Dental School Resources

Our fact sheet for dental school is compiled from reputable internet sources and based on our work with previous students in the field. We hope it helps you navigate and simplify the cryptic admissions process.

Dental School Resources

Central Application Website

Top 10 Schools (US News)

  • Harvard University
  • University of California - Los Angeles
  • University of California - San Francisco
  • University of Michigan
  • University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
  • New York University
  • University of Washington - Health Sciences
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • Columbia University
  • University of Pennsylvania

Degree Duration (typical)

  • 4 years

Application Opens

  • June 1

Application Deadline

  • Various - February 1

Standardized Tests Required

  • DAT

Profile of a Successful Applicant

Recommended Test Score

  • 20+

Average Test Score

  • 17

Recommended GPA

  • 3.5+
  • 3.0 minimum for some schools

Course Requirements (varies)

  • Two semesters (three quarters) of biology with lab
  • Two semesters (three quarters) of general chemistry with lab
  • Two semesters (three quarters) of organic chemistry with lab
  • Two semesters (three quarters) of physics with lab

Letters of Rec

  • 2-3 letters required based on program
  • (letters often come from DDSs, pre-dental advisors, science professors, work supervisors)

Recommended Experience

  • Work as a paid dental assistant (DA), registered dental assistant (RDA), x-ray technician, and/or dental hygienist
  • 150+ hours of dental exposure
  • Volunteering at local dental school clinic
  • Working at a free dental clinic
  • International clinical experience or work as dental interpreter
  • 1-2 leadership experiences (work/extracurricular)

Typical Essay Requirement

  • Personal Statement (4500 characters)
  • Supplemental essays (some schools)


6+ Months Before Applying

  • Take all pre-requisite courses (finishing by the date you apply is ideal)
  • Decide whom to ask for letters of recommendation
  • Make a DAT Prep Plan
  • Sign up for a DAT test date
  • Last chance to boost your profile by getting additional exposure to the field, leadership positions, etc.

0-3 Months Before Applying

  • Write your personal statement (allow yourself at least six weeks if possible)
  • Identify a list of schools to apply to - 5-10 is ideal
  • Order official transcripts from all undergrad institutions to check for errors and help fill out ADEA AADSAS
  • Fill out ADEA AADSAS
  • Touch base with letter writers
  • Submit your application early - the earlier the better!

After Applying

  • Send official test scores to schools
  • Complete school-specific essay questions
  • Practice your responses to sample interview questions, and do at least one mock interview
  • Update schools with any developments in your grades, employment, or activities
  • Fill out financial aid paperwork
  • Send in deposit to schools of your choice


Programs List

Overview of the Profession

Fee Assistance Program

Is Dentistry Right for You?