Need Advice about Pre-Req process (esp. if you're from Southern Cal)

Mar 28, 2010
A bit of background and a request for advice:

I got a bachelor’s 15 years ago from a good university (Vanderbilt) as an English major. I graduated with a 3.2 GPA, and took only the bare minimum in science classes (got around a 2.7 science GPA – I did not consider a future working in health at that point).

After working for 15 years in an unrelated field (film and TV), I now want to go to dental school, and am having trouble formulating the best field of attack for my prereqs.

My initial inclination was to take my prereqs via community college here in Los Angeles, as I need to expedite this as quickly as possible (I’m running 15 years behind and my family situation precludes me from drawing this process out). I was already leery of the UC schools as budget cuts seem to have eliminated a lot of the spots for non-degree students, and more importantly, $15 a credit at Santa Monica is far more palatable than university prices – I’m already going to have to quit my job and rack up astronomical amounts of debt while supporting my family. I’m also hoping for a little grade inflation via CC since I need to ace all my prereqs to distinguish myself.

Naturally, I’m worried that I will be viewed as a lesser candidate for attending CC for my sciences (I’ll basically be taking all of my prereqs there except for the English component and Psych 101 (which I did get an A in in undergrad). How serious a liability is this going to be for me? As an aside, it is my goal to attend dental school in California, so the fact that Tufts and a few other schools reject CC clases ad hoc is a non-issue in my mind.

I’d also be interested to hear from anyone is Southern Cal who has taken a similar path, and their experiences in getting their prereqs satisfied.

Thanks in advance for any responses.
Jan 22, 2010
Dental Student
Your pre-reqs, especially the science courses, should be done at a 4-year university. For your situation, maybe you should call some of the schools and ask them about it. Good luck.


Michael De Coro, DMD - AKA Steve McAwesome
Gold Donor
10+ Year Member
Nov 19, 2008
Visalia, CA
For non-traditional students, it's very common to take classes at community colleges. I'd suggest making an appointment to meet with the admissions offices at USC and UCLA, and see what they suggest for your overall plan, that would be your best bet.