Catawba students can get some of the best clinical experience by shadowing a dentist, or completing a dental medicine internship. We recommend students seek out opportunities as early and often as possible, keeping an accurate and detailed journal of your experiences including dates, locations, contact information, and if it was paid or volunteer-based. The number of hours and a synopsis of the work involved should also be recorded.
Advising to Meet Dental School Requirements
PREPARE TO make the world a brighter place WITH A CAREER IN dental MEDICINE
Colleges and universities do not have “Pre-Dental” majors. However, dental schools require that you complete the prerequisite coursework for admission. Because much of the required coursework is in the sciences, most Pre-Dental students select Biology, Biochemistry, or Chemistry as their majors. As long as the required prerequisite courses are taken, any major can be pursued. Be sure to check each of your prospective Dental program's prerequisite course requirements, as they can vary from institution to institution.
You should let your academic advisor know as soon as possible that admission to dental school is your post-graduation goal. Your advisor will work with you to ensure that you take the required prerequisite coursework, complete the required hours of clinical experience if necessary, and mentor you towards research experiences that will broaden your training and make your application stand out.
Pre-Dentistry students at Catawba College should take the Dental Admissions Test (DAT) at least a year prior to seeking admission to dentistry school. The DAT measures a student's general academic ability, comprehension of scientific information, and perceptual ability. Students pursuing a career in dentistry should complete at least one year of courses at Catawba in Biology and general and organic Chemistry before taking the DAT.
SETTING ADMISSION GOALS FOR DENTAL SCHOOL
Catawba students who wish to enter dental school are not required to major in a science-related field. However, since completion of the predental requirements is necessary for admission to dental school, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that students earn an undergraduate college degree in preparation for dentistry school. In fact, most dental students have completed at least four years of college.
The DAT score ranges from 1 to 30, with 18 being the average on a national scale. The average DAT score for students accepted into dental school is 19.9 and the average GPA is 3.50.
We highly recommend that students planning to attend dental school call the admissions offices at the institutions at which they wish to apply and ask for the average GPA and DAT scores for their most recent admitted class. Those scores should be the goal!
EXPERIENCES THAT WILL HELP YOU GET INTO DENTAL SCHOOL
While it is important to have good GPA and DAT scores, most dental schools want to know that they are admitting well-rounded individuals that have such qualities as the desire to help people, self-confidence, the ability to meet challenges, the ability to get along with people and the capacity to work independently. There are many experiences that students can have while at Catawba College to demonstrate their commitment in these areas:
Students at Catawba College have the option of doing an Independent Study with a faculty member. Look into summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) through the National Science Foundation (NSF) and internships at the North Carolina Research Campus.
Network and make connections with professionals that can write good letters of recommendation. Most programs require multiple letters, some of which should be from dentists or scientists that can comment on your specific abilities and personal qualities that would make you an excellent dentist. Your goal should be to have at least one practicing dentist write a letter of strong recommendation on your behalf.
Get experience working well with others by becoming an active participant in one or more of the many clubs and organizations at Catawba College.
RESOURCES FOR DENTAL MEDICINE
- American Dental Association (ADA)
- Associated American Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS)
- Dental Admission Test (DAT)
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