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Is Dental School Competitive?

Choosing to enter the field of dentistry is a competitive endeavor. Once you complete your bachelor’s degree, you’ll need to gain acceptance into dental school. Is dental school competitive, you ask? Yes, it is. Plus, it’s getting harder to get in due to increasing interest in the profession.

What Are Dental School Requirements?

Dental schools generally do not look for a specific major or undergraduate degree. They want to see that you’ve graduated with a good grade point average. However, it helps to take science courses to make your application stand out. Think biology and chemistry. Want to know more about the best pre dental majors? 

You don’t need to major in the sciences, but it doesn’t hurt. Although a dental school will be more interested in your academic performance in science courses, it’s your overall GPA that matters most. Aim for a grade point average of 3.5 or higher

Before you apply, you’ll need to take the dental admission test or DAT. Is dental school competitive enough to require a certain score? Yes, you need to score 19 or higher to be considered a serious candidate. Scores of 20 or above stand a better chance of getting noticed

What Are the Average Dental School Acceptance Rates?

Acceptance rates for dental school can vary. However, a list of the more popular dental schools has acceptance rates ranging from 2.2% to slightly over 31%. The Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health, for example, has an acceptance rate of 2.2%, while the University of Oklahoma’s is 8%. 

The average acceptance for dental school is 5.1%, which is very competitive compared to graduate school. 

When choosing a list of target schools, look at the number of applicants they get each year. Also, look to see what the average GPA and DAT test scores are for admitted applicants. This will give you a ballpark figure to shoot for. If a particular school is on your favorites list or you have a strong interest in attending that school, try to achieve a higher GPA and DAT test score than the average.

However, you also want to go beyond your academic performance. Volunteer or mentor with a dentist’s office in your area to help your application make it to the top.  


Is dental school competitive? The answer is yes. Below is a review of the competitive metrics of dental school. 

Grade Point Average of Dental School Acceptees

  • Average: 3.5 GPA
  • Competitive: 3.7 GPA

Average Dental Admission Test (DAT) Score

  • Average: 17 – 18
  • Competitive: 22-23

Most Common Undergraduate Majors

  • Common: Biology
  • Competitive: Neuroscience  

Average Acceptance Rate of Dental School

  • Average: 5.1%
  • Competitive Schools (Western University of Health Sciences College of Dental Medicine etc): 2.1%