What GPA Do You Need For Dental School?

It’s pretty amazing to pursue a career in dentistry, and a dental school is one of the institutions that can make this dream come true. However, just like every other school, you don’t just walk into a dental school since they have their standards. Let us know ‘What GPA Do You Need For Dental School?’.

What GPA Do You Need For Dental School?

The focus of this piece is the Grade Point Average(GPA). Dental schools set a GPA that applicants must have to be considered for admission. Let’s find out.

A GPA of 3.5 and above is basic for entry into a dental school. However, we have seen situations where schools lower the GPA. So the set-out standard is a 3.5 GPA but be aware that there may be changes in alignment with the needs and policy of the school.

What’s A Grade Point Average (GPA)? A Deeper Dive?

In the United States, Europe, and several countries across Africa and Asia, a student’s academic performance is measured by the Grade Point Average (GPA). This grading system is employed in higher institutions and proves a student’s academic prowess.

Usually a numerical rating, it ranges from 1.0 to 4.0, with 1.0 being the lowest and 4.0 being the highest. However, in some regions or countries, the low GPA dental school may go up to 5.0. The Grade Point Average is calculated per semester basis based on the student’s performance in each course. Then the cumulative Grade Point Average is the average of all the GPAs throughout the years of study.

Let’s say, Francis, in a semester, offers four courses- Course W, X, Y, and Z of 3, 2, 4, and 1 unit, respectively. He then scores a “B” in course W, an “A” in course X, a” C” in course Y, and a “D” in Z.

  • A is 4 points
  • B is 3 points
  • C is 2 points
  • D is 1 point


  • Since he had a B in course W, we multiply the point by the unit of the course. 3 x 3=9
  • Course X- 4 x 2=8 
  • Course Y- 2 x 4= 8 
  • Course Z- 1 x 1= 1 

Total points will be 26 points. Hence the GPA will be obtained by dividing the total points by the total units (10) for that semester. Therefore, Francis scored a GPA of 2.6 . Students with high GPAs are said to be good students.

Can I Get Into Dental School With a Low GPA?

We cannot neglect the intense competition with getting into low GPA dental schools. As a result, applicants with more than the minimum requirements tend to have better chances. As different dental schools have different takes on GPA scores, some may set a much lesser GPA, such as 2.5. However, it’s best to note that the set GPA is just a minimum requirement and that there will be students with top scores. 

So, here is the deal. If your GPA is low, you will need to compensate by having better scores in the other requirements. Hence the answer is that you can still have a shot at dental school if you meet up with the other requirements set by the school to a high-level. 

Let’s see some other requirements that could compensate for your low GPA dental school.

Undergo the Post Baccalaureate Program

A post-baccalaureate comes up after a first degree. It can be a means to acquire a second degree, but the primary focus is usually to get certifications in courses needed for admission into specialized schools. 

The post-baccalaureate will allow you to enroll in courses related to and required by dental schools. Upon completion with good grades, it can compensate for your low GPA in your first degree.

The post-baccalaureate program usually last a period of one to two years. You can visit the Association of American Medical Colleges website as they display a variety of schools offering post-baccalaureate programs for dental schools.

Smash the Dentist Admission Test(DAT)

It’s almost impossible to enter a dental school in the US without the Dentist Admission Test (DAT). The Dentist Admission Test is a way to forecast how the applicant will cope in dental school. The result of the test is usually in the range of 1-30. So you can boast a high score when you hit 20 upwards.

High scores in the Dentist Admission Test sends signals to dental schools that you have the chance of doing well and completing the program in flying colors. So irrespective of a low GPA, a high DAT score keeps your chances alive. 

How Can I Apply to Dental Schools in the United States?

Every aspiring dentist applies to a US dental school via the Associated American Dental Schools Application Service(AADSAS). It is a platform designed to host the application procedures and requirements of dental schools. Once you apply on this platform, your application is reviewed and sent to your dental school of choice.

Applying to a dental school in the US involves several processes and can be strenuous at times. It all starts with knowing the particular dental school you wish to attend, then move further by understanding their requirements aside from the basic requirements into dental schools.

Things You Need to Get Ready

One of the things you ultimately need is the Dental Admission Test Score. From its name, it’s a test that centers on the cores of dentistry. It’s a test run of your potential ability as a dentist. The Dental Admission Test has four sections;

  • Survey of Natural Sciences
  • Perceptual Ability
  • Reading Comprehension 
  • Quantitative Reasoning 

You will have to register for the test; then, you’ll receive a date for the test. It’s usually a computer based test that takes place in the accredited centers. After the test, your result will be available in a maximum of one month. 

You won’t be the only person accessing your DAT result, as it will be sent to the Associated American Dental Schools Application Service. The AADSAS will then send the result to dental schools on the database.

Aside from the Dental Admission Test, you must also secure the dentistry prerequisite courses. The prerequisite courses differ from one dental school to the other. So get good information about the dental school of your choice and ensure you complete the courses.

If you fall short of the prerequisite courses, you can enroll for a post-baccalaureate, and you’ll get it done in a year or two. 

Filling the Application 

This is the easiest part of the deal, requiring you to input the appropriate information in the correct sections. There is a section where you will fill in your personal information, such as age, date of birth, etc. Then your academic history follows, stating your previous schools and degrees.

After filling in your academic history, you will move to the transcript section. It is a standard that your previous school email the transcript to the application board. Your next move is to select the dental school you wish to attend and its relevant program. Then you end the fill-out process by supplying other information as seen on the portal.

Submit your application and wait for the board’s response after review. If your application passes the review, you will be invited for an interview.

Do US Dental Schools Accept Foreign Applications?

Yes. If you are not a US citizen but want to attend a US dental school, you can achieve that dream. US dental schools have their arms open to applications from noncitizens or international students. The procedures are pretty similar but there is a little difference in requirements.

The extra requirements from foreign students are the test of English exams such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System(IELTS), etc. 

So if you have a good score on any of the English proficiency tests and meet every other requirement, you can enter a US dental school. 

How Expensive are Dental Schools in the US?

The dentistry field is an amazing one as it is lucrative and gives the dentist a sense of fulfillment. However, to get to the dreamland, several bucks will come from your wallet. There are top-notch dental schools in the US, but they all come with high financial costs.

The University of California charges a calendar year fee of $55,655 but the fee lowers for residents- $43,410. Another school for a case study is the University of Michigan. Students that are studying in the school pay fees of up to $54,877 per academic year. 

From the few cases shown with schools above, dental schools in the US are quite expensive. However, to pay lower fees, you can opt for a public dental school instead of the private one. Another way out is to seek financial aid. Financial aid can be school loans, or special financial programs by the school. Hence you can research which dental schools offer these aids before sending an application. 

What Do I Gain As A Dentist?

Your core goal of attending a dental school is to become a dentist, right? Filled with passion or just loving the name could be one of the reasons students choose this career path. However, becoming a dentist is never a bad idea, irrespective of your drive or reasons. Your study years in dental school are preparing you for several benefits. 

You Get to Earn an Attractive Salary

While several students claim to pursue dentistry for the love of caring for people, we cannot dispute a high earning potential as a driving factor. As a dentist, you’ll get paid good money. You will earn a mean salary of $187,909 per annum. The bonus part is that as you advance in rank, the pay increases. On the other hand, a dentist that runs a private center can make far more than what is stipulated. 

Increased Opportunities

The career path is flexible and offers several spots and variations. You can fix yourself into any of the spots, such as owning a private clinic or diving into the academic sphere, etc. The need for dentists continues to grow, and there is no sign of decline anytime soon. 

Fulfilled Dream of Caring for People

Oral health is never an underrated aspect of human life. People need and call on dentists every day. If you had the boyhood dream of solving oral health issues and making people happy, it will be fulfilled when you become a dentist.

Is it Difficult to Enter A Dental School in the US?

A balanced response to this question is that it’s pretty difficult to get into a dental school but not impossible. The competition is significant as the volume of applicants increases. It is for this reason applicants or students are advised to pursue high scores in the requirements. 

One pointer towards the difficulty with dental schools is their acceptance rate. It gives the percentage of applicants that made it into the school. With the highest acceptance at 13.75% by the East Carolina University, it shows that several applications were denied. Hence a few number of applicants make it into dental schools.

What are Some of the Drawbacks With Dentistry?

Although dentistry as a career path offers immense benefits, there are a few challenges it poses. 

Pretty Expensive

From attending pre-med school to finishing up in dental school costs a lot of money. The expenditure is on the high side, which has seen many seek financial aid as they pursue this career.

Lengthy Study Years

Unlike some career paths that require you to stay fewer years in school, a course in the medical field takes much more. So you have to spend several studying to become a dentist.

Academic Stress

Having established that the study years for the dentistry career path are lengthy. In addition to this study time, the line of the study itself can be challenging as it requires immense academic effort. This include efforts in reading to maintain high grades, research work, etc.


Dental schools are vital institutions that have produced several successful dentists in the industry. So several students want a share of this impartation by seeking admission into these schools. Dental schools have their requirements, and the GPA is a leading member of the list. With a minimum GPA of 3.5, you stand a chance of entering dental school.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which Requirements Holds More Value, DAT or GPA?

The GPA is a bit ahead of the DAT as a dental school requirement. 

2. Which Field of Dentistry Attracts the Highest Pay?

Oral and maxillofacial dentist attracts the highest pay in the industry.

3. What is the Retirement Age of A Dentist?

Dentists have a pretty long career and usually retire at 69.