Expert Advising and Rigorous Academic Preparation for Dental School
Pre-Dental studies at Clarkson can be fit into any major in any school. The requirements for entry into Dental School vary a bit from school to school but, in general, the requirements are as listed in the table below. The most important thing to remember is that each of the prerequisites is either a requirement of the specific major you are in or can be completed in the normal academic time-frame as an elective. Thus planning for application to Dental School is a simple process of completing the requirements of your major and working with the Pre-Dental Advisor to be sure the required courses are completed prior to submitting an application.
- Biology with laboratory (2 semesters)
- Chemistry with laboratory (2 semesters)
- Organic Chemistry with lab. (2 semesters, 1 of lab.)
- Physics (2 semesters)
- Calculus (2 semesters)
How can I qualify for the Pre-Dental Special Advising Program?
At Clarkson this is a simple process. Once you are accepted into a major you need only contact the Pre-Dental Advisor about your interest in Dentistry. Then you meet with the advisor to get acquainted and map out your course plan and discuss other aspects of the program such as community service and mentoring with Dental professionals. Then you are on your way.
What else is available for a Pre-Dental Student?
The advantage at Clarkson is that we do not differentiate between the different Pre-Medical Science students. Pre-Dental students take part in all the events and activities promoted by the Pre-Medical Science Advising Office. These include speakers in the specific health professions and health-related areas, general meetings to learn about changes in health careers and materials for preparation for the various Admissions tests. In addition, there is an active Pre-Medical Professions Co-Ed Fraternity which recruits members from all aspects of the Clarkson community.
Are there health-related activities at Clarkson?
Clarkson's Division of Health Sciences promotes many seminars, workshops and special events related to health care. Most of these are available to the undergraduate students and if you are on the Pre-Dental advising list you will receive regular notices about these events. In addition, we have several courses which address health related issues. An example is our course in Medical Ethics and our 2-semester sequence of Physics for the Health Sciences.
What grade level is required to be competitive for Dental School?
This can vary from but, in general, the successful student has a Grade Point Average (GPA) above 3.50. Obviously a GPA greater than this can be helpful but it is important to point out that "all A's" are not necessarily the key to entry. Nor does a "C" in Organic Chemistry mean you have no chance. Dental Schools look at the entire academic record of the applicant.
What else do I need to do besides maintain a strong academic record?
An important part of your application to Dental School is your score on the Dental Aptitude Test (DAT). The test is now given only on computer and can be taken on almost any day of the year. The general subject matter areas on the test are the Natural Sciences, Reading Comprehension, Quantitative Reasoning and Perceptual Ability. Since validity studies have shown that the DAT scores, in conjunction with the applicants academic record, are good predictors of performance in Dental School, the student needs to devote adequate preparation for this test. The student may take the test once they have completed at least one year of college-level work. Which includes Biology, General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry. However, in most cases it is best to plan to take the test in the Spring of the Junior year, just prior to submission of the application package.
Is there anything else?
It is important to realize that Dental Schools want to be sure that the students who apply have a genuine understanding of the Dental profession and are dedicated to it as a career goal. Thus, during your time at Clarkson you should commit yourself to developing a mentor relationship with a Dental professional and establish a consistent record of volunteer work or service to dental health programs. These experiences can be arranged with consultation with the Pre-Dental Advisor.
Clarkson taught me a level of professionalism and gave me a background in research which helped to build my character. My confidence shined in my dental school interviews, and now that I am accepted I have a lot of thank-you letters to send to the supportive Clarkson faculty who helped me succeed.
- David Jette '08 will enter dental school at SUNY Buffalo this fall.
Information for Pre-dental students:
American Dental Association (ADA)
American Association of Dental Education
On-line Dental Application
Dental Admission Test (DAT)
Kaplan Preparation for DAT