Becoming a Competitive Applicant

Academic Excellence

  • UF College of Dentistry does not have a minimum GPA requirement. However, good grades are important. Put yourself in a strong position in the application cycle by earning high grades, especially in your science courses. The entering class of 2017 averaged a 3.68 science GPA and a 3.74 cumulative GPA.

Students are free to choose a major of study in any area they find interesting. We have a strong history of admitting students with a wide variety of science and non-science majors. The admissions committee does not give preference to any specific majors. Competitive applicants will complete a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. or Canadian institution before enrolling in dental school.

The admissions committee understands the GPA number alone doesn’t tell the full story; GPA trend is also very important. An applicant with a low GPA can still be competitive in the applicant pool if he/she has a well-established upward grade trend. Additionally, an applicant with a GPA in line with our entering class average, may not be competitive if he/she has a downward grade trend.

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Complete Prerequisite Courses

  • Here is a suggested course plan for traditional applicants to complete prerequisite courses before matriculation. Please keep in mind that the prerequisite courses listed are specific to the University of Florida College of Dentistry. If you plan to apply to multiple dental schools be sure to visit each school’s website for information about their specific prerequisite courses.

Take most of the prerequisite courses before you apply to dental school. Completion of prerequisites is a matriculation requirement (not required to apply), but it is important to complete most of them before applying in order to show the admissions committee your level of performance. While you can apply before your prerequisite courses are complete, you must be able to finish all prerequisite courses before enrollment.

View the full list of our prerequisite courses here.

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Dental Experience

  • How can you be sure that dentistry is the right profession for you? It’s important to become very familiar with the dental profession. Shadow, observe, and/or work in dental settings so that you are sure this is the right career for you. You can shadow in private dental offices, public health clinics, dental laboratories, Veteran’s Administration hospitals, and in the student and resident clinics at UF College of Dentistry through UF Health Shands Hospital Volunteer Office.

The DMD program leads to a doctor of dental medicine degree in general dentistry. Make sure you have a deep knowledge of what general dentists do on a day-to-day basis. Some exposure to the various dental specialties can also be helpful to you as you explore what you like (and what you might not like) about dentistry.

Applicants are not required to complete a minimum number of dental experience hours. However, you do need a substantial amount of first-hand dental observation so you become very familiar with the profession. If all goes as planned, this will be your career for the next several decades and it’s important that you are sure dentistry is what you want to do. Shadowing isn’t just another box to check on an application; this directly benefits you as you prepare for your career in the dental field. There’s no such thing as too much dental experience.

Considering going on a dental mission trip?  Please review the ADEA Guidelines for Predental Students Providing Patient Care During Clinical Experiences Abroad ⤷.

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Develop Hand Skills

  • Do things with your hands that require fine motor skill, such as playing an instrument, sewing, or sculpting. Choose something you will enjoy. Sports like basketball, football, baseball, and soccer require skill, talent, training, good coordination and large muscle skills, but are not particularly good demonstrations of the sorts of fine motor skills needed in dentistry.

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Extracurricular/Volunteer/Community Service

  • What skills and talents do you have? How do you give back to your community? Did you work hard as a leader on your undergraduate campus? Have you been involved in a pre-dental student organization? Providing evidence of leadership and service are important to becoming a competitive applicant. In fact, service is a big part of the mission and vision at UF College of Dentistry. Dental students are required to complete a minimum of 40 hours of community service while they are in dental school.

This section of the ADEA AADSAS application helps the admissions committee learn more about who you are, beyond grades and test scores. What do you do with your free time? How do you positively impact the world around you?

Many applicants incorrectly assume that they can only include activities that were part of an official student organization. Have you served your community through your religious organization? In your neighborhood? Have you donated your time and efforts to a local community organization?

There are a number of activities that can help prepare applicants for an education and career in dentistry. Aspiring dental students are encouraged to explore any pre-dental clubs in place at their university. Check out the ASDA website⤷ to find ASDA chapters in your area and other resources for pre-dental student organizations.

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  • Research is not required, but can be very beneficial to an applicant. Seeing the application and execution of what you learned in a text book can be very rewarding. Depending on the lab and the research you conduct, you may also develop some fine motor skills.

The research you do doesn’t need to be dental related. However, there are some opportunities for undergraduate students to get involved with research at UF College of Dentistry.

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Saving Money

  • Get your finances in order. Sure, everyone knows that professional school is expensive once you are in, but the application (and matriculation) process can be quite expensive too. If you are struggling financially there are some options available. Some applicants take a gap year ⤷ to improve their financial situation. Expenses to consider:

  • AADSAS application fees
  • Supplemental application fees
  • DAT fee
  • Interview attire
  • Travel/transportation costs
  • Lodging
  • Meals

  • Background check
  • Immunizations
  • Tuition deposit(s)
  • Health insurance
  • Final transcripts
  • Scrubs
  • Housing deposits, utility deposits, etc.

The average applicant applies to ten dental schools. The figures illustrated in the image below are estimates for expenses that you should not overlook when preparing to apply for dental school. (Click on the image for a larger view.)

Application Costs to Consider


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State Residency

  • Preference is given to residents of the state of Florida. Approximately 10% of our entering class is comprised of out-of-state students. We are an ADEA AADSAS participating school which means for application review purposes, we must follow the state of legal residency listed on the AADSAS application. However, the University of Florida Office of Admissions determines state residency for tuition purposes without any consideration for what an applicant listed on his/her AADSAS application.

We have previously admitted students who were listed as out-of-state residents on the ADEA AADSAS application who were able to claim and prove Florida residency and pay Florida resident tuition upon enrollment. Additionally, we have previously admitted students were listed as Florida residents on the ADEA AADSAS application who were unable to provide proof of Florida residency and paid out-of-state tuition upon enrollment.

For more information about how UF determines residency for tuition purposes, please visit UF Office of Admissions and UF Registrar.

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  • The American Dental Education Association (ADEA⤷) created an incredibly helpful website just for pre-dental students:⤷.

Qualifying for Dental School ⤷

Preparing for Dental School ⤷

We strongly encourage you to become familiar with everything available on GoDental as well as the GoDental YouTube channel⤷. Here are some of our favorites:

So You Want To Be A Dentist⤷

13 Traits for Preparing for Dental School⤷

5 Things to Remember⤷