PRE-DENTAL FAQS

What should my undergraduate major be?

Dental schools do not have a preference for any specific majors. You should consider a major that you enjoy and in which you perform well or that might serve as a basis for further graduate work or employment in the event you do not go to dental school. Many applicants majoring in non-science areas are successful applicants to dental school. Nevertheless, you must meet the specific requirements for the dental schools you are considering, regardless of your major.

What are the minimal admission requirements of dental schools?

Most dental schools require one year each of general chemistry, organic chemistry, biology and physics. All courses must have laboratory components. At Marquette, these requirements are met by completing:

  • Chemistry 1001, 1002, 2111 and 2112
  • Biology 1001, 1002 and 2001
  • Physics 1001 and 1002 or Physics 1003 and 1004

Some schools' admission committees also require or recommend additional courses. You should consult admission requirements of U.S. and Canadian dental schools, published by the American Association of Dental Schools, for the specific requirements and recommended courses for each school. If you are interested in a particular school, you should learn as much about that school as possible as early as you can.

What factors do dental schools consider when evaluating applicants?

Admission committees consider science GPA, overall GPA, Dental Admission Test scores, academic and personal recommendations, personal statements, and sometimes a personal interview. They are interested in candidates who have attained good academic records and who have actively investigated the dental profession.

What is the DAT?

The Dental Admission Test is a combined aptitude and achievement exam prepared by the American Dental Association. Information about the test and application may be obtained in the Office of Pre-professional Studies.

The test is usually taken 16 to 17 months before the student hopes to begin dental school. It should be noted that although physics is required for dental school, physics is not covered on the DAT. Therefore, the test can be taken after the second semester of organic chemistry has been completed.

To prepare for the DAT, you should review the topics and skills the test measures. This is also an excellent way to evaluate your undergraduate course choices. The sections of the test include:

  • Survey of the Natural Sciences: The Natural Sciences section covers topics addressed in general biology, general chemistry and organic chemistry.
  • Perceptual Ability Test: The Perceptual Ability Test assesses visual spatial skills. 
  • Reading Comprehension: This measures the ability to read, organize, analyze and comprehend scientific information. 
  • Quantitative Reasoning: This Covers algebraic equations, fractions, conversions, percentages, exponential notation, probability and statistics, geometry, trigonometry, and applied mathematics problems.

How important are my GPA and DAT scores for admission?

Academic criteria are very important. Most schools will look very closely at the overall GPA, science GPA and DAT scores. These factors, however, are not the only items considered in evaluating the admission potential of a candidate. Integrity, motivation and the candidate's suitability for the study of dentistry are also considered.

Mean GPAs for Marquette's 2014 entering class were:

  • Mean total GPA: 3.65
  • Mean science GPA: 3.59
  • Mean DAT scores: Academic: 19.82/PAT: 19.81

How many are admitted each year?

Statistics for the Marquette University School of Dentistry 2014 entering class were:

  • Total applicants: 2,397
  • Size of entering class: 100
  • Men: 49 (49%)
  • Women: 51 (51%)

What are my chances for admission after three years of preparation?

Students are eligible for admission to the Marquette University School of Dentistry after three years, although preference is given to students with four or more years and to those who will have degrees.

Do I need letters of recommendation?

Yes. Letters of recommendation, which indicate personal knowledge of your abilities compared to other students, are extremely important. Most dental schools require at least three academic letters (usually one from a science professor, one from a non-science professor and a third from a science or non-science professor).

In addition, some schools also request one or two non-academic letters. The Office of Pre-professional Studies provides a Letters of Recommendation Service.

Are extracurricular activities important?

Dental schools prefer students with interests and experiences beyond academics; however, such activities should not interfere with academic performance.

Is financial aid available?

Amounts and types of financial aid vary widely from school to school. You should investigate the costs of dental school during your undergraduate career, as well as the types of loans and scholarships typically available.

How can I learn more about a career in dentistry?

Observe dentists in your hometown or here in Milwaukee. You should also make arrangements to tour the Marquette School of Dentistry. Tours can be arranged by contacting Admissions at (800) 445-5385. In addition, consider working or volunteering in a dental office.

How do I make an appointment with an adviser?

Contact us:
Office of Pre-professional Studies
Sensenbrenner Hall, Suite 005
(414) 288-3256