Pre-Dental Advising

Metropolitan State University of Denver Biology Department Advising Handout

Last updated January 2024

Dental experience opportunity received April 30, 2024:
Would you be aware of any prospective dental students taking a gap year who would want some experience working in a dental office?
I am an orthodontist in the Denver Tech Center. My dad, who is also an orthodontist, and I are both part-time clinical faculty at the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine, and I enjoy teaching. My mom and sister are both pediatric dentists and my wife is a general dentist, so any prospective dental student would get a lot of exposure to the field. We have had a few prospective dental students work in our office, and have found it valuable for both sides.
If it would help to come talk at Metro about dentistry, please let me know. I give the orthodontics lecture for the Intro to Dentistry class for 1st year dental students at CU.
With Kind Regards,
Matt Iritani
Patra Watana Pediatric Dentistry & Iritani Orthodontics
8925 E Union Ave
Greenwood Village, CO 80111
Pediatric Dentistry: 303-740-7088
Orthodontics: 303-773-6969

The Dental program leads to a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree. 90 credits with at least 30 credits of upper division courses are required for admission to dental school and most students first obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. You may choose any major that interests you for your Bachelor’s Degree.  You are encouraged to explore the humanities and other areas of interest in order to broaden your educational base; you will not have another chance. Since dentistry is a mixture of science and contact with people, courses in social and behavioral sciences, arts and humanities are of great value. Of course, you must demonstrate competence in the required science courses (C or better is required but B or better is competitive). The classes at University of Colorado School of Dentistry are limited to about 80 students (about 3.6% of applicants), of which more than half are Colorado residents.

PREREQUISITES for University of Colorado Dental School  (must be completed by Spring of year accepted at the latest)

General Chemistry with lab – CHE 1800 and 1801, CHE 1810  and 1811; 2 semesters

Organic Chemistry with lab – CHE 3100, 3110, 3120, 3130, 2 semesters

Biochemistry I – CHE 4310, no lab required, 1 semester

General Biology with lab – BIO 1080/90 and BIO 1081/91, 2 semesters

General Microbiology – BIO 2400, 1 semester

College Physics with lab – PHY 2010, 2020, 2030, 2040, 2 semesters

Math – MTH 1110, 1120-prerequisites for CHE & PHY, 2 semesters

English Composition – ENG 1010, 1 semester


Cell Biology  BIO 3050
 Human Anatomy & Physiology I, II  BIO 2310, 2320, 3320
 Immunology  BIO 3350
 Histology  BIO 3210

Different dental schools have different prerequisites, so check websites for the individual schools. Additional recommended courses include business management, finance, communication, and psychology.  Additionally, no more than 60 credits may come from community colleges and science courses cannot be more than 10 years old. Online labs are not accepted for a required prerequisite lab listed above and grades C- or lower don’t count.  AP credits for courses are allowed as long as the courses are individually listed on your college transcript.


You should apply to the dental program one year in advance of the date you actually anticipate beginning dental school. Application information may be requested by writing OFFICE OF ADMISSIONS, UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO SCHOOL OF DENTISTRY, Mail Stop F-833, 13065 E. 17th Ave. Aurora, CO 80045, (303)724-7120. Applications may be filed after May of the year preceding admission and all requested material must be received by the AADSAS through ADEA on or before OCTOBER 15 of the entering year. Early application is encouraged because acceptances begin in December. The ADEA is a national application service which enables applicants to simultaneously apply to a number of dental schools by submitting application information to a single agency.  Consider keeping a journal through your undergraduate years. This will provide you with much information to draw upon when filling out your application.  Start working on your personal essay early, as it needs to be unique and memorable.  Make sure it catches the reader’s attention at the beginning and proof read for proper grammar and spelling.  It is not just a rehashing of the information filled out in the application.

American Dental Education Association (ADEA)

ADEA phone # 202-289-7201

email: [email protected]

Consider purchasing the ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools


Each applicant must complete the Dental Admissions Test and have the official results sent to the School of Dentistry (preferably by August 1 of application year because the score must be reported by 10/15). Applications to take the test may be obtained at

The test is currently offered on computer through the Prometric Test Centers. Here is a link to the DAT guide and scheduling: Submit your DAT application well in advance of the date on which you wish to be tested. A candidate may take the DAT exam 3 times but must obtain permission to retest additional times. You should take the exam in the spring of your junior year. This ensures that the results are in to the dental school admissions officer in time. This also allows time for a repeat examination after 90 days, if applicants want to repeat the test to improve their scores. The DAT includes 1. Natural Sciences (general biology including some genetics, general chemistry, organic chemistry), 2. Reading Comprehension (ability to read, organize, analyze, and remember new information in dental and basic sciences), 3. Quantitative reasoning (algebraic equations, fractions, conversions, percentages, exponential notation, probability, statistics, geometry, trigonometry, math), and 4. Perceptual Ability (angle discrimination, form development, cubes, orthographic projections, apertures, and paper folding). Make sure to take many practice timed tests. For more information on the DAT, checkout the Kaplan Prep options at

1.  Tuition Assistance:

The average DAT score for students accepted at University of Colorado Dental School in 2023 entering class was 20,  and 17.5 is the national average (30 is perfect).


Each school which you have applied to through the ADEA will contact you and request additional information. They will require money, additional transcripts, and letters of recommendation. These letters of recommendation should be sent to the schools by early fall. University of Colorado requires 2 letters from science instructors and one from a non-science instructor or dentist or an employer. Make sure that the person writing a letter for you knows you well.  A minimum of 50 hours of dental shadowing are required (paid or not). Ideally, these hours will include time with a variety of general and specialty dental clinics.  While 50 hours is minimum, the average CU Dental School accepted student has 150-200 hours of dental shadowing.

Schools that are interested in you will interview you. Check out this link, that has interview feedback from students applying to dental schools. It is very helpful. The interview is an important part of the acceptance procedure and may count up to 40%. Interviews for University of Colorado Dental School are August through November, but may possibly extend into January and February.  Make sure you dress professionally for your interview, review your application, be ready to talk about life and dental experience, and PRACTICE interviewing.  Be authentic.  Don’t just answer what you think the interviewer wants to hear.  Reflect ahead of time about your most difficult or demoralizing experience and how you bounced back. Reflect upon your maturity level,  how you handle stress and what upsets you and how you handle that.

Selection criteria includes 1. Latest DAT scores, 2. Cumulative GPA (the average cumulative GPA for University of Colorado Dental School in 2023 entering class was 3.67), 3. Science GPA (average science GPA for CU accepted students was 3.6 in 2023), 4. ADEA Application, 5. Interview, 6. Letters of recommendation, 7. Application essay (don’t just repeat what is already in your application), 8. Experience in the dental area, and 9. Other experience including community service and leadership activities.

4. What do you do if you do not get accepted your first time to dental school? Try again! Contact the dental schools in a timely fashion to see if they have suggestions to strengthen your application. Strengthen what you consider to be the weakest parts of your application; show growth.  Don’t just copy and paste your previous application into a new one. Consider a prep program to retake the DAT if your score was low. Improve your interview skills. Consider, a Master’s Program or Post-Bac Program, applied experience in dentistry, shadowing experiences, science research, volunteer work, community outreach, internships and leadership activities.

For more information about University of Colorado School of Dentistry, contact University of Colorado School of Dentistry
Dental Admission and Student Affairs Office:
Mail Stop F-833
13065 E. 17 th Avenue
Aurora , CO  80045

MSU Denver Biology Pre-dental advisor: Dr. Hays, SI 2032, (303) 615-0777.

University of Colorado School of Dentistry Email: [email protected]

Nicole Dole is UC Dental School Associate Director of Admissions: [email protected]

Alethea Pyle is Manager of Recruitment at CU Anschutz School of Dental Medicine: E: [email protected] | P: 303.724.7360

UCHSC School of Dentistry website:

Digital Brochure for UCHSC Dentistry Program:

American Dental Education Association:, You should consider subscribing to their free newsletter for the latest pre-dental information:

ADEA Dental School Explorer: Based on the ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools, this tool contains the profiles of the 76 U.S. and Canadian dental schools featured in the printed edition—all searchable by key word and filterable by institution type, targeted entering-class size, DAT Total Science score (mean), Science GPA (mean), and location (state, territory or province). Use your laptop, tablet or smart phone to view information on required and recommended courses; dental shadowing requirements/recommendations; admission cycle timetables; fees, deposits and cost of attendance; and recent applicant and entering-class statistics. A one-year subscription to the ADEA Dental School Explorer is available for $25.

American Dental Association:

Colorado Pre-Health Society