5+ Year Member
Apr 20, 2013
Dental Student
I am a current dental student. I am in my second year. I am currently rocking a not so stellar 3.0. I know Ortho is historically very very very competitive and if you aren't top ten in your class you are SOL. Perhaps that is still the case. I will finish my dental program along with a concurrent master's degree in oral biology and I hold leadership positions, epic service involvement and have a family to take care of... yada yada. Are there any programs that will even look at me? Or am a damned to a life of GP?
I actually think that I would make more money as a GP, but I think I would enjoy the work of an orthodontist more and have greater longevity (not as much physical strain over 30 years).


10+ Year Member
Mar 11, 2005
Apply to as many schools as possible, around 30+. See if you get any interviews and re-evaluate. You miss 100% of the shots you never take.


7+ Year Member
May 14, 2010
You still have a very real chance. While top 10 certainly makes it easier, you just have to make up for it with other things. My thoughts are:

Research - get as many publications or presentations in as you can; you still have many years left in dental school to do it. Ortho schools love research, presentations, publications, etc.. it shows you will produce more work with their name on it hah.
Stellar LORs - if your school has an ortho dept, spend a huge amount of time getting to know the higher-up professors to get good letters from them -- they may also have research opportunities for you to join, even better. They always say it is easiest to get into the residency program of the school you are currently attending.
GRE - nail that sucker as if it was the only thing schools judged you by.. it shows a definitive score while GPAs can be highly inflated/deflated, etc. Some applicants don't even apply to GRE-required schools because they are lazy, so that alone helps to lower the app pool for you.
ADAT(?) - if this comes out by the time you apply, nail it like the GRE. Standardized tests are the bomb for making you stand out in the pool of pass/fails, and gives SOME breathing room if you have a lower rank.

If you truly have your heart set on ortho, I would also consider applying to a fellowship if you don't match the first round (very possible). While these are positions that you pay and work for; they do offer an unrivaled amount of exposure to the ortho program and, more importantly, allow you to work directly with the residency higher-ups. I don't know if that melds well with having a family and all, but it's something to consider.

Ultimately, if you have your heart set on it, you can do it. Otherwise, GP life is pretty great too.
Sep 30, 2014
Last year, I think I dream about getting into ortho like every other night. I was never confident that I would make it, (I was def not ranked top of my class). but somehow I did.
my two cents are get into ortho or die tryin.

Like Munks said, "If you truly have your heart set on ortho", and you put in 110%, then you will get in.