Pre-Dent Resources

Dental schools award the D.D.S. or D.M.D. degree after three or four years of study; the degrees are equivalent to one another. The first years typically consist of foundational science courses and their application to the study of dentistry. The final years are more patient-focused and the student is exposed to a variety of specialties within the dental field.

Following graduation, students who wish to specialize undergo postgraduate training in fields such as periodontics, orthodontics, oral and maxillofacial surgery. Graduates who plan to be general practitioners are not required to engage in postgraduate training. Most dentists are in private practice.  All graduates must pass a licensing exam to practice dentistry, which varies from state to state.

DAT resources (for your further research; not endorsed by HPAO)

Crack the DAT

Chad's Videos


DAT Achiever

DAT Destroyer

Resources for Underrepresented Groups


Summer Medical and Dental Education Program

Aspiring Docs

Explore Health Cares

Alumni Contacts

The HPAO maintains a list of alumni who are currently in dental school and have agreed to serve as a reference for future applicants. Students should contact the HPAO to gain access to the list.

Gap Year Experiences 

Considering a gap year? Wondering about what you should do or pursue? The HPAO has gathered responses from students who are currently undertaking, or have undertaken, a gap year. View what they did, what they learned, pros and cons, etc.

Additional Resources: 

American Association of Public Health Dentistry

Founded in 1937, the American Association of Public Health Dentistry (AAPHD) provides a focus for meeting the challenge to improve oral health. AAPHD membership is open to all individuals concerned with improving the oral health of the public.

American Dental Association

The ADA is the professional association of dentists committed to the public's oral health, ethics, science and professional advancement; leading a unified profession through initiatives in advocacy, education, research and the development of standards.

America Dental Education Association

The American Dental Education Association (ADEA) is the voice of dental education. Its members include all U.S. and Canadian dental schools and many allied and postdoctoral dental education programs, corporations, faculty, and students. The mission of ADEA is to lead individuals and institutions of the dental education community to address contemporary issues influencing education, research, and the delivery of oral health care for the health of the public.

American Student Dental Association

Offers information on financial planning and scholarships, dental boards and licensures, conversations in the profession, and resources and publications.

National Directory of Free Health Clinics

Northern Virginia Dental Clinic

While dental care is not entirely free at this Falls Church clinic, patients with limited resources
are able to receive dental services at substantially reduced rates. The clinic is staffed by volunteer
dentists who donate their personal time to serve the public. Not all services are available, and
there are eligibility requirements. The modern clinic is equipped with some of the latest
technologies. All services are provided by volunteer dentists, as well as dental hygienists, dental
assistants, and receptionists. For more info, contact them by phone at (703) 642-5297 or via email
at 5827 Columbia Pike, Suite 405, Falls Church, Virginia 22041

UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Premedical/Predental Enrichment Program

UCLA PREP is a seven-week program designed to provide premedical and predental students from disadvantaged backgrounds with a means of strengthening their ability and readiness to study medicine or dentistry.

*** In addition to the above opportunities, there are more than 350 private dental practices within a twenty-mile radius of College Park. Use an on-line or paper directory to identify those which might suit you best in terms of location and dentistry focus (general, surgical, cosmetic, etc.). Call them to ascertain the availability of volunteer clinical opportunities.

University of Maryland School of Dentistry Dentistry Today Program 

Held in June each year, Dentistry Today is a program designed for college students who are considering dentistry as a career.  The program allows participants to learn about the dental profession, dental education, dental specialties and the wide range of career options available within dentistry. Topics include esthetic dentistry, geriatric dentistry, periodontics, gross anatomy and dental research.

This is an excellent opportunity for students to learn more about the profession and the many career options available in the field of dentistry.  Participants will receive a tour of the dental school, UMB campus and have an opportunity to observe dental students in the clinical environment.

Rutgers School of Dental Medicine Gateway to Dentistry Bi-annual Program

A truly unique program designed to introduce under graduate students to the wide range of career options associated with the Dental Profession. UMDNJ - New Jersey Dental School offers all prospective applicants challenging and informative hands on dental experience. This is an intensive internship based at the New Jersey Dental School in Newark, New Jersey. Gateway to Dentistry is a 2-week interactive program that affords each participant a birds-eye exposure to the various aspects of the practice of dentistry.