Questions from Non-Traditional Pre-Dental


New Member
10+ Year Member
Feb 13, 2009
  1. Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
    Hi all,
    As non-traditional pre-dental candidate, I have a few questions:

    1)Pre-Reqs - I have an undergrad biz degree with overall 3.2gpa (science subjects 3.6gpa), an MS in MIS with 3.9gpa (company-paid). Now, I plan to take some pre-reqs in a local college. In addition to the basic Chem1&2, Physics1&2, Bio1&2 and OrChem1&2, do I need to take anything else, like advance bio or Orchem to 'impress' the dental schools?

    2) Shadowing - How much shadowing do I need? Does it matter whether it is in a clinic or hospital? As I am pretty determined to go for dental school rather than medical school, could I shadow dentists only, rather than all sorts of doctors?

    3)Volunteer - I live right across from a hospital, where I plan to fulfill my volunteer hours, but they have no dental department. Would it matter where I volunteer or what I do? Would dental school prefer to see me doing dental-related volunteer work? I volunteered long time ago at a local ER, but I did not get proof...

    4)DAT - When should I start preparing for DAT? How many months in general do people need to prepare for DAT?

    5) I know that my best bet is to put up the best gpa and DAT score possible. Any advise from other non-traditional pre-dental/dental students/dentists?

    Most info I read for non-traditional applicants are from the medical school threads. Don't know whether it applies to dental schools as well. Do dental schools see us, older applicants, favorably/unfavorably, if we put up equally good grades, scores and interviews?

    Appreciate any input!


    Full Member
    10+ Year Member
    7+ Year Member
    Jan 31, 2008
    1. Dentist
      I like yourself graduated my first time with a degree in business. Coming back to school was a difficult decision but i think youll find it very rewarding ... as I have.

      Pre-Reqs - each school has its own list of required pre-reqs and then a list of upper levels that they like to see ... I would take some time and browse the websites of the schools that you are interested in submitting your future applications. The list of courses I eventually took became a second degree in Biological Science so thats always an option. I found that non-traditional students are viewed by dental schools just like other applicants ... get the work done in the classroom and on the DAT and youll get the interviews. I do however think being a bit older and perhaps "wiser" helps during the interviews.

      Shadowing - again different at each school ... some like to see 50 hours and some would love to see 1000. I personally did most of my time in my fathers office and then at a free dental clinic. The free clinic was a great experience as I got to learn the ins and outs of the entire dental office including front office work, instrument sterilization, shadowing, assisting, etc. The best part about the clinic was that different dentists, oral surgeons, etc. would visit the office for a day here and there ... so I got to see different areas of dentistry all in one building. I also went to the dentists in my town for a day or two here and there ... just to get another office/dentist experience.

      Volunteering - Your idea about the hospital is a good one. For me the free clinic filled a lot of these hours as well. Also look into joining clubs on campus such as your schools pre-dental club as they will surely be involved in volunteering activities.

      DAT prep - is a bit different for everyone ... feel free to check out my DAT story ... link below.

      Good luck and feel free to PM me if you have any additional questions.
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