How to Get Into a US Dental School as an International Applicant

Are you an international student looking to pursue a career in dentistry in the US? Our article provides valuable insights and tips on how to increase your chances of getting accepted into a US dental school.

Posted May 19, 2023

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As an international student, getting into a US dental school can seem like a daunting task. However, with the right information and guidance, it is possible to navigate through the application process successfully. In this article, we will explore everything that international students need to know to get into a US dental school.

Understanding the Application Process for International Dental School Applicants

Before starting the application process, it is crucial to understand what it entails. The application process for US dental schools is typically a multi-step process that comprises of filling out an online application, submitting transcripts, letters of recommendation, and completing an interview process. It is important to note that the application process may differ slightly depending on the dental school's specific requirements. Therefore, it is crucial to research each school and understand their application requirements.

For international dental school applicants, the application process may also include additional requirements such as English language proficiency exams like TOEFL or IELTS, and evaluations of foreign transcripts. It is important to note that some dental schools may require international applicants to complete a pre-dental program before applying. Additionally, international applicants may need to obtain a student visa to study in the United States. It is recommended that international applicants start the application process early to allow enough time for these additional requirements and to ensure a smooth application process.

Requirements for International Students Applying to US Dental Schools

International students interested in applying to US dental schools must fulfill specific requirements. Firstly, students must have completed undergraduate studies at an accredited institution. Also, the student’s undergraduate transcripts must show a strong performance in the required pre-dental courses, including biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics. Secondly, international students are required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores as proof of English proficiency. Lastly, international students must be able to pay for their tuition and living expenses while studying in the US or have evidence of scholarships or financial aid.

It is important to note that some US dental schools may have additional requirements for international students. For example, some schools may require international students to complete a certain number of hours of clinical observation or shadowing in a dental office. Additionally, some schools may require international students to take the National Board Dental Examination (NBDE) as part of the application process.

International students should also be aware of the visa requirements for studying in the US. Most international students will need to obtain an F-1 student visa, which requires proof of acceptance to a US school, proof of financial support, and a valid passport. It is important to begin the visa application process early, as it can take several months to obtain a visa.

Tips for Preparing a Strong Dental School Application as an International Applicant

Preparing a strong dental school application requires a lot of work and effort. Firstly, international students must ensure that they have taken the necessary prerequisite courses and earned a high GPA in those classes. Secondly, international students must take the dental admission test (DAT) and score highly on it. Thirdly, international students should focus on gaining relevant experience in the dental industry by conducting research, volunteering, or interning at a dental clinic. Finally, international students should aim to stand out by highlighting their unique skills, experiences, and passions in their application.

Aside from the aforementioned tips, international students should also consider seeking out mentors or advisors who can guide them through the application process. These mentors can provide valuable insights and advice on how to make their application stand out from the rest. Additionally, international students should research the dental schools they are interested in applying to and tailor their application to fit the specific requirements and values of each school.

It is also important for international students to showcase their language proficiency in their application. Being fluent in multiple languages can be a valuable asset in the dental industry, especially when working with diverse patient populations. Therefore, international students should highlight their language skills and any relevant cultural experiences they have had in their application.

Choosing the Right Dental Schools to Apply to as an International Student

Choosing which dental schools to apply to can be a daunting task, especially as an international student. However, international students should consider factors such as the school's location, tuition fee, academic programs, and research opportunities. Conducting thorough research and speaking to alumni or current students can also help international students make informed decisions.

Another important factor to consider when choosing dental schools as an international student is the school's language requirements. Some dental schools may require international students to have a certain level of proficiency in the language of instruction, which can be a barrier for some students. It is important to research the language requirements of each school and ensure that you meet the necessary criteria before applying. Additionally, some schools may offer language support programs to help international students improve their language skills while studying.

The Importance of GPA and Standardized Test Scores in Dental School Admissions for International Students

GPA and standardized test scores, such as the DAT, play a significant role in dental school admissions. International students must aim to earn a high GPA in the required prerequisite courses and score highly on the DAT. High scores in these areas signify the student's potential for academic success in dental school.

Highlighting Relevant Experiences and Extracurricular Activities in Your Dental School Application as an International Applicant

Relevant experiences and extracurricular activities can make an international student's application stand out. Volunteer experiences, research, or shadowing at a dental clinic can demonstrate the student's interest and commitment to the field of dentistry. Extracurricular activities that demonstrate skills such as leadership, teamwork, and communication can also add value to an international student's application.

The interview process is a crucial component of the dental school application process. International students must prepare for the interview by researching the dental school, reviewing their application materials, and practicing common dental interview questions. Speaking with alumni or current students can also help international students gain insight into what to expect during the interview process.

Tips for Writing a Compelling Personal Statement as an International Applicant to a US Dental School

The personal statement is an opportunity for international students to showcase their unique qualities and why they are a suitable candidate for the dental school. International students should aim to grab the reader's attention in the beginning and focus on their journey, motivation, and future goals. Including anecdotes to highlight personal experiences can also make the personal statement more compelling.

Show Your Commitment to the Field of Dentistry as an International Applicant to US Dental Schools

Dental schools look for students who demonstrate a strong commitment to the field of dentistry. International students must showcase their passion for dentistry in their application materials, such as their personal statement, extracurricular activities, and volunteering experiences. Demonstrating a commitment to the field through involvement in research or shadowing at a dental clinic can also add value to an international student's application.

Funding Your Education: Scholarships and Financial Aid Options for International Students in US Dental Schools

International students must be prepared to fund their education in the US. Tuition fees for US dental schools can be high, and international students may not be eligible for financial aid or scholarships available to US citizens. Therefore, it is crucial to research scholarship and financial aid options available to international students. Some schools may offer merit-based scholarships or other options to help offset tuition costs.

Challenges and Resources Available for International Students Studying Dentistry in the US

Studying dentistry as an international student in the US can pose significant challenges, such as adapting to a new culture, finding housing, and financial constraints. However, there are resources available for international students, such as counseling services, housing assistance, and mentoring programs. International students should take advantage of these resources and seek guidance when necessary.

What to Expect During Your First Year as an International Student in a US Dental School

The first year of dental school can be challenging, and international students may face additional stressors such as adjusting to a new environment and culture. However, the first year is also an opportunity to learn essential foundational knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in dental school. International students should expect rigorous coursework, group projects, and practical clinical experiences in their first year.

Building Networks with Peers and Professionals in the Field of Dentistry as an International Student in a US Dental School

Networking with peers and professionals in the field of dentistry is crucial for international students looking to succeed in the dental industry. Joining student organizations, attending dental conferences, and participating in community outreach programs can help international students build connections with their peers and industry professionals. These networks can provide future opportunities for career development and growth.


Getting into a US dental school as an international student requires hard work, dedication, and careful planning. International students must understand the requirements of each school, prepare a strong application, and showcase their commitment to the field of dentistry. Through thorough research, perseverance, and utilization of available resources, international students can increase their chances of getting admitted to a US dental school and begin their journey to a rewarding career in dentistry.

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