Students who fantasize about having their teeth filled, their molars removed, or their battle with plaque can think about “cutting their teeth” in an undergraduate pre-dental program.
It is crucial to remember that pre-dental is an advisory track that aids students in getting ready for dentistry school rather than a field of study.
Pre-dental students should anticipate taking a lot of math and science courses in their college years, such as biology, organic chemistry, anatomy, and more.
Contrary to popular belief, pre-dental students are not always required to major in a subject like science or math.
Many dental schools genuinely value applicants who have a well-rounded college education that includes both traditional sciences and arts as well as social studies.
However, a pre-dental students can anticipate that as soon as they get into college, they will start making preparations to become a competitive applicant. This includes making an effort to become a member of pre-dental organizations or societies, develop connections with pre-professional school counselors, give back to the community, and clock hours spent doing dental office shadowing.
The United States currently has 68 dental schools, and several more colleges and universities provide pre-dental programs.
The 10 Best Pre-Dental Schools in the US
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Auburn University (Auburn, AL)
Auburn, which was recently named one of the top 100 places in the nation to live, offers the perfect environment for students to enjoy a college experience.
Although Auburn has an overall acceptance rate of 85%, prospective students should be aware that admittance is extremely tough. Since placements in the pre-dentistry program are limited, the school is open about the fact that there are more competent applicants than there are openings.
To learn how to build a competitive background, it is advised that students schedule a meeting with the College of Science and Mathematics (COSAM) Director of Pre-Health Programs during their first year at Auburn. Additionally, it is encouraged that students take the Dental Admission Test (DAT) at least a year before enrolling in a professional program and attend all required meetings on the dental school application process.
Alpha Epsilon Delta, a national honor society for students pursuing a profession in dentistry, invites outstanding students to join. This group serves as a conduit between students and the pre-dental advising team.
Dr. Jim Phillips, Jr., an Auburn Alumni (class of 1980), has volunteered for more than 20 years as the football team dentist for Auburn Athletics.
He also participates in the selection process for the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, teaches at the COSAM, and was most recently elected president of the Alabama Dental Association (ALDA).
Students at Auburn can expect to experience the community support that Phillips speaks to.
Pre-Health Professions Director Mrs. Beverley Childress has more than 20 years of experience serving in an advisory capacity at Auburn; she is in charge of the Pre-Health Professions Advisory Committee, whose members’ acceptance rates to professional schools are 30% higher than the national norm.
The majority of Auburn pre-dentistry students attend the University of Alabama School of Dentistry in Birmingham, even though Auburn does not have a dental school on campus.
Eastern University (St. Davids, PA)
Consider all that Eastern University has to offer if you’re a pre-dental student looking for a close-knit, faith-based community and a pre-dental program.
Dr. Maria Ficherea, the pre-dental advisor, adores the “dynamic Christian environment,” and many students travel abroad on dental mission missions.
Pre-dental students at Eastern University are encouraged to take part in mandatory standardized tests, complete required community service hours, get interested in research activities and shadow working dentists.
Three dental schools are nearby, and the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine in Philadelphia, where many students assist during the academic year, has a strong connection with the Eastern campus.
Kadeem is a current biology student who also participates in lacrosse, organizes first-year student study hall groups, conducts and watches research with Eastern professors, and shadows at a neighborhood dental office once per week.
Eastern University students are eligible to apply for the Rutgers School of Medicine-based Gateway to Dentistry summer internship. Students gain exposure to clinical procedures, dental specialties, and admissions counseling throughout this 8-day comprehensive program. Juniors, seniors, recent grads, and sophomores are all eligible for this internship.
James Madison University (Harrisonburg, VA)
JMU is another Pre-Dental school in the US, which is among the most competitive on this list, and requires pre-dental students to go through performance reviews twice a year. They are required to keep their cumulative GPA at or above 3.0; if not, they risk being expelled from the program.
Students in JMU’s Pre-Dentistry Program (PDP), which is regarded as a minor, often graduate with a BS or BA in the major of their choice.
The Pre-Dental Society at JMU welcomes students to join and is dedicated to assisting students in their efforts to become qualified dentists. Students must participate in local professional opportunities, community service projects, and monthly meetings to maintain membership in the organization.
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (La Crosse, WI)
The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse is a fantastic choice for pre-dental students who won’t break the bank, with an acceptance rate of 82% and a #1 ranking out of 34 institutions in Wisconsin for value.
When declaring their majors, students should include “intended pre-professional track”; the school advises students to refer to the ADEA coursework table to comprehend pre-dental course requirements.
Dr. Michael Abler, an associate professor of biology, works with pre-dentistry students. The club’s goal is to provide students with materials that will help them stand out in their applications to dental schools and as community leaders.
Kaitlyn Michalek, a recent club leader, participated in sports and organized fundraising for the Vida Dental Mission Trip to Guatemala.
She went with 40 other La Crosse students to Guatemala to give free veterinary, dental, and medical care to locals. Over 1,000 pairs of shoes were collected during her fundraising to help individuals in need pay for the trip’s expenditures.
Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD)
With a recent acceptance rate of barely 9%, Johns Hopkins is one of the most selective institutions on this list. Additionally, they are ranked ninth overall among American institutions by U.S. News.
Johns Hopkins connects students to the Gateway to Dentistry pre-dental internship, similar to Eastern University.
Additionally, students pursuing a pre-dental career can participate in the Dentistry Today program, which is provided by the nearby University of Maryland’s Baltimore College of Dental Surgery.
There are numerous tools available to support students at Johns Hopkins. Students are given a list of active dental practices, along with contact information, so they can enquire about shadowing opportunities.
The Pre-Dental Society, which has more than 40 members, is committed to assisting Johns Hopkins students in transferring to their preferred dental schools. The Pre-Health Activities Tracker is a useful spreadsheet that students can download and use to keep track of their pre-dental undergraduate experiences.
Marquette University (Milwaukee, WI)
Marquette provides an expedited Pre-dental Scholars Program with conditional entrance to their School of Dentistry, allowing students to earn their bachelor’s and dental degrees in seven years (instead of the usual eight), which is different from other colleges on this list.
The Pre-dental Scholars Program at Marquette enrolls a maximum of ten students each year, making it extremely competitive.
The Marquette dental school, which provides each class of the School of Dentistry with approximately $11 million in financial aid, informs applicants of their acceptance before the conclusion of their junior year.
The Dental Summer Enrichment Program (DSEP), a five-week intensive program that the school also offers, helps students transition from pre-dental courses to the School of Dentistry.
Alumnus Chuck Kosowski, DDS, a specialist in treating Milwaukee people who are at a disadvantage financially, graduated from the Marquette University School of Dentistry in 2004 and is currently employed with the Advanced Care Clinic at Marquette and the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s Dental Clinic.
Oregon State University (Corvallis, OR)
Students who wish to learn more about dentistry but aren’t yet prepared to commit to a pre-dental course should consider Oregon State.
Pre-Dental Orientation, BHS 107, is a one-credit Pass/Fail course that introduces students to the discipline of dentistry and the admission procedure for dental schools. Participants in the course can also attend guest lectures and go on field trips to dental clinics and labs.
Students can learn about opportunities to hear guest lecturers, volunteer at local clinics and community activities, and attend meetings that are important for dental school applications by joining the Oregon State Pre-Dental Club.
Oregon only has one dentistry school, which is the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland. The Corvallis dentistry community welcomes OSU students extremely warmly, and they require students to complete at least 50 hours of dental shadowing and 25 hours with a general practitioner.
In addition to receiving military health professions scholarships from the National Health Services Corps and the U.S. Army, Navy, or Air Force, OSU reports that the majority of its students borrow money to pay for dental school and repay it within ten years.
UCLA (Los Angeles, CA)
Every year, two underrepresented and underprivileged students are given a 1-year intensive experience through UCLA’s post-baccalaureate program that includes mentorship, clinical experience, volunteer opportunities, and research activities.
The goal of the program is to assist participants become strong candidates for admission to the UCLA Dental School. 75% of participants in the program, according to the institution, went on to enroll in dental school.
The “Basic Dental Principles” lecture series, which introduces undergraduates to essential subjects and exercises in the dental field, is open to all UCLA pre-dental students. For undergrads interested in a career in dentistry, UCLA also offers an 80-hour, six-month clinical volunteer program and a research volunteer program.
To provide pre-dental students with undergraduate mentoring, the ASDA pre-dental outreach committee works closely with the UCLA Pre-Dental Student Outreach Program (PDSOP). They provide presentations, venues for Q&A, job shadowing opportunities, and lab instruction.
The PDSOP conducts community outreach in the greater Los Angeles area and holds regular meetings to help kids learn what they need to do to be strong applicants.
University of Texas at Arlington (Arlington, TX)
For pre-dental students, UTA offers two distinct programs: first, the 6-week Texas A&M Collegiate Program for Dentistry, which gives students the chance to hone their abilities before applying to dental schools.
The second is a 6-week program called the Summer Health Professions Education Program for first-year and second-year students that teaches them more about jobs in the health professions.
The Julia & Dale Martin Pre-Dental Scholarship is available to UTA College of Science students who want to become dentists. It is strongly advised that UTA students join one of the campus-based pre-health student organizations.
The Pre-Dental Society is an online club that aims to inform students about the dental industry and the application process for dental schools. They frequently host guest speakers, school tours, social mixers, job shadowing programs, volunteer opportunities, and scholarship information sessions.
A primary advisor (for their major) and a health professions adviser, who is committed to assisting them in becoming competitive applicants, will be available to pre-dental students. Students may also sign up for a peer or alumni mentor through the UTA College of Science.
Texas has four dental schools: Texas Tech El Paso – The Woody L. Hunt School of Dental Medicine, UT Health Science Center at Houston School of Dentistry, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio School of Dentistry, and Texas A&M College of Dentistry.
UTA is a great alternative for students who want access to a wide range of resources inside a university and numerous local dental school options where they can enroll, with a recent admission rate of 88%.
Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI)
MSU is proud of the fact that former pre-dental students have gone on to work at epidemiology research labs, private practices, major healthcare organizations, and dental schools.
Pre-health advisors at Michigan State work directly with pre-dental students to assist them access vital resources.
The Michigan State Pre-Dental Club attempts to introduce students to one another and nearby dentists while educating them on the requirements for applying to dental school. They continue to maintain an excellent club membership of around 100 members year!
The University of Detroit Mercy and the University of Michigan (located in Ann Arbor) are the two in-state options for anyone wishing to enroll in dental school in Michigan. Interested students can access the pre-dental curriculum guide for Michigan dental schools here.