Embarrassing undergrad GPA but aspirations for dental school, long term plan?

Upwardtrendfornow

2+ Year Member
May 13, 2015
96
18
Status
Pre-Dental
Before I start I want to thank everyone on here and the pre-med forum who helped me with my low point in life but after giving it a lot of thought, I've decided that dentistry is still something I am very interested in. Unfortunately my grades are poor but I am looking for what I can do right now so that years from now I can set myself up to be a dentist.

If it is not realistically possible at this point no matter what I do, let know about it so I do not waste a lot of money and years.

Long story short as I have posted here before, I finished undergrad with a 2.4 overall GPA and 210 credit hours that factor in retakes. BCPM GPA is a 1.8 after 100 attempted credit hours (I averaged it up and everything).

For my final 3 semester of college I pulled 4.0s and A's in upper level science classes. A lot of it had to do with getting mental help for some traumatic issues from the past distracting me from studies and just something in my head clicked, I just became a better student.

I am confident that the guy I am now is not in any way representative of the GPA I left college with but I also know that the GPA is a hard hit on my transcript. I've been shadowing a dentist in the past month and I enjoy a lot of what goes on in the dentist office and it would be a career I would like to get into. Only wish I had this realization and passion early on in undergrad.

So I know this is going to be a long battle but what kind of a path am I looking at as someone who still has aspirations to go to dental school?

If it is still doable, can I apply to SMPs straight away and go from there or do I have to repeat my entire undergrad?

This is a repeat of past threads but I am more sure now and don't need any motivation or "you can do it talk". I posted this thread to ask for a path and what kind of a path it will take.
 
May 6, 2015
142
46
Status
Pre-Dental
Its going to take a long time to bring up your gpa with 210 credit hours. Maybe 2 years of all A's and a killer DAT score will get you some interviews, but no one can really tell you for sure. Even two years of post-bacc to get your gpa up and then taking a smp may be necessary in your case. Are you willing to sacrifice that much time and money to have a chance at dental schools? I'm pretty sure you looked into D.O. and O.D. programs (because of the grade-replacement), but still decided on dentistry, right? Have you looked into pharmacy? if you really want to stay in the dental field, is hygienist something you would be interested in? If all is no, then I guess sacrificing 3 years worth of time would be your only option.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: SXCoronado
Nov 15, 2013
157
217
Status
Resident [Any Field]
The problem is the underlined statement is open to some interpretation. What if someone from the future told you that you do eventually get into dental school but it took you 6 years of "reinventing" yourself. Is this a realistic plan if you keep the rest of life's obligations/debt in mind?

I'd would consider my back ups at this point.
 

aznriptide859

Who's stealing my WiFi?
5+ Year Member
Apr 15, 2012
296
187
*clap clap clap clap* DEEP IN THE HEAAART OF TEXAS
Status
Pre-Dental
I will build off what u/A Pre-dent stated. You really need to consider 2 things.

1. How motivated and determined are you for a career in dentistry? At your current state it will take a lot of time, work, and money in order to build an application package that is competitive for future applications. You have to be absolutely sure you want this for a life career before working your damn hardest towards it.
2. Because you have so many hours, improving your undergrad GPA will take a LONG time if all you want to do is post-bac programs. I would recommend, as was recommended to me, to go for a masters program. Not only does it show you can perform well in even difficult classes, but it shows you are more prepared for the rigorous workload that dental school will inundate you with. Plus, rather than adding courses to be averaged into your undergrad GPA, you will "start fresh" with a graduate GPA. Of course, you're going to have to maintain this as close to 4.0 as possible throughout your graduate career.

Third, when applying to programs and schools in the future, be honest about why you had that setback in undergrad. Dental schools want you to know what you did wrong, and, when necessary, admit mistakes; personally, that's one of the qualities I (and probably they) recognize as being a mature adult. I made the mistake of completely ignoring my "fall" during my first app cycle, and I believe as a partial result I never heard back from any dental schools.

Also OP, if you're interested, shoot me a PM, I have a contact you may want to talk to in order to help your situation.

P.S: I'm writing this advice to you because I'm in a very similar situation as you, but a bit further along the track. I got into a Top 10 university for undergrad after high school, but was dismissed due to an abysmal 1.6 GPA after 2 years. Over the past 5 years I've built myself back up, finishing both my BS and MS with honors. So I will tell you, from personal experience, that it is a very long and arduous journey. But in the end, if you want it enough, you will be rewarded.
 
OP
U

Upwardtrendfornow

2+ Year Member
May 13, 2015
96
18
Status
Pre-Dental
Before asking SDNers for an advice, have you called the schools and ask the same question?.
I did not tell them my GPA but they did tell me that averages for their classes are in the 3.4s but most kids get higher than that, it is looking very scary at the moment.
 
OP
U

Upwardtrendfornow

2+ Year Member
May 13, 2015
96
18
Status
Pre-Dental
Well, it is going to take me 127 hours of a 4.0 to get my GPA up to a 3.0

So I would practically have to go back to college for another degree to even have a chance.

I am not too sure what how SMPs really work but they must have some requirements too...
 

LaughingGas

7+ Year Member
May 17, 2010
1,713
431
Status
Dental Student, Dentist
@Upwardtrendfornow you should have asked them with your number and your story. They can give you the realistic advices whether you do have a chance of getting in or not. If you are scared to reveal your identity, you can always use "John Doe".
 
OP
U

Upwardtrendfornow

2+ Year Member
May 13, 2015
96
18
Status
Pre-Dental
Never mind the averages...your grades will never get there. But despite what everyone says on SDN about whether your numbers will bar you from dental school, the stats reported from the schools themselves show that there are indeed dental students with 2.0 undergrad GPAs and 14 AA on the DAT. Who says dental school admissions committees have to follow their own 'rules?' No one. Clearly, they make exceptions once in a while. You need to figure out whether you will be an exception. This will require talking to deans and directors of admissions...probably in-person.
where can I find these reports?
 

mystery84

2+ Year Member
Jun 23, 2015
85
55
Status
Pre-Dental
I guess first thing you'll have to consider is how much time, and money you are willing to invest in dental school. Not even factoring in tuition, and living expenses you're going to need to take the DAT, obtain study materials, AADSAS application fees (gonna assume around 15 ~ 20 schools with your GPA), cost of getting to interviews, and well hopefully you get the point. Costs up to here are already going to be in the thousands with no guarantee of anything at all.

That being said I would still start by taking the DAT ($425 + materials $400 ish or you could probably find used copies for cheaper) at this point, you're going to need to shoot for mid 20's. GPA wise im in a similar boat but I dont have any life experience to justify it, I was just an idiot when I first started my undegrad. Fast foward 6 years, several jobs, and a change in major to now. I'm applying this cycle and will update you on my experience if you'd like after I get more feedback from schools/interviews (hopefully).

I feel that your DAT and personal statement will be crucial. But you will probably need an SMP to reinforce your GPA
 

Rambunctious

7+ Year Member
Oct 5, 2011
382
226
Status
Dentist
Never mind the averages...your grades will never get there. But despite what everyone says on SDN about whether your numbers will bar you from dental school, the stats reported from the schools themselves show that there are indeed dental students with 2.0 undergrad GPAs and 14 AA on the DAT. Who says dental school admissions committees have to follow their own 'rules?' No one. Clearly, they make exceptions once in a while. You need to figure out whether you will be an exception. This will require talking to deans and directors of admissions...probably in-person.
Honestly OP, take @A Pre-dent advice with a grain of salt. First, they are a pre dent lol. Second, yes it's true that there are some students that get accepted with subpar statistics, but like this person mentioned they are exceptions. What are those exceptions? The dental school won't tell you that, because most of the time it's because of some political reason. I won't get in to too much detail, but obviously if you know someone high up in admissions, then you don't need to be as competitive with the other applicants.
 
OP
U

Upwardtrendfornow

2+ Year Member
May 13, 2015
96
18
Status
Pre-Dental
Honestly OP, take @A Pre-dent advice with a grain of salt. First, they are a pre dent lol. Second, yes it's true that there are some students that get accepted with subpar statistics, but like this person mentioned they are exceptions. What are those exceptions? The dental school won't tell you that, because most of the time it's because of some political reason. I won't get in to too much detail, but obviously if you know someone high up in admissions, then you don't need to be as competitive with the other applicants.
whose advice should I take then? Whose is right?
 

Rambunctious

7+ Year Member
Oct 5, 2011
382
226
Status
Dentist
whose advice should I take then? Whose is right?
I never said anyone was wrong. I'm just saying don't get your hopes too high and think you will be one of the exceptions that dental schools take with low stats. Like people have mentioned before, just call the dental schools and ask of their advice. All we can do is give our opinions, while you can get direct answers from direct sources.
 

447113

Guest
Jan 24, 2012
609
114
Before I start I want to thank everyone on here and the pre-med forum who helped me with my low point in life but after giving it a lot of thought, I've decided that dentistry is still something I am very interested in. Unfortunately my grades are poor but I am looking for what I can do right now so that years from now I can set myself up to be a dentist.

If it is not realistically possible at this point no matter what I do, let know about it so I do not waste a lot of money and years.

Long story short as I have posted here before, I finished undergrad with a 2.4 overall GPA and 210 credit hours that factor in retakes. BCPM GPA is a 1.8 after 100 attempted credit hours (I averaged it up and everything).

For my final 3 semester of college I pulled 4.0s and A's in upper level science classes. A lot of it had to do with getting mental help for some traumatic issues from the past distracting me from studies and just something in my head clicked, I just became a better student.

I am confident that the guy I am now is not in any way representative of the GPA I left college with but I also know that the GPA is a hard hit on my transcript. I've been shadowing a dentist in the past month and I enjoy a lot of what goes on in the dentist office and it would be a career I would like to get into. Only wish I had this realization and passion early on in undergrad.

So I know this is going to be a long battle but what kind of a path am I looking at as someone who still has aspirations to go to dental school?

If it is still doable, can I apply to SMPs straight away and go from there or do I have to repeat my entire undergrad?

This is a repeat of past threads but I am more sure now and don't need any motivation or "you can do it talk". I posted this thread to ask for a path and what kind of a path it will take.
I'll be honest with you; after my first 28 credits at a community college, my overall GPA and science GPA were about 2.5 or so. Over the last 84 credits, I've maintained an average GPA of over 3.6, as well as taking nothing but a full-time course load of mostly upper level science courses the last 53 credits. Even with all this, my overall GPA is approximately 3.35 and my science GPA is about 3.26. When I apply for dental school in June of 2016, if I continue to do well, my overall and science GPAs will likely be about 3.4.

In your case, you have 210 credit hours of even poorer scores than my first 28; it would be utterly impossible to bring you raw GPA on a level respectable for the vast majority of dental applicants.
On the other hand, let's say you performed exceptionally well over the next 5 semesters; the problem is that most dental schools will seriously question how you could have performed consistently poorly for over 200 credit hours before changing your mindset.

I would personally therefore encourage you to take the DAT and give it your all; if you can get well over 20 on every section, then there may still be hope. If you exert the full amount of effort only to find that your scores are average, I would only be looking out for your best interest in urging you to consider an alternative career.
 
OP
U

Upwardtrendfornow

2+ Year Member
May 13, 2015
96
18
Status
Pre-Dental
Well I didn't call but I do know of one person who is now in charge of admissions for a dental school that I met a few months ago. Now I see this person at a cafe I go to quite a few times, have talked to him a few times in the past about sports, life, and other irrelevant subjects but today I asked him about dental school admissions concerning GPA. So I ask and here is what he told me:

It is getting competitive and most accepted applicants we have usually have at least a 3.4 GPA, that is the average but we get a lot of them who have a much higher GPA. Now it is very rare that we get anyone with below a 3.4 GPA because we just have so many competitive dental students to pick from throughout the state.

I did not specifically tell him about my situation but from that statement, it does not look so encouraging at all......
 

447113

Guest
Jan 24, 2012
609
114
Well I didn't call but I do know of one person who is now in charge of admissions for a dental school that I met a few months ago. Now I see this person at a cafe I go to quite a few times, have talked to him a few times in the past about sports, life, and other irrelevant subjects but today I asked him about dental school admissions concerning GPA. So I ask and here is what he told me:

It is getting competitive and most accepted applicants we have usually have at least a 3.4 GPA, that is the average but we get a lot of them who have a much higher GPA. Now it is very rare that we get anyone with below a 3.4 GPA because we just have so many competitive dental students to pick from throughout the state.

I did not specifically tell him about my situation but from that statement, it does not look so encouraging at all......
Have you considered osteopathic medicine? I know if you retake classes, they will replace your old grades, and you can easily raise your GPA that way. That is, if you're interested in dentistry for the healthcare aspect and not the dexterity and procedural aspects.
 
Sep 26, 2015
62
25
Status
Pre-Dental
Have you considered osteopathic medicine? I know if you retake classes, they will replace your old grades, and you can easily raise your GPA that way. That is, if you're interested in dentistry for the healthcare aspect and not the dexterity and procedural aspects.
Boo, you shouldn't give up on your dreams like that. With all the for profit dental schools, one can get into A school if you apply broadly enough. Student loans for osteo vs dents would be similar anyways
 

447113

Guest
Jan 24, 2012
609
114
Boo, you shouldn't give up on your dreams like that. With all the for profit dental schools, one can get into A school if you apply broadly enough. Student loans for osteo vs dents would be similar anyways
Actually, in 2009 only 1.25% of students who applied with overall GPAs below 2.5 were accepted, and this includes minority schools like Howard where the average GPA is 2.85. Since then, the percentage of applicants accepted has declined from 40% to 35%. The idea that one can get into dental school with, excuse the phrase, terrible statistics, by simply choosing to pay more is hogwash. Dental school admission can be extremely competitive and is only becoming more so. Even with the opening of new schools, the DAT is clearly becoming more difficult and rates of acceptance are declining.

I am not telling the OP to give up on the idea of dentistry; my recommendation for him was to call the schools, take the DAT and then decide his options. What I was suggesting, however, was that his low GPA problem could be circumvented by pursuing a career as a D.O. That doesn't mean OP has to even consider osteopathic medicine, but only that it might be something worth looking into.
 
Last edited:
OP
U

Upwardtrendfornow

2+ Year Member
May 13, 2015
96
18
Status
Pre-Dental
I am not interested in DO or even med school, I just want to go to dental school, if I was interested in DO then I would have posted a thread about it. Sorry for my rude tone (if it did come off that way) but I have had endless people on SDN push me to going DO, just not going that route. I am not even interested in med school in general, I was looking towards dental school.
 

447113

Guest
Jan 24, 2012
609
114
I am not interested in DO or even med school, I just want to go to dental school, if I was interested in DO then I would have posted a thread about it. Sorry for my rude tone (if it did come off that way) but I have had endless people on SDN push me to going DO, just not going that route. I am not even interested in med school in general, I was looking towards dental school.
Right; I apologize. I hope everything goes well for you, and good luck!
 

postpitadh

2+ Year Member
Aug 2, 2014
213
153
Status
Pre-Dental
You know there are minimum grade requirements of I think a C in all the basic sciences. If you can retake those classes, meet application requirements and show your academic strength on top of that (A's with a heavy courseload and a great DAT), you will have proven that you can handle dental school, and I think they would forgive your past. I think you want to apply with at least a 3.0 GPA and that looks like a lot of work for ya, but it's your choice to go for it or not!
 

447113

Guest
Jan 24, 2012
609
114
You know there are minimum grade requirements of I think a C in all the basic sciences. If you can retake those classes, meet application requirements and show your academic strength on top of that (A's with a heavy courseload and a great DAT), you will have proven that you can handle dental school, and I think they would forgive your past. I think you want to apply with at least a 3.0 GPA and that looks like a lot of work for ya, but it's your choice to go for it or not!
If the OP were to go back to school for another 4 years and received nothing but 4.0s, his overall GPA would still be at 2.7. As I've said; his raw GPA is irreparable; he should focus on blowing the DAT out of the water and hope dental schools will overlook his raw GPA and appreciate an upward trend.
 

postpitadh

2+ Year Member
Aug 2, 2014
213
153
Status
Pre-Dental
If the OP were to go back to school for another 4 years and received nothing but 4.0s, his overall GPA would still be at 2.7. As I've said; his raw GPA is irreparable; he should focus on blowing the DAT out of the water and hope dental schools will overlook his raw GPA and appreciate an upward trend.
yup that sounds like the best plan if they overlook classes in which OP didn't meet the grade requirements