Need advice with which undergraduate degree to do (Canada)

Pre-dentistry - general BSc or specialization/honors?

  • General

    Votes: 1 100.0%
  • Specialization

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Honors

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    1
Feb 16, 2013
23
0
Status
Non-Student
Hey there,

I, as everyone in this forum, want to get into dental school. In the end I decided to try Canada over the UK, and I'm trying to wrap my head around the whole undergraduate system. From what I gather, to get into dental school, you need to both: have a very good GPA and write the DAT well.

I'm currently deciding on which degree to do. A general BSc with a biological sciences major (seems far too general imo) and some simple minor (to bump up the GPA); or a BSc with specialization/honors - here we can choose between interesting stuff like pharmacology, molecular genetics, cell biology, immunology, physiology, bioinformatics etc.

Which one is more useful for dental school? I'm drifting towards the second since the knowledge might be useful (not sure if for the DAT itself), but the general BSc might be better since I'm guessing it's easier and would bump up my GPA.

Could someone share their opinions on the subject?
 
Jun 16, 2013
40
5
Status
Pre-Dental
Honestly, as long as you are able to take some upper level science courses I think you'll be fine either way (although this is coming from someone who hasn't actually entered dental school yet-- but just basing this off of what I hear!). In the end, I think just do whatever you think you'll enjoy more and focus on really learning the information during undergrad (that'll help on the DAT/in life in general).
 
OP
PhotonMan62
Feb 16, 2013
23
0
Status
Non-Student
That's interesting data, but it doesn't answer my question. I don't really know how to interpret the 1st link - fitness studies and other majors like that are getting accepted more, sure, but biological sciences are still the majority. And the trends don't mention specializations at all.

The second one is very helpful though, since in 2 years I will most likely apply to US universities as well.
 

MedDevil

Cool Cat Rollin' In.
7+ Year Member
Jul 29, 2010
452
83
Status
Pre-Dental
IMO, a more specialized science major is more useful and more fun to learn about (and also sets you apart from the cookie-cutter applicant with a general biology degree). It also opens up doors to cooler research and gives you stronger career options in case you decide not to go into dentistry.
 

doc toothache

10+ Year Member
Jan 17, 2006
8,150
2,284
Status
Dentist
That's interesting data, but it doesn't answer my question. I don't really know how to interpret the 1st link - fitness studies and other majors like that are getting accepted more, sure, but biological sciences are still the majority. And the trends don't mention specializations at all.

The second one is very helpful though, since in 2 years I will most likely apply to US universities as well.
Your objections are duly noted and will be forwarded to the competent authority.
 
OP
PhotonMan62
Feb 16, 2013
23
0
Status
Non-Student
IMO, a more specialized science major is more useful and more fun to learn about (and also sets you apart from the cookie-cutter applicant with a general biology degree). It also opens up doors to cooler research and gives you stronger career options in case you decide not to go into dentistry.
Thanks for the input, this is exactly what I was thinking. I guess I'll have to look through the various specializations and see what each one entails. Out of curiosity, of those I listed in the OP, which one would you personally find the "strongest"?
 

MedDevil

Cool Cat Rollin' In.
7+ Year Member
Jul 29, 2010
452
83
Status
Pre-Dental
Thanks for the input, this is exactly what I was thinking. I guess I'll have to look through the various specializations and see what each one entails. Out of curiosity, of those I listed in the OP, which one would you personally find the "strongest"?
I like immunology (biased, since I've done quite a bit of research in that area) and bioinformatics (because software/big data will influence healthcare more than biological research will over the next decade imo).
 
May 7, 2013
146
59
Status
Which school are you planning to attend? I graduated from UBC so if you are going there I might be able to help.
 
OP
PhotonMan62
Feb 16, 2013
23
0
Status
Non-Student
Which school are you planning to attend? I graduated from UBC so if you are going there I might be able to help.
I'll probably go for UAlberta personally, since it seems the most surefire way to get into dentistry (all the dentistry spots are reserved for AB residents, so the competition is much lower than to UofT and probably UBC too) and the living costs are quite good. I don't think there's much difference when it comes to the possible degrees so any opinions are appreciated.

Also what's the difference between specialization and honors? All I can find is that honors is harder, but that's it.
 
May 7, 2013
146
59
Status
Personally I find that going into majors such as chem biochem physics etc are disadvantageous since it is much harder to score an A in those courses. I would stick to something like general bio or physio/ pharmco that would better prep you for dat and also allow for higher gpa. Also integrated science is another option if you want more freedom in choosing your courses.
 
OP
PhotonMan62
Feb 16, 2013
23
0
Status
Non-Student
Personally I find that going into majors such as chem biochem physics etc are disadvantageous since it is much harder to score an A in those courses. I would stick to something like general bio or physio/ pharmco that would better prep you for dat and also allow for higher gpa. Also integrated science is another option if you want more freedom in choosing your courses.
I've read that physiology is one of the hardest possible courses, along with immunology. Pharmacology is also apparently completely based on a huge amount of memorization, and it's much more useful for future med students than dental students. All this info is of course just based on what I read, I have no actual experience.

I'm thinking about stuff like microbiology, cell biology or bioinformatics - all of these seem like they would be useful in dental school or the actual job. But on the other hand a general "biological sciences" major might really be the best due to the likely higher GPA. This is a really tough choice!
 
May 7, 2013
146
59
Status
I've read that physiology is one of the hardest possible courses, along with immunology. Pharmacology is also apparently completely based on a huge amount of memorization, and it's much more useful for future med students than dental students. All this info is of course just based on what I read, I have no actual experience.

I'm thinking about stuff like microbiology, cell biology or bioinformatics - all of these seem like they would be useful in dental school or the actual job. But on the other hand a general "biological sciences" major might really be the best due to the likely higher GPA. This is a really tough choice!
Yeah. Even in ubc pharmco and physio are few of the hardest courses and majors to get in. However, if you work hard you will do well. Also profs in these area expect many of their students to go into healthcare profession. This isnt the case for chem/physics and even biochem profs. I see many students with significant gpa drop after going into chem/physics major.
Also choose your courses wisely. Use ratemyprof!!!

I majored in cell bio and genetics and I don't regret it. My gpa isn't very high (3.6-3.7) but it prepared me well for dat (26/26/27).
 
OP
PhotonMan62
Feb 16, 2013
23
0
Status
Non-Student
Yeah. Even in ubc pharmco and physio are few of the hardest courses and majors to get in. However, if you work hard you will do well. Also profs in these area expect many of their students to go into healthcare profession. This isnt the case for chem/physics and even biochem profs. I see many students with significant gpa drop after going into chem/physics major.
Also choose your courses wisely. Use ratemyprof!!!

I majored in cell bio and genetics and I don't regret it. My gpa isn't very high (3.6-3.7) but it prepared me well for dat (26/26/27).
Cell biology is probably at the top for me now. The subject is fascinating, and I am very good at it at my current level. I really would not want pharmacology or physiology to lower my GPA and hold me back from dental school (of course). Extra DAT preparation is also welcome. And it's always nicer to have a specialization rather than a general degree (though cell biology doesn't seem to have any alternative career prospects...).

I took your advice and had a look at ratemyprof, but it's very annoying that you can't search based on the course name, only based on the teacher's name - UAlberta doesn't list which teacher teaches which course. The required courses are still pretty much forced on you anyways, and I don't see much reason to take the extra ones since it's a higher workload and would probably result in a lower GPA.
 
OP
PhotonMan62
Feb 16, 2013
23
0
Status
Non-Student
I'd like to bump this for extra info, before I send in my application. I hope I can get another few points of view on this matter.
 
Nov 22, 2013
40
21
Status
Pre-Dental
UAlberta personally, since it seems the most surefire way to get into dentistry (all the dentistry spots are reserved for AB residents, so the competition is much lower than to UofT and probably UBC too)

Nope
 
Jan 10, 2014
453
292
Status
Pre-Dental
Just choose a major that will help you in the end. Choosing an extremely difficult major such as physics could only hurt your chances of getting in.

Now if you are doing microbiology or cell biology , then they are probably going to have 80-90% similar classes , and just vary in 3 or 4 classes.
What I'm trying to say is that it doesn't matter what major you declare. You can declare X major and take whatever upper level biology classes you like ( on top of your prerequisites of course )


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
May 7, 2013
146
59
Status
Actually after talking to many D1s and D2s I came to a conclusion:
If you are worried about gpa and acceptance, major in something that gives you a really flexible choice in courses so that you can take some gpa boosters.
If you are confident that you'll do fairly well (3.8+) best majors to prepare you for actual dent stuff us physio or pharmco. Another route is to go into pharmacy and then to dentistry.