Additional Admissions Guidelines

Additional Admissions Guidelines


Every year thousands of college students and graduates begin the application process required to gain admission to dental school. Unfortunately, many interested students have very limited, outdated or misunderstood information regarding this process. To help you avoid this situation we have prepared the following suggestions and information about the application process at the UMKC School of Dentistry, which might make applying for admission easier, less frustrating and more rewarding for you.

Early in your college education, begin contacting and visiting the UMKC School of Dentistry.
At the UMKC School of Dentistry we encourage potential applicants to periodically come to the school to talk about their plans for the future and their academic record, and to talk with and observe our students caring for patients in the pre-doctoral dental clinic. Before you visit, we encourage you to call the Office of Student Programs to arrange a convenient date and time for your visit. By scheduling your visit you will ensure that admission representatives will be able to accommodate your specific needs and interests.

When you visit the school, be on time. If you are going to be late, call the Office of Student Programs and let them know that you have been delayed. While you are visiting the school, you will want to make a good impression, business casual attire is recommended. Jeans or shorts and open toed shoes are not appropriate. Long hair must be pulled back.

Find out the residency restrictions of the Dental School.
As a public institution financially supported by the state of Missouri, our first obligation is to qualified residents of Missouri. Additionally for many years we have had formal or informal agreements with the states of Kansas, Arkansas, New Mexico, and Hawaii to accept qualified residents of those states to our program. Preferred consideration will be given to applicants who are residents of the states listed above. Applications from other states are welcome and considered on an individual basis for highly qualified applicants.

Prospective students are encouraged to review ADEA’s Official Guide to Dental Schools to learn more about residency restrictions for U.S. and Canadian Dental Schools. Most public Dental Schools will have specific residency requirements for their applicants. Private Dental Schools will have more flexibility. Learn more at

Find out the minimum number of college hours and grade point average needed to be a competitive applicant; determine what GPAs those who have been admitted have had in recent dental classes.
At the UMKC School of Dentistry, the following are the Dental Student Admission Committee’s guidelines for GPA/college semester credit hour/Dental Admission Test (DAT) minimums and preferences:

• Preference will be given to candidates with 90 or more semester hours of college credit at the time of application with a science GPA of 3.40 or higher and/or a DAT academic average of at least a 17 - the overall GPA will be considered although it will not receive the same weight as the science GPA

• A candidate with 90 or more semester hours of college credit at the time of application with a science GPA of 3.00 and a DAT academic average of 16 or higher will be considered for an interview - the overall GPA will be considered although it will not receive the same weight as the science GPA

• Please note that no more than 60 hours of college credit should be earned at a community college. If a student is pursuing an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree from the community college they are encouraged to contact the Office of Student Programs to discuss prerequisite science coursework prior to enrollment. Preference will be given to candidates who complete rigorous science academic loads.

Find out the required undergraduate coursework.

Students are expected to have carried a full-time academic load and completed a bachelor’s degree prior to entry to Dental School. No specific college major is required. However, a candidate must have successfully completed all of the following college coursework by the end of the winter/spring semester of the year you wish to begin the dental program:

• Four semesters of biology with labs. In particular we require general biology I, anatomy, physiology and cell biology — other courses that have counterparts in the dental curriculum (i.e., histology, neuroscience, microbiology) are strongly recommended
• Two semesters of general chemistry with labs
• Two semesters of organic chemistry with labs
• One semester of biochemistry (Lab is recommended but not required)
• Two semesters of physics with labs
• Two semesters of English composition

*Lab sessions required if offered by the college/university.

It is advantageous to have course credit in math, formal logic, biochemistry, business, social/behavioral sciences (such as psychology), communication skills, computer science, the humanities and applied arts (such as sculpting, jewelry making, etc.).

Learn what additional factors will be evaluated by the Admissions Committee.
When considering candidates for admission, the UMKC School of Dentistry’s Dental Student Admission Committee reviews the entire scope of information that is available on each candidate. This will include the student’s science GPA, Dental Admission Test scores, personal statement, responses to items on the application survey, letters of reference, interview assessment, and any information provided by the candidate. In addition, the Dental Student Admission Committee looks for evidence of the following subjective factors in making the difficult choices among candidates:

  1. 1. Demonstrated investigation of the profession of dentistry – it is strongly suggested that candidates observe in a minimum of five different dental offices (the offices of general dentists and specialists) and acquire a minimum of 80-100 hours of dental office observation, preference is given to candidates who have worked in a dental office or dental lab.
  2. Evidence of social conscience and compassion (i.e., caring attitude, sensitive to those in need, significant community activities) –- it is strongly suggested that this be active and on-going participation in volunteer activities. It is suggested that candidates volunteer in 4-5 activities for 80-100 service hours.
  3. Evidence of critical thinking and problem-solving ability (e.g., performance in courses requiring this skill, such as laboratory segments or formal logic or research experiences)
  4. Indication of fundamental personal character.
  5. Established effective interpersonal and communication skills.
  6. Demonstrated ability to balance full academic schedules with extracurricular involvement and/or employment (i.e., effective and efficient management of time)

Determine how to apply for admission as well as the application deadlines, and make sure your application is submitted early.
To apply for the DDS program, you must submit an application through the American Dental Education Association’s national application service (AADSAS). Although the deadline for UMKC submission is October 1, early applications are strongly recommended. A preference is given to applications received in the Office of Student Programs of the School of Dentistry prior to September 1. Keep in mind that AADSAS can take up to two months to process and deliver an application. Therefore, it is extremely important that you apply in June or July of the year prior to anticipated entry into dental school.

Find out about letters of recommendation: how many are required, who should write them, and when they should be submitted.

We require a minimum of three letters of recommendation or one pre-health advisory committee letter. If there is a pre-health advisory committee at your school, they must submit a letter for you. If there is not a pre-health advisory committee we require at least one letter from someone who knows the student academically, one letter from a current dentist, and one additional letter written by a person of the student’s choice. . In addition, we suggest that you seek recommendations from faculty members at your school, employers, dentists you have talked with or observed, physicians, clergy, etc. Ask people who can give us information regarding your maturity and self-reliance, how you accept responsibility, your interest in dentistry, your work ethic and discipline, your critical thinking ability, what kind of student you are, your readiness for rigorous professional study, etc. You need to use your own judgment regarding the actual number of letters you submit.

We prefer recommendation letters be submitted through the AADSAS application service. This allows your reference letters to be included as part of your full dental application. Your AADSAS application will be processed even if your reference letters are not on file yet. Once AADSAS receives your letters they will send UMKC a copy and also grant us access to them electronically. Applicants may submit a maximum of four individual letters of evaluation, or one committee letter/report plus the option of one additional letter of evaluation. Please refer to the “Evaluator” section of the AADSAS Application Instructions for further instructions.

Find out what is required for you to be invited for a personal interview.
Applicants who meet the minimums for college hours, science GPA, DAT score, and subjective factors for the UMKC School of Dentistry are eligible to be considered for a personal interview. Residents of Missouri are given preference as are residents from Kansas, Arkansas, New Mexico and Hawaii (states with which UMKC has contractual or other arrangements). A limited number of highly qualified applicants from other states may also be invited to interview. Interviews are on an invitation only basis and occur September thru November. Students interviewing will be asked to complete a supplemental application survey two weeks prior to their interview date. A personal interview at UMKC takes place on a one-on-one basis with a faculty member who assesses your general knowledge, maturity and discipline, social responsibility, motivation for and commitment to dentistry, ability to think critically, communication skills, and professional appearance and presence.

Following the interview, your application will be reviewed by the Dental Student Admission Committee in a timely fashion. No notification of an admission decision will be made prior to December 1 in accordance with guidelines established by the American Dental Education Association.

Find out if you can submit information to clear up any inconsistencies or questions about your previous performance in college.
At UMKC, we urge you to talk to your interviewer about any inconsistencies contained in your application (previous grade performance, a break in your academic record, etc.). But it would also be to your advantage to submit this information in writing to the Dental Student Admission Committee so it can be included in your application. Taking the initiative to explain a situation could make a difference in the Committee’s response to your application.

Learn about the clinical and educational support programs, student services, patient pool, etc.
The UMKC School of Dentistry attracts students with varying backgrounds who soon learn to call Kansas City home. Students find that the "city of fountains" offers small-town friendliness and a lower cost of living than many other cities of comparable size. Kansas City offers a variety of comfortable residential areas and affordable housing opportunities.

Even though choosing a dental school/program that best suits your academic goals is very important, so, too, is considering how the school's location will satisfy your personal needs during your four years of study.

Every step of the way at UMKC, from the first lecture to the last clinical patient, your development will be fostered by the school's talented and experienced faculty. Our faculty will work closely with you, providing you with the individualized assistance and attention that will transform you from dental student to a practicing dentist.

We recognize that while life as a dental student is rewarding, it is equally demanding. To enhance your scholastic success, an array of counseling and academic support services can assist you in improving your learning skills, study habits and time management. All of these services are coordinated by a full-time academic monitor who tracks the academic progress of all students and provides assistance and support when necessary.

Our students also rely on our Office of Student Programs for help and guidance in financial aid, academic records and housing. Our school's Instructional Resources Library is stocked with educational films, slide shows, and videotape presentations as well as a large number of personal computers to complement your studies and support your academic endeavors.

The UMKC School of Dentistry clinics are fortunate to be able to attract a large patient population from the five-county, bi-state metropolitan area of Kansas City. The school's clinics deliver care to approximately 33,000 patients through more than 100,000 patient visits annually. Obviously, an abundant supply of patients enables our dental students to experience an extremely broad range of oral health needs.

Talk with the students at the UMKC School of Dentistry to learn what they like and don't like about the school. You should also talk with faculty and get their impression of the school and its program.

Click here to return to the D.D.S. homepage.

Dental Applicant FAQs (frequently asked questions) page.

For More Information

For more information about the UMKC School of Dentistry, please contact:
Office of Student Programs
650 E. 25th St.
Kansas City, MO 64108-2784
Phone: 816/235-2080 or toll-free 800/776-8652. (People with speech or hearing impairments can call 800/735-2966 (TT) or 800/735-2466 (Voice).
Fax: 816/235-2157

Contact Info

UMKC School of Dentistry
Office of Student Programs
650 E. 25th St.
Kansas City, MO 64108

Phone: 816/235-2085 or toll-free 800/776-8652.
Speech or hearing impairments call:
800/735-29966(TT) or 800/735-2466 (Voice).Fax: 816/235-2157


Important Dates

  • Complete AADSAS application. in June or July of the year prior to anticipated entry into dental school.
  • Early applications are strongly recommended to School of Dentistry prior to September 1
  • No notification admission decision prior to December 1