Pre-dentistry is not a degree-granting major, but rather a track for students who plan to attend dental school after their undergraduate studies. Pre-dental students take a prescribed sequence of courses that prepare them for dental school, which is a four-year professional program that awards the DDS, or Doctor of Dental Science. Pre-dental students can major in any field they choose as long as they have completed the prerequisite courses and have taken the Dental Admissions Test (DAT). Pre-dental students work with a pre-dental advisor who helps with course sequencing and academic preparation for dental school.
The mean cumulative GPA for the entering 2020 class at the UI College of Dentistry was 3.71 and the mean science GPA was 3.63. Applicants with GPAs well below the averages are unlikely to be accepted to dental school. Therefore, UI undergraduates must have at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA by the end of their third semester to maintain their pre-dentistry designation.
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Required courses for admission to the UI College of Dentistry (taken from the UI College of Dentistry website):
- English: composition, rhetoric, speech courses required for bachelor's degree
- Physics: one year (8 semester hours), one-fourth in laboratory work
- Chemistry: two years (16 semester hours), including one year of organic chemistry, one-fourth of which must be in laboratory work
- Biology: one year (8 semester hours), including some laboratory work. May be satisfied by a one-year course in general biology or zoology. Upper-level courses in gross anatomy, cell biology, or physiology would be beneficial
- Electives: a well-rounded background in the social sciences, philosophy, psychology, history, foreign languages, business and accounting, and mathematics
- UI College of Dentistry: https://www.dentistry.uiowa.edu/education
- American Dental Education Association (ADEA): http://www.adea.org/
- Associated American Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS): https://portal.aadsasweb.org/
- Explore Health Careers: http://explorehealthcareers.org/en/home
- Bureau of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook, dentistry: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dentists.htm
- American Dental Association (ADA): http://www.ada.org/en/
- All prerequisite courses must be completed by time of matriculation. The application deadline for the UI College of Dentistry is October 1st and accepted students begin in August the following year. All applications for the UI College of Dentistry are completed through AADSAS, the online application portal.
- All applicants must take the Dental Admissions Test, or DAT. Information on registering for the DAT and reporting scores to schools can be found here: http://www.ada.org/en/education-careers/dental-admission-test/
- Applicants must have 90 hours of academic college credit earned to be eligible for admission, however most applicants complete a bachelor’s degree.
- Applicants must provide at least three letters of reference submitted through AADSAS.
- Competitive applicants will be invited for a personal interview.
- All applicants must submit consent for a criminal background check.
- The admissions profile for matriculated students to the UI College of Dentistry in 2020:
- 871 applicants 82 enrolled Preference is given to residents of Iowa
- GPA Averages: Cumulative 3.71, Science 3.63
- DAT Averages: 21 Academic, 21.7 Perceptual Ability
- The UI College of Dentistry takes a holistic approach when evaluating candidates. The competitive candidate will have:
- Dental shadowing, ideally with multiple dentists in multiple settings
- Demonstrated success in academics, particularly in science
- Multiple semesters of rigorous coursework with multiple science courses
- Strong letters of reference from a dentist, faculty, research mentor, academic advisor or volunteer coordinator, anyone who can articulate a student’s commitment and potential for success
- Commitment to serving others. Students can demonstrate this in many ways such as volunteering with human service organizations, medical facilities and student organizations.
- Leadership experience
Remember, it’s not about what “looks good” but rather, doing what sparks an interest in dentistry. Dental schools seek engaged, intellectually well-rounded students who are naturally curious, invested in helping others, and open to working with diverse groups of people.
- Some questions to ask yourself when considering dental school:
- Am I committed to serving others?
- Do I have a strong interest in science?
- Do I enjoy working with people?
- Do I enjoy working with my hands and problem-solving?
- Have I shadowed a dentist? Am I interested in the work dentists do?
- Am I committed to the time, money and effort involved in dental education?
- Do I have empathy? Can I see myself working with people who may be in pain or afraid?
- Do I have a parallel plan outside of dental education?
- How to get started:
- Meet with your pre-dental advisor
- Attend UI Pre-dental Club activities: https://www.dentistry.uiowa.edu/education-predental-club
- Check out ADEA’s Go Dental website for more information on being a competitive applicant: http://www.adea.org/GoDental/
- Thinking about a post baccalaureate program?