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Low GPA, high DAT? What should I do?!

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timetoapply

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Hi, so I'm a junior at a really good school (idk if dental schools consider difficulty levels of schools), and I want to apply this upcoming cycle.
Please let me know my chances or whether I should do gap year?!

CGPA: 3.20
EDIT: SGPA: 2.94 (upwards trend)

DAT:
Overall: 20
Bio: 21
C & OC: 19
PAT, Math, Reading: 21

I have over 100 shadowing hours, ~80 volunteer hours at the dental clinic, ~30 hours of assisting in a foreign country.
I am also active in 3 types of organizations that are non-health related.

Please let me know my chances!
 
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Rambunctious

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Hi, so I'm a junior at a public ivy (idk if schools consider rankings, but sigh I chose a hard school), and I want to apply this upcoming cycle.
Please let me know my chances or whether I should do gap year?!

CGPA: 3.20
SGPA: 2.8 (this is an estimate, I haven't really calculated, but I had it rough in the beginning with 2 C+'s, and 2 C's)

DAT:
Overall: 20
Bio: 21
C & OC: 19
PAT, Math, Reading: 21

I have over 100 shadowing hours, ~80 volunteer hours at the dental clinic, ~30 hours of assisting in a foreign country.
I am also active in 3 types of organizations that are non-health related.

Please let me know my chances!

Chances are slim. You should consider taking time to raise that GPA, be it a post bac or a master's (which is the better option)
 
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1passbbsSHAVE

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do
Chances are slim. You should consider taking time to raise that GPA, be it a post bac or a master's (which is the better option)

I agree. I think it's becoming ever more difficult to get into dental school even with avg or pretty good stats, so if you don't have something else that just stands out from others, those grades will only make it harder for you to get in. Take some post-bacc science classes and do well or do an official post-bac. Higher DAT scores could help, but your GPA seems to need help more urgently.
 

timetoapply

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do


I agree. I think it's becoming ever more difficult to get into dental school even with avg or pretty good stats, so if you don't have something else that just stands out from others, those grades will only make it harder for you to get in. Take some post-bacc science classes and do well or do an official post-bac. Higher DAT scores could help, but your GPA seems to need help more urgently.
I still have this semester to bring my grades up. If I were to do really well, I could bring my science gpa to a 3 and my cumulative to 3.3 to better my chances?
Also you said post-bacc science classes or official post-bacc? What is the difference? Is the former just like taking extra non-degree classes then or is it also like a full-time student program?
 

lazyindy

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your DAT is average-below average, not high. If I were you, I would complete a masters program to make up for the lackluster sGPA.

if you're URM, ignore all advice here and apply and watch the acceptances roll in.
 
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deleted744828

In my opinion, you should wait another year and do well in your senior year classes to raise your GPA. There are students who have gotten into dental school with C's so don't be discouraged, but I agree with the above comments that your sGPA needs to be higher. The extra year of classes may help, as well as a strong personal statement and LORs.

P.S. No such thing as a public ivy institution.
 

timetoapply

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In my opinion, you should wait another year and do well in your senior year classes to raise your GPA. There are students who have gotten into dental school with C's so don't be discouraged, but I agree with the above comments that your sGPA needs to be higher. The extra year of classes may help, as well as a strong personal statement and LORs.

P.S. No such thing as a public ivy institution.
If I take a gap year, can I still take recommendations now and save them?
 
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deleted744828

Definitely. I recommend using your school's career center letter service or Interfolio to store your LORs. When it comes time to apply, you can have them sent to AADSAS.
 
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timetoapply

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So I came on this forum for advice, not your judgment, so please do not belittle me like that.
Also, I was told that my scores were good, and they are above average-- maybe not high, but not as bad as you make it sound.
 
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sumin5924

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So I came on this forum for advice, not your judgment, so please do not belittle me like that.
Also, I was told that my scores were good, and they are above average-- maybe not high, but not as bad as you make it sound.
Your scores are just average for people who get accepted.

I would do a post-bacc or master's to boost your GPA and you may have a decent shot.
 

jokersmiles

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Hi, so I'm a junior at a really good school (idk if dental schools consider difficulty levels of schools), and I want to apply this upcoming cycle.
Please let me know my chances or whether I should do gap year?!

CGPA: 3.20
EDIT: SGPA: 2.94 (upwards trend)

DAT:
Overall: 20
Bio: 21
C & OC: 19
PAT, Math, Reading: 21

I have over 100 shadowing hours, ~80 volunteer hours at the dental clinic, ~30 hours of assisting in a foreign country.
I am also active in 3 types of organizations that are non-health related.

Please let me know my chances!


Your DAT score is more than fine, there are no red flags whatsoever, definitely do not retake it.
Your GPA is low you MUST do a postbac, only retake your DAT if it expires by the time youre done with your postbac.

From what I've seen, dental schools do not care what undergrad you graduated from

this forum is full of jerks just ignore them, best of luuck :)
 
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lemoncurry

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SDN is meant to be a resource for students, not a gauntlet. Let's all try to be as constructive as possible with any criticisms we may have.
 
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BluntForceTrauma

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So I came on this forum for advice, not your judgment, so please do not belittle me like that.
Also, I was told that my scores were good, and they are above average-- maybe not high, but not as bad as you make it sound.
Sadly someone did lie to you about the being above average. Your DAT is right on par with average accepted across the country while your GPA, both science and cumulative are considerably below.
Not trying to be hurtful, just being honest and direct.

You could apply, but it would probably be wasted money (unless you have URM status, then go for it). I would follow the advice of good folks on here, do a post bacc and do WELL. Then apply and your DAT would be just fine.

Most of all. Don't give up, and don't listen to the jerkies on here.
 
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danchoi03

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So are you a URM or not? If yes then your 20AA is well above 18 AA applicants who got in. I am speaking from experience.
 

obscurlit

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Also, I was told that my scores were good, and they are above average-- maybe not high, but not as bad as you make it sound.
As others said, your scores are not at all above average. And because your gpa doesn't help that cause either, I would definitely work on your personal statement and getting some insanely good LOR. I would personally also up the amount of dental shadowing/volunteering to have a continued activity. How involved are you in your three organizations? If very much so, it could help your app a lot in terms of you having strong extracurriculars.

Like someone mentioned previously, I would take a gap year in order to show more grades. Otherwise, if you apply this next cycle, you might just be rejected or probably put on hold until fall semester grades come out anyways. Work your butt off and see how much difference it makes in your gpa. If not much, I would consider a post-bacc (and acing it, literally) or retaking the DAT (especially if you think you can do better - if not, just do the masters). I would also try to find someone who won't sugarcoat your chances (thus hurting you) for advice. Perhaps someone who's been through the process or a different prehealth advisor. Good luck!
 

zEkii

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I wouldn't retake the DAT's... Work on the GPA with a masters program either at NYU, Rutgers, Temple..etc. That accept DATs in place of GRE's.

I would do as much other EC's as possible and mass amount of community service. Keep shadowing, of course. You have an easy pathway.. Just go and kill it!

I believe that you will succeed. :)
 
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timetoapply

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As others said, your scores are not at all above average. And because your gpa doesn't help that cause either, I would definitely work on your personal statement and getting some insanely good LOR. I would personally also up the amount of dental shadowing/volunteering to have a continued activity. How involved are you in your three organizations? If very much so, it could help your app a lot in terms of you having strong extracurriculars.

Like someone mentioned previously, I would take a gap year in order to show more grades. Otherwise, if you apply this next cycle, you might just be rejected or probably put on hold until fall semester grades come out anyways. Work your butt off and see how much difference it makes in your gpa. If not much, I would consider a post-bacc (and acing it, literally) or retaking the DAT (especially if you think you can do better - if not, just do the masters). I would also try to find someone who won't sugarcoat your chances (thus hurting you) for advice. Perhaps someone who's been through the process or a different prehealth advisor. Good luck!
Hmm okay, yes, I'm definitely considering gap year now. I'm just going to research some post-bac or non-degrees to raise my GPA, but is there like a safe GPA to raise it too during postbac for me to apply? I know I still have all of my fourth year to bring up my grades, but I just want to know like a safe GPA net.
I don't know if I can do better on my DAT yet; the thought of retaking it hasn't crossed my mind because I knew my scores are the average of those who have gotten in, so I'm going to stick with them until they expire? (I took them August 2015, so I should be able to use them for the 2018 cycle, right?)

I am pretty involved in my organizations. I'm on exec for an organization that teaches children dance once a week. I'm an ESL assistant that teaches international employees English once a week as well. And the other organization is just a dance club, but I'm less active in that since I pick the semesters I dance in.

As for clinical experiences, even though I said I have 80 hours as a volunteer at the clinic, I'm still currently volunteering (and will do fourth year because I'm also program director). So I should be hitting up around 150+ hours when I graduate. I'm offered a job as a dental assistant this summer, so that'll also up my hours.

And thank you for your honest feedback!
 
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timetoapply

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I wouldn't retake the DAT's... Work on the GPA with a masters program either at NYU, Rutgers, Temple..etc. That accept DATs in place of GRE's.

I would do as much other EC's as possible and mass amount of community service. Keep shadowing, of course. You have an easy pathway.. Just go and kill it!

I believe that you will succeed. :)
Masters program is also like post-bac right? Or is it a form of post-bac?

But thank you so much!
 
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fogorvostan

I wouldn't retake the DAT, but I would do a post-bacc (be it informal or formal) to raise your GPA. I have the same AA as you and although I was a little disappointed in my scores, I wouldn't risk retaking it and getting a lower score. Instead I'd put that effort towards raising my GPA.
 
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obscurlit

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Hmm okay, yes, I'm definitely considering gap year now. I'm just going to research some post-bac or non-degrees to raise my GPA, but is there like a safe GPA to raise it too during postbac for me to apply? I know I still have all of my fourth year to bring up my grades, but I just want to know like a safe GPA net.
I don't know if I can do better on my DAT yet; the thought of retaking it hasn't crossed my mind because I knew my scores are the average of those who have gotten in, so I'm going to stick with them until they expire? (I took them August 2015, so I should be able to use them for the 2018 cycle, right?)

I am pretty involved in my organizations. I'm on exec for an organization that teaches children dance once a week. I'm an ESL assistant that teaches international employees English once a week as well. And the other organization is just a dance club, but I'm less active in that since I pick the semesters I dance in.

As for clinical experiences, even though I said I have 80 hours as a volunteer at the clinic, I'm still currently volunteering (and will do fourth year because I'm also program director). So I should be hitting up around 150+ hours when I graduate. I'm offered a job as a dental assistant this summer, so that'll also up my hours.

And thank you for your honest feedback!
Hm, tbh there's never a "safe" GPA net since it's a relatively holistic review of the applicant. Usually, GPA can offset a low DAT and vice versa. I would just try your best to definitely get your sGPA over a 3.0. There are actually GPA (and DAT) cutoffs depending on the school, meaning even if you apply, you will sometimes get filtered out just based on those numbers. I would aim to get your GPA as high as you can (hopefully your sGPA over 3.0 and cGPA over 3.3). Look into schools now to get a relative idea of which schools you want to apply to and their prerequisites on shadowing/classes/etc.

Yep, the scores are valid for 3 years for almost every school. If you're not going to retake the DAT (which you shouldn't necessarily have to, unless maybe you're 17 or below in any section which is the minimum cutoff for a good number of schools), I think it would be beneficial for you to look into post-bacc programs, especially if you have had an upward trend in your grades. I think it would help maximize that upward trend, which is why a lot of people who had lower GPAs do go on to do a post-bacc program, excel, and show that despite the initial academic struggle, they are actually able to take a rigorous science workload and do well. If you end up getting interviews, you could mention this struggle and trend upwards as well.

I'm not saying you have to take a post-bacc (especially since I don't know how strong other aspects of your app are), but I think it could help - it won't hurt at the very least, unless you don't do well (3.7+ to make a point I think). The only real "negative" side of doing a post-bacc is that you're taking at least another year to get to school, but applying early when your app isn't as good as it could be could also lead to not getting in, wasting money on apps, and needing to better yourself/re-apply the next year. I think a gap year isn't bad, especially if you purposely plan on taking it (as in you're not taking it simply because you didn't get in the previous year and now have to re-organize your thoughts and re-apply). This is my gap year, and though it kind of sucks being in limbo, I don't think I would have gotten in anywhere if I applied last year - I wasn't ready, didn't know enough about dental school, not enough shadowing, and personally would probably have been super stressed handling interviews and class at the same time.

I would definitely keep up your extracurriculars and your dental-related activities up until graduation if you can! At least most of them. And that's great that you got a job. It'll definitely look good and help you understand more about dentistry/the field/etc. If you do well, maybe you could keep in contact with the office and try to get a job there in your gap year. That could be another alternative to doing a post-bacc that improves your app with dental exposure and work experience, though that means that your GPA and DAT (assuming you don't retake) will be set in stone in an average-low range. In any case, try to make good relations with the dentist and get a rec from him/her ;)

Long reply, haha. I hope this helps you think about stuff at the very least!
 

timetoapply

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Hm, tbh there's never a "safe" GPA net since it's a relatively holistic review of the applicant. Usually, GPA can offset a low DAT and vice versa. I would just try your best to definitely get your sGPA over a 3.0. There are actually GPA (and DAT) cutoffs depending on the school, meaning even if you apply, you will sometimes get filtered out just based on those numbers. I would aim to get your GPA as high as you can (hopefully your sGPA over 3.0 and cGPA over 3.3). Look into schools now to get a relative idea of which schools you want to apply to and their prerequisites on shadowing/classes/etc.

Yep, the scores are valid for 3 years for almost every school. If you're not going to retake the DAT (which you shouldn't necessarily have to, unless maybe you're 17 or below in any section which is the minimum cutoff for a good number of schools), I think it would be beneficial for you to look into post-bacc programs, especially if you have had an upward trend in your grades. I think it would help maximize that upward trend, which is why a lot of people who had lower GPAs do go on to do a post-bacc program, excel, and show that despite the initial academic struggle, they are actually able to take a rigorous science workload and do well. If you end up getting interviews, you could mention this struggle and trend upwards as well.

I'm not saying you have to take a post-bacc (especially since I don't know how strong other aspects of your app are), but I think it could help - it won't hurt at the very least, unless you don't do well (3.7+ to make a point I think). The only real "negative" side of doing a post-bacc is that you're taking at least another year to get to school, but applying early when your app isn't as good as it could be could also lead to not getting in, wasting money on apps, and needing to better yourself/re-apply the next year. I think a gap year isn't bad, especially if you purposely plan on taking it (as in you're not taking it simply because you didn't get in the previous year and now have to re-organize your thoughts and re-apply). This is my gap year, and though it kind of sucks being in limbo, I don't think I would have gotten in anywhere if I applied last year - I wasn't ready, didn't know enough about dental school, not enough shadowing, and personally would probably have been super stressed handling interviews and class at the same time.

I would definitely keep up your extracurriculars and your dental-related activities up until graduation if you can! At least most of them. And that's great that you got a job. It'll definitely look good and help you understand more about dentistry/the field/etc. If you do well, maybe you could keep in contact with the office and try to get a job there in your gap year. That could be another alternative to doing a post-bacc that improves your app with dental exposure and work experience, though that means that your GPA and DAT (assuming you don't retake) will be set in stone in an average-low range. In any case, try to make good relations with the dentist and get a rec from him/her ;)

Long reply, haha. I hope this helps you think about stuff at the very least!
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. Post-bacc was always in the back of my mind because I know I've messed up for a couple semesters, but the financials always scared me off.
So I just hoped that with my clinical experiences, I could maybe get into some schools around my area (VCU or Howard) even though my GPA is in the below-average range, the VCU recruiter once told me that schools still take in those with my GPA if scores and ECs are good, etc. But yeah, I should consider taking the time off to make myself a more rounded individual. I''ll be looking into post-baccs and discussing the financial plans with my parents soon. I hope by the end of this semester, my sGPA will be 3.0 and for my cGPA to raise up to 3.3 (at most).

Really, thank you again! And congrats on your acceptances!!
 

pgex2t

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I'd have to agree with the general consensus here; your chances are very low-you'd be banking on some sort of mind blowing personal statement and incredible interview skills to get in. Definitely do not retake your DATs unless you know for sure you can do better and only if your previous score was the result of bad circumstances/poor planning (I'd have to agree that your DAT scores are average-ish-but from what I've seen, people generally do not do better with retakes). Your stats are really close to mine before I took a post-bacc and retook the DAT and I can assure you doing either/both has made a huge difference. Also, Howard mostly accepts URMs.
 
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obscurlit

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Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. Post-bacc was always in the back of my mind because I know I've messed up for a couple semesters, but the financials always scared me off.
So I just hoped that with my clinical experiences, I could maybe get into some schools around my area (VCU or Howard) even though my GPA is in the below-average range, the VCU recruiter once told me that schools still take in those with my GPA if scores and ECs are good, etc. But yeah, I should consider taking the time off to make myself a more rounded individual. I''ll be looking into post-baccs and discussing the financial plans with my parents soon. I hope by the end of this semester, my sGPA will be 3.0 and for my cGPA to raise up to 3.3 (at most).

Really, thank you again! And congrats on your acceptances!!
Think of it as an investment of your time since you'll be learning relevant knowledge though and thus may become more prepared in terms of preparation for dental school (obviously some schools are more focused on dental-related sciences than others though). But yeah, I've heard that those programs can be quite pricey. Know that dental apps take up quite the large amount of money too... especially with all the secondary fees, interview flights and hotels, and deposits. (And then there's dental school itself haha.) So it's always good to figure out how to allocate the money in the most probable fashion. The dental assisting can always be another route during the gap year, and it'll probably help that you'll have worked as one over this upcoming summer. Perhaps you can also try to get in touch with staff at VCU (not sure how far it is from UVA) prior to your applying - I would shoot them an email at some point just asking what you should do, given your current stats, to improve yourself as an applicant and maybe ask if they have any opportunities for predents (usually there's a pre-dental day). If so, they'll take note of your name at the very least.

No worries, and thank you! I'm glad I can be of help :) As long as you plan in advance and work hard, I'm sure you'll do fine.
(Emphasis on planning and weighing your options and opportunities haha.)
 
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redmau5

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What is this really good school you attend? I'm curious if it's as good as your high DAT.


someone lied to you

I'm not sure why no one else has really called you out on this yet, but seriously, what's your problem? Just because you rocked the DAT doesn't give you free reign to walk all over the other people on this site. There are a ton of new users here who aren't as informed as us current applicants and are simply seeking out helpful advice. You belittling them doesn't help the situation. Trust me, we're all incredibly grateful for the invaluable resources you've provided over the years, but to see you acting like this is kind of a let down.

OP, UVA is a great school. Like others mentioned, try to bring up that GPA with a gap year and/or post-bacc. Best of luck!
 
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FeralisExtremum

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I'm not sure why no one else has really called you out on this yet, but seriously, what's your problem? Just because you rocked the DAT doesn't give you free reign to walk all over the other people on this site. There are a ton of new users here who aren't as informed as us current applicants and are simply seeking out helpful advice. You belittling them doesn't help the situation. Trust me, we're all incredibly grateful for the invaluable resources you've provided over the years, but to see you acting like this is kind of a let down.

OP, UVA is a great school. Like others mentioned, try to bring up that GPA with a gap year and/or post-bacc. Best of luck!

I don't see anything wrong with asking a question and stating facts. I'm also not sure what the DAT has to do with my comments.

Also, I think calling any school "really good" outside of a few obvious exceptions comes across as silly. Doesn't mean there's anything wrong with UVA.
 
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redmau5

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I don't see anything wrong with asking a question and stating facts. I'm also not sure what the DAT has to do with my comments.
There's nothing wrong with asking questions if you do it without being a jerk. Don't feign ignorance here, it's pretty clear that you were baiting the OP.
savage. but you are the god of the DAT so *bows down*
This (which you promptly liked, might I add) is how the DAT connects to your comments.
Also, I think calling any school "really good" outside of a few obvious exceptions comes across as silly. Doesn't mean there's anything wrong with UVA.
And yet you respond with "lol." Nice.
 
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aaa127

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Input your grades and see where you are GPA wise. Then see where you want to be and what grades you need to get there. I think a 3.3 BCP and science should help. You need to get A's. Only take classes you know you can get A's in. Use http://www.ratemyprofessors.com . If you need to take 1 science class per semester then so be it. If you need to take summer classes then so be it. If you need an extra semester/year to graduate then so be it. GPA repair is a very long and expensive process. Retake and do the best you can on the DAT, only if you true change your study methods to improve your scores. Best of luck!
 

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hylecious

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No one on here can really tell you your chance. None of them is on the admission of any dental schools. Just go look up the stats that ADEA posted every year about the average of GPA and DAT for each school. Get a general idea of your chance.

You already know your GPA is low. So work on it. It is just obvious. Your DAT is average so it won't boost you much. Unless you are URM with exceptional conditions to overcome, I don't think you stand a chance to get an interview, let alone acceptance. That's just my opinion.

Again, take everyone's comment here as a grain of salt. No one knows for sure.
 
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FeralisExtremum

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There's nothing wrong with asking questions if you do it without being a jerk. Don't feign ignorance here, it's pretty clear that you were baiting the OP.

There was really nothing wrong with the question. At worst it was snarky. He'll live.
This (which you promptly liked, might I add) is how the DAT connects to your comments.

So...it doesn't connect at all aside from someone complimenting me? Ok...
And yet you respond with "lol." Nice.
Yes, I literally just explained why describing UVA as 'really good' would be met with amusement.
 

redmau5

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There was really nothing wrong with the question. At worst it was snarky. He'll live.


So...it doesn't connect at all aside from someone complimenting me? Ok...

Yes, I literally just explained why describing UVA as 'really good' would be met with amusement.
Not going to derail this thread further. If you want to argue about it, PM me.
 
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Cacasszor

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The best part of being smart is I get to avoid the pitfall of evaluating people skills based on anonymous internet comments.

Like I said, you're lucky nobody expects you to function well in a social environment. If you're as condescending in real life as you are online, I really do feel sorry for you.
 
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Cacasszor

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Don't worry, I'm sure the interview process will filter me out.

Nah, like I said -- you're smart, nobody cares about your crippling inability to not come off as condescending.

Maybe work on your RC a little more though.
 
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FeralisExtremum

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Nah, like I said -- you're smart, nobody cares about your crippling inability to not come off as condescending.

Maybe work on your RC a little more though.

You seem really upset about this. Maybe work on your emotional investment in online forums.
 
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