Frequently Asked Questions for Pre-Dental Students

1) What are Dental schools looking for?

Dental schools are looking for candidates with solid academic-background and intellectual abilities. This is usually evidenced by strong grades and DAT scores, leadership qualities, character, empathy, knowledge, and motivation to attend dentistry school. Many more students are interested in dental school than in the number of seats available.  Therefore, you are required to have a we-rounded application to be successfully admitted to the dental school. It is recommended that you apply early.

2) What are the course requirements?

The official guide to dental schools of ADEA (American Dental Education Association) provides information about prerequisite courses and the criteria for admission to U.S. and Canadian dental schools. The requirement for dental school prerequisite courses is similar to medical schools. Some dental schools may require additional sciences, math, or social sciences courses. Many dental schools prefer more than two biology courses.  Please see the prerequisite checklist for details for dental schools on our website. It is recommended to check the specific dental school website and prerequisites where you are interested in applying. Below please find the prerequisite list from ADEA.


Traditionally, dental schools select candidates for admission who possessed:

  • Two semesters of biology with lab,
  • Two semesters of general chemistry with lab,
  • Two semesters of organic chemistry with lab and
  • Two semesters of physics, along with the lab.

Additional courses, such as extra upper-level Biology and English composition, are required by some dental schools. Additional Biology courses may include anatomy and physiology, biochemistry, and microbiology. Many dental schools may substitute one semester of biochemistry for the 2nd semester of organic chemistry (Organic 2 at UA Little Rock). Many schools strongly encourage applicants to take arts and social sciences courses. Please note that you must follow our pre- or co-requisite requirements for taking courses here at UA Little Rock.

3) What is the best way to obtain clinical experience for pre-dental students?

Applicants applying to several schools require to have 50-130 h of observation/participation at a dental practice before applying to dental school. Remember to set up a mechanism to count your shadowing hours. Dental schools may ask you to submit appropriate paperwork for your dentistry shadowing experience when you apply. The easiest way would be to contact your dentist if they allow you to shadow in their office during breaks from college. You can also search for alumni dentists, which you can access through our alumni and development office at UA Little Rock. Please also attend pre-dental club activities. Frequently they invite dentists, oral surgeons, dental students, etc., to speak to the club. This will allow students to gain contacts. Students will also have the opportunity to gain shadowing and volunteering opportunities from peers inside the pre-dental organization.

4) When is the best time to for applying to dental school?

It is recommended to apply early to any dental school. Please aim to apply to dental schools in late June to early July. The verification process may take several weeks during the peak application season. If needed to report fall grades, they can be updated in the AADSAS application at the end of the fall semester.

5) How do I apply to dental school?

Most U.S. dental schools’ primary application goes through the Associated American Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS). The applicants may start applying in early June. In 2022 fee was $264 for the first school and $115 for every different school. AADSAS is a web-based application. Applicants are asked to provide demographic information about dental-related activities, research, community service, honors and awards, and a personal statement. You must request transcripts from all U.S colleges you have attended. On the application, you must list all your courses to the standards outlined by AADSAS. To complete this section, you will need a copy of your transcript(s). AADSAS will compute different GPAs, combining all your coursework from all the schools you have attended, with a particular focus on your science coursework.

6) What is the difference between the DDS and the DMD Degree?

There is no difference between a DDS and a DMD degree. Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) and Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) are the two degrees awarded to graduates of dental schools. Currently, the majority of dental schools award the DDS degree.

7) Which standardized tests are required (DAT)?

All dental schools require the Dental Admission Test (DAT), which the American Dental Association sponsors. The test is offered year-round in prometric testing centers. Most applicants take the test in the spring or early summer before applying. Taking the examination only when you feel fully prepared would be best. The test takes approximately five hours and consists of four sections:

  • Survey of Natural Sciences – 100 questions
  • Perceptual Ability – 90 questions
  • Reading Comprehension – 50 questions
  • Quantitative Reasoning – 40 questions

Dental schools will not review your application until you have taken the DAT

  1. You can take the DAT a maximum of 3 times
  2. Any extra attempts will have to be applied for
  3. Must wait 60 days between attempts
  4. You can take the DAT before applying, but scores are only good for 3 years.

What are the Helpful links for DAT sign-up?

Recommended Courses For DAT

  • Gen Chem I&II
  • Organic Chem I&II
  • Biology
  • Anatomy and physiology

Recommended times for taking the test is the spring of your junior year or the summer between junior and senior year.

8) How are DAT scores sent to schools?

You will receive an unofficial score on the day of the test. In 3-4 weeks, your official score will go to the dental schools you indicated when you registered for the test. These are included in the DAT fee, regardless of the number of schools selected. After submitting your DAT application, you will pay for each score report added to other schools.

9) Where do I send my transcripts?

Once you open an account with AADSAS, you can print a Transcript Matching Form. You must print out one form for every U.S. academic institution you attended. Send the form to each school’s registrar’s office, and they will send the form and your transcripts back to AADSAS. Remember to do this early, as AADSAS will not process your application until all transcripts have been received.

10) How do I get a committee letter?

When you apply to dental school, you must have about 3-4 letters of recommendation from faculty and others who know your work, such as supervisors, coaches, and the individual(s) you shadowed. You will give them a signed waiver form that they will return to the chair of the pre-med advisory committee. The chair of the pre-med/health advisory committee writes the committee letter consulting copies of your individual recommendations.

After you open your account at AADSAS, you can print out your Letters of Evaluation Matching Form. The pre-med/health committee chair will attach your pre-dental committee letter to this form and send it to AADSAS, which will distribute it to the schools you are applying to.

11) Do we have a pre-dental club?

Yes. Please get in touch with Joseph Alley ( and Hunter Hauge ( for more information about the club.

12) Will joining a club look good on my application?  

Of course! Joining the pre-dental club on your campus shows that, as a student, you are interested in dentistry and willing to get involved and surround yourself with peers of similar interests. The pre-dental club typically holds meetings monthly, but on occasions, they will be held biweekly. Meetings will be held at varying times/dates but will always be held on campus. Meetings are designed to provide information that is most beneficial to the group at that time. If a majority of the club is preparing to take the DAT, we will discuss the DAT and share insider tips and information to benefit each other. The pre-dental club also offers the opportunity to serve as officers in various roles.