How To Apply For Dental School in Canada

Do you want to apply for dental school in Canada? Here’s everything you’ll need to properly prepare your application!

In 2020, approximately 4,000 students applied to dental schools in Canada for the 523 spots available. Dentistry is a rapidly changing profession that continues to grow. In fact, the scope of a dentist’s work is expanding and becoming much broader than ever before. This means that applying for dental school can be competitive, especially when you are considering one of Canada’s top dental schools. 

So, how do you make your application stand out? Well, you can start by reviewing all of the necessary requirements below!

Review the pre-admission requirements.

Make sure that you have obtained ALL pre-admission requirements before you begin the application process. For example, basic pre-dental education courses such as maths and sciences may be necessary before enrolling in dental school. However, these requirements can vary from school to school, so it is important to contact the schools or visit their program websites beforehand. 

Submitting your score for the Dental Aptitude Test (DAT) is another requirement for all Canadian dental schools. This test evaluates your general academic ability, how you understand scientific information, your visual perception, and your manual dexterity. Even though your test scores are part of the application process, it is only ONE aspect when considering admissions.

The GPA range.

A minimum GPA requirement can vary between schools and regions in Canada. For example, the lowest GPA accepted by a dental school can range from 3.3 to 3.7. This depends on where you are applying. Keep in mind, if you have a lower GPA, the rest of your application must be completely exceptional. Depending on the dental school, a competitive GPA can be between 3.7 and 3.95.

Getting your reference letters.

Typically, applicants are required to have two or three supporting reference letters that will accompany their dental school application in Canada. If you are not sure how to get started, here are a few tips!

Ask the right people.

Who knows you well enough to provide this letter? Is it a professor? A co-worker? Someone you volunteer with? Make sure that the person you are asking can confidently write good things about you.

Give your references a heads up well in advance.

You want to provide your referees with enough time to write a decent letter that supports your skills, showcases your accomplishments, and brings attention to your future goals.

Set a reasonable deadline.

Keep them in the loop! Let them know when you need the letter of reference by, or where they can submit it directly when they are finished.

Follow up to stay on track.

If the deadline is fast approaching, don’t be afraid to give your referees a little nudge as a reminder. Life gets busy for many of us and they might have forgotten that you need it by a certain date. There is no harm in checking in, but don’t be too pushy.

The important dates and timelines.

Similar to the GPA requirements, deadlines can vary based on dental schools and regions in Canada. However, we can provide a general idea of dental school timelines:

  • Dental Aptitude Test Registration opens at the beginning of March and closes at the end of March.
  • Dental Aptitude Test exam dates take place in May and June.
  • All applications, fees, reference letters, and DAT scores should be submitted to your school of choice by the beginning of December. Sometimes earlier.

Please be aware that some dental schools may have additional deadlines and expectations for applicants. Review the program websites for more details.

The Dental Aptitude Test (DAT)

If you’re applying to a Canadian dental school, you are required to submit your Dental Aptitude Test (DAT) scores. The Canadian Dental Association (CDA) administers this test to assess a your aptitude for a career in dentistry by evaluating your general academic ability, comprehension of the sciences, as well as your two and three-dimensional visual perception and manual dexterity.

Things to know about the test.

The Dental Aptitude Test consists of two components. Registration for both components must be done separately as they are administered in different sessions.

  1. Written – This includes a Survey of Natural Sciences Test, a Reading Comprehension Test, and a Perceptual Ability Test.
  2. Manual Dexterity Test (MDT) 

There is no Reading Comprehension Test component on the French Dental Aptitude Test. 

Registering for the Dental Aptitude Test is NOT an application to dental school in Canada. To apply, you must contact the school of your choice and submit a completed application to them. This will include your test scores.

Regulations for test day.

On the day of your Dental Aptitude Test, you will be asked to store all personal items such as watches, cell phones, wallets, purses, etc. into a storage locker. To take the test, you are required to bring two pieces of government-issued ID that bear your signature. One of these should also include your photo for verification.

These are the only accepted government-issued identification cards that will be accepted for photo ID: 

  • Driver’s Licence
  • Passport
  • Citizenship Card
  • Provincial Health Card
  • Certificate of Indian Status

Leave any unnecessary items in your car or at home. 

You must arrive at the Test Center 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment in order to complete the sign-in procedures that are currently in effect. You will absolutely not be allowed to write your test after your scheduled exam time, so arrive well before it! 

You must also watch this video prior to your exam day as it will provide an overview of what is expected of you. To learn more about additional testing center policies, visit the Canadian Dental Association website here.

The gist.

Research everything that is required of you before applying to any dental school, so you can confidently submit a complete application. This includes any pre-admission requirements, courses, additional tests, GPA averages, and extra fees. Stay on top of what is expected of you before sending anything.

In the end, there is a lot of information to consider when you are getting ready to apply for dental school in Canada. It will take time, hard work, and patience to collect everything you need, but it will be worth it. You can do this!

Published on July 26, 2021

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