Academic Preparation Overview
Dental schools require or recommend earning a Bachelor’s degree and completing a set of prerequisite classes, which can vary slightly from school to school. See the Required and Recommended Courses link to learn which BYU-Idaho courses can meet dental school prerequisite requirements.
We have many major options at BYU-Idaho, including a major in Biomedical Science that contains most of the prerequisites for dental school admission. Dental schools do not have a preference regarding your choice of undergraduate major, so study something you love! If you need help choosing a major, please come and see us in Career and Academic Advising.
Required and Recommended Courses
This guide is designed for applying to a range of dental schools. It is not a comprehensive list. Requirements may vary by school. See a Health Professions Advisor if you have additional class planning questions.
Some dental schools will NOT accept Advanced Placement (AP) credits earned in high school towards their prerequisites. Students with AP credits in science, math or writing should consider taking the introductory course in that subject area (even if the requirement has been met at BYU-I) or a higher level class in the appropriate subject area. AP credit is acceptable for General Education requirements and other degree requirements.
Grading Policies and GPA Requirements
- GPA—Dental schools generally look at three GPAs: Overall GPA, Science GPA, and All Other (Non-Science) GPA.
- Generally, the minimum GPA required for Overall, Science, and all Non-Science is 3.0 but may be higher or lower depending on the school.
- To be most competitive, strive to earn at least a 3.6-3.8 Overall GPA.
- Your Science GPA is an indicator that you will be able to handle the rigorous dental school curriculum. To be most competitive, strive to earn high grades in all of your Biology, Chemistry, and Physics courses.
- Withdrawals—W’s should be used only for emergencies, although W’s will not affect your GPA.
- Repeated/Retaken Courses—All grades from ALL attempts at a class are counted in your GPA when you apply for dental school. BYU-Idaho does have a retake policy, but dental schools take every grade you earn. For example, if you take CHEM 105 and earn a D, but retake the course and earn an A, both grades will be factored into your GPA for dental school admission.
- CLEP Credit & Correspondence Study—Not acceptable as part of the predental curriculum
- AP Credits—Generally, students must take coursework beyond introductory classes waived by AP
Preparing for Letters of Recommendation
When it is time to apply to dental school, you will need 3-4 letters of recommendation. It is important to keep this in mind as you begin your academic preparation. Your letters should support your application by speaking to things like your academic ability, your commitment to service, leadership, teamwork, reliability, and resilience.
Collecting letters: As you prepare to collect your letters of recommendations, it is best to subscribe to a service like Interfolio.com. Interfolio.com allows you to collect all your letters in one place and have them sent to each application service when the application opens up. It in not best to wait until your application opens to obtain your letters of recommendations.
Types of Letters Needed:
Academic Letters: 2 Science Professors (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, or Math)
Mentoring Letters: Community Service Supervisor, Research Supervisor, Dentist, etc.
Tips to Get to Know Your Professors/Mentors
- Visit their offices regularly
- Look for mentors, not just letter writers
- Be genuinely interested in those you seek as mentors
- Be humble and gracious
- Ask thoughtful questions
- Share your academic and career goals
- Inquire about their areas of interest and research
- After you have gotten to know professors, ask about further opportunities, e.g., teaching assistantships, individual research projects, etc.