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Dentistry

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Glenn Rudolph ’09 completed dental school at the top of his class at the University of Alabama-Birmingham and is a practicing dentist.

How will Huntingdon prepare me for dental school?

The Huntingdon College Dentistry Track provides you with the knowledge, confidence, laboratory training, and communication skills to be successful in dental school and in your profession. Whether you plan to practice as a family dentist or as a specialist, your Huntingdon training prepares you for any path.

Challenging coursework, experience with research equipment, labs, and internships give you a competitive advantage for admission to DDS or DDM programs. Letters of recommendation written by Huntingdon faculty who know you well strengthen your dental school applications. Mock interviews, essay writing assistance, personal advising by faculty in Huntingdon’s Pre-Health Professions Committee, and our “Boot Camp” DAT preparation course are part of the Huntingdon Dentistry Track.

Dental School Preparation

Margaret Read Scholarship Medal winner Sarah Frampton

Sarah Frampton ’11 earned her DDM with honors from the University of Florida School of Dentistry and is a dental resident practicing in Juneau, Alaska.

Dentistry schools seek college graduates who demonstrate broad and strong educational preparation. Well-prepared candidates show a breadth of academic experience, including a foundation in science and coursework in humanities, social sciences, and the arts. Prerequisite courses—undergraduate courses required for dental school attendance—should be completed prior to applying to dental schools.

In order to gain acceptance into a dental school, you must accomplish five things:

  • Complete a bachelor’s degree in any major;
  • Achieve excellent grades overall and in the basic sciences;
  • Earn a competitive Dental Admission Test (DAT) score;
  • Get involved as a health-related volunteer; and
  • Obtain shadowing and research experience.

Dental schools do not select students on the basis of major. While most successful Huntingdon dental school applicants major in one of the sciences, students from other majors have been admitted. Choose a major that interests you  and gives you a reasonable chance of taking the required courses in a time-frame of 4–5 years. This time-frame may exclude some majors. The dental school curriculum is not easy, so your Huntingdon curriculum should be challenging, as well. Some suggested majors at Huntingdon College are listed below:

DAT (Dental Admission Test)

Jeremy Pittman

Following six years of playing basketball internationally after his Huntingdon graduation, Jeremy Pittman ’09 is a student at Howard University School of Dentistry.

Most dental schools require the results of the DAT as part of the admission process. Many schools base their interview decisions on your DAT score. You may take the test anytime, up to three times. You must wait at least 90 days between tests.

The DAT has four sections:

  • Section 1, Survey of the Natural Sciences (90 minutes): biology (40 questions), general chemistry (30 questions), and organic chemistry (30 questions)
  • Section 2, Perceptual Ability (60 minutes): six problem sets testing 3D manipulation and spatial reasoning
  • Section 3, Reading Comprehension (60 minutes): three academic essays followed by questions about each essay’s content
  • Section 4, Quantitative Reasoning (45 minutes): basic math skills

You should prepare intensely at least four months before the exam, taking at least six full-length practice tests. Some schools will take the student’s best DAT score; others will evaluate all attempts at the DAT. Therefore, one should never take the DAT if not prepared. Planning ahead is critical.

A competitive DAT score is 20 or better.

Dental School Admission Requirements

Most dental schools have the same basic requirements:

  • 2 semesters of Biology with labs
  • 2 semesters of Physics with labs
  • 2 semesters of English
  • 2 semesters of Mathematics
  • 2 semesters of General chemistry with labs
  • 2 semesters of Organic chemistry with labs
  • *1 semester of Biochemistry

*Required by some dental schools

The list of courses above  is the minimum requirement for admission to dental school. Complete these requirements by the end of your junior year so that you can apply to  dental school in a timely fashion. Content from the minimum required courses is tested as part of the DAT, so it is wise to complete these courses as early as possible. Early completion also prevents having too many time-demanding science courses during the same year.

To be competitive for admission to dental school, grades in the prerequisite courses are important. Students should always strive to make As in all courses. However, we recommend that the prerequisites and any science course receive the student’s priority. A competitive GPA for medical school is 3.50 or higher.

Your adviser will work with you on a timeline for your dental school application.

Dentistry Track students have worked or interned at the following locations:

  • The M.D. Connection
  • Baptist East Medical Center
  • Jackson Hospital
  • Local dental practices

Dental Schools to which Huntingdon graduates have been admitted:

  • The University of Alabama School of Dentistry (UAB)
  • The University of Florida School of Dentistry
  • Temple University School of Dentistry
  • Howard University School of Dentistry
  • Indiana University-Purdue University School of Dentistry

Important Links:

  • American Dental Association
    Click on the education link under “Professionals” for DAT resources, dental education programs, AADSAS procedures, and scholarships.
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham Health Care Programs
    A source for in-state information for an Alabama medical professional school including specifics on medicine, dentistry, and ophthalmology.

For more information, contact: Pre-Health Committee Dentistry Track Adviser, Dr. Doba Jackson.