There is no specific Pre-Dental program or course of study at Syracuse University. Instead, students choose to major in a field of study that is interesting and can allow for the demonstration of excellence. The dental school pre-requisite courses can be taken alongside any major with careful planning. What is important to dental schools is that you can do well in the things that you choose to do.
Data exists. It is helpful to understand the admission trends and benchmarks early, so you can prepare accordingly, consistently assess yourself, and, if needed, redirect your strategies and short/long term goals along the way. Eventually, there will be a day that you apply to your professional schools of choice. This is what the landscape looks like:
Summary of data for Schools of Dental Medicine, 2019
- Common age first year enrollee: 24
- 11,148 applicants vying for roughly 6,231 seats (55.9% enrolled)
- Applicant: 19.6 Academic Average DAT; 3.30 BCPM/3.42 GPA
- Matriculant: 20.7 Academic Average DAT; 3.48 BCPM/3.57 GPA
Although we encourage you to look closely at individual schools’ requirements, there are general patterns.
Commonly Required (or highly recommended) Courses
- INTRODUCTORY BIOLOGY I/II (BIO 121/ 123/ 124)
- INORGANIC CHEMISTRY I/II (CHE 106/107/ 116/ 117)
- ORGANIC CHEMISTRY I/II (CHE 275/ 276/ 325/ 326)
- PHYSICS I/II (PHY 101/ 102 OR PHY 211/ 221/ 212/ 222)
- BIOCHEMISTRY (BCM 475)
- MICROBIOLOGY (BIO 409)
- ONE SEMESTER OF CALCULUS OR STATISTICS (MAT 285 OR 295 OR MAT 121 OR 221)
Preparing for professional school is a developmental process, which is why the admissions review is so holistic. Therefore, during their undergraduate careers, we encourage all Pre-Health students to:
- Demonstrate intellectual aptitude and curiosity
- Demonstrate a commitment to healthcare
- Contribute to the community
- Build character.
In addition to coursework, dental schools will expect you to have developed through experiential learning.
Experience in a dental practice is extremely important to dental schools. If you have not been “inside the walls” where you were able to witness and participate in the dental profession, dental schools may hesitate, and feel skepticism that you understand the career path you aspire to. Shadowing dentists, including general dentists, orthodontists, endodontists and dental surgeons, obtaining training and potential certifications, and actively participating in clinical opportunities—where you are directly interfacing with the patient population—are imperative to your development.
Campus and Community Involvement
Not all volunteer endeavors need to be clinical. Students benefit immensely from dedicating their time to community agencies and being of service to others. Students have gained immeasurable skills by volunteering for local non-profits that serve constituent needs in public health, education, refugee resettlement, and youth mentorship and recreational services. During gap years, students may serve for Teach for America, City Year AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps, or other domestic and international organizations. Be mindful that your service is about responsibly meeting the needs of the population; not just serving your own interests, growth, and development.
Research is everywhere. It exists in public health, sociology, anthropology, English literature, psychology, science, linguistics—in other words, if you are interested in research, find a position in a research project that studies something you intimately care about. At Syracuse, there are multiple avenues to research—for Pre-Health, these are most popularly in the sciences, psychology, and neuroscience—but there is a myriad of current research projects related to health policy, public health initiatives, socio-economic healthcare disparities, drug delivery, bioengineering, and post-traumatic stress syndrome. If you wish to extend your experience beyond campus, Syracuse students have often pursued research at Upstate Medical University or nearby research facilities, and participated in summer SURF or SURP programs (at many institutions), SHPEP, or MedPrep (at many instititions) during their undergraduate careers. During gap years, some students enjoy obtaining clinical or laboratory research positions at institutions across the United States or abroad.
SURF link - https://www.nist.gov/surf
SHPEP link - https://www.shpep.org/
If you are interested in medical schools in the future, you should be sure to connect with the Pre-Health Advisors to discuss your plans – firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are within a year of application, you should discuss your readiness to apply with an advisor and plan to participate with the Pre-Health Evaluation Committee.
Pre-Health Evaluation Committee link - https://thecollege.syr.edu/student-success/pre-health-advising-overview/pre-health-evaluation-committee/