Many students who are planning to apply to dental school are anxious about their statistics compared to other students who are applying. Some are wondering if they have competitve scores for their DAT, some are wondering how they will compare with regard to volunteer hours and dental shadowing, and some are wondering just how much a “bad GPA” will weigh on their ability to be admitted.
You shouldn’t be worried about whether your GPA is”good” or “bad”. What you should be thinking is “Will my GPA be competitive?”.
If you are serious about getting in to an accredited dental school in the United States, then you will need to have a competitive GPA. Notice I didn’t say good GPA or high GPA. The reason for that is because the GPA score for each entering class is relative. If every student who applies next year has a 2.5 GPA, the class will be filled with students who have 2.5 GPA’s.
In reality, we know this will not happen. In fact, average GPA has been on a steady incline in the past few years, due to increased awareness of dentistry as a career. Issues that face many students interested in a career in medicine are pushing students toward dentistry. That is causing an increase in the competitiveness of scores, with regard to GPA and DAT scores.
When you start to consider which schools you would like to attend, be sure to research the average scores for students admitted in the most recent years. This is an excellent guide for determining if your score is competitive for that school. If you have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 you may not want to apply to the University of Colorado School of Dentistry since the average student admitted to their program carries a 3.7 GPA.
Remember, the number listed is the average GPA for students that were admitted. That means that if the school lists a 3.25 average that some students had a higher GPA, some had a lower GPA. If yours is slightly lower you may still be a competitive applicant if you have a higher DAT score or other factors that make you look like someone they would want to be a part of their program.
You will also want to break you GPA into two units, your overall GPA and your BCP GPA. BCP stands for Biology/Chemistry/Physics, and this is sometimes referred to as your science GPA. Some schools consider your BCP to be a better indicator as to your potential for success in dental school.
There is a page for each US dental school here on this site. Each page has the average GPA’s for students admitted to their schools. Check these pages to see if your GPA and BCP GPA are competitive for the schools you want to attend.