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What should my major be?

Dental schools do not require a specific major. Therefore, you may major in almost anything. You should consider a major which you enjoy, in which you will perform well and which may serve as a basis for further graduate work or employment should you choose not to apply to or are not admitted to dental school. Admissions committees expect variety in educational programs, so you should take courses in a wide variety of subject areas, no matter what you decide to declare as a major.

What is so hard about being pre-dentistry?

For many freshmen, the most difficult task is to acquire the study skills and self-discipline necessary to attain academic excellence. The success of your transition to college level work depends not only on ability, but also upon preparation, motivation, organization and how well you learn how to learn. It is important that you really learn the material, not just memorize it, as it is crucial to develop your critical thinking skills. The rigorous curriculum of a pre-dentistry student demands tenacity and stamina. There will be "star" students in your classes and for the first time in your academic career, you may have to work harder than some students. Spending time outside of class-time studying (2-3 hours outside for every hour in class) is essential. Using the extra teaching provided through the University of Cincinnati Learning Commons is part of the essential outside study time. 

While the average GPA of entering dental students is 3.54 and average DAT is 20.1-20.2, dental schools rely on a holistic review that takes many factors into consideration.

Is it difficult to get into dental school?

Yes, it is extremely competitive to gain admittance into dental school. You must be well informed, well prepared, extremely determined and work very hard to gain admission. You should also actively explore alternative careers.


2019 Statistics



Average Overall GPA



Average Science GPA



Average DAT Total Average Score 





# of Applicants


# of Matriculants


What are the admissions requirements?

Common prerequisites for health professions programs 

*NOTE: Some health professions schools will not accept prerequisites taken online. All prerequisite courses are recommended to be taken in-person.

Dental schools require general biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry and physics designed for science majors. Most schools require some laboratory components. Not all dental schools have exactly the same requirements. 

You should meet with a PPAC advisor and also consult the admissions literature for the specific requirements and recommended courses at each school in which you are interested. We recommend exploring the Pre-Health Internship program at UC. 

Competitive pre-dentistry students also possess these important qualities: competitive metricsstrong personal attributes and have meaningful pre-dentistry and other professional experiences. Visit this webpage for more information about these critical components of your application and meet often with a Pre-Professional advisor. 

What is the DAT?

The Dental Admission Test is a standardized test that measures aptitude and achievement in science, critical thinking, perceptual ability and other areas related to the study of dentistry. Dental schools require that you take the DAT prior to admission. 

There are four parts to the test: Natural Sciences (biology, chemistry, organic chemistry); Perceptual Ability (angle discrimination, form development cubes, orthographic projections, apertures and paper folding); Reading Comprehension; and Quantitative Reasoning (various types of mathematics are included). Many students who love science courses seem to avoid courses that require extensive reading and writing. As you can see, some of the DAT focuses on reading skills. Stretch yourself in your general education courses at UC and read beyond class requirements. The training will serve you well when you take the DAT.

When do I take the DAT?

Generally, you apply to dental schools before the beginning of your senior year (or a year before you plan to enter), so you should take the admissions test by the spring or summer of your junior year. If offered during the application cycle, you may repeat the test if you are not happy with your scores AND you have a good reason to think your score will improve. However, we encourage you to be as prepared as possible the first time you take the test. Pre-Professional advisors can discuss preparation plans with you.

What do dental schools consider when evaluating applicants?

The criteria for admission varies from school to school, but usually include academic record (GPA), DAT, letters of recommendation, demonstrated knowledge of and commitment to the profession and a personal interview. Personal characteristcs such as integrity and maturity are considered. Early in your college career, you should initiate several hours of observation with a general dentist; we recommend that you observe dental specialists as well. It is also important that you engage in activities that require good manual dexterity and hand-eye coordination. If you wish to apply to a specialty residency after dental school, it may be expected that you have had research experience.

What GPA do I need to get into dental school? 

This varies from school to school. However, the national mean GPA of first-year dental students is 3.5. It is particularly important that you perform well in your science courses. It is important for those considering professional school to be realistic about the extent to which performance meets admissions expectations. (See chart above for current national statistics.)

If you wish to apply to a specialty residency after dental school, your undergraduate GPA will be considered in addition to your performance in dental school.

Is it all over if I have a bad semester?

Admission committees look at the "big picture" as they evaluate applicants. They realize that every student does not hit the ground running when they enter college. Admission committees expect an excellent academic record, but may make some allowances for a problem term, slow start or rough spot. If academic problems arise, you must bounce back and perform better than ever to show that the problem was an exception, rather than the rule. Use resources such as professor and T.A. office hours and the Learning Commons.

Will I need letters of recommendation?

Yes. Dental schools do not share the same recommendation requirements. Be prepared to secure at least one letter of recommendation from a science professor who has had you in class; in some cases you will need two. Depending on the schools you apply to, you may need a letter from a non-science professor and/or one from a dentist. Letters of Recommendation are electronically sent from the letter writer to (AADSAS).

Is financial aid available?

Amounts and types of financial aid vary from school to school, as does the cost of your education. You should investigate the costs early in your undergraduate career. Most dental students finance their dental education with student loans and most will look to federal student loans by completing a FAFSA application.  

If you are a low-income applicant you may be eligible for the Fee Reduction Program to help offset the cost of applying to dental school. You may also be eligible for a partial fee waiver to help offset the cost of the DAT; review the DAT Guide for details.

How can the Pre-Professional Advising Center (PPAC) help me? 

Preparing for admission to dental school requires careful long-range planning and accurate information. The PPAC specializes in providing you with necessary information and helping you develop good planning skills. The staff of the PPAC provides you with help through each step of the way. Course selection, career exploration, time management tips, information on individual schools, admissions test preparation advice, managing letters of recommendation and links to ways to get experience in health care settings are some of the services provided.

You probably have more questions. Please contact us to make an appointment. It is never too early to start planning.