As a pre-dental student, Carthage has numerous faculty and staff members to support your journey to professional school. Make sure you are working closely with your assigned faculty advisor to address any questions relating to your major or minor requirements.

For questions regarding dental school requirements and preparation, please contact the science and pre-health career specialist in The Aspire Center. They can help you with general questions relating to the application process and prerequisites to help you meet your career goals.

See the pre-Dental timeline

Preparing for professional school starts year one at Carthage and we are here to help you each step of the way! We recommend that you reach out to your advising team as soon as possible regarding your plans so they can help you start preparing. Carthage has many dual-degree opportunities that can assist you in reaching your professional goals.

Join the Pre-Health Club at Carthage to help you foster connections with other pre-health students, understand your next steps, and deepen your experience with healthcare. Start building connections with professors now by getting involved and seeking out opportunities. It is highly recommended you start looking for experiential learning opportunities and get involved.

While different schools will have different expectations on what classes you should take, the following are often required.

  • 2 General Chemistry Courses with Labs (CHEM 1010, CHEM 1020)
  • 2 Organic Chemistry Courses with Labs (CHEM 2070, CHEM 2080)
  • 2 English Courses
  • 2 Physics Courses (PHY 2100 and 2110 or PHY 2200 and 2210)
  • Cell Biology (BIO 2300)
  • Biochemistry with Lab (CHEM 3010)
  • Microbiology with Lab (BIO 3340)
  • Anatomy and Physiology with Lab (BIO 3300)
  • Intro to Business or Microeconomics (BUS 1110 or ECN 1010)

Other courses are frequently required — the best way to know what courses to take is to have a clear idea of where you want to go far in advance of applying.

While some of the most popular majors for pre-dental include biology and chemistry, most schools you will be applying to do not care what your undergraduate major was as long as you meet the course and GPA requirements needed for their program.

A minimum GPA of 3.3 is typically required for admission into dental school but you should aim higher to be a competitive applicant (3.5-4.0).

While Carthage students usually apply to around 15-20 schools total of 14 months before they start dental school. There is a financial commitment associated with application fees so you should only apply to schools you would genuinely consider attending.

Application Process Timeline

Applications will be submitted through the AADAS platform. This opens in the summer and if you are planning on attending right after your undergraduate degree you should apply the summer of your junior year. It is recommended that you have all materials ready when the platform opens and submit them in June.

Personal Statement

You will need to submit a personal statement with your application. To help craft your personal statement, attend our Personal Statement Workshop, typically held in the fall semester.

Dental schools typically require 4-6 letters of recommendation. For most schools, 2 from a science professor, 1-2 from a dentist you have worked or shadowed with, and 1 from an advisor will suffice, although schools may have different requirements. You may also need a letter from your school’s committee depending on the school – we also offer this.

Letter of Recommendation Timeframe

Ideally, you should ask for letters of recommendation at least 2-3 months in advance of submitting your committee letter application, although give as much time as possible. This way they have adequate time to reflect upon their experience and write the best possible letter they can. If you are participating in an experiential role, it is suggested that you ask for a letter a month or two prior to the close of that experience.

The amount of shadowing is usually around 100-150 hours; to be safe, try to aim for 125 or more. You should try to shadow at organizations that can show admissions teams you have a strong interest in and understanding of dentistry, which, for most students, means with a dentist or a dental specialist. You should also be volunteering as well — even if it isn’t required by a school, it can absolutely make admissions teams look favorably on your application.

You will need to take the DAT for admission into dental school. Preparing for the DAT largely depends on you and how you study. It is normal to study for the DAT over multiple months and you should spread this out. However, to feel fully prepared and to make sure you give yourself the best possible chance to do well, the study process may take a full year. Taking into account all these factors, studying and preparing as early as you can is best. We recommend that you study intensively the summer following your sophomore year — this exam will have everything but physics on it, meaning there is lots of information to cover and you need to give yourself the best chance of recalling it all. Most people take the DAT during the winter or spring of their junior year or 1.5 years before they go to dental school.