

Life Works-National Institute of Health Office of Science Education (OSE) 
Comprehensive information for exploring health careers including a career finder, in-depth success stories of health professionals, education and salary information.

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Related Dental Associations

American Dental Education Association (ADEA)
National organization for dental education with the mission to address current issues influencing dental education. Members include all U.S. and Canadian dental schools, other dental education programs, corporations, faculty, and students.

American Student Dental Association (ASDA)
National student-run organization providing services and advocacy for students pursuing careers in dentistry. Helpful publications, membership available.

Hispanic Dental Association (HDA)
Information on the national organization of dental professionals involved in promoting and improving the oral health of the Hispanic community and providing advocacy for Hispanic oral health professionals across the United States.

National Dental Association (NDA)
Organization dedicated to serving as advocates in the public arena and private sector to increase access to care for underserved. Involved in recruiting underrepresented minorities into the profession and improving the educational opportunities of minorities underrepresented in the oral health field. 

Student National Dental Association (SNDA)
Student dental organization made up of African-American, Hispanic, and American Indian backgrounds with the goal of improving the minority health manpower distribution among the minority populations.

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
Promotes efforts to improve oral, dental and craniofacial health through research, research training, and the dissemination of health information.

Society of American Indian Dentists (SAID)
National organization promotes dental health in the American Indian community; encourages American Indian youth to pursue a career in the profession of dentistry; serves as a resource for assistance to American Indian students interested in the profession of dentistry; provides role-model leadership; promote American Indian heritage and traditional values and promotes and supports the unique concerns of American Indian dentists.

Society of American Indian Dentists at the Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health

Student Chapter of the Society of American Indian Dentist promotes the recruitment and retention of American Indian students into dental school and encourages the students to return to their American Indian communities to practice their dental profession. Provides specific resources for American Indian students including mentoring opportunities. The mailing address is: ASDOH Dental Clinic, ATTN: SAID-ASDOH, 5855 E. Still Circle, Mesa, AZ 85206.

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Other Programs

Pipeline Profession and Practice—Community Based Dental Education 
Launched in 2003, it is designed to help increase access to dental care for underserved populations. Grants from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the California Endowment were awarded to 15 dental schools to develop community-based clinical education programs and to increase recruitment and retention of low-income and underrepresented minority students.

Summer Medical Dental Education Program (SMDEP)
A free (full tuition, housing, and meals) six-week summer medical and dental school preparatory program that offers eligible students and personalized medical and dental school preparation including intensive academic enrichment.

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