COVID-19 Admissions Update
We know that COVID has changed the landscape of education in almost every way, from how we teach and learn, how we communicate, and certainly how we plan our educations in times when what seems certain one day is up for change the next. To that end, several of the more predictable aspects of applying to dental schools have changed and created some questions from our applicants and advisors that are somewhat universal and we address here.
SHADOWING: Although we have never had “threshold” hourly requirements for shadowing at Penn, we have always encouraged our applicants to pursue a varied course in their shadowing endeavors. Certainly a good exposure in general dentistry as that is the goal of every dental program, but also an exploration as much as possible in some of the dental specialties in order to explore the breadth of the profession. During COVID, we recognize that in-person experiences have been drastically curtailed. We encourage our applicants to explore the profession in other ways, such as Zoom interviews of dental professionals where they can have one-on-one interactions with practitioners; use of the ADEA and ADA websites with recorded articles, interviews, and statistics; the two Coursera courses offered at no charge by Penn Dental Medicine; other dental-school-related Coursera courses; dental manufacturer’s websites with information and demonstrations; some volunteer clinics who are using volunteer assistants, and of course, YouTube. The point, as always, is that the applicant understands as much as possible what the profession can offer.
PASS/FAIL: We recognize that as many schools went virtual and many continued either virtually or in hybrid fashion, that schools shifted to the PASS/FAIL record of grades. If you have earned the P/F grade in a pre-requisite AND it appears for credit on your transcript by your institution, we will accept it for full credit and consider the grade in the context of the entire transcript. Penn Dental Medicine will accept P/F grades for courses taken during the Spring, Summer, and Fall 2020 and 2021 terms to meet our admissions requirements.
ONLINE COURSES: We recognize that many schools conducted their courses either virtually or in hybrid fashion. Penn Dental Medicine will accept online courses taken during the Spring, Summer, and Fall 2020 and 2021 terms to meet our admissions requirements as long as they appear for credit on your official transcript. Again, any online courses taken in the academic terms not specific to COVID will be evaluated in the context of your entire academic record.
AP/IB: Similar to P/F, if an AP (Advanced Placement) or IB (International Baccalaureate) course is listed on your transcript for credit in your institution, we will also consider it if it is in a pre-requisite course.
VIRTUAL INTERVIEWS: Currently, the Office of Student Admissions at Penn Dental Medicine is conducting our interviews and interview day as virtual events. We have made very attempt at duplicating the in-person event, with overview sessions, two half hour interviews with faculty and staff, a conversation with our Associate Director, unmonitored student panels, and a virtual tour. Please be aware that this is a complete replication of the in -person event and all questions, experiences, and observations are always encouraged and welcomed.
VISITING: We are very sorry that currently Penn Dental Medicine is not allowing any visitors to our school, even admitted students. We have been very fortunate as an institution in moving forward during COVID, keeping our clinics running at full capacity and beyond, serving our patients, graduating our students on time, and bringing our D1 and D2 students to in-person, on campus coursework in classrooms, clinics, and pre-clinics. We have been able to do this because we have been extremely cautious and observant of all CDC, state, city, and University guidelines which unfortunately do not currently allow for visitors. Be assured that we will extend invitations as soon as we are able.