GPA and Dental School Admission:
What GPA Do I Need for Dental School Admission?
Since there is intense competition for getting into dental school, a 3.0-grade point average (GPA) is the minimum GPA required to stand a chance in the competition. Having a GPA of around 3.3 or higher would give you an advantage, also for the science courses the same amount of GPA is desirable. Getting into dental school does not depend on your grades alone though.
The ideal dental school applicant will have a 3.5 cumulative GPA or higher. There are many schools that average Biology, Chemistry, and Physics (BCP) GPAs together. For these science courses, the average applicant should strive for a 3.4 GPA or higher.
Is it Possible to Get into Dental Schools with Low GPA?
The short answer is that it is possible but it depends. You need to have the minimum GPA that is required by dental schools.
What Should I Do If I have a Low GPA?
There are a couple of suggestions:
- You can retake some of the classes in which you got poor results. This shows that you are serious about getting accepted and you work hard to achieve better results.
- Post-baccalaureate Program:
When your GPA is lower than 2.75 you need to find a post-baccalaureate program to attend in order to go above the required GPA for dental school. Since the credits earned in these programs will directly affect your undergraduate GPA, this method is recommended for anyone who has a lower GPA than 3.0.
You should be aiming for an A in every credit to optimize your chance to improve your GPA up to 3.0 or higher. Reaching a GPA above 2.75 will help you in qualifying for dental schools since they will be able to see that you have an upward trend in your GPA and you are capable of doing well in your class.
There are other programs such as a masters program or dental hygiene school but they will not raise your GPA and, if you have a sub 2.75 GPA they will NOT help you qualify for dental school.
- Masters Program:
Now if you have a higher GPA than 3.0 but still want to improve your chances of getting accepted you may want to consider getting into a masters program. It is recommended to find a 1-year program for applying since this will help you have a stronger application in a short time. Masters program will help you show the dental school that you are capable of doing well in graduate-level courses and you can also keep up with your studying which is a positive point for your application.
If you are not accepted the first time you apply to dental school, then masters program is a good option. Many students get into dental schools with a master’s degree each year, but masters will only give you a new GPA and your undergraduate GPA will not be changed.
- Dental Hygiene:
Applying to dental hygiene school is similar to doing masters program but the hygiene program takes two years to complete. Although this might be a good option for some applicants since it takes one year more than masters program it is not highly recommended.
Finally, if you have a low GPA do not lose hope, keep working on your GPA, and study hard for the DAT. Achieving a high score on the DAT will greatly help you with your application even if the GPA is lower than average. If you keep on taking classes it will help show the schools that you can handle upper-division courses and use the upper trend as your advantage.
Would Valuable professional experience and shadowing compensate for my low GPA?
While professional experience and shadowing are positive points for an applicant, but unfortunately they do not compensate for low grades. All applicants are looking for admission to a dental school and therefore, all students need to prove themselves with a solid graduate exam score.
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