Pre-Dental

This page contains basic information for students interested in dental school. If you have further questions, please contact the Health Professions Advising Office at premed@ua.edu.

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WHAT IS A DENTIST?

Dentists diagnose, prevent, and treat problems with teeth or mouth tissue. They also administer anesthetics and write prescriptions for antibiotics and other medications.  The following is a brief guide to Dental School requirements while here at UA.

PREREQUISITES:

NOTE: EACH DENTAL SCHOOL ESTABLISHES ITS OWN SET OF PREREQUISITES. CHECK THE WEBSITES OF THE SCHOOLS THAT YOU ARE MOST INTERESTED IN TO OBTAIN A CURRENT LIST OF UNDERGRADUATE REQUIREMENTS.

General Biology* BSC 114/115 and BSC 116/117 or honors equivalent, and 4 BSC elective hours
General Chemistry* CH 101 and 102 or honors equivalent
Organic Chemistry* CH 231, CH 232, and CH 237 (lab)
Mathematics* 2 semesters math; MATH 125 required by some schools
General Physics* PH 101 and PH 102 or honors equivalent
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: BSC 300 (Cell Biology)

BSC 450 (Biochemistry)

BSC 315 (Genetics)

 *All prerequisite courses must be completed with a grade of “C-” or higher.

 

EXAM AND GPA:

The Dental Admission Test (DAT) is a standardized examination that consists of four multiple-choice sections that include natural sciences, perceptual ability, reading comprehension, and quantitative reasoning. The DAT is designed to measure general academic ability, comprehension of scientific information, and perceptual ability. It is required by all of the American dental schools. It tests your knowledge of science from the required coursework and, therefore, should not be taken until those courses are virtually complete. The months immediately following your completion of the course requirements is the best time to take the DAT. This may be the spring of junior year, the summer after sophomore year, or anytime during senior year or beyond; it will depend on your individual timeline. The DAT is a knowledge-based examination. To do well, you will need both strong test-taking skills and a thorough knowledge of the material covered by the exam. How you prepare is up to you. Your DAT score is good for three years at most dental schools, so taking the test in the spring of junior year does not necessarily mean that you must enter dental school right after college graduation.

Grade Point Average (GPA):  Dental schools expect academic excellence.  Good grades; typically an undergraduate GPA of 3.5 or better is required to be competitive.  In addition, most programs require that all prerequisite courses must be passed with a “C-” or better.

 

TIMELINE:

Freshman Year: 

  • Connect with the Health Professions Advising Office
  • Start taking basic sciences (See chart above)
  • Think about possible majors (Study what you love)
  • Begin getting involved with volunteer opportunities (campus and community)
  • Start shadowing
  • Join some student organizations (Pre-Dental Society)

Sophomore Year:

  • Continue with next sequence of courses
  • Stay involved in extracurricular activities (shadowing, volunteer, etc)
  • Begin to think about becoming an officer in your organizations
  • Visit Health Professions Office to begin to assess competitiveness
  • BOTTOM LINE: Keep working on the things you established your first year!!

Junior Year:

  • Identify Dental programs you are interested in (Fall semester)
  • Talk to Health Professions Advising Office about competitiveness (Fall semester)
  • Register for DAT (Fall Semester)
  • Study for DAT and take DAT (Spring Semester)
  • Identify 5 individuals to write letters of recommendation (Fall Semester)
  • Complete and Submit Application (AADSAS) (Spring Semester-Summer)
  • Keep working on the things you have established thus far

Senior Year:

  • Wait to be contacted for interview
  • Finish degree requirements
  • Continue with activities
  • Talk with HPAO about Plan B if necessary
  • Graduate

 

RESOURCES:

American Dental Education Association Click Here

American Dental Association Click Here

ADA Guide to the DAT Click Here