A few things to consider: The path to becoming a dentist is a long and rewarding one. Once a student determines that dentistry might be in their future, we recommend that you come in and make an appointment with the PSA pre-dental advisor. This advisor will be able to pick you up where you are, whether you are a freshman, junior, or former student, and determine what path is best for you in your pursuit of dentistry.
What major should I choose? Texas A&M does not have a pre-dental academic track, and dental schools have no preference in what major you choose. It is our suggestion that students choose a major that they will enjoy and will do well in while completing the prerequisite course requirements.
Special note: It is important for students to understand that the dental school application process typically takes about two years. So, getting started early and developing a timeline will help so that you can achieve your goals in a timely manner.
Shadowing and volunteering in the field: Before deciding on dental school, you should be certain that you are suited to the profession and that you want to be a dentist. You can so this through shadowing a dentist, volunteering in a clinic/practice, or working in a dental office. Many pre-dental students start the process with their personal dentist during semester breaks.
Although there is no ‘magic’ number of hours, you should have at least 50 general dentistry shadowing hours before you apply.
The Pre-Dental Society can also help with obtaining shadowing experience. They have a shadow program for their members to gain experience weekly over a semester.
Service and Leadership: Dental schools look for individuals who are service-minded leaders in their communities. They look for service and leadership in all applicants. There are thousands of volunteer opportunities at Texas A&M and you should find ones that suit your needs, and remember, they don’t have to be dental-related. To get leadership, start by signing up for a committee, running for office, or participating in workshops.
Some students may have to work while in college and may not have as much time to devote to service and leadership. Please understand that dental school admission committees understand this and your holding a job will be looked upon positively.
Letters of recommendation: Get to know your professors because you will be required to have 2 letters of recommendation from professors you’ve had in class. So it’s important that you get to know them and even more importantly, they need to get to know you.
You will also need a letter from a dentist you have shadowed.
Texas Dental School prerequisites:
- Introductory Biology (BIOL 111 & 112)
- General Chemistry (CHEM 101/111 & 102/112 or CHEM 119/120)
- Organic Chemistry (CHEM 227/237 & 228/238)
- Physics (PHYS 201 & 202)
- Biochemistry (BICH 410)
- English (6 credits from the English department - not Speech)
- Statistics (STAT 201, 211, 301, 302, or 303, or PSYC 301, or SCMT 303)
- Microbiology (BIOL 351 or VTPB 405)
- Anatomy & Physiology (BIOL 319 & 320 or VIBS 305 & VTPP 423)1
1 UT Health and Texas A&M Dental both require microbiology. Texas A&M Dental requires A&P. These courses will satisfy upper-level biological sciences for any dental school.
If applying to out of state programs, students will have to check their websites for more information on required courses. However, 90% of out of state schools have the same prerequisites that the Texas schools have.
Also see DAT information on the section below.
DAT Scores: These are based on the number of correct responses; applicants are not penalized for guessing. DAT results are reported in terms of scale scores. These scale scores are neither raw (number correct) nor percentiles. Scores used in the testing program range from 1 to 30. There are no passing or failing scores; a scale score of 18 typically signifies average performance on a national basis.
Scope of the test: The DAT is strictly multiple choice and in the English language. Each section of the test is developed according to established test specifications, and consist of these 4 areas:
When to take the DAT? If you are a student on a 4-year schedule and wish to start dental school after graduation, then the spring of your junior year will most likely be when you will take your test. Most of the prerequisite courses will be required to take your DAT; however, there is no Physics on the test. The cost of taking the test is currently $385.
Testing Schedule: The following table indicates the testing schedule for the DAT. You will have 4 hours and 15 minutes to complete the test. If you choose to take the optional break, the testing session will resume automatically after 15 minutes have passed.
Optional Tutorial 15 minutes
Survey of Natural Sciences 90 minutes
Perceptual Ability Test 60 minutes
Scheduled Break (optional) 15 minutes
Reading Comprehension Test 60 minutes
Quantitative Reasoning Test 45 minutes
Optional Post Test Survey 15 minutes
You must report to the testing center at least 30 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment. See Test Specifications for an outline of the test.
The Medical/Dental Portal Workshop - PSA hold Medical/Dental Portal Workshops that students are required to attend to begin preparing for the application process. These workshops are offered in the fall and early spring semesters prior to the summer in which they are going to apply. Once students attend a portal workshop they will be prepared to ask their evaluators for letters of recommendation; as well as, begin writing their essays.
The Application and Interview Workshops - We offer both Medical and Dental School Application Workshops and Interview Workshops (for all Heath Professions) to further assist students through the application process. Although the Application Workshop and the Interview Workshop are not required, they are highly recommended.