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Dental School: Can I Get In?

hi I'm Vanitas pizzette II and I'm the

associate dean for education at the

University of Florida College of

Dentistry I've been a dentist for about

35 years now I'm going to talk to you

today about a concept called holistic

admissions and I'm hopeful that at the

end of this presentation you'll have a

better understanding of what holistic

admissions is what dental school

admissions committees are looking for

and maybe you'll be able to use some of

this information in your own application

to dental school so why don't we start

out by me telling you a little bit about

myself so as a dental applicant I was a

good college student but not a great one

my science GPA was lower than my overall

GPA and both of them were less than 3.5

my DAT scores they were okay they

weren't great okay some of them were

strong some of them not so strong and

all together they were okay I've been

out of college for two years teaching

high school science in a rural high

school I went college at a pretty large

undergraduate school and frankly I

wasn't sure after two years out of

school that there was any faculty member

that would be able to remember me well

enough to write me a letter of

recommendation I was in a pretty small

town a long way from my undergraduate

school and there was no one there to

advise me about how to apply to dental

school and back then there was no

internet so there was really limited

sources of information about the

application process as it turns out

probably it was a good thing that I

didn't have a lot of advice from other

people because some expert would

probably have told me not to apply to

dental school because my science GPA was

less than a 3.5 and then I probably

wouldn't have applied and I probably

wouldn't be a dentist today so how in

the world did I get admitted to dental

school because even then back before the

dawn of time back when the earth was

still cooling admissions committees were

looking for more than just numbers

really it's a concept called holistic

admissions and what it means is that all

of the parts of the

application are factor in admitting

students not just a couple of numbers

things like GPAs and test scores are

important but they're not the only part

of the application dental experience

work experience life experiences

research experiences self understanding

communication skills maturity cycle

motor skills and on and on are all

factors included in making decisions and

I can tell you that many dental schools

still practice holistic admissions today

so what is it that dental schools want

well here's the thing

dental schools are different they have

different missions they look at

applicants differently although if you

go on the internet and you ask the

experts online at the dental school

applications websites they will expertly

advise you that grades and test scores

are the only important parts of your

application so why is this myth about

numbers so pervasive and repeated so

often well the reason is because numbers

are easy to understand and really

provide a simple way to explain things

it's easy to see that a GPA of 3.5 is

more than a 3.2 a DAT score of 21 is

bigger than a 17 so how do you compare

things like passion for the profession

maturity self understanding psychomotor

skills between individuals not so easy

without those numbers so numbers make it

easier to compare applicants and that's

why people tend to focus on them so

let's look at just one numbers myth okay

so here's the myth if you don't have a

science GPA of 3.5 or above don't even

apply to dental school well I took a

look at the idea official guide to

dental schools to see if this is based

in fact or not so just as an aside what

is the idea official guide to dental

school well this is a document that's

available in hard copy and also online

versions that's published by idea which

is the organization that brings you adds

s it contains statistical information

about every single day

school in the US and Canada the

applicant pools details about the

entering classes costs prerequisites and

more and more and the unique thing about

this guide asks compared to other

publications you can purchase in the

marketplace is that the information in

the idea official guide to dental

schools come straight from the

admissions offices in the dental schools

so it's the most up-to-date accurate

information that an applicant can get I

found a recent guide and I took a look

at the entering classes of 2014 29 of

the 66 u.s. dental schools listed that

year had average science GPAs of less

than 3.5 okay 29 is 66 that's about half

of all dental schools now an average

science GPA means that there were people

enrolled in dental school with science

GPAs less than the mean in other words

less than 3.5 remember there's a range

across the mean okay so looking at the

range because those numbers are also

available in the official guide 43 of

the 66 dental schools that we're

reporting had individuals with with GPAs

below 3.0 in the range of scores making

up the average science GPA for their

entering class don't apply to dental

school if your science GPA is less than

3.5 I don't think so and it's not borne

out by the evidence you don't have to

believe me don't believe me go look it

up for yourself go get an ADEA official

guide to dental school and do the

comparison for yourself instead of

listening to the experts on the Internet

so what our dental school is looking for

dental schools are looking for people

with the educational foundation to be

successful in dental school that's the

number stuff the numbers are definitely

part of that decision they're just not

the only part of the decision dental

schools are looking for people who know

who they are and where they're going

things like maturity life experiences

self understanding knowledge of

themselves knowledge of the dental

profession and an understanding of how

their skills and talents

fit with a career in dentistry so let's

talk about applying to dental school

here's the thing it's not a race it's

your life it's okay to take some time

and explore the world explore yourself

and your talents going to dental school

at a time in your life when you have had

some life experiences and you're ready

to get serious about your education

gives you a great advantage so take some

time figure out who you are and what you

want out of life then spend some time

learning about the dental profession and

the goodness of the fit between your

talents and what the dental profession

requires then when you know what Dennis

do and what their work is when you know

yourself what you enjoy what you're good

at when you're at a point in your life

when you're ready to learn a lot and

work hard towards a goal then apply to

dental school even after science GPA is

less than a 3.5 we need your talents and

skills in dentistry

this is Benita Suzette II DMD signing

off from the University of Florida