Aug 17, 2016
Okay, so I have been dealing with a bit of a problem these last few months.
I'm currently enrolled in a four year school as a biology major, having most of my general education requirements and basic science courses (Bio, Gen Chem) out of the way. I'm now going into my Sophomore year at the same institution, planning on taking Orgo Chem, Micro, Physics, among the rest of my gen ed classes.

After this year, however, I am unsure of what to do. My freshman year GPA is 2.5, due to dealing with personal issues. I am usually strong in the sciences but obviously failed to show it grade-wise. I fear that if the same issues arise in my second year, it may be too late to bring my GPA up to par with dental school acceptance. Becoming a dentist has been my dream since a very young age and the last thing I would want to do is give up on it.

So, I've been looking at the next best thing; dentist hygiene. I was thinking about transferring my credits after this school year from my current college to a different four year college which offers an accredited dental hygiene program, then trying my hand in applying to dental school afterwards. However, all of the DH schools that I have had my eye on only offer an associate's degree in the program. I feel as though I am working backwards, turning my aim from a bachelor's in biology to an associate's. And, say I do find a school that offers a bachelor's degree in DH... I worry that my two years worth of tuition and credits from my current school will then go down the toilet, never to be heard from again.

If I want to still try my hand at dental school after completing most of my dental school prerequisite courses in my current school, then getting my associates in DH (and do pretty well in it), would I be able to apply? Or do I need a bachelor's degree before even trying to apply to dental? If so, how should I go about getting my bachelor's in DH? Should I stop stressing and simply stay on my current route as a bio major and try my hardest to raise my GPA and do very well on my DAT? I understand that there are some dental schools that do accept comparably low GPAs, ie. Howard, MWU-AZ. Am I going about this all wrong and you have a better solution to my problem? Any and all advice would be appreciated :help:


2+ Year Member
May 26, 2015
Dental Student
Do you know for sure you're capable of pulling a 4.0 or damn near that for the next 2-3 years+? If so then don't give up and keep fighting. If you're capable of doing well and got destroyed by issues in your personal life then there's no reason you can't make a comeback. That being said, if your personal life was so bad withdrawing might have been wise to preserve your GPA o_O


2+ Year Member
Jun 9, 2015
Dental Student
First, if you think that you can get into most dental hygiene schools with a low GPA, reconsider that way of thinking. I say most dental hygiene schools because there are some out there that will let you pay an ungodly amount of money to go onto a waiting list for your turn to go through their run-of-the-mill program for 12-14 months and only have an associates to show for it. You can tell I love these programs, right? Most BSDH programs, are going to be competitive. I went to DH school from 2008-2010 and graduated with a BSDH. My class had an average entering GPA of a 3.6 and a class size of 34 out of hundreds of applicants. I always had my sights on dental school but my life took me on a real convoluted path where I practiced for 6 years and I am finally applying to dental school this cycle. If I can make it to this point, anyone can. :laugh:

If you are considering going the DH route before applying to dental school, try to get that GPA up and have the needed prerequisites for whatever program you desire (this will jump start your dental school prerequisites). I am a bit biased but I think Bachelor's programs are better because you get an insight into practice management, or at least that was the case at my university through extra courses required for the BSDH. However, with an AS or a BS, you will walk away with a license to practice dental hygiene. Some practices might offer you more money for your BSDH or you can ask for such, but don't count on it. The positive in going the DH route... you have a good paying job while you are trying to apply to dental school, you get great experience and views into the good, the bad and the ugly of dentistry, and you will begin to obtain valuable knowledge that will come in handy in dental school under the right mentors! I plan on keeping my license until I graduate dental school that way I can try and temp during breaks to make some extra money... so that's a positive, as well. The negative in going the DH route... taking the time out to get another degree, money for school... money for boards... money for licensure.... money for continuing education... the list can go on and on about money, so I'll stop beating the dead horse. :beat:

If you feel like you will be able to pull your GPA up to overcome the competitiveness of applying and getting into dental school, then hold off on the dental hygiene degree and maybe do something else like enrolling in a dental assisting program. You may not make as much money if you are looking to sustain yourself but you can get through a program pretty quick and still gain the valuable experience you are looking for while you are en route to applying to dental school. If you ever have any questions if you choose the DH route... shoot me a message! Good luck!


tequila mockingbird
Staff member
10+ Year Member
Aug 20, 2006
If dentistry is what you want to do, shoot for that. The daily routine of DH is very much different than DDS and it's something you really gotta want to do.

It's extra money and time, and it may not improve your chances at getting a seat. Focus on your undergrad grades and prereqs (which might expire if you went to DH in the interim) and get your grades up. If you can demonstrate an upward trend, they will notice that.
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