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DDS Admissions FAQ


Q: Are my Dental Admission Test (DAT) scores competitive?
A: Our incoming class averages are:

  • Academic average: 21
  • Perceptual ability: 21
  • Quantitative Reasoning: 20
  • Reading comprehension: 21
  • Biology: 21
  • General chemistry: 22
  • Organic chemistry: 22
  • Total science: 21

Competitive scores this year were 21 and higher. If your scores are significantly lower than our class averages, we recommend to retake the Dental Admissions Test (DAT). There is a 90-day waiting period before you can retake the DAT. There is not a deadline to take the DAT, but preference for admission is given to students who provide DAT scores no later than November for the entering class of the following July.  The committee reviews the most recent DAT scores in the application.

The Dental Admissions Test (DAT) can be taken on almost any day of the year at any Prometric Center. Instructions on how to schedule a date for the DAT, please go on online to American Dental Association (ADA).

Effective January 2007, examinees who have attended three or more DAT exams must apply for special permission to take the test again. For test administration purposes, anyone who has been seated at a computer workstation at a Prometric Test Center and started the exam by electronically agreeing to the confidentiality statement will be deemed to have “attended” the exam. This policy is effective beginning January 2007 and includes any previous examination attempts. Requests for additional testing must be submitted in writing to the Department of Testing Services and must include evidence of current (within the previous 18 months) intent to apply to dental school. Acceptable forms of evidence may include:

  1. a copy of a completed and submitted application to dental school,
  2. a letter of rejection from a dental school,
  3. a letter from a dental school admissions officer encouraging you to retest or reapply, or
  4. a letter on school stationery from a college or university health profession advisor or instructor verifying that you are applying/reapplying to dental school.

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Q: Are there particular courses that would best prepare me for dental school?
A: The Admissions Committee encourages every student to develop his or her course of study in conjunction with the college or university predental advisor. If a school does not have a predental advisor, the student should consult faculty members in the chemistry and biology departments to select courses that meet the intent of the predental requirements. We recommend you select courses that extend the content of biomedical sciences, such as: anatomy, histology, biochemistry, physiology and microbiology.

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Q: What level of performance is the Admissions Committee looking for in my academic history?
A: Many of our successful applicants completed three or more terms of full-time study at a college within the last three years. Full-time study is defined as four or more courses per term. In each term, three of the four courses should be predental science courses approved for biology majors. Applicants should achieve a B or better in each course; no D, W, F or I grades. Our incoming class grade point averages (GPA) are 3.5 overall and 3.5 science.

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Q: Are there elective courses that would help prepare me to be a good dentist?
A: To develop your doctor/patient relationship skills, we recommend a course in journalism, public speaking, debate, interpersonal relationships or drama.

To prepare you for managing your own business, we recommend accounting for small business, marketing for the small business, consumer behavior or economics courses.

To enhance your hand skills, we recommend course work in mechanical drafting/drawing, jewelry making, sculpting or ceramics.

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Q: What other experiences will help prepare me for a career in dentistry?
A: We strongly encourage you to spend a minimum of 40 hours working, volunteering or observing in a dental office. Join the predental club at your university or college and the American Student Dental Association (ASDA).

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Q: Does Pacific require a secondary application?
A: No. You need only to file an Associated American Dental School Application Service (AADSAS) application. We recommend that you apply as early as June but no later than November. The official deadline is February 2.

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Q: How will your Admissions Office notify me regarding the status of my application?
A: To find out the most up to date status of your application, please log in to your application on AADSAS.  Your decision status will be updated in "School Decisions" in the status section of your application. 

Applicants selected by our Executive Admissions Committee are invited to the dental school for an interview. Invitations for interview are extended by phone and confirmed by email. Most of our interviews are conducted from September through March. By May, all applicants will be notified by mail as to the final decision on their application.

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Q: What are the selection factors for an interview at Pacific?
A: The Admissions Committee carefully considers each applicant's scholastic record, scores on the DAT, AADSAS essay, letters of evaluation, evidence of manual dexterity (including the perceptual ability portion of the DAT) and other personal attributes and qualities as well as demonstration of his or her understanding about a career in the dental profession.

Applicants who appear to meet the requirements will be invited to the dental school in San Francisco for an interview with one or more members of the Admissions Committee. During the interview the applicant's interest in dentistry, future plans, maturity and other personal qualities needed for successful work with patients are assessed. In addition, applicants will participate in an orientation seminar, meet informally with current dental students and tour the school. Applicants who are offered the opportunity to enroll must complete planned coursework at a specified performance level.

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Q: If I have applied to your dental school in previous years, am I guaranteed admission next year?
A: No. Our dental school has one of the largest applicant pools in the country. This year more than 2,700 individuals applied for 140 positions. Unfortunately, the Admissions Committee had to deny admission to many qualified applicants due to limited class size. Competitive applicants may need to apply several times before being invited for an interview.

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