SIUE Department of Biological Sciences
College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Biological Sciences

Information for Dental School Applicants

Please refer to the current SIUE undergraduate catalog or the Biology Department Web Page for detailed specialization requirements.

PreDental Association

The PreDental Association is a student organization for students interested in dentistry.  The club does not currently have a web page.  For more information, email the club's faculty advisor, Dr. Robert Dixon, Chemistry or look for flyers around the Science Building advertising the club's activities.  The club sponsors speakers from the dental school, dentistry-related service projects, and field trips to the dental school and implant clinic, as well as friendship and support based on shared courses, instructors and interests.

The club has some review materials for the DAT available--see your CAS Advisor for details.

Links to Sites of Interest to Predental Students

Applying to Dental School

Students should apply to dental school in the summer or early fall of the year before they plan to begin dental school. If you plan to apply only to SIU School of Dental Medicine , you may apply directly. If you plan to apply to several dental schools, you should apply through the AADSAS application service.

Advice for Dental School Applicants by Dr. James DeClue, Assistant Dean for Admissions, SIUSDM, sent to predental students after his presentation at the PreDental Association Meeting, November 17. 1999

Preparing for and Taking the DAT (Dental Admission Test)

Plan to take the DAT no later than October of your final year of college. To take it, you need to apply to the Dental Admission Testing Program. The DAT covers the following topics: biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, reading comprehension, and quantitative reasoning (more detail is available from the topics link). An acceptable (average) academic score on the DAT is about 18; a score of 18 or 19 on the perceptual ability part of the DAT is desirable.

Scholarware has information about various DAT prep software, including TopScore Pro.  Another web site that might prove useful is WWW.ACETHEDAT.COM . This is a site developed by dental students at the Univ. of Kentucky, who "designed a web based program that accurately represents, not only the material covered on the DAT, but the actual appearance of the DAT itself. In addition, we provide explainations to question answers, because you need to understand the process of arriving at each answer to be successful."

Observing a Dental Practice

Dental schools are increasingly interested in students who have demonstrated their interest in dentistry and knowledge of the routines of a dental practice by observing a practice. This allows students to observe not only dental techniques, but also the dentist's interaction with patients and dental assistants, and the everyday requirements of dental practice. I strongly recommend that you spend time observing a practice. It might be in the summer or during a regular semester, in your hometown or near SIUE, in the practice of your family dentist or a specialist such as an orthodontist. Spend enough time in a single practice to observe a variety of activities over time, more than just a few hours--more like a few hours a week for a summer or semester or longer. The following local dentists have agreed in the past to have students observe their practices--be very polite and dependable--you are requesting that they spend their valuable time with you. If all goes well, they may be willing to write a letter of evaluation for you when you need one.

  • Walter B. Osika, 535 St. Louis St., Edwardsville, IL, (618)656-9123
  • Robert Wheatley, 1516B Troy Rd., Edwardsville, IL, (618)656-3311
  • Janet C. Doerr, 1075 Harrison, Wood River, IL, (618)259-5200
  • Roberson-Stapleton DDS, Ltd., 1075 Harrison, Wood River, IL, (618)259-5200
  • Joe F. Emons, 2201 State St., Alton, IL, (618)462-8123
  • David W. Hyten, 2110A Troy Rd., Edwardsville, IL, (618)656-1914
  • Ron Dillow, 2010 Mall St., Ste. F, Collinsville, IL, (618)345-8333
  • Brent D. Wohlford, #5 Sunset Hills Prof. Ctr., Edwardsville, IL, (618)692-4545
  • Kent & Kathy Splaingard, 1923 Johnson Rd., Granite City, IL, (618)877-6303
  • Associated Pediatric Dentistry, Ltd., Six-157 Center, Ste. A, Edwardsville, IL, (618)659-6736
  • Dathu Doan, 103 N. Taylor, Kirkwood, MO (314)821-4100 (also Dr. Doan's husband has a practice in south St. Louis and would probably be willing for students to observe it)

Various Routes to Dental School

There are several routes that you might take to go to dental school, each of which is described below. Most students use the regular admission route, completing a B.A./B.S. degree before beginning dental school. Your chances of being a competitive applicant depend on the quality of your credentials; having a degree is essential if your grades or DAT scores are weak. You might also choose to apply in your third undergraduate year, hoping for admission without a degree. You need to have both excellent grades and excellent DAT scores to have a chance of acceptance without a degree. If you meet the criteria below, you might be able to complete your B.A./B.S. degree after your first year of dental school.

Regular admission to dental school

Students should plan to apply to dental school in the summer before their senior year. They should plan to take the DAT no later than October of their senior year, but preferably as soon as they have completed sufficient coursework. Students who apply for regular admission should plan to complete a four-year BS degree. The biology/medical science specialization provides sufficient background in biology, biochemistry, and chemistry to prepare the student for both the DAT and for success during the first year of dental school.

Early admission to dental school

  1. Admission without a B.S. degree, no degree planned: The student must have completed 60 credit hours of acceptable college credit and must have met the other requirements of the dental school. Few students are admitted with as few as 60 credit hours.
  2. Admission without a B.S. degree, B.S. degree anticipated after the first year of dental school--the student must have completed all degree requirements (excluding biology electives and the senior assessment, but including biochemistry) for the biology/medical science degree and for the university (92 hours minimum) by the end of the junior year. The student should plan to take the DAT and apply to dental school by the fall of the junior year, but preferably sooner. The student may have some transfer credit from other schools including community colleges, but should have taken most science coursework and upper level biology courses at SIUE.
  3. Joint B.S./D.M.D. Combined Program: This program is especially for excellent students who matriculate as freshmen at SIUE, with little or no coursework transferred from other institutions, and who attended high school in Illinois.

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Last updated July 29, 2012