Dental School Admissions
Students should contact individual dental schools for specific prerequisite information. The Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) maintains a list of accredited dental education programs in the U.S. You can search on CODA's website for accredited dental education programs/dental schools. Required hours and courses will not apply to all dental schools/dental programs, but generally include:
- 8 hours Biology with lab
- 8 hours Physics
- 8 hours English
- 8 hours General Chemistry with lab
- 8 hours Organic Chemistry with lab
Majoring in science is not a must, but completion of predental science requirements is necessary.
A college undergraduate degree is recommended in preparation for dental school. Most dental students have completed four years of college.
Dental Admissions Test (DAT)
Take the DAT at least a year prior to seeking admission to dental school. This computerized test measures general academic ability, comprehension of scientific information and perceptual ability. Completion of at least one year of college level courses in biology and general and organic chemistry is recommended before taking the DAT.
Admissions committees review credentials such as academic qualifications, the results from the Dental Admissions Test (DAT), grade point average (GPA), letters of recommendation, personal interviews and dental office shadowing experiences. Admission requirements can vary from school to school.
Most dental schools require personal interviews with candidates to assess qualities such as desire to help people, self-confidence, ability to meet challenges, ability to get along with people and capacity to work independently. The personal interview also provides an opportunity to ask about the school.
Apply for admission at least a year in advance of the planned enrollment date. Most dental schools participate in the Associated American Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS). For a fee, students can subscribe to this service and complete a single application to apply to multiple dental schools. An online application to the schools participating in AADSAS is available on ADEA's website. The AADSAS toll-free number is 800.353.2237.
ASDA's Guide for Predental Students
This handbook provides guidance on how to apply to dental school, preparing for the DAT, an overview of each US dental school, a listing of scholarships and loans, and information on different career paths in dentistry. The Guide is complimentary for Predental ASDA members and available for sale to non-members at ASDA's Website.