3.2 GPA, little shadowing, little community service... chances?

td4

ULSD Class of 2022
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Hi all,

I currently am a Junior in undergrad at a private, liberal arts college in Kentucky. I know from personal experience that private schools are much more demanding when compared to the bigger, public schools, I know this from transferring from the University of KY. Does the reputation and difficulty of a school weigh any difference when considering an applicants GPA? In my mind, a 3.2 here should equal a 3.5-3.8 at other, easier and larger schools but that may just be me.


Also, I work a full time job and have found it difficult to find time as well as opportunities to shadow, how much is the average amount of shadowing hours for an admissions committee to not completely blow you off?

I have yet to take the DAT, hoping for a score in the 19-21 range, fingers crossed! Any good study material that raised your scores?? I am horrible when it comes to Organic, I know that will be my downfall come time to take the test..

Any and all advice you all have is very much appreciated!!

Thank you!
 

redhotchiligochu

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Not to appear demeaning, but the general consensus is that larger public institutions are much more competitive because of a strict curve and increased cutthroatness of the student body.

A 3.5 or even 3.4 at a "competitive" institution may be equivalent to a 3.6 or 3.7 GPA at a less competitive institution, but a 3.2 GPA, regardless of institution, does not look good. Also, how is your science GPA? I think just as important as your overall GPA.

BTW, you are still a junior, which means that you should have plenty of time to bring your grades up! Idk if you're finishing your junior year or just started your junior year, but if you're able to get straight A's, you should be able to bump your GPA to a 3.4 or 3.6, respectively.

Assuming you keep your 3.2 GPA, you should shoot for way above a 21 AA and like you said, maybe prove to the adcoms that your private college is indeed "competitive." If junior/senior year destroys you and you get below 3.0 GPA, plan on doing a postbac or masters, or reconsider applying to dental school.

Working full-time is great! however, that does not substitute for shadowing hours. Interestingly, only a handful of schools require shadowing, but if you want to remain a competitive applicant, you want to shoot for 100 hours or more.
 

DJI

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Jan 16, 2016
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Not to appear demeaning, but the general consensus is that larger public institutions are much more competitive because of a strict curve and increased cutthroatness of the student body.

A 3.5 or even 3.4 at a "competitive" institution may be equivalent to a 3.6 or 3.7 GPA at a less competitive institution, but a 3.2 GPA, regardless of institution, does not look good. Also, how is your science GPA? I think just as important as your overall GPA.

BTW, you are still a junior, which means that you should have plenty of time to bring your grades up! Idk if you're finishing your junior year or just started your junior year, but if you're able to get straight A's, you should be able to bump your GPA to a 3.4 or 3.6, respectively.

Assuming you keep your 3.2 GPA, you should shoot for way above a 21 AA and like you said, maybe prove to the adcoms that your private college is indeed "competitive." If junior/senior year destroys you and you get below 3.0 GPA, plan on doing a postbac or masters, or reconsider applying to dental school.

Working full-time is great! however, that does not substitute for shadowing hours. Interestingly, only a handful of schools require shadowing, but if you want to remain a competitive applicant, you want to shoot for 100 hours or more.
Just a small side note on this shadowing thing. I needed 100 hours min for Maryland and received an interview with 58 hours. Obviously more is a good thing, but I think its importance is not quite as high as one might be led to believe (i.e. unlike GPA/DAT score).
 

redhotchiligochu

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Just a small side note on this shadowing thing. I needed 100 hours min for Maryland and received an interview with 58 hours. Obviously more is a good thing, but I think its importance is not quite as high as one might be led to believe (i.e. unlike GPA/DAT score).
Agreed! Shadowing is more of a personal development where you find out if you're gonna like dentistry or not. UMN requires 50 hours of shadowing, not sure if they're totally strict about that but again, doesn't hurt to gain a lot of dental experience.
Well gee, guess my 3.2 isn't a good look lol.
Mine is closer to your GPA than a 3.5 or 3.6 for that matter LOL. I was making it clear to OP that leisurely maintaining a 3.2 GPA under the guise of competitiveness isn't a good look.

OP: I forgot to add that I used DAT Bootcamp to study for the DAT. The general consensus among SDN members who get good DAT scores seem to use Bootcamp, Destroyer, Crack DAT, and Chad's videos.
 

sarriball

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Can't accurately offer advice if you haven't taken the DAT. It is that big of a game changer.
 
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td4

ULSD Class of 2022
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Mar 21, 2016
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New question:
In KY, we have both Louisville and UKCD. I met with an admissions officer at UKCD that told me how between the two, only 154 in-state students applied.
With that being said, she went on to say how between both schools, there are 80 in-state spots.

By that logic, that gives my in-state chances being roughly 50:50. First, do I read into that and not stress myself out about my chances and just try my best or do I need to get that thinking out of my head?

With those odds, I'd be better off placing all my chips into those two schools where I have a better chance of getting in with my GPA, DAT, etc than compared to out of state schools...

Thoughts?
 

ncide

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Your best bet is to apply to those two schools, and at minimum, another 10-12.
 

dyesht

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your application and GPA are sift through thousands over other applications. they're initially looking at numbers to weed out weak applications. At that stage, they don't care about where you got the GPA, so if it's low, your application is tossed.
 
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LuckBloodandSweat

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May 26, 2015
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Hi all,

I currently am a Junior in undergrad at a private, liberal arts college in Kentucky. I know from personal experience that private schools are much more demanding when compared to the bigger, public schools, I know this from transferring from the University of KY. Does the reputation and difficulty of a school weigh any difference when considering an applicants GPA? In my mind, a 3.2 here should equal a 3.5-3.8 at other, easier and larger schools but that may just be me.


Also, I work a full time job and have found it difficult to find time as well as opportunities to shadow, how much is the average amount of shadowing hours for an admissions committee to not completely blow you off?

I have yet to take the DAT, hoping for a score in the 19-21 range, fingers crossed! Any good study material that raised your scores?? I am horrible when it comes to Organic, I know that will be my downfall come time to take the test..

Any and all advice you all have is very much appreciated!!

Thank you!
I had a very similar GPA to you before my junior year started. Maybe find a way to cut back your hours and really ramp up your grades? Also there's so many breakdowns and people here that would love to help you with the DAT. Ask away anytime you'd like :).
 

bco99

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Jun 25, 2015
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Do you have an upward trend? If so, schools like that. Do well on your DAT, apply to 10-12 schools, and you should get at least one interview. This is just general advice, but I am speaking from experience.

edit: I reread your post. You can bring your grades up and finish with a better GPA and an upward trend. I don't want to publicly discuss my in depth stats, but I have an overall GPA lower than you. I applied the first time and got 2 interviews but no acceptances. I finished my undergraduate strong with a really high courseload and applied again and I currently have two pre December interviews. My DAT overall is a 20.
 
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td4

ULSD Class of 2022
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Mar 21, 2016
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Do you have an upward trend? If so, schools like that. Do well on your DAT, apply to 10-12 schools, and you should get at least one interview. This is just general advice, but I am speaking from experience.

edit: I reread your post. You can bring your grades up and finish with a better GPA and an upward trend. I don't want to publicly discuss my in depth stats, but I have an overall GPA lower than you. I applied the first time and got 2 interviews but no acceptances. I finished my undergraduate strong with a really high courseload and applied again and I currently have two pre December interviews. My DAT overall is a 20.

Do you care to list your way of going about the application process with a lower than average GPA like I have? Studying for the DAT, timing of your test, the interview process, shadowing hours ,community service, etc.
 

redhotchiligochu

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I know your reply is meant for bco99, but I'll share some of my thoughts.

My late sophomore and junior years I had the worst GPA. But my senior year I averaged between 3.5-3.6 oGPA. I was working full-time by the time I took the DAT last year. I would come home around 8 pm and study till midnight every weekday and maybe 6-8 hours every weekend. I studied for about a month, mainly used DAT Bootcamp and Khan Academy (although many SDN users will tell you to use Crack DAT, DAT Destroyer and Chad's videos concurrently and prepare for AT LEAST 3 months.... I'm kinda the exception here lol). I ended up getting a 21 AA with my lowest section not being under a 17 (some schools have a min-DAT score cutoff of 15-17, depending on the school).

I have approximately 200 shadowing hours, 50 hours of additional dental experience like workshops and lectures, approximately 1500 hours of community service and leadership. I applied to 20 schools early June and received 1 interview invite so far. I would have likely gotten like 3 interview invites so far if my GPA was closer to a 3.5.

I would like to hear what bco99 would like to add regarding interviews and acceptances, but I'm pretty sure he and many SDN users will agree with what I've mentioned above.
 
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td4

ULSD Class of 2022
2+ Year Member
Mar 21, 2016
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I know your reply is meant for bco99, but I'll share some of my thoughts.

My late sophomore and junior years I had the worst GPA. But my senior year I averaged between 3.5-3.6 oGPA. I was working full-time by the time I took the DAT last year. I would come home around 8 pm and study till midnight every weekday and maybe 6-8 hours every weekend. I studied for about a month, mainly used DAT Bootcamp and Khan Academy (although many SDN users will tell you to use Crack DAT, DAT Destroyer and Chad's videos concurrently and prepare for AT LEAST 3 months.... I'm kinda the exception here lol). I ended up getting a 21 AA with my lowest section not being under a 17 (some schools have a min-DAT score cutoff of 15-17, depending on the school).

I have approximately 200 shadowing hours, 50 hours of additional dental experience like workshops and lectures, approximately 1500 hours of community service and leadership. I applied to 20 schools early June and received 1 interview invite so far. I would have likely gotten like 3 interview invites so far if my GPA was closer to a 3.5.

I would like to hear what bco99 would like to add regarding interviews and acceptances, but I'm pretty sure he and many SDN users will agree with what I've mentioned above.

How did you get that many community service hours? I can't find enough time in the day to do it all...
 

redhotchiligochu

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How did you get that many community service hours? I can't find enough time in the day to do it all...
Probably why my GPA suffered my sophomore and junior years. I was involved in several outreach programs, two of which I served as an officer/director. Without talking too much about personal stuff, I would go to site on average 3-4 times a week. Spend 4 hours a day at 3 sites each 15 wk semester, that's 180 hours a semester. 360 hours a year and multiply that by 4, you get 1440 total hours. 1st week semester and finals week I won't participate, but there may be some weeks where I'm called to do 20+ hours of organizing events, recruiting, training volunteers, etc.
 

LuckBloodandSweat

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Probably why my GPA suffered my sophomore and junior years. I was involved in several outreach programs, two of which I served as an officer/director. Without talking too much about personal stuff, I would go to site on average 3-4 times a week. Spend 4 hours a day at 3 sites each 15 wk semester, that's 180 hours a semester. 360 hours a year and multiply that by 4, you get 1440 total hours. 1st week semester and finals week I won't participate, but there may be some weeks where I'm called to do 20+ hours of organizing events, recruiting, training volunteers, etc.
Damn you went crazy on the ECs bro! Also, not everyone tells people to study 3 months lol. I honestly think 6-8 weeks is easily enough for a 20+ AA. I used 4 weeks to get a 20 and 6 to get a 23 so it's very doable. It all depends on how crazy you go when you study xD
 

frozenicecreamDMD

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lol i never heard of small class size liberal art private schools r harder than public schools that use standardized curve to give out grades except some ivy league
 
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Expithian14

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Feb 23, 2016
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I had a 3.2 from UCLA, and applied to 20 schools, got into one. I didnt even do that well on my DAT, but i suggest studying your ass off for the DAT to make up for it.
 
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td4

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I had a 3.2 from UCLA, and applied to 20 schools, got into one. I didnt even do that well on my DAT, but i suggest studying your ass off for the DAT to make up for it.

How did you pull off getting in with a 3.2?? Like how did you explain your difficulties in school and your lower than average GPA
 
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redhotchiligochu

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I had a 3.2 from UCLA, and applied to 20 schools, got into one. I didnt even do that well on my DAT, but i suggest studying your ass off for the DAT to make up for it.
Which d-school accepted you I may ask? I'm gonna open a can of worms regarding my identity but I graduated from UCLA a while ago. My GPA is slightly higher than yours, I've gotten 1 interview invite so far.

A 3.2 at UCLA is like a 3.5 at a CSU or a small private college TBH. UCLA has severe grade deflation.
 

DMDDDSHopeful

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There's no cut and dry answer here. I'm not sure if dental schools rank the school you're coming from, but I know some programs they have a formulae that give your school a number of 1-5. The better known your school is, the higher the number. This came directly from someone on the admissions committee but it was at a talk in class and not about dental. I think everyone here gave you good advice. Many of us here have high GPAs and decent DATs and still struggle with interviews. Some have lower and get more. It's not an exact science but you can't go wrong with trying to bring up your GPA and aiming high for the DAT. People say you can always do a postbacc that leads to an MS. It can be an informal or formal postbacc. I did informal and ended with a 3.9 and I applied to 25 schools last cycle and only received 1 interview. Based on my experience, go for a formal program that leads you right into their own dental program. Just my two cents.