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Top 10: Best Things To Do If You Didn't Get Accepted by Dental School This Year

Stuff happens. You didn't get that admission letter you were hoping for. Most likely because you applied late right? Let your worries fade away and let the strength in you shine, because it's time you got to work! First thing is first, just make sure you apply early next time. What can you do during your year now? Here we go, the Top 10 best things to do if you did not get accepted by dental school this time around:

Top 10 Things To Do If You Did Not Get In This Year To Dental School

1. Analyze your situation
You probably know why you didn't get in. It's sad but true. Since you know your weakness, try to improve it! If you seriously don't know why you didn't get the admissions acceptance letter this year... well it's your lucky day, just read the rest of this Top 10 List.

2. Re-write your admissions exam
That's right, re-write that DAT examination. It's a pain in the behind, I know... but it's the best thing you can do. An even better score can help you clinch that spot next year in a jiffy. Great scores will wow AdComs and they will drool over you instead of passing you over. I have a personal friend that did this... he had 23's across the board on the DAT the first time he applied and got rejected (which are already impressive scores). He simply re-wrote... achieved even more impressive 26's across the board, and had mulitple offers of admission the second time around. See our post on how to do well on the DAT if this applies to you!

3. Continue on into a Masters program
I am assuming that you completed a Bachelors program before you applied. If you didn't even finish a Bachelors, do that first. If you did, maybe consider a Masters. Most of them require at least 2 years more, and a research project. It's tough, but worth it, especially if you can do well and get A's. Our insiders hint to you? There are 1-year Masters programs at certain universities that are lecture based only. This will avoid you the torture of research, and allow you to finish your Masters within the one year that you would have been idling anyways. Do your research and try to find one of these 1-year Masters programs! A lot of universities in the US offer programs like "GMS" or a Masters in Graduate Medical Sciences. These are ideal for people in your position!

4. Find a job in your intended field
You're interested in dentistry, so the ideal job for you would be a dental laboratory technician. These types of positions are often hired for without any experience, and training is provided. Perhaps consider working in a dental clinic as an auxiliary. Not only will you be clinically more competent and faster than your classmates once you get into dental school... the getting in part will be that much easier!

5. Volunteer in your intended field
Naturally, this is similar to finding a job in your intended field, but you don't get paid for it. Usually, the involvement is of a lesser degree as well. In terms of patient contact, this is usually something in which you superfically deal with patients, and less directly than a person employed. This is usually due to liability reasons, and as such, finding a job can be more helpful than simply volunteering. Don't get me wrong though, volunteering is something that definitely enhances your application the second time around.

6. Contact the schools you applied to
After the admissions cycle is over for the year, you can contact the schools you applied to, explain your situation, and ask for their advice. Some schools are often willing to let you know how you can improve your application. Certain schools look for specific things which you can accomplish easily! This is a no-brainer especially if you are really pushing for one specific school such as your local one! Just keep in mind that you should act professionally and cordially. The person you end up contacting may remember you, and if you asked questions in a positive and friendly manner, this may actually help you in your re-application process.

7. Pursue research positions within your undergraduate school
This may seem tough especially if you have already graduated with a Bachelors degree. It isn't tough at all though. If push comes to shove, you can go from lab to lab and ask to volunteer! Professors are always looking for lackeys that they can utilize to perform menial tasks. If you can obtain a proper research position in a laboratory, all the better! Although you may hate research like I did, it's well worth that effort when you see that acceptance letter the second time you apply.

8. Contact your local pre-dental student society
Chapters of various pre-dental student societies and associations exist in almost all undergraduate universities. Use them! You might have to purchase a membership first. They may be able to answer your specific questions and provide insight and support to you. I personally recommend pre-dental ASDA (American Student Dental Association) chapters for pre-dental students who are looking for support.

9. Pursue high-level extracirriculars
This won't apply to many people, but if you're an extraordinary athlete or chess player or something of the sort, pursue your extraordinary ability. If you can end up competing in state-level, national, or even international tournaments, it will definitely improve your application! Now if you can get to the Olympics, that would be ideal, but not all of us can do this. This is something to think about if you fall into this category.

10. Travel
This is at the end of the list, as this may not enhance your application that greatly. It will give you more depth into your personality and character in any subsequent interviews though. It will also give you something to chit-chat about. Plus, its more enjoyable and exciting than anything else on this list right? :)

I hope this helps. We know you're disappointed, but we know you can do it. Keep up the hard work, and one day your dreams will come true. Just don't give up!


  1. I came across most of these tips on other sites but its nice to see them all compiled here in one punch

  2. What do you think is a better idea if we don't receive that acceptance letter: getting a job in a dental field for a year or getting a Masters degree?

    I'm currently applying to dental schools, and I'm not going to lie, I don't think I'll get an acceptance letter this time around due to applying so late. Regardless, I was planning on working at an Orthodontist's office for a year after I graduate next summer. I've worked for him before and I basically already have that job lined up. I haven't looked into getting a Master's degree at all because my heart's set on dental school.

    Any words of advice (other then above) on whether I should go for the job or apply for a Master's program?


  3. Clutch
    Thank you for your comment,
    In response, I would say that a masters degree is much more preferable in the eyes of the AdComs. This is because the higher level education more closely resembles dental school and allows them to gauge your performance at such a level. The downside is that you don't have an income from a masters program! I hope this helps.

  4. Wow. How is it possible that your friend did not get into dental school after getting a 23 on the DAT? There is no hope for the rest of us.

  5. Smileitzalice,
    The person I am referring to had a sub-3.0 GPA when he applied with 23's across the board on the DAT. He simply rewrote and got an even higher score to get admission. I hope this helps.

  6. Thanks so much for all this advice. I am currently searching for master's programs to apply to. However, I am having trouble searching for 1 year programs-most of the ones I've come across are two year ones.
    Any advice on what to search for specifically?
    Thanks so much!

  7. Ami,
    There is a program at Boston University, a Masters in Graduate Medical Sciences - 1-year in Oral Health studies. Look into programs such as that. I hope that helps!

  8. I would have to agree with Smileitzalice, having a 23, even with a sub-3.0 gpa, seems like it would clench any school's interest.

    I'm not denying the truth of what happened...only VERY discouraged. I can't even get a frickin' 19 AA on the DAT right now. And my past grades before I decided to become a dentist haunt my gpa now...a 3.730 without my grades from years ago. How I am supposed to accomplish my dreams of becoming a dentist...something I have sacrificed long and VERY hard to become!?

  9. Clutch,

    I really was discouraged the other day and have been for a few days since I read your comment...if you applied late, then I applied REALLY late. I just sent my app off to AADSAS about 2 weeks ago.

  10. what is a sub3.0 gpa? is it a 2.something

  11. Hello!!! First i wanted to say that this page is very helpful for those interested in obtain information towards admission on dental schools in the US. Soon i will graduate from an international Dental School and my gpa isn't very high enough and i wanted to know if a Masters degree program would be helpful for my future admission in a US Dental School? and if it does should i consider applying for a Masters degree program in the US or in my country?


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