Frequently Asked Questions
- What are the requirements for admission to the School of Dentistry?
- What is the process for submitting an application for Admission?
- Does the West Virginia School of Dentistry have its own application form?
- What is a source of information regarding dental education costs?
- What is a source of information regarding loans and scholarships when financial assistance is deemed necessary?
- Which undergraduate majors does the Admissions Committee prefer?
- Apart from the required and recommended courses, what other courses would the Committee suggest?
- Will the Admissions Committee pay particular attention to my performance in certain courses?
- My transcript shows several withdrawals from courses. How will the Admissions Committee view this?
- Should I repeat courses in which I did not do well, even though I passed them?
- Should I apply as a third year applicant?
- If I apply as a third-year applicant, will it help or hinder my chances for admission?
- Even though rejected several times, should I continue to reapply to prove my motivation?
- Who makes up the Admissions Committee?
- What are the minimum cumulative grade-point averages and science averages required to get into dental school?
- What does the Committee focus on during the application review process?
- When should I take the Dental Admission Test?
- How does the Committee use the Dental Admission Test scores?
- Should I study for the Dental Admission Test?
- Will I be interviewed as a part of the application procedure?
- What is the basic interview procedure?
- When does the Dental School begin interviews?
- Does an early application and interview guarantee an early decision by the Admissions Committee?
- Whom should I approach about recommendation letters?
- Do you retain letters of recommendation from one application cycle to the next?
- What about recommendation letters from prominent persons?
- Does a non-resident student attending West Virginia University or one of the in-state schools have a chance of being accepted by the Dental School?
- I am not a resident of West Virginia. If I meet the requirements for residency, will my chances for acceptance be increased?
- Do graduate students or holders of advanced degrees receive priority consideration by the Admissions Committee?
- If I apply to both dental school and medical school, will both Admission Committees question my motivation?
- Does the Admissions Committee place great emphasis on extra-curricular activities?
- Is working in some health care activity considered to be important preparation for dental school by the Admissions Committee?
- Does a denial of admissions mean that I am totally incapable of grasping the work in dental school?
- As an out-of-state applicant is there a rule of thumb that might apply to the applicant's GPA and DAT scores?
- I am economically disadvantaged. Should I even think about applying to dental school?
- How is the alternate list made up?
- Is there anything else I should consider regarding dental school?
- Is it possible to defer admission once I've been accepted?
- How long are DAT scores valid?
- Is there really any hurry to get my application completed and returned at an early date?
- What is rolling admissions?
- Must I complete all of the required courses before I apply?
- Does an individual who is re-applying need to submit a new application?
- Are there other requirements that I should be aware of if I am admitted to the WVU School of Dentistry?
What are the requirements for admission to the School of Dentistry?
A minimum of 3 years college course work completed in a U.S. or Canadian college or university is required. To be considered, an applicant must have documentation certifying completion of a minimum of 90 semester credit hours at the time of application.
The college work must include:
- English Composition & Rhetoric - 6 hours
- Biology or Zoology (with Lab) - 8 hours
- Inorganic Chemistry (with Lab) - 8 hours
- Organic Chemistry (with Lab) - 8 hours
- Physics (with Lab) - 8 hours
- Anatomy (Comparative or Human) - 3 hours
- Biochemistry - 3 hours
These are firm requirements regardless of undergraduate or graduate preparation.
Additional recommended course work:
- Cellular and Molecular Biology
- Embryology/Developmental Biology
What is the process for submitting an application for Admission?
The School of Dentistry is a participant in the Associated American Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS). Applications must be accessed and submitted electronically to the application service. Explicit information and instructions are available at their website www.adea.org. The deadline to submit the completed AADSAS application is November 1st. Applicants are strongly urged to give this part of the application process strict attention. Even though the application deadline is November 1st it is advantageous to send in your application early because the committee begins admitting the class on December 1st. If you have specific questions regarding West Virginia University's application procedures and requirements, please call the Office of Dental Admissions at 304-293-6646 or e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Does the West Virginia School of Dentistry (WVUSOD) have its own application form?
Yes. The Dental Admissions Committee evaluates all AADSAS applications and invites selected applicants to submit a secondary (institutional) application.
What is a source of information regarding dental education costs?
Office of Student Affairs
West Virginia University School of Dentistry
Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center
P.O. Box 9490 Morgantown, WV 26506-9401
What is a source of information regarding loans and scholarships when financial assistance is deemed necessary?
West Virginia University Financial Aid Office
Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center
PO Box 9810
Morgantown, WV 26506-9810,
Which undergraduate majors does the Admissions Committee prefer?
Most applicants to dental school select Biology or Chemistry as their undergraduate major. However, the Admissions Committee gives no particular priority to any major, providing the minimum science requirements for admission have been met. While preparation in the sciences is absolutely essential, the humanities reflect interests in qualities important to the professional person.
Apart from the required and recommended courses, what other courses would the Committee suggest?
Having satisfied all pre-dental course requirements, the applicant is free to select courses which hold special interest for the individual or which may strengthen an area of academic inadequacy. The Committee does recommend that the applicant complete more than the minimum of 14 hours of biology. Additional recommended courses include: cell and molecular biology, physiology, microbiology, embryology/developmental biology, genetics and psychology.
Will the Admissions Committee pay particular attention to my performance in certain courses?
While a good grade in a very challenging course may be noted favorably, it will not be viewed as a unique indication of success in dental school. The Admissions Committee expects demonstrated academic competence in all areas of the undergraduate curriculum.
My transcript shows several withdrawals from courses. How will the Admissions Committee view this?
The applicant should be prepared to explain these withdrawals. Withdrawing from a course because of illness or an accident might be legitimate reasons. On the other hand, withdrawal simply because a course turned out to be too challenging, and you did not wish to meet the challenge, may be detrimental.
Should I repeat courses in which I did not do well, even though I passed them?
No, this is rarely helpful. Any student should be expected to do well in a course the second time. The Admissions Committee will not often be impressed by such action.
Should I apply as a third year applicant?
The Committee strongly recommends that candidate work toward receiving a degree at the baccalaureate level. Approximately 10% of some of our dental classes are admitted with three years of college work. Applicants must have completed at least 90 semester credit hours at the time of application. The committee has seen a significant increase in the number of applicants with degrees. The committee feels that the quality of preparation is as important as length of preparation.
If I apply as a third-year applicant, will it help or hinder my chances for admission?
Neither. Each applicant is considered within the competitive context of all applicants for that year. As noted previously, applicants must have completed at least 90 semester credit hours prior to application.
Even though rejected several times, should I continue to reapply to prove my motivation?
Re-application without significant change in credentials in the interim is not likely to meet with success. A mature and realistic self-appraisal is usually indicated at this point.
Who makes up the Admissions Committee?
The Committee is made up of faculty from various disciplines within the School of Dentistry as well as dental students and alumni. The staff of the Dental Admissions and Recruitment Office provide assistance to the committee.
What are the minimum cumulative grade-point averages and science averages required to get into dental school?
The Admissions Committee has no "cut-off" points or specific required grade-point averages. Competition at the undergraduate level has forced these numbers to a rather high plateau (3.5+). It is important to emphasize that the Committee will review transcripts with regard to consistency of performance, course loads, and the degree of difficulty of the curriculum.
What does the Committee focus on during the application review process?
There are five parameters to the admissions process which are carefully considered:
- Academic Achievement
- Dental Admission Test scores
- Dental Shadowing and Life, career and volunteer experiences
- Personal Interview
For additional interview information please refer to our Applicant Data Monitored by Interviewing Team (ADMIT) form.
When should I take the Dental Admission Test?
It is strongly recommended that potential applicants take the Dental Admission Test (DAT) so that scores may be submitted by November 1st of the year prior to expected enrollment (example: DAT in September 2013, Enrollment August 2014). Information concerning the time and place for DAT testing can be obtained by contacting:
Department of Testing Services
American Dental Association
211 East Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
How does the Committee use the Dental Admission Test scores?
These scores are simply used as another measure of academic preparation. The Committee expects the applicant to have shown at least average competence in the various sub-sections of the test. If a discrepancy should exist between scholastic achievement and a Dental Admission Test score, an effort will be made to determine why this discrepancy exists.
Should I study for the Dental Admission Test?
Many students take the basic required courses, especially the sciences, early in their undergraduate career. Failure to review basic factual information in these courses before taking the DAT could be detrimental. No DAT review book or privately instructed short course will be the equal of a careful and systematic review of one’s own notes and textbooks.
Will I be interviewed as a part of the application procedure?
Applicants who are residents of West Virginia are usually interviewed, although the Admissions Committee may elect not to interview an unrealistic applicant. Selected non-resident applicants will also be invited for an interview, depending on their academic qualifications.
What is the basic interview procedure?
Members of the Admissions Committee, aided by the staff of the Dental Admissions and Recruitment staff, participate in this effort. Applicants who are invited to interview participate in a group introduction, take part in a guided tour of to School, meet with dental students, participate in an interactive question/answer session, and have a personal interview with two or more admissions committee members. In addition, an onsite writing exercise and voluntary manual dexterity assessment are part of the interview schedule.
When does the Dental School begin interviews?
Interviews usually begin in September of each year.
Does an early application and interview guarantee an early decision by the Admissions Committee?
No. Even though early applicants are usually interviewed early, the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) recommends that dental schools do not notify applicants either orally or in writing of provisional or final acceptance before December 1st of the academic year prior to the year of matriculation. (See AADSAS guidelines website www.adea.org). Under these circumstances, the School will make an effort to inform applicants of the decision as soon as possible. The Admissions Committee may delay the decision until spring or early summer for some applicants because of continued deliberation.
Whom should I approach about recommendation letters?
The following guidelines should be observed for recommendations.
- If a pre-professional committee or comprehensive recommendation is available at your institution, please request the committee or your adviser send it directly to the American Association of Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS).
- If no such committee or comprehensive recommendation exists at your institution and your major is one of the sciences (biology, chemistry or physics), a recommendation should be obtained from each of the sciences (biology, chemistry, and physics).
- If your major is not one of the sciences noted, please submit two recommendations from instructors in your major field and one from the sciences (biology, chemistry, or physics).
- If you cannot get a recommendation from an instructor as required above, a written request for a substitute recommendation from another instructor may be considered. The reason for the substitution must be detailed and submitted to the Office of Dental Admissions for approval.
- Once the guidelines above have been fulfilled, up to two additional letters from instructors, community leaders, professional persons or others who know you well are acceptable. Quality rather than quantity of such letters should be of primary importance.
Note: Up to four letters of recommendation will be processed by AADSAS.
Adherence to this guideline is strongly encouraged.
Do you retain letters of recommendation from one application cycle to the next?
No. Letters of recommendation are not retained from one application cycle to the next. If you reapply, it is necessary to obtain new letters of recommendation for that application cycle. Remember letters of recommendation should be submitted through AADSAS
What about recommendation letters from prominent persons?
If the prominent person has had the opportunity to get to know the applicant well, the Admissions Committee will review this additional information. Perfunctory letters of recommendation add little to the applicant’s credentials. (refer to the previous question concerning maximum number of additional letters of recommendation.)
Does a non-resident student attending West Virginia University or one of the in-state colleges or universities have a chance of being accepted by the program?
The Dental Admissions Committee gives preference to West Virginia residents. Non-residents attending a West Virginia college or university will be given careful review.
I am not a resident of West Virginia. If I meet the requirements for residency, will my chances for acceptance be increased?
As indicated earlier, in-state resident applicants are given priority. However, residency status is determined by the WVU Office of Admissions in accordance with the Higher Education Policy Commission Series 25 Policy Regarding Residency Classification Of Students for Admission and Fee Purpose. This policy, as well as the appropriate forms, may be obtained from the WVU Office of Admissions.
Do graduate students or holders of advanced degrees receive priority consideration by the Admissions Committee?
The Admissions Committee will carefully review the total academic record of all applicants and will make its decision based on this review. It is possible of course, that a previous marginal undergraduate record could be strengthened by an outstanding graduate performance.
If I apply to both dental school and medical school, will both Admission Committees question my motivation?
No specific effort is made by either Committee to learn of such dual applications despite the fact that the WVU Health Science Center Office of Admissions processes both. Interviewers might indeed question an applicant regarding motivation of the dual application. However, the applicant will undoubtedly have a primary choice and is advised to make a realistic selection of one program.
Does the Admissions Committee place great emphasis on extra-curricular activities?
The applicant who has been involved in extra-curricular activities and maintained a good academic record is often a caring and interesting person with a considerable amount of energy and who manages time effectively. These characteristics should enhance chances of success in dental school. The Admissions Committee is not so presumptuous to list "preferred" extra-curricular activities or to assume that one such activity has a higher priority over another.
Is working in some health care activity considered to be important preparation for dental school by the Admissions Committee?
Most Committee members would agree that while an in-depth experience in the health care field is not of itself a critical selection factor, the total absence of any communication with the dental field makes motivation more difficult to assess. The applicant should seek opportunities for observation in the dental setting, seek opportunities for observation in dental settings, discuss dentistry as a career with dentists and if available, participate in pre-dental groups, which offer programs giving some insight into the dental profession.
Does a denial of admissions mean that I am totally incapable of grasping the work in dental school?
No. A denial of admission does not mean that an applicant has undesirable personal characteristics, which would make him or her unworthy of being a good dentist. Normally a denial of admission simply means that using the parameters in the selection process, the Admissions Committee feels that other candidates are more qualified for consideration in that given year.
As an out-of-state applicant is there a rule of thumb that might apply to the applicant's GPA and DAT scores?
Non-resident applicants should generally have a grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 or above and an average score on the Academic and PAT sections of the DAT of at least 17. However, these are not absolute minimums and all persons having a strong interest in the West Virginia University School of Dentistry are encouraged to apply.
I am economically disadvantaged. Should I even think about applying to dental school?
Yes. Economically disadvantaged students, and students from groups underrepresented in the dental profession (especially West Virginia residents) are strongly encouraged to apply.
How is the alternate list made up?
The alternate list (waitlist) is comprised of a group of applicants who will be considered in the event of a vacancy in the class. It is made up of those candidates whom the Committee feels are qualified applicants but of a lesser priority rating for admission in the competitive context of other applicants.
Is there anything else I should consider regarding dental school?
A candidate for the DDS degree must have abilities and skills of five varieties: 1)observation, 2)communication, 3)motor, 4)intellectual, conceptual, integrative, quantitative, 5)behavioral and social. Technological compensation can be made for some disabilities in certain areas, but a candidate should be able to perform in a reasonably independent manner. (For further details consult the WVU School of Dentistry Technical Standards Document available in the School of Dentistry, Office of Dental Admissions.)
Is it possible to defer admission once I've been accepted?
No, the WVU SOD will not defer admissions to the D.D.S. program.
How long are DAT scores valid?
DAT scores are valid for 5 years
Is there really any hurry to get my application completed and returned at an early date?
Interviews usually start in September and decisions on candidates are made at early dates since notification of admittance to the dental school program can be formalized and announced to a successful candidate on December 1st. Approximately 75% of the available positions are awarded on December 1st. This means that applicants who apply later in the admission cycle may not be reviewed by the Committee until after December 1st and consequently must compete for the remaining available positions. It is advantageous to get your application completed and submitted as soon as possible.
NOTE: It is important to realize that admission to the West Virginia University School of Dentistry is based on a number of factors. Admission is not based solely on the Overall GPA or the Science GPA. It is not based solely on the Dental Admission Test (DAT). Even though these three areas are very important and weigh heavily in the decisions of the Admissions Committee, there are six other areas to come into consideration when candidates are evaluated before final decisions on admittance are made.
These six areas are:
- The candidate’s interview with two or more members of the Admissions Committee.
- The recommendations that the Admissions Committee receives on behalf of the applicant. (Details of this procedure are covered previously.)
- Dental shadowing or work experience, knowledge of the field of dentistry, life experience and reasons for the applicant’s pursuit of a career in dentistry are considered.
- Credits and performance in upper level science courses beyond the minimums set forward in the beginning of this document are considered.
- Improvement shown by candidates over their career in undergraduate studies is also considered. (Some candidates start slow with very average grades during early semesters and then show considerable improvement in later semesters.)
- Performance on the Dental Admission Test (DAT).
The Admissions Committee uses and follows explicitly the information provided in this publication when evaluating each applicant and making final decisions on individual acceptances and the composition of incoming classes. Admission decisions are based on this very complete collection of data, letters, and interviews. It must be understood that GPA and DAT scores are considered carefully and possibly signify an individual’s capacity to handle the very difficult dental school curriculum.
What is rolling admissions?
Rolling admissions at WVU means the Admissions Committee makes decisions on a rolling basis, beginning Dec. 1 and ending when the class is finalized.
Must I complete all of the required courses before I apply?
No, but the majority of the course work should be completed before applying. As indicated earlier, applicants must have completed at least 90 semester credit hours prior to application.
Does an individual who is re-applying need to submit a new application?
Yes. All applicants whether first time or re-applying, must submit a new application through AADSAS.
Are there other requirements that I should be aware of if I am admitted to the WVU School of Dentistry?
Yes. Individuals who receive provisional acceptance to the WVU School of Dentistry educational programs must pass a Criminal Background Investigation (CBI), at their own expense, prior to final acceptance to the WVU School of Dentistry. Select this link to view the entire WVU CBI policy.
All provisionally admitted students must have proper documentation of immunizations prior to matriculation. All immunization documentation must be submitted electronically using the identified online system. Provisionally accepted students must also complete a Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) course and submit the Responsible Conduct of Research Curriculum Completion Report.
Admitted candidates will also receive orientation packets with the necessary pre-enrollment forms and details about additional information that is needed prior to enrollment.
If you have questions, contact the Office of Dental Admissions at email@example.com or 304-293-1680.