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How to apply to dental school

Applying to Dental School is a complex process. Applicants need a strong academic ability and show the attributes of a dental professional. 
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© University of Glasgow

How to apply

Application for Dental School in the UK is through the Universities and Colleges Application Service (UCAS), applicants can apply for up to four Dental Schools.
Dentistry courses use the early UCAS closing date which is always 15th October, the year prior to entry.

Academic Criteria

Admissions criteria are set by the university you are applying to. Entry requirements vary slightly by the university. You should make sure understand the entry requirements for your preferred university before you apply.
The UCAS website also has a list of UK degree providers and entry requirements, you can contact admissions teams directly and attend open days to ensure you get the most up to date information.

A variety of qualifications

Dental Schools will accept a variety of qualifications both from the UK and Overseas but will tend to require a strong ability in the sciences.
Many schools use contextual admissions for certain groups of applicants and may consider circumstances (usually educational and/or socio/economic backgrounds) faced by individuals who have prevented them from meeting the published entry criteria.
Make sure when doing your research that you look at the eligibility information on contextual admissions or widening access/participation as there may be alternative options available.

Non-Academic Criteria

Most UK Dental Schools will require an additional admissions test as part of the application process, the most commonly used are UCAT and BMAT. Universities use the results of admissions tests in different ways, so, carefully researching the Schools you are interested in is crucial.

Personal statement

You will be required to submit a personal statement as part of your application, the UCAS website provides some excellent guidance on how to structure your personal statement and what to include in your statement.
Your statement should demonstrate why you are a suitable candidate for a place on a dental course and you will need to think about how your experiences, skills and interests link to the course.
Typically, a personal statement should include, but is not limited to:
  • Reasons and motivation for choosing a career in dentistry
  • Extra-curricular activities
  • Evidence of good manual dexterity
  • Communication skills
  • Evidence of teamwork and leadership

Reference

A reference is another key element of your application and ideally should come from someone who can comment on your academic ability, progress and your suitability for higher-level study.
If you are in education at the time of application, there will most likely be a designated tutor in your School or College who will provide your reference. Graduate applicants should ask an academic adviser or tutor to provide a reference.

Interviews

If you meet the published criteria for the dental schools you have applied for then you may be shortlisted for an interview.

MMI or Panel

Depending on the dental school, your interview may be a traditional panel style interview or take the form of a multiple mini-interview. In either case, the interview will be used to assess your non-cognitive skills and not your academic knowledge.

Embracing the value of healthcare

Dental schools want students who will embrace the values of healthcare, show respect, empathy and compassion to others and who have strong communication and leadership skills, therefore it is so important to understand the qualities required of a dental professional.
You may be asked to back up your answers with examples if attending a panel interview and you can reflect on the experiences you have to demonstrate these qualities at an MMI station.
© University of Glasgow
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