Will Huntingdon prepare me for dental school?
The Huntingdon College Dentistry Track will provide you with the skills, knowledge, confidence, laboratory training, and communication skills to be successful in dental school and in a variety of dentistry settings. Whether you plan to practice as a family dentist, as a specialist in sport, pediatric, or radiation dentistry, or as an orthodontist, your Huntingdon training will prepare you for any path you choose to take in dental school.
Because of our challenging coursework, undergraduate research equipment, detailed lab assignments, and opportunities for meaningful internships, you will gain a competitive advantage for admission to D.D.S. or D.D.M. programs. Letters of recommendation—written by Huntingdon faculty who know you personally throughout your Huntingdon academic career—will 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
Dentistry schools seek applicants who have broad and strong educational backgrounds and who complete bachelor’s degrees prior to dental school enrollment. While a foundation in science is desirable, well-prepared candidates show a breadth of academic experience, including course work in humanities, social sciences, and the arts. Prerequisite courses—which are undergraduate courses required for dental school matriculation—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 have majored in one of the sciences, students from other majors have been admitted. We recommend that a student choose a major that interests him/her and that gives him/her a reasonable chance of taking the required courses in a timeframe of 4–5 years. This timeframe may exclude some majors. The dental school curriculum is not easy, so your Huntingdon curriculum should not be easy, either. Some suggested majors at Huntingdon College are listed below:
DAT (Dental Admission Test)
The DAT, a standardized, computer-based exam, is an important tool on which dental schools base interview decisions, since it allows a standardized evaluation of all applicants. You may take the test anytime, but you can only take the test three times before having to ask special permission to take the exam again. After taking the exam you must wait 90 days before repeating it. The DAT comprises four sections: survey of the natural sciences (90 minutes), perceptual ability (often called the PAT, 60 minutes), reading comprehension (60 minutes), and quantitative reasoning (45 minutes). The first section is divided into questions about biology (40 questions), general chemistry (30 questions), and organic chemistry (30 questions). The second section is divided into six different problem sets designed to test perceptual ability, specifically in the areas of three dimensional manipulation and spatial reasoning. The third section of the DAT is divided into three academic essays, each of which is followed by questions about the passage’s content. The final section tests basic mathematical skills, with emphasis placed on algebra, critical thinking, fractions, roots, and trigonometric identities. We recommend that students prepare intensely four months before the exam, and take 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.
See: http://www.ada.org/prof/ed/testing/dat/index.asp for more information.
Dental school admission requirements
Admission requirements vary from school to school. However, 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 above list of courses is considered the minimum requirement for admission to dental school. Students should try to complete these requirements by the end of the junior year of undergraduate study so they can apply to dental school in a timely fashion. Remember that 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
- American Dental Association – http://www.ada.org/
Click on the education link under “Professionals” for DAT resources, dental education programs, AADSAS procedures, and scholarships.
- University of Alabama at Birmingham – http://www.uab.edu/home/healthcare
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.