Dental careers range from general practice through specialties such as oral surgery, orthodontics, and periodontics. About 90% of active dentists are in private practice; other career options include education, research, public health, and the military.
A Doctor of Dental Surgery degree requires at least three years of undergraduate work and four years at a dental school. The majority of students accepted into dental schools have completed a bachelor's degree. Applications to dental schools have been increasing since 2001, and admission is very competitive. Acceptance to dental school is based on:
The average overall undergraduate GPA of successful applicants is 3.5 or higher, with a science GPA of 3.3 or higher. Dental schools vary somewhat in prerequisites, and the IU School of Dentistry has more specific prerequisites than most. Therefore, if you meet IU's requirements, you can apply to most of the 57 dental schools in the US. Pre-req courses for all dentistry schools are Biology, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physics, Biochemistry and English. You are advised to investigate the pre-requisite courses for the particular programs in which you are interested.
Many dental schools, including IU require 30-40 hours of shadowing with general practice dentists. This should be done early in your pre-dental career. The Dental Admission Test (DAT) covers the natural sciences, perceptual ability, reading comprehension, and quantitative reasoning. This exam is computer-based and offered all year; it should be taken no later than early summer before the senior year. the DAT can be taken a maximum of three times.
Applications to dental schools are made through the American Association of Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS); information can be obtained at www.adea.org. The application cycle begins in may and should be completed early in the summer preceding the senior year.
For more information about Pre-Dental preparation in the Biology major at USI, please contact:
For more information about Pre-Dental preparation in the Biochemistry or Chemistry major at USI, please contact:
Dr. Joseph Balda
USI Biology - 2013
SIU Dental School - 2017
Asst Dentist, Balda Dental
"USI is a unique gem. The professors genuinely care about their students and love helping them. The pre-professional program prepared me well for a successful dental school experience and gave me a passion for science. I honestly enjoyed going to class and learning, which is something I hadn’t really experienced before. USI is perfect blend of a small school family with big school benefits. I never felt like just a number. Many professors actually will know you by name, a claim that can’t be made by many colleges. In fact, most of my lab courses were taught by professors instead of teaching assistants. And class sizes were excellent, with many classes being small in size in order to give students the best chance to ask questions. I also enjoyed Evansville for similar reasons, such as a plethora of entertainment options while retaining a hometown mentality. I really discovered myself as a person in college and I have USI’s wonderful professors to thank for that. Students’ success was the main goal without any of the politics you see at many universities nowadays. If quality of education is the priority, I can’t think of a better choice than USI’s Pre-Professional program."