What Do I Do If I Don’t Get Into Dental School?

Getting into a dental school can be extremely difficult, so the chances of not being accepted into a dental school are relatively high for every single student. So, if you don’t get into dental school, know that things like that happen and that there are alternatives you can utilize.

There are numerous reasons students don’t get accepted into dental schools, like applying too late or not having high enough scores and grades. But, whatever the reason may be, if your plan A doesn’t succeed, it is time for a plan B. And, that is where we come into the game.

In the next few paragraphs, we’ll show you all the things you can do in case you don’t get into a dental school. Being rejected is not the end of the world, but rather an opportunity to change your approach and work on yourself. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

In Case You Got Rejected By a Dental School – Everything You can Do

1. Analyzing What Went Wrong

Learning from your mistakes is not the ideal way to go through life, but sometimes it is the only option you have for personal growth. That is why, in case you get rejected by a dental school, you need to analyze the situation and see what went wrong. Only then can you work on fixing the mistakes.

However, chances are you don’t know why you got rejected. But, you probably suspect your main mistakes. If you didn’t apply to the right school, or you only applied to two dental schools, next time you won’t make the same mistake.

We recommend you analyze the situation by writing down everything the led you to apply to a certain dental school. See if your application got in too late, or check whether your GPA score was below average. If you’re just considering applying to a dental school try not to check into a post-BA program to raise your GPA, as it can be counterproductive and lower the GPA.

Knowing what your shortcomings are can be super helpful! 

Note: If you want to know why exactly have you been rejected, make sure to contact the schools you’ve applied to, directly. You can ask the admission representatives for a detailed explanation and insight into your situation, as well as seek advice on how you can improve your application and get admitted.

2. Fixing the DAT Score

The average DAT score for students getting into dental school is approximately 19AA. Anything below that score will surely result in being rejected by the school. That is why your next step should be fixing the DAT score.

The only way you can fix the score is by re-writing the examination. There are numerous tips and tricks you can use to do better on your next DAT examination, so that should be your priority. Improving and getting a better score will most likely result in you being accepted the second time around.

So, if you do consider re-writing the examination, here’s what you can do;

  • Be ready to study a bit harder than for the 1st DAT examination
  • Check the pre-requisite courses for the dental school, and analyze the first few months-range of those courses
  • Purchase the Kaplan DAT blue book to study thoroughly
  • Study the DAT Examinee Guide and check how time may be a factor in the examination
  • Avoid taking a DAT tutoring course; in case you need the course, you may as well give up dental school, since the DAT examination only comprises well-known, and pre-dental information and knowledge
  • Look for support at the ASDA (American Student Dental Association)
  • Challenge yourself and set up mock exams
  • Make sure to take breaks and let the brain digest all the information you’ve learned
  • If you want to get in, never give up!

3. Getting Practice in Dental Care

Try to look for a part-time job or a place where you can volunteer and get much-needed practice in dental care and overall dentistry. Look for positions where you can help and learn simultaneously, like a dental laboratory technician or assistant.

This will not only make you more competent and ready for dental school but will also make you more prepared to consume new knowledge once you get in. Practicing while learning will make it so much easier for you to pass the DAT exam and do excellent in school.

4. Pursuing Dental Research

Another thing you can do if you don’t get into dental school the first time around is focusing on dental research. You can either pursue dental research courses or undergraduate schools or even pursue dental research as a dental lab volunteer.

This will give you all the knowledge necessary for a dental school if you decide to apply again. Furthermore, you will get all the necessary practice and an insight into the world of dentistry. And, if you see that dentistry is not your cup of tea, you can simply move onto some other field to study.

You can use dental research as an opportunity to see whether you truly like doing dental work and research or not. Even though it may seem like a waste of time, this can save you time and money in case you realize you don’t like it.

5. Considering a Master’s Program

In case dental school per se is not currently working for you, maybe you should consider doing a Master’s program, provided you’ve completed the BA program of course. Consult with your research supervisor or professors on what you would do during the Master’s years, and see whether academia might be your new path.

There are a lot of students who have applied to dental school, got rejected, and started a Master’s program. After a year of the program, they would re-apply to dozens of dental schools. In the majority of cases, the students were admitted.

6. Focusing On Personal Growth

Dealing with a rejection of any kind is hard, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on your professional and personal life. Once you’ve done everything you could do in regards to improving your chances of getting into dental school the second time around, it is time to focus on yourself.

Working on yourself and growing personally is not only useful for the college years that await you, but also for your life in general. You will be able to handle difficult situations better and you will feel more confident in what you know, what you can do, and what you can learn.

So, the best way to grow personally is to read, explore and find new things to occupy your mind with. Of course, traveling is also an excellent way to grow and build experience, but since we’re in the middle of a pandemic, that might be a bit difficult to do.

However, don’t give up. Going for a walk around your neighborhood will suffice this time around. You can even try doing some sports activity, go for a run or focus on eating healthier.

Go visit nature, free of people, and enjoy the beauty of the world as it is. This will surely clear your mind and make you mentally ready for every challenge that comes your way, even dental school.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to application rejection, it is important to not take NO for an answer. Instead, take the rejection as an opportunity to grown, or approach it as a challenge. Sure, it sucks to be rejected from a dental school, but it is not the end of the world.

There is still time for you to work on yourself, improve your grades and DAT score, and learn so much about dentistry. Always consult with academic professionals and experts on what you can improve and where your shortcomings may interrupt your dental school journey.

Not getting an acceptance letter sucks, but you can always work hard and apply the next year! It is only important to stay focused, persistent and work on yourself continuously.

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