Dental School Admissions

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I'm new to this forum, so I have a few questions: What are the steps to get into Dental School? Is the competition as cutthroat as Medical School Admissions? What's the average GPA? DAT? How many years does it take to become a licensed DDS? And Thanks ahead for answering these questions.

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1- steps to get into dental school
a - take the necessary classes (g bio, g chem, labs, english, etc), which depend on the schools that you are interested in.
b - keep your gpa up high. your sci and overall gpa are calculated individually and your gpa by semester is also calculated. I think they are interested in seeing trends (hopefully upwards!).
c - get involved -- do something, anything that you like and try to move into a leadership role (ie - volunteering, joining a club, etc).
d - observe at a clinic - it's a good way to get to know exactly what dentists do and what it takes the run the clinic. also, this is an important step in deciding if you want to be a dentist or not.
e - take the DAT and do well on it. There's a lot of info about the DAT, so you should search for it. The brief basics: it covers g bio, g chem, o chem, reading, math, and the Perceptual abilities Test. The exam is computerized and your score is reported to you upon completion of the exam.
f - get your AADSAS application in early! ie - June 1st (the first day that officially start accepting applications).

2 - Competition is tough in dental school for the top spots in the class. these are the students who (generally) are interested in specializing (ortho, OMFS, perio, pedia, etc). From the words of am OMFS, who has gone through both dental and medical school, dental school is tougher because you have less 'free time' to study and you spend much more time in lab. I think the competitiveness also depends on what schools you are interested in - naturally the student body will determine this.

3 - avg gpa - I'm not sure, I would estimate about .2 lower than the avg medical school applicant, so around at 3.4/3.5. Avg DAT is about 18.

4 - It takes 4 years to get a DDS in almost all schools in the US -- except for UoP, which has a 3 year program. They also have class throughout the summers.

Just want to add that you can practice right after you get your DDS. I've heard that a GPR (general practice residency) is strongly reccomended whether you intend to specialize or not.
A G.P. Residency is strongly recommended. I'm currently writing a brief paper on the subject of dental education, and one topic which reoccurs frequently is whether or not the GPR should be made mandatory.

The majority consensus is that it should, and there is high probability this change will occur in the next 5-7 years.