If you’re not a straight-A student but want to go to dental school, a well-rounded application may be your ticket to admission. Boasting 15 graduate-level programs, the UNC dental school requirements are designed to assess each student as a well-rounded applicant.
If you’re invested in education and leadership opportunities, your application will be a standout even without a 4.0 grade point average. Since only 82 people are admitted each year, making the UNC dental school acceptance rate low, consider these tips to help you craft a strategic plan to meet the UNC dental school prerequisites.
UNC dental school prerequisites don’t list a set GPA, but you’ll need to achieve a B or better in the required preparatory classes.
UNC Dental School Prerequisite Courses
As you’re planning your academic map, be sure to make room for the courses selected as UNC dental school prerequisites. In addition to science courses like chemistry, biology and physics, you’ll need to take math classes. Statistics courses and social and behavioral science classes will fill in the gaps. Meet with an adviser to determine when to take these classes during your college career.
Explore Electives That Are Interesting
You don’t have to confine your class schedule to science and math classes. In addition to UNC dental school prerequisites, select courses that are intriguing. The dental school admissions committee is looking for candidates who are interesting and diverse. Your course choices should reflect your passion for learning.
Consider Your Bachelor's Degree
UNC dental school requirements do not include an undergraduate degree. You’ll have to successfully finish 96 college credits that include the UNC dental school prerequisites, but you don’t have to graduate. Don’t count out finishing your bachelor’s degree, though. A college degree is an additional piece of evidence that demonstrates your academic promise and interests.
Be Better Than Average
While UNC dental school prerequisites don’t list a set GPA, you’ll need to achieve a B or better in the required preparatory classes. Be ready to retake a class if you don’t meet that standard. Generally, your transcript should reflect grades that improve over time. This means that if you don’t do well your first semester, make sure that your grades get better as you progress through college.
Demonstrate Your Psychomotor Skills
Becoming a dentist requires fine motor skills and technical task mastery. Explore hobbies that can show off your psychomotor skills. You don’t have to paint a masterpiece, but consider taking classes like sculpting, embroidery or painting to help you refine your skills.
Showcase Your Helping Skills
The dental admission application package is a glimpse into who you are as a student and a person. Get involved on campus to highlight your leadership skills. Engage in community service to show your investment in helping others.
The dental admissions committee is looking for applicants who are caring and committed to patient care, and volunteering is one way to demonstrate these skills. You should also consider shadowing a dentist to learn more about how to relate to patients and what it takes to serve others.
Prepare for the Dental Admission Test
A strong score on the Dental Admission Test (DAT) will help you in the admissions process, especially if your GPA isn’t impressive. Even though the UNC School of Dentistry doesn’t have a set score for admission, you should try to earn 20 or higher in each section. You can retake the test if you’re not satisfied with your initial score. Remember, the DAT is just one of the elements considered in the UNC dental school requirements.
Seek Impressive Letters of Recommendation
You’ll need three letters of reference to meet the UNC dental school requirements. Competitive applicants will have two letters from faculty members and one from a practicing dentist. The letters should come from professionals who know you well and can speak to why you’ll be successful in dental school and as a dental practitioner.
Make a Lasting Impression
Once you’ve satisfied the UNC dental school prerequisites, practice your interviewing skills. If you’re invited for an interview, your application packet was one of the best. An interview doesn’t ensure admission, but it’s your final chance to demonstrate why you should be selected for one of the 82 coveted dental school slots.
Dr. Kelly Meier earned her doctorate from Minnesota State Mankato in Educational Leadership. She is the author and co-author of 12 books and serves as a consultant in K-12 and higher education. Dr. Meier is is a regular contributor for The Equity Network and has worked in education for more than 30 years.