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Preparing for and Applying to Dental School

Educational Preparation

The discussion in Chapter 2 concerning high school and college education is generally applicable to predental students and should be reviewed.

High School

While in high school, you should acquire a broad liberal arts education and at the same time demonstrate that you have a genuine interest and good ability in the sciences, especially biology. Taking an advanced course in biology (if available) and/or undertaking a special science project may be particularly useful. In addition, completing a course in art, sculpture, mechanical drawing, or machine shop work will help determine and improve your manual dexterity. Active participation in a variety of extracurricular activities, such as a dramatic society or sports team, will assist you in judging your interest in and ability to work with people.

Undergraduate Studies

The criteria for selecting a college noted on page 12 are fully applicable to predental students.

The overwhelming majority of students entering dental school have completed four years of college. Thus you should plan your program on this basis (unless you have valid reasons for applying earlier). There is no specific required major for predental students, although most quite naturally select biology or chemistry. It is essential that your college studies:

  1. include the minimum science course requirements, namely, inorganic chemistry — 1 year, biology — 1 year, physics — 1 year, and organic chemistry — 1 year;
  2. demonstrate that you have solid abilities in the sciences by satisfactorily completing the aforementioned required courses and any science electives you take;
  3. provide you with a well-rounded background in the social sciences and humanities by completing courses in English composition, history, and psychology;
  4. reinforce your manual dexterity by taking courses that require use of your hands (such as art, sculpture, drafting). If this is not possible, then an extracurricular program involving such activities as model building, chalk carving, or playing a musical instrument can substitute for formal experience.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesGuide to Medical & Dental SchoolsPreparing for and Applying to Dental School - Educational Preparation, Application Procedures, Admissions Criteria