Apr 27, 2020
Hello all,

I am new to SDN and I have seen some threads that touched some of my experiences separate, but nothing that combines all the experience I have been through because my experience is very unique.

1. Veteran with approximately 17 months of GI BILL left
2. Improvement of academic performance since returning from the military (back to the same school)
3. Following #2 I am currently 29 and will be ~30-31 when I apply for post bacc and ~32 when I apply for Dental school and I have matured since my early college days and have more experience that I can say I want to change career because my passion for dentistry can't be satisfied by any other career (I have already tried careers that I thought I would be interested)
4. I am not going into dentistry for the money
5. My girlfriend soon to be fiancé is dental student right now and when I start post-bacc and dental school she would be able to help me with my studies
6. A lot of work experience by the time I apply for Dental School

DISADVANTAGE (These far out weigh the advantages)
1. Very low GPA (Science and Cumulative)
2. Age
3. My pre-reqs from my freshmen and sophomore will expire (lot of schools don't accept pre-reqs over 7-10 year old) and extremely low pre-reqs GPA

So, long story short about my background, I was pre-med/pre-dent while studying engineering as I entered the University of Michigan right after high school. After my freshmen year struggling to keep up with engineering school work (had no foundation to be in college of engineering because I only took natural science courses in high school) and giving up on gen chem to study for programming course I was put on academic probation and I transferred to Villanova (to be closer to home due to minor depression of Michigan/Mid-west weather) for Sophomore year and I failed out at Villanova due to immaturity and failure to manage courses while trying to get situated with transfer situation of having to live off campus. For my junior year I decided to drop pre-dent and return to Michigan without knowing what I wanted to do for a career (because I wanted to be a doctor since I was 5th grade). I returned to the college of engineering at Michigan as a junior and failed out again with no goal or purpose of life. I decided to take this opportunity to learn some discipline and gain some real life experience unlike internships and decided to join the US Navy.

While I was in the Navy for 4 years I service as a logistics specialist (Supply Chain which was what I was doing for my latest major Industrial Engineering). I climbed ranks (promoted) very quickly and within 3 years I became E-5. I became very close to one of the doctors on base and he recommended that I go through the military to become a doctor, but I decided to leave the military to focus on studies and began back at the University of Michigan full time using the GI Bill. When I returned in 2017 Fall to the University of Michigan my GPA was 2.00 in 5 semesters I graduated in 2019 Spring with 2.61 as a Informatics major with a concentration in Health Informatics and a minor in Applied Statistics, which included a lot of Computer Science weed out courses.

I have worked as a software engineering consultant and now I am in the financial service industry as a project manager (both very prestigious firms). My girlfriend who I've met when I returned to college is in Dental school now and hanging out with her cohorts had made me realize that I will never been fully happy with any career unless it is dentistry. I know this because during the summer after freshmen year of college I've shadowed a general surgeon and an orthodontist and fell in love with dentistry. I loved going into my orthodontists office and helping and seeing patients and staring at their mouth and teeth vs surgeries were just cool and there was no real passion or interest. My passion is working with my hands while serving and helping the underserved community. My passion is dentistry.

I know I will have to go back and work on my pre-reqs because I've only taken a few and they will be over 10 years old by the time I apply, also I will need to raise my GPA seriously.

My question is as a career changer trying to start post bacc within the next year or two what are some of the advices that you would give?
Will doing the full post bacc be enough be able to raise my GPA to show that I can manage the load of dental school and show improvement?
Will my experience somewhat cover for the GPA when it comes to applying?
Do you know any dental schools that prefer career changers or veteran?
Do you know any post bacc programs that prefer career changers or veteran with low GPA?
Is there any advantage of being a veteran for HPSP? I would like to be a Navy Dentist and potentially specialize in Endo if I end up doing well in Dental school (Loooong shot)

Thank you in advance.
Last edited:
Oct 19, 2019
Dental Student
I think the best thing to do is reach out to some schools you could be interested in, tell them your gpa and ask their advice on how they would see a post bac or masters. Yes you will need to retake pre-reqs, but I think a masters would be beneficial to show that you are capable of keeping up with a dental school curriculum now. In my understanding, a post-bac will only add to your current gpa, whereas a masters is a separate gpa. The best thing to do would be directly hear from admissions officers.
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Sep 10, 2019
Dental Student
Going for a masters would give you a good graduate gpa, but also make it tough to get in the pre-rec’s, which are undergraduate level. I would consider a second bachelors in chemistry or biology, some programs offer a dual bachelors-masters degree. It’s a longer road, but would give you the foundation you need.

Most dental schools love veterans, but it won’t outweigh lower scores.

Your age is not a big issue, older students are becoming more common.

No HPSP advantage for prior service, only for active duty there are several reserved scholarships.

This is just my humble opinion, take it for what it’s worth. I applied to dental school on active duty at age 31. Fortunately, I got interviews, accepted and a 4 year HPSP scholarship. It’s a lot of work, but very possible. Feel free to hit me up if you have any questions. Good luck with whatever you decide.
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Oct 1, 2017
We have similar stories!! Hooyah Shipmate...I have been doing an informal post bacc for the last year and finishing my last courses this year. I am acing my classes..You must make all A’s this go around it as close to a 4.0. Upward trend is key! I plan to apply to a 1 yr Master’s program and apply! You can do it. Reach out to schools you are interested in. Get a plan together and start putting in that work!
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Oct 26, 2018
Please keep in mind that HPSP scholarships are becoming much more competitive due to a downsizing (at least in the Navy). You might consider HSCP instead as you already have prior service and you can count dental school years towards retirement. Think of it as adding 8 years to your already served time. Going to need to murder the DAT though.
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