Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and Resources

Information on the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on patient care and School/University operations. Plus, resources for the Penn Dental Medicine community and alumni.

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Admissions

Admissions

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.


Minimum Course Prerequisites for Admissions

Penn Dental Medicine seeks DMD applicants with a broad and strong educational background, who will have completed a four-year degree program prior to matriculation. While a foundation in science is desirable preparation for dental school, well-prepared candidates also possess course work in humanities, social science, and the arts. Non-science majors are encouraged to apply. Preference is given to those who have completed upper division science courses beyond the minimum requirements.

Applicants may apply to our program prior to the completion of predental requirements or other course work. All prerequisite courses should be completed by the spring term, prior to matriculation to dental school. Although there is no expiration date for prerequisite courses, applicants should consider new additional course work to reinforce any knowledge gained previously.

Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) course work can be credited towards predental requirements as long as the credit appears on your official college transcript.

  • Biology – Two semesters /three quarters of biology with corresponding lab. Advanced courses in anatomy, microbiology, and physiology are highly recommended.
  • Chemistry – Three semesters/five quarters with corresponding lab in either combination of: two semesters/three quarters of general/inorganic chemistry and one semester/two quarters of organic chemistry or two semesters/three quarters of organic chemistry and one semester/two quarters of general/inorganic chemistry. Additional work in physical chemistry is recommended.
  • Biochemistry – One semester/one quarter; no lab is required.
  • Physics – Two semesters/three quarters with corresponding lab, covering the basic principles of classical physics.
  • Mathematics – One semester/two quarters. Acceptable courses: calculus (preferred), statistics or any college-level math course.
  • English – two semesters /three quarters. Acceptable courses: speech, composition, literature, humanities courses, freshman writing seminars, technical and business writing, and other writing intensive courses used to meet your school’s writing requirement. Courses may be taken outside of the English department.
Selection Factors

Penn Dental Medicine seeks students who will advance the profession and gives preference to those who demonstrate a commitment to any of the following: excellence and leadership as demonstrated among others through extracurricular activities, community service; exposure to the dental profession through activities including but not limited to in-person observation, review of dental procedures online or attending dental related informational programs through pre-dental organizations; research experience as well as academic preparation.

Although there is no minimum grade-point average or Dental Admission Test (DAT) score requirement, we seek students who will be successful in our demanding curriculum due to solid academic preparation, the flexibility to adapt to changing technologies, and the interpersonal skills to interact with diverse populations. Grades and DAT scores are only part of the review process and viewed in the context of the entire application.

The Office of Student Admissions at Penn Dental Medicine is excited to recruit the most motivated, engaged, diverse, and compassionate individuals to our program. Our students advance the profession through leadership, academic achievements, community and campus involvement, participation in research, participation in the arts or in sports, and pre-dental activities among their many qualities and accomplishments that they bring to our School.

Penn Dental Medicine students are as diverse in their backgrounds as they are in their interests. As a private school we seek to enroll individual from all 50 states and many countries and our student body reflects that. Through our many student organizations such as SNDA, HSDA, ISDA, Penn Pride, Penn Firsts, all students find homes within our Penn Dental Medicine community in which they prosper. Penn Dental Medicine feels strongly about the need for the most diverse health care teams and through its enrollment of an enriched student body advances that objective directly.

Application Procedures

Penn Dental Medicine participates in the Associated American Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS), a centralized application service sponsored by the American Dental Education Association (ADEA). The AADSAS application must be completed via the ADEA web site, www.adea.org. For more information regarding this application, contact: ADEA / AADSAS, P.O. Box 9110, Watertown, MA 02471, e-mail: aadsasinfo@aadsasweb.org, or phone: 617-612-2045 (applicant inquiries only).

Application Deadline: December 1, 2021

Note: Due to the large number of applicants (2,174 for the class entering August 2021), it is highly recommended that candidates apply well in advance of the December 1 deadline date. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Although the majority of the PDM applicant pool submit applications by September 1, all applications completed by the deadline date will be reviewed for interview consideration. Decisions to review late applications are at the discretion of the Admissions Selection Committee. All application materials and documents become the property of Penn Dental Medicine and will not be returned to the applicant.

The following documents must be submitted along with the AADSAS application to the application service:

  • Dental Admission Test (DAT) Scores — Applicants must submit DAT scores by the December 1 deadline. Scores reported through ADEA AADSAS are considered official. DAT scores from test dates starting January 2019 and later are required for admission. The Admissions Committee may invite applicants to interview based upon academic preparation, pre-dental experience, extracurricular activities, work experience and/or research prior to the receipt of official DAT scores.
  • Letters of Evaluation — A minimum of two letters from professors (preferably from your major course of study) or a committee letter prepared by the school’s prehealth advisor and/or a committee familiar with the applicant’s academic abilities is required. Penn Dental Medicine does not require letters from science faculty, unless you are a science major. Letters should be on letterhead and include a signature and title. Please refer to the AADSAS application instructions for submitting letters of evaluation. Although it is preferred that all letters be sent directly to AADSAS, letters sent directly to Penn Dental Medicine’s Office of Student Admissions will also be accepted.
  • Official Transcripts — All applicants must submit official transcripts to the AADSAS application service for verification. AADSAS applications will not be processed and sent to the individual schools until transcripts are received and verified. The Penn Dental Medicine Admissions Office requires official transcripts only from candidates who have been accepted for admission. Please do not forward transcripts to Penn Dental Medicine’s Office of Student Admissions until notified to do so.

It is recommended that applicants submit the Penn Dental Supplemental Application and application fee as soon as possible after submitting the AADSAS Application. In addition to the AADSAS application, applicants are required to complete and submit the following documents to Penn Dental Medicine for interview consideration.

  • Supplemental Application for Admission– The Supplemental Application should be submitted electronically to the Penn Dental Medicine Office of Student Admissions as early as possible.
  • Application Fee – A $60 non-refundable application fee must be submitted directly to the Penn Dental Medicine Office of Student Admissions. You may pay the application fee electronically by using the Student Portal. Once you submit the Supplemental Application, you will receive an email with the information to login to Student Portal where you can pay your application fee. No application fee waivers are available. Once Penn Dental Medicine receives your verified AADSAS application, you can check your application status and updates via the Student Portal.
Canadian Applicants

Although the U.S. DAT is preferred, Canadian citizens and residents may submit Canadian DAT scores. Applicants who submit November CDAT test results reduce consideration due to test results arriving after the December 1 application deadline.

International Applicants

Course work from students who complete their degrees in countries other than the U.S. and Canada will be considered provided they include the foreign course work on their AADSAS applications. In addition, translated transcripts from ECE transcript service must be submitted to the Penn Dental Medicine Admissions Office in order to review the student’s academic performance. Although international students are not required to meet their minimum course prerequisites at a U.S. educational institution, preference will be given to those who have taken some course work in the U.S. TOEFL scores are not required for admission to the four-year predoctoral program.

Transfer Students

Currently, Penn Dental Medicine is not considering transfer applications into the DMD program.

The Admissions Process

The Admissions Selection Committee begins reviewing applications in July. Selected applicants will be invited for an interview day based upon information from the AADSAS application, the Penn Dental Medicine Supplemental Application for Admission, and letters of evaluation. Interviews (by invitation only) are held weekly from September through March. In accordance with ADEA notification guidelines, the Admissions Selection Committee will issue acceptances on a rolling basis beginning December 1, until the class reaches capacity. Accepted candidates are obliged to make a deposit of $500 to an offer of admission within the following schedule:

  • 45 days after notification if received on or after 12/1
  • 30 days after notification if received on or after 1/1
  • 15 days after notification if received on or after 2/1
  • 10 days after notification if received on or after 3/1*

An additional deposit of $500 is due on April 1 to continue to reserve a place in the class entering in August. Both deposits are non-refundable and are credited toward the first semester tuition payment.

*Candidates accepted on or after March 1 are obligated to make one deposit totaling $1,000.

Notification

Applicants will be notified of status changes via email and the U.S. Postal Service. Interview invitations will be emailed beginning in August and will continue through February on a rolling basis. Acceptance notification will begin December 1 on a rolling basis until the class reaches capacity. Unsuccessful applicants will be notified beginning October until completion of the admissions cycle. It is highly recommended that applicants update the ADEA AADSAS web portal with changes to their contact information as soon as they occur. Currently, the Office of Student Admissions does not update the ADEA AADSAS web portal with status changes.

Contact Information

Office of Admissions
Robert Schattner Center
University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine
240 South 40th Street, Room 122
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6030
Telephone: 215-898-8943 (M-F 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)
Fax: 215-573-9648
dental-admissions@dental.upenn.edu

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