Pre-Dental Studies

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Dentistry is a popular career choice within the  healthcare field. The job outlook for dentists is expected grow 19% through 2026, which much faster than the national average. After the completion of your undergraduate education, you will then go through four years of dental school before beginning your career as a dentist.  

Major Selection:

At the University of Michigan-Flint, multiple degrees offer designated Pre-Dental Tracks: 

It is important to note, there is no single major that is required to apply to dental school or a single major that will guarantee acceptance. It is important to select a major that you are interested in pursuing for your undergraduate career. However, no matter the major, all students applying will have to complete the required pre-requisite courses, which can vary slightly from school to school.

Dental Schools in Michigan and Ohio:

UM-Ann Arbor School of Dentistry

There are currently four dental schools in Michigan and Ohio. The programs are linked below, along with a guide comparing basic information about the four programs. All schools offer Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degrees unless otherwise noted. 

Access this quick comparison guide to admission requirements for dental schools schools in Michigan and Ohio. 

Preparing to Apply to Dental School

There is no single factor that will determine whether you will be accepted into dental school. Instead, schools take a holistic or overall review of your GPA, DAT score, research experience, observation hours and extracurricular activities. Below are a few key factors to keep in mind when preparing to apply to dental school. In general, dental schools are looking for well-rounded students with broad, liberal arts backgrounds.

  1. Maintain a stellar academic record.

    1. Most dental schools in Michigan and Ohio require a minimum GPA of 3.0. However, the average GPA of accepted students is often in the 3.6-3.9 range.
    2. In addition to your overall GPA, pay special attention to your GPA in the required science and pre-requisite courses as these are often evaluated separately.
  2. Participate in academic research.
    1. Dental schools highly value research experience.
    2. The project does not have to be related to dentistry to be valuable to your application.
  3. Shadow a dentist.  
    1. It is important to shadow a dentist in order to understand the day-to-day activities of the job. This will help you to speak to why you want to be a dentist when it comes time to apply.
    2. Many dental schools also require a minimum number of dental observation hours in order to apply.
  4. Volunteer or gain clinical experience.
    1. Clinical experience refers to experiences where you are in direct contact with patients. This can often be accomplished by working as a CNA, EMT, Phlebotomy Technician, Medical Scribe or Medical Assistant.
    2. There are multiple organizations looking for dedicated volunteers. Some examples in the local area include, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Carriage Town Ministries, Hurley Medical Center-Auxiliary and Hospice Advantage.

Applying to Dental School

Applications to dental school are available on a yearly basis. The majority of dental schools only admit students for the fall semester. This means that you will apply to dental school one year before you hope to start dental school. For example, if you hope to start dental school in September 2021, you would need to submit your application in summer 2020. Most dental schools operate on a rolling admissions process, so it is important to apply as early as possible. The AADSAS application usually opens June 1.

  1. Determine where you want to apply to dental school. 
  2. Take the Dental Admission Test (DAT).
    1. In order to apply to dental school, you need to take the DAT. Visit the DAT webpage from the American Dental Association for more information. 
    2. The website is also a great resource for practice exams and content review of key courses.
  3. Ask for Letters of Recommendation.
    1. Most schools require between 2 and 3 letters of recommendation. Check the requirements for each school in which you are interested.
    2. It is recommended that you ask for letters of recommendation a few months before you need them.
    3. Ask for letters of recommendation from:
      1. Faculty members that know you well
      2. Dentists that you have shadowed or worked for
      3. Research or Clinical Supervisors
  4. Request an Official Transcript Copy.
    1. Copies can be requested through SIS.
  5. Complete AADSAS application.
    1. Dental schools utilize the Associated American Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS). This is where you will complete and submit your application to all of the dental schools in which you are interested.