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Pre-Dental Program

FAQ

1. Do I need to have a college degree before I can get accepted into dental school?
No, a four-year degree is not required, typically. However, the vast majority of successful candidates have a 4-year baccalaureate degree when they matriculate to dental school. It not only makes your application stronger, but also places you in a good position educationally, if you are not accepted or decide to go another direction professionally.

Roughly 80% of the dental students at LLU have an undergraduate degree, and another 10% have 4+ years of college without a degree. Getting a college degree is strongly encouraged because it gives you a fall-back position in case something goes wrong in dental school (e.g., you find that dentistry isn't what you want to do with your life, a family emergency requires you to drop out of school, you cannot afford dental school, you do not have the dexterity required for dentistry, etc.).

2. What is the deadline for submitting my application?
Deadlines are set by each dental school and can be found by accessing each school's website. It is strongly recommended that applicants apply early, soon after the AADSAS process opens in June of the year preceding anticipated matriculation. Some schools actually have deadlines in January or February of the actual year of matriculation, but the admissions evaluation process usually begins in the fall of the preceding year. (Sometimes an Admissions Committee member may question the motivation and commitment of an applicant who waited until the "last minute" to submit their application. APPLY EARLY!!

3. Should I wait until after I take the DAT to submit my application through AADSAS?
No, the application process through AADSAS is not connected to or dependent on the DAT. Again, submit your application early.

4. When should I get recommendations? Who do I need recommendations from?
First, ask prospective recommenders well in advance of the time you intend to have your application completed. When you receive their permission, submit their name and contact information to AADSAS. Since this process will be occurring in June or July (a common vacation time for most people), the actual recommendations may not be submitted immediately upon the request from AADSAS via email. Give the recommenders a reasonable amount of time to submit their recommendations before emailing them a "gentle" reminder. It is your responsibility to make sure that each recommender provides their evaluation in a timely manner.

It is very important for you to obtain recommendations from individuals who know you well. You should have established relationships with numerous prospective recommenders during your first three years in college. Unless the dental schools to which you are applying specify otherwise, it is recommended that you request one or two evaluations from science faculty, perhaps one from an employer, and one from a dental health professional. Some dental schools prefer a recommendation from a "Pre-professional Recommendations Committee." Again, check with each dental school to which you are applying to determine any preference.

Loma Linda University School of Dentistry requires an evaluation from PUC's "Pre-professional Recommendations Committee." Contact the Administrative Assistant for the Academic Dean (Chan Shun Hall, 102, Ext 6234) to make the request for an evaluation from this committee. You will be given a questionnaire and asked to provide information to the Committee. Please be complete and provide the document in a timely manner. The Committee usually begins its work the 2nd week of fall quarter each year and continues until all requests have been fulfilled (usually in late November). Preference is given to requests submitted early and for those who have earlier deadlines from the dental schools to which they are applying.

5. What is the minimum GPA to get accepted into LLU School of Dentistry?
Dental schools may actually list a "minimum" GPA on their website; however, this is usually well-below the average GPA of successful applicants. For the dental school at Loma Linda University the average overall GPA of successful applicants has been about 3.5 for several years (including the freshman class of 2009). The average science GPA has been very close to this same value. Since some applicants may have very high GPA's (3.7 and above), it stands to reason that some applicants are accepted with less than a 3.5. Applicants with lower GPA's usually have very strong DAT scores and an academic record that has shown considerable improvement in the last year or two of college work.

6. What is the minimum DAT score to get accepted into LLU School of Dentistry?
There is no "official" minimum score. The average academic and perceptual (PAT) for successful candidates have been in the 19-20 range in recent years. Probably any individual scores below 17 or 18 will raise questions about the applicant's ability. For applicants whose first language is not English, the Reading Comprehension score is especially important. Even when the academic and perceptual scores are high, a low Reading Comprehension score can pose a significant problem for acceptance. Be sure to talk with a pre-dental advisor, if you have any concerns about this issue.

7. Would I have a better chance of getting accepted into LLU School of Dentistry if I went to a closer school like La Sierra University?
There is no evidence that attending a school closer to Loma Linda, California, has any bearing on acceptance rate. Historically, Pacific Union College has provided a very significant number of successful applicants to the School of Dentistry at LLU, often more than any other College/University.

8. Does going to an Adventist college make a difference in getting accepted into LLU School of Dentistry?
Because the Seventh-day Adventist Church owns and operates Loma Linda University, preference is given to qualified dental applicants who are members of the Church. The choice of one's undergraduate institution is a personal one and may involve many factors, including the majors available at a church college/university and the family financial situation. Attendance at one of the Church's institutions demonstrates a certain financial and philosophical commitment to the value of a Christian and Seventh-day Adventist education. Unless it can be demonstrated that there in an inconsistent interest in a Christ-centered education, there should be no prejudice toward anyone not enrolled in an Adventist college/university.

9. What is special about LLU School of Dentistry?
LLU School of Dentistry is committed to providing a high-quality education in a "Christ-Centered" context. It is the only dental school in the United States that advertises itself as a "Christian" school and recognizes the need for a holistic approach to health care that includes spiritual values.

Historically LLUSD offers (and requires) more clinical experience than most dental schools in the United States. Upon completion of the four-year program, most graduates are ready to begin practicing general dentistry immediately.

LLUSD is well-known and respected, not just in the US, but also around the world. One of the more recent innovations in the educational program is the very significant use of computer software in the learning process. Other dental schools are looking to LLU as a vanguard in this regard.

10. What about drawbacks of LLU School of Dentistry?
As with most private schools, tuition costs are high relative to state-funded institutions. The Financial Aid Office is very helpful to students in helping to obtain grants and loans.

Some schools have programs that can be completed in three years, whereas it takes four years at LLU. It has been argued that the extra time allows for the extensive clinic experience that is such a positive factor in the educational process.

11. How many of my gender will there by at LLU School of Dentistry?
The class entering in 2006 was 28% females. The number of women applying for dentistry is still only half the number of men applying, which is a primary reason that there are more men than women at LLU School of Dentistry.

12. What classes besides the required ones should I take to prepare for dental school?
The recommended courses are listed in another section of this website. There are at least two schools of thought with regard to electives. (1) Take courses which will help you most directly in dental school, especially the first year or two. Since you will be taking courses that are mostly very intensive in dental school, any exposure in college should help make life a bit easier during the first term or year. (2) Take some courses that will be directly helpful in dental school, but also take some that will prepare you for the practical aspects of practicing dentistry, such as business courses. College is also the last time for most people of taking subjects just because they are of interest or will be "fun". Once you begin dental school and then establish a practice, the time for investigating other subjects is seriously reduced.

13. I've been accepted! What should I do now?
When you are accepted they will tell you to relax during the summer and collect teeth from local dentists. Take them seriously! Work hard at relaxing because it's going to be four years until you have another opportunity to relax.