Pre-Professional Health Programs

Suggested Timeline

This Pre-Dental Timeline is adapted from the American Dental Association.

Freshman/Sophomore Years:

  • Work with your Pre-professional Advisor to plan courses and experiences that will help you to prepare for application to dental school.
  • Begin to complete chemistry, biology, physics and organic chemistry requirements
  • Check out  library, internet and career services’ dentistry-related resources
  • Consider job shadowing, summer enrichment and/or volunteer experience
  • Consider alternative career plans
  • Review dental school catalogs and/or websites, then touch base with your pre-professional advisor.  See American Dental Association Program Search  for specific schools’ requirements. 

How to Spend Your Summer Vacation
There are numerous ways to spend your summers during your pre-professional studies.  It is highly recommended that you get involved in paid or volunteer experiences that relate to your chosen field.  By doing so you learn more about yourself, which will help you clarify your career goals.  Those with whom you interact in the experience can support your career development.  And the experience demonstrates to professional schools that you are focused, engaged and invested in your professional aspirations.

Another valuable way to spend your summer is to enroll in a summer enrichment program.  These programs, usually offered by colleges and universities, vary in cost, length, location and focus.  Visit AAMC’s Enrichment Programs and Summer Undergraduate Research Programs to learn more.  Many programs offer scholarships.  One highly acclaimed program, the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP) is free.  Its goal is to help freshman and sophomore college students representing a wide range of cultural, racial and ethnically diverse backgrounds get into professional school.  It is implemented at 12 program sites across the nation.

Junior Year

  • Complete prerequisite requirements by end of 2nd semester
  • Prepare to take the Dental Admission Test (DAT)
  • Apply for admission at least a year in advance of when you want to enter dental school.  So take the DAT no later than spring of your junior year
  • Fulfill service, shadowing and other non-academic prerequisites set forth by your chosen schools.
  • Gather letters of evaluation from faculty and others

Senior Year

  • Take advantage of interview practice programs offered by pre-professional student groups, pre-professional advising or career services staff before dental school admissions interviews
  • Complete forms for financial aid
  • Send thank you notes to evaluators, advisors and mentors