Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the requirements for admission to the Doctor of Dental Surgery program?
  2. Do online courses count toward admission requirements?
  3. What is the process for submitting an application for admission?
  4. Must I complete all of the required courses before I apply?
  5. Does the West Virginia University School of Dentistry (WVUSOD) have its own application form?
  6. What undergraduate major does the Admissions Committee prefer?
  7. Apart from the required and recommended courses, what other courses are suggested?
  8. Will the Admissions Committee pay particular attention to my performance in certain courses?
  9. What are the minimum cumulative and science grade-point averages required to get into dental school?
  10. My transcript shows several withdrawals from courses. How will the Admissions Committee view this?
  11. Should I repeat courses in which I did not do well, even though I passed them?
  12. Earning a college degree is not my plan. Will this decision impact my dental school application?
  13. If I apply as a third-year applicant, will it help or hinder my chances for admission?
  14. Even though rejected several times, should I continue to reapply to prove my motivation?
  15. Does an individual who is re-applying need to submit a new application?
  16. When should I take the Dental Admission Test?
  17. How does the Admission Committee use the DAT scores?
  18. Does the Admissions Committee evaluate all DAT scores if more than one score report is submitted?
  19. Should I study for the DAT?
  20. How long are DAT scores valid?
  21. Whom should I approach about recommendation letters?
  22. Do I need to have letters of recommendation submitted at the time of the AADSAS application?
  23. Do you retain letters of recommendation from application cycle to the next?
  24. What about recommendation letters from prominent persons?
  25. Will I be interviewed as a part of the application procedure?
  26. When does the WVU School of Dentistry being interviews?
  27. Does an early application and interview guarantee an early decision by the Admissions Committee?
  28. What is the basic interview process?
  29. Who makes up the Admissions Committee?
  30. What does the Admissions Committee focus on during the review process?
  31. Does a non-resident student attending West Virginia University or one of the in-state colleges or universities have a chance of being accepted to the dental program?
  32. I am not a resident of West Virginia. If I meet the requirements for residency, will my chances for acceptance be increased?
  33. Do graduate students or holders of advanced degrees receive priority consideration by the Admissions Committee?
  34. If I apply to both dental school and medical school, will both Admissions Committees question my motivation?
  35. Does the Admissions Committee place great emphasis on extracurricular activities?
  36. Is working in some health care activity considered to be important preparation for dental school by the Admissions Committee?
  37. Does a denial of admissions mean that I am totally incapable of grasping the work in dental school?
  38. As an out-of-state applicant, is there a rule of thumb that might apply to the applicant's GPA and DAT scores?
  39. I am economically disadvantaged. Should I even think about applying to dental school?
  40. How is the waitlist made up?
  41. Is there anything else I should consider regarding dental school?
  42. Is it possible to defer admissions once I've been accepted?
  43. Is there really any hurry to get my application completed and returned at an early date?
  44. What is rolling admissions?
  45. Are there other requirements that I should be aware of if I am admitted to WVU School of Dentistry?
  46. What is a source of information regarding dental education costs?
  47. What is a source of information regarding loans and scholarships when financial assistance is deemed necessary?
  48. Are there final notes from the Admissions Committee?

What are the requirements for admission to the Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) program?

A minimum of 3 years college course work completed in an accredited 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. No online courses will be accepted toward prerequisite courses.

The college work must include:

  • English Composition & Rhetoric - 6 semester hours
  • Biology or Zoology (with Lab) - 8 semester hours
  • General/Inorganic Chemistry (with Lab) - 8 semester hours
  • Organic Chemistry (with Lab) - 8 semester hours
  • Physics (with Lab) - 8 semester hours
  • Biochemistry - 3 semester hours
  • Comparative or Human Anatomy - 3 semester hours

These are firm requirements regardless of undergraduate or graduate preparation.

Additional recommended course work:

  • Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • Physiology
  • Microbiology
  • Embryology/Developmental Biology
  • Genetics
  • Psychology
  • Communication

No more than 64 hours of community college credit will be accepted toward course requirements. Accepted students must have completed all required courses by June 1, prior to matriculation.

Do online courses count toward admission requirements?

No. Applicants must complete prerequisite science courses in the traditional classroom and laboratory setting. The Admissions Committee will consider other coursework completed online on a case-by case basis.

What is the process for submitting an application for Admission?

The WVU School of Dentistry participates in the Associated American Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS). Applications must be submitted electronically through AADSAS. 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 encouraged to give this part of the application process their strict attention. Even though the application deadline is November 1st, it is advantageous to submit the AADSAS online application early because the Admissions Committee begins admitting the class on December 1st. If you have specific questions regarding West Virginia University's application procedures and admission requirements, please call the Office of Dental Admissions at 304-293-6646 or e-mail your questions to dentaladmit@hsc.wvu.edu.

Computer literacy is an essential skill for all applicants and enrollees beginning with the AADSAS online application.

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 the West Virginia School of Dentistry (WVUSOD) have its own application form?

Yes. The Admissions Committee evaluates all AADSAS applications and invites selected applicants to submit a secondary (institutional) application. There is a non-refundable fee of $60 with the secondary application. This fee is not applied toward tuition or other charges upon admittance. Instructions for submitting the secondary application and fee online will be provided to selected applicants by email. Secondary applications must be submitted within the timeframe provided in the email from the School of Dentistry Admissions Office. Once applicants have completed the secondary application payment information will be entered and submitted. A required verification page will appear and must be signed before the application is submitted.

What undergraduate major does the Admissions Committee prefer?

Most dental school applicants select Biology or Chemistry as their undergraduate major. However, the Admissions Committee gives no particular priority to any major, providing the minimum science course requirements for admission have been met. While preparation in the sciences is absolutely essential, interest in the humanities reflects indispensable qualities of the professional person.

Apart from the required and recommended courses, what other courses are suggested?

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 highly recommend that the applicant complete more than the minimum hours of biology. Additional recommended courses include: cell and molecular biology, physiology, embryology, genetics, microbiology, communication, 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. The Admissions Committee generally favors those who have completed all required courses with a grade of B or above.

What are the minimum cumulative and science grade-point 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+). The committee will review transcripts with regard to consistency of performance, course load, and the degree of difficulty of the curriculum. It is important to emphasize the Admissions Committee seeks the best and well-prepared applicants.

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 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?

Repeating a course to obtain a higher grade shouldn’t be the main motive. Any student is expected to do well in a course the second time. The Admissions Committee will not often be impressed by such action without a good reason for doing so.

Earning a college degree is not my plan. Will this decision impact my dental school application?

The Admissions Committee strongly recommends that applicants work toward receiving a degree at the baccalaureate level. Applicants must have completed at least 90 semester credit hours at the time of application. The Admissions Committee has seen a significant increase in the number of dental school enrollees with college degrees. The Admissions 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 admissions?

Neither. Each applicant is considered within the competitive context of the application pool for the year in which they apply. 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 strongly recommended.

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.

When should I take the Dental Admission Test (DAT)?

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 2020, enrollment in August 2021). Information concerning the time and place for DAT testing can be obtained by contacting:

DAT Program
Department of Testing Services
American Dental Association
211 East Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
Telephone: 800-232-1694
Website: https://www.ada.org/en/education-careers/dental-admission-test

How does the Admissions Committee use the DAT scores?

DAT scores are 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 discrepancies exist between scholastic achievement and DAT scores, an effort will be made to determine why the inconsistency exists.

Does the Admission Committee evaluate all DAT scores if more than one score report is submitted?

Yes. The Admissions Committee evaluates all DAT scores.

Should I study for the DAT?

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 courses may be the equal of a careful and systematic review of one's own notes and textbooks.

How long are DAT scores valid?

DAT scores are valid 3 years from test date.

Whom should I approach about recommendation letters?

The following guidelines should be observed for recommendations:

  1. If a pre-health professions committee or comprehensive recommendation is available at your college or university, please request the committee or your advisor submit a letter directly to the Associated American Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS).
  2. If no committee or comprehensive recommendation exists at your institution and your major is one of the sciences (biology, chemistry, and physics), a recommendation should be obtained from each of the required sciences (biology, chemistry and physics).
  3. If your major is not one of the sciences noted above, please submit two recommendations from instructors in your major field and one from a science instructor (biology, chemistry, or physics).
  4. If you cannot obtain 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 by email to the Office of Dental Admissions for approval.
  5. Once the guidelines above have been fulfilled, additional letters from instructors, community leaders, professional persons or others who know the applicant 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 I need to have letters of recommendation submitted at the time of AADSAS application?

No, all letter should be submitted electronically by evaluators using Letters by Liaison, the AADSAS Recommender Portal. You will submit the evaluators name and email address. The status of letters of recommendation can be monitored through AADSAS. Complete instructions are available through the AADSAS Application Instructions online.

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, all 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 question concerning maximum number of additional letters of recommendation.)

Will I be interviewed as 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 are also invited for an interview, depending on their academic qualifications.

When does the WVU School of Dentistry 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 on 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.

What is the basic interview process?

Members of the Admissions Committee, aided by 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 the School, meet with dental students, participate in an interactive questions/answer session, and have a personal interview with two or more admissions committee members. In addition, an onsite writing exercise is part of the interview schedule.

Who makes up the Admissions Committee?

The Admissions Committee is made up of faculty from various disciplines within the School of Dentistry as well as alumni, local dentists, and dental students. The staff of the dental admissions and recruitment office provides administrative assistance to the Committee.

What does the Admissions Committee focus on during the review process?

There are several parameters to the admissions process which are carefully considered:

  • Academic achievement
  • Dental Admission Test (DAT) scores
  • Recommendations
  • Communication skills
  • Dental shadowing, manual dexterity, research, and career, life, and volunteer experiences
  • Personal Interview

Additional information is provided in the WVU Dental Applicant Data Monitored by the Interview Team (ADMIT) card.

Does a non-resident student attending West Virginia University or one of the in-state colleges or universities have a chance of being accepted to the dental program?

The Dental Admissions Committee gives priority to qualified West Virginia residents. Highly qualified non-resident applicants are given strong consideration, particularly those attending a West Virginia college or university.

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, well-prepared in-state resident applicants are given priority. However, residency classification is determined by the Board of Governor’s Academics Rule 2.4- Residency Status for Admissions, Tuition, and Fee Purposes. This policy, as well as the appropriate forms, may be obtained online.

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 decisions 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 Admissions Committees question my motivation?

No specific effort is made by the Admissions Committee to learn of such dual applications. 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 extracurricular activities?

The applicant who has been involved in extracurricular activities and maintained a good academic record is often a caring 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" extracurricular 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, 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 is incapable of becoming a dentist. Applications that are denied undergo comprehensive vetting by the admissions committee. In many instances applications are denied due to the steep competition for a seat in the relatively small class.

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 of 3.5 or above and an average score on the Academic and PAT sections of the DAT of at least 18. However, these are not absolute minimums and all persons having a strong interest in the WVU 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. The WVU Financial Aid Office is available to answer questions about managing education expenses, see contact information for each financial aid office online.

How is the waitlist 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 but of a lesser priority rating in view of the competitive application pool and limited number of seats in the class.

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; and 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 on the school’s website and in the Office of Dental Admissions).

Is it possible to defer admissions once I've been accepted?

No. The WVU School of Dentistry will not defer admission to the DDS program.

Is there really any hurry to get my application completed and returned at an early date?

Interviews usually start in September and notification of admittance to the dental school program announced to a successful candidate beginning on December 1st. Approximately 70% of the available positions are usually awarded on December 1st.This means that applicants who apply later in the application cycle may not be reviewed by the Admissions 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.

What is rolling admissions?

Rolling admissions at WVU means that the Admissions Committee makes a decision on a rolling basis beginning December 1st and ends when the class is finalized.

Are there other requirements that I should be aware of if I am admitted to WVU School of Dentistry?

Yes. Individuals who receive provisional acceptance to 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 Dentistry. Click to view the entire WVU School of Dentistry Criminal Background Investigation policy.

All provisionally admitted students must have proper documentation of immunizations prior to matriculation. All immunization documentation must be submitted electronically using the specified online system. Admitted candidates will receive orientation packets with the necessary pre-enrollment forms and details about additional information that is needed prior to enrollment.

What is a source of information regarding dental education costs?

Information on the cost of dental education are available from the West Virginia University School of Dentistry, Office of Student Affairs at 304-293-5589 or from the Health Science Center Financial Aid Office at 304-293-3706 or email hscfinaid@mail.wvu.edu.

What is a source of information regarding loans and scholarships when financial assistance is deemed necessary?

Questions regarding loans and scholarships should be addressed to the West Virginia University Health Sciences Center Financial Aid Office at 304-293-3706 or by email hscfinaid@mail.wvu.edu. Information is also available on the Health Sciences Center financial aid web page.

Are there final notes from the Admissions Committee?

It is very 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 several additional factors that come into consideration when the candidates are evaluated before final decisions on admittance are made, including:

  1. The candidate's interview with two or more members of the Admissions Committee.
  2. The recommendations that the Admissions Committee receives on behalf of the applicant. (Details of this procedure are covered previously).
  3. Dental shadowing or work experience, knowledge of the field of dentistry, life experiences, and reasons for the applicant's pursuit of a career in dentistry.
  4. Credits earned and performance in upper level science courses beyond the minimums set forward on the first page of this document are considered.
  5. Improvement shown by candidates in their undergraduate studies is also considered. (Some candidates start slowly with very average grades during early semesters and then show considerable improvement in later semesters.)
  6. 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 dental 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.