Most of the suggestions made for medical school applicants are applicable for dental school.
- Coursework: The requirements for dental school admission are similar to those for medical school. In addition, many dental schools now require a course in biochemistry. Students from any major who have completed these requirements can be admitted. Evidence of manual dexterity is also necessary (e.g., playing a musical instrument, crafting, painting, woodworking, etc.).
- Volunteering and shadowing: HPEC requires that students complete a minimum of 50 volunteer hours and a minimum of 50 shadowing hours. Check with the schools to which you are applying to see if they require more. Shadowing should involve experience in a dental office, dental clinic, or hospital setting working with dental-related specialties.
- Research activities and teaching experience are considered favorably by most dental schools.
- Personal statement. Students should begin writing a personal statement early in the junior year. Allow yourself plenty of time, because you should go through several drafts. You need to convince admission officers that you would make a great dentist. Tips for writing a personal statement.
- Testing: The Dental Admission Test (DAT) is required. This exam is computer based and you will receive your results immediately. It consists of four sections: Survey of Natural Sciences (Biology, General and Organic Chemistry); Reading Comprehension; Quantitative Reasoning; and Perceptual Ability. This test is sponsored by the American Dental Association. There are many commercially available review books with practice examinations as well as prep courses from Princeton Review and Kaplan available. Most dental schools will not review your application until you take the DAT, so check the application deadlines and make sure you take it well ahead of time, certainly no later than October of the application year. You do NOT need to take the DAT before you submit your application.
- Application: The American Dental Education Association (ADEA) sponsors an application service, the AADSAS, that provides one common application that is then sent to all dental schools to which the student is applying. ADEA GoDental is very helpful and informative. The application is available online beginning around June 1 of each year. APPLY AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE! It takes time for AADSAS to process this application and send it to the dental schools on your list. Early submission puts you at the greatest advantage and provides the best chance to be in an early interview pool. Once the dental school receives the AADSAS application they will review it and may send you a secondary application if you have fulfilled all the requirements for admission. Fill the secondary application out promptly as well. After review of the secondary application, you will be invited for an interview if you are to be considered further. Not all schools require a secondary application. Interviews may begin as early as late August and the first round of acceptance letters are mailed around Dec. 1.
- Suggested Timeline (ADEA)
Opportunity for Delaware Residents
In 2006, the Delaware Institute for Dental Education & Research (DIDER) entered into an agreement with the Maurice H. Kornberg School of Dentistry at Temple University, Philadelphia, PA to reserve a limited number of admissions in each entering class for qualified Delaware residents. Eligible applicants for the DIDER program must meet the academic requirements of Temple University and be legal residents of Delaware.