Frequently Asked Questions About Applying to Dental School


This document is divided into five sections. You may access these questions by scolling through this page, or by accessing each section directly by selecting the links below:

ACADEMIC PREPARATION

Q.

Do I need a bachelor's degree?

A.

A Bachelor's degree, or higher, is strongly recommended because it affords the individual a broad, liberal education. A degree also provides one with a major field of study, on which to build, if dentistry turns out to be a poor career choice for the individual. An individual may enter our program after successful completion of 97 semester hours.

Q.

Does it matter what size academic load I carried in undergraduate school?

A.

Yes, The first semester of dental school is over 30 credit hours. We recommend that applicants carry a full academic load (at least 15-16 credit hours) per semester and suggest taking a minimum of 3-4 science courses each term. This gives you the chance to preview what is in store for you in dental school (i.e., a full course load which cannot be taken part time). At the same time, it gives us the opportunity to better evaluate your chances of success in dental school. Applicants are encouraged to take all pre-requisite courses under a full course lead. On-line courses for pre-requisites are not accepted.

Q.

Must I major in Biology or the sciences?

A.

No. The choice of major is yours. Choose a course of study of interest to you. Keep in mind that our faculty does not assume that you have had courses other than those required. It is true that those students who have an extensive science background have an easier time with the dental school basic sciences than non-science majors.

Q.

In addition to the required undergraduate courses (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and English), what other courses are suggested?

A.

Any upper-division courses in Biology related to growth and development such as Comparative Anatomy, Physiology, Embryology, and Histology. Biochemistry is particularly recommended. Courses in Psychology/Human Behavior are very helpful when dealing with dental patients. Also, courses in business such as Marketing will help the student prepare for private practice. Some students enjoy courses in sculpture to ensure good hand-eye coordination. You are advised to take a course in which you work with a microscope (Histology-Microbiology).

APPLICATION

Q.

How do I apply to dental school?

A.

The University of Tennessee is an AADSAS participant. A link to the application process can be found here: aadsasweb.org

The application period for the coming cycle is June 1, 2011 through September 30, 2011. All materials should be sent to AADSAS. Do not submit any materials (transcripts, DAT scores, letters of recommendation) directly to the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry unless specifically requested to do so.

Applicants who applied directly to the UT College of Dentistry last year using the Banner on-line application must re-submit materials directly to AADSAS. There is not a mechanism for the College of Dentistry to do this for an applicant.

The Office of Admissions and Student Affairs:

  • Dr. J. Stansill Covington, III.
  • Associate Dean for Admissions & Student Affairs
  • UT Health Science Center, College of Dentistry
  • 875 Union Avenue
  • Memphis, TN 38163
  • Phone: 901-448-6268
  • Toll Free Number: 1-800-788-0040
  • Email: dentaladmissions@uthsc.edu

Q.

What is the deadline for applications?

A.

The application period is June 1 through September 30 of the year before that in which you wish to enroll.

Q.

When will I be notified of acceptance?

A.

After your application is completed and you have been interviewed, the Admissions Committee makes its decision. By agreement among dental schools, acceptances will not be issued before December 1st of the year preceding the year of anticipated entry. Applicants are notified in writing of their acceptance. Each applicant is a potential for acceptance unless they have been informed specifically, in writing, that they are not. We cannot respond to unsolicited inquiries as to admission probability, the number of positions that are un-filled or other “status updates”.

Q.

What happens if the class is filled before a decision has been made about me? Am I eliminated for the year?

A.

The Admissions Committee works very diligently at selecting the best individuals to be a member of a class. However, some individuals choose not to attend our school. The Admissions Committee will choose an alternate list to select other individuals if space opens.

DENTAL ADMISSION TEST

Q.

When should I take the DAT?

A.

The DAT can be taken after the completion of Biology, General Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry. The DAT must have been taken before an application is made to AADSAS

Q.

How should I prepare for the DAT?

A.

A set of sample examination questions is included in the registration booklet. To receive a registration booklet, contact Dental Admission Testing Program, 211 East Chicago Avenue, Suite 1846, Chicago, IL 60611-2678, (800-621-8099). Take the sample test with a clock to become familiar with the timed aspect of the examination. Commercial preparatory books are also available through most university bookstores. Commercial preparatory courses exist, but they may be expensive. Consult dental students or applicants about the experiences regarding these courses before registering. Look at books in the library (Psychology section) on Tests and Measurements to get an insight into the construction of standardized tests.

Q.

What is the minimum acceptable DAT score?

A.

While there is no minimum score, competetive applicants have a total score in the 150+ range with no scores lower than 17 in any section.

Q.

For how long a period of time are my scores good?

A.

DAT scores are valid for a period of five (5) years.

Q.

Are Canadian DAT scores acceptable?

A.

No. Applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States at the time of application.

Q.

How many times may I take the DAT?

A.

The maximum is three (3) attempts.

Q.

Are there courses I should complete before taking the DAT?

A.

Yes. The DAT contains sections on Biology, General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry that require a substantial knowledge base. Physics is not required for the DAT. The Perceptual Ability Test section requires extensive practice.

LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION

Q.

Are letters of recommendation required?

A.

No letters of recommendation are required.

INTERVIEWS

Q.

Is an interview required of all applicants?

A.

Yes. Interviews are BY INVITATION to applicants being considered for admission. An interview is required for admission, however, the interview does not guarantee that an applicant will be offered a seat in the class. Other applicants, as well as prospective students, are welcome to visit the school on an appointment basis. Applicants are only interviewed once.

Q.

Who will interview me?

A.

Usually three faculty members and the Chair of the Admissions Committee. You are encouraged to bring questions to your interview. We want this to be a two-way conversation. It is not intended to be a stressful situation.

Q.

How should I dress for the interview?

A.

Professional or business attire is appropriate. You must remember that this is a professional environment and you should dress accordingly.

Q.

How are students selected to fill the class?

A.

Selection is based upon academic performance in undergraduate studies, DAT scores, personal characteristics, leadership experience, community awareness, preprofessional evaluation and the personal interview.