What are the average GPAs -- science, non-science -- and DAT scores of students accepted into dental schools. Also, do dental students have to complete a residency after they graduate? Is this optional? Thank you!
I don't have the stats on hand, but I can answer your other question:
Dentists can start practicing as soon as they pass their licensing board exam and graduate from dental school with their DDS/DMD degree. Residency is optional.
It is a good idea to do some sort of residency however; it's a good way to sharpen clinical skills before entering private practice, and learn some marketable skills not taught in detail during the doctoral program like implant surgery.
The newly-graduated dentist can also apply to and enter specialty-training for disciplines like ortho, endo, prostho, perio, pedo, oral surgery, etc. The length of those programs vary.
I am in the Iowa app process now. Your stats for Iowa reflect the out of state averages. I will agree with you that Iowa is a top tier school, but the averages for in-staters are significantly lower. As the only Dental School in Iowa, and as a taxpayer supported instution, Iowa has a vested interest in 'taking care' of its own. I would say the average for in staters is around 3.4-3.5 and and DAT of 18. These are not shabby marks, but are lower than you stated. Additionally, Iowa is a small state pop wise and this is even better for instaters. Approximatley 60 of the 75 seats go to Iowa residents each year, and around 80-100 in-staters apply. On the flip side Iowa grads are always competitive for residencies and have high board scores. The fierce competition you spoke of regards the 15 out of state seats to which @ 2-5K apply. The nice thing about this is I believe (could be wrong) that it is possible to live in Iowa and pay income taxes here for a year or so and be considered a resident. Good for two reasons lower tuition and good odds at getting into a great school. Have a nice day.