Steps to get in Dental School

Dental School sign in San Antonio Texas
Dental School Sign in San Antonio, Texas

Here is an outline on how you can become a dentist. There are multiple things you need to accomplish and usually you will have a time line to follow to make sure you can get into dental school on time.


Complete your undergraduate education

You must complete a significant amount of required classes in a University or college. These requirements differ between dental schools so make sure you contact your specific school.  Most people finish and get their bachelors degree, but occasionally if you have completed the necessary science classes at about the end of the third year of your undergraduate degree, you can start dental school. Getting in during your 3rd year of undergraduate is considered more challenging, and usually you need better grades. Here are some techniques to prepare for dental school in college.

You want two semesters of physics with two labs, two semesters of general chemistry with two labs, two semesters of organic chemistry with their labs. And then you need usually 8-12 credit hours of biology. Make sure you check the website of the school you want to apply to and do the specific requirements as far as classes.

Get letters of reccomendation

You will need to get letters of reccomendation from science professors before you can apply. Dental schools require these letters and they can make or break your application. Make sure you get to know the professors well before you ask for letters. Here are some techniques for getting great letters.

Take the DAT

Another requirement is to take the DAT- Dental Admissions Test. This is a tough test with sections that include reading, math, basic biology,  general and organic chemistry, and also perceptual ability. I will have other articles to talk more about the DAT, but you will need to make sure you study for it. There are different prep courses you can take, as well as software and books you can buy to help you prepare for this test. I studied for the DAT for a full summer and then took it.

Start applying to dental Schools

After you have completed your college classes or while you are finishing them up and are taking the DAT, you will want to apply to dental schools. This is something most people will do in the first semester in their senior year or earlier. You want to apply early, as early as you possibly can, because the sooner you get your application in, the more likely you are to get an interview.

Schools start picking their students early. And so an early applicant has a better chance of acceptance. Apply early. Apply early. Apply early. You will fill out an application online.  Go there and fill everything out. The state of Texas has their own online application for residents, other schools might as well, so be sure and look into this.

They are going to ask you lots of different questions. You will need to make sure you have been involved in some types of community service. You need to make sure you have shadowed dentists. They will ask you how many hours you have spent shadowing dentists, as well as any awards and achievements. Use these types of things to try to separate yourself from other people when you apply.

Interview with schools

After you have applied, the dental schools will start interviewing people. They will call you in for an interview. You will fly or drive to the dental school.  Make sure you are professional and dress well for you interview. Please make sure and send a thank you letter after interviewing. Here is my full article on how to ace your dental interview.

Acceptance and Entering Dental School

Later in the year they will send you a letter of acceptance. You will write them back, saying that you accepted. Starting in the fall of the next year, you will go to the dental school and start.

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  9. hi im curious how to become a dentist or what my next step will be if I am going through a dental assistants program right now before I take my state test to become a CDA

  10. Hey, I am still in highschool but I for sure know I want to become a dentist. I Am still confuse with the process of how going to college then university or somewhat to become a dentist. I need help with how the process goes. Please help

  11. Hi my name is Madison and I am in the process of deciding what I want to major in. I am a high school senior and I am struggling to figure out what I want to do with my life. I was thinking about trying to get into a dental hygienist program. Is there any way I can use credit from graduating from a dental hygienist school?

    1. If you get a B.S. degree in dental hygiene I imagine that lots of your required classes will transfer. But you will still have to complete the required core courses like biology, chemistry, physics, etc… I would talk with a counselor about this. However, being a dental hygienist will give you an edge because of how much you know about the industry. You’ll also have a great fall back plan.

  12. Hi my name is Rochelle…my question is..can I use any credit for graduating from DENTAL ASSISTANT School?

    1. Hi Rochelle,

      Most dental schools in the U.S. and Canada will not take dental assisting courses for credit to become a dentist. You need to complete core science classes from a University. Here is a list of the required classes:

      But, that being said. Your training to become a dental assistant will certainly help strengthen your application and make you stand out in a positive way.

  13. Hi Ben, I have been in the military for the last 8 years and began dental assisting school when I got out. Now that I am done with that schooling, I wanted to begin preparations to become an orthodontic dentist. I wanted to be able to see the career field from all sides and even considered becoming a hygienist before working towards dental school which requires an associates degree before beginning hygiene school. I have recently decided against hygiene but I would like to know your thoughts on how being an assistant in an orthodontic clinic may help me on my road to becoming an orthodontist myself. Also, I’m not so great at math but love the sciences, what can I do to combat my math issues?

  14. I am recently complete IGCSE and interested to study in faculty of dental. so, I want to apply to have bachelor degree in dental medicine. so, I need help from you and more data about: 1) how many subject of IGCSE needed to apply. 2) What Grades for the subjects needed to apply> 3) how many years of study to get Bachelor degree> 4) how much the fees per year.

  15. Hi, my name is Diane and I am a 25 year old female that recently found an interest in dentistry. I have a bachelors of science in criminal justice and I want your take on if it’s too late for me to pursue a career change in dentistry. I am struggling with what I want to become in life and I really need some help.

    1. Hey Diane,

      You’re not the only one to struggle with what you want to be. I struggled as well. 25 is still young if you really want to be a dentist. My best advice to you would be to get involved in dentistry and see if you enjoy it. Try to find a job working or shadowing a local dentist. This is the best way to see if you enjoy it. You will need time to prepare to apply for dental school and you need shadowing hours to get accepted so start doing that right now. Find out if you would enjoy dentistry.

    1. I majored in Nutritional Science. I would suggest you find a major you will enjoy. Then try and fit all the required classed into it.

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