About the School

Prospective Dental Student FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions)

















The following information has been prepared for applicants applying to the D.D.S. program.

What is it like to be a Dental Student?
What is Kansas City like?
How do I establish Missouri residency?
Are international students eligible to be considered for the DDS program at UMKC?
What is the time line for applying, interviews, and decisions?
How does UMKC calculate my science GPA?
How does UMKC evaluate repeated courses?
What is the Dental Admissions Test (DAT)?
Do you require a supplemental application?
What can I do to be a more competitive applicant to Dental School?
What do I do if I don’t get accepted?
Can I shadow in the UMKC School of Dentistry clinic?
How will I pay for my dental education?
Can I visit the Dental School and talk with an admissions representative?
Is there a limit on the age of prerequisite courses?
Is there a limit on the age of DAT scores?
Do you have a DDS / MBA program for dental students?
What abilities and skills must be possessed to complete the dental curriculum?

Q: What is it like to be a Dental Student?

A: As a student at the UMKC School of Dentistry you will advance through a carefully planned curriculum that incorporates a variety of learning environments. The first two years involves a preclinical course of study as well as biomedical classes. The school's multidisciplinary, competency-based preclinical curriculum promotes the synthesis and application of knowledge and skills.
Along with your preclinical training, you will spend time in the school's clinic. When you begin your dental education, you will join a clinical "team" that includes first- year through fourth-year students. Team dentistry offers you a personalized approach to your clinical education, allowing you to receive constant guidance and encouragement from your team's faculty and students.
Early in your first year you will assist upper-level students as they treat clinical patients. Later in this year you will begin to deliver preliminary care to clinic patients in applying oral diagnostic science training as well as providing your patient with a dental prophylaxis. Your clinical involvement will expand in your second year to incorporate the treatment of a patient with simple periodontal needs. In your third and fourth years you will have your own clinical operatory to deliver comprehensive care to your own pool of patients as you conduct your own dental practice.

The school's General Clinic & Children's Clinic offers you a realistic, but controlled, environment in which to apply your knowledge and skills as you deliver quality dental care to the greater Kansas City community. The clinic not only provides oral health care for about 100,000 annual patient visits, but it also delivers ongoing treatment to underprivileged and mentally and physically compromised patients. The clinic's 288 operatories are equipped with state-of-the-art technology that will allow you to provide optimal care while maximizing your patients' comfort.
However, the scope of the school's contributions extends beyond the confines of its walls. Each year, our students and faculty participate in clinical outreach programs that provide care to area migrant workers, to patients at nearby community health clinics and to those in need in other sectors of the state. The school also annually sponsors groups of students and faculty who travel to Third World countries, where they deliver care to under-served citizens.

Q: What is Kansas City like?

A: The School is located on Hospital Hill in Kansas City, Missouri. It is affiliated with the UMKC Schools of Medicine, Pharmacy and Nursing, Children's Mercy Hospital and Truman Medical Center (West). Other affiliations (satellite clinics) include: Truman Medical Center (Lakewood), Baptist Hospital, Kansas City Free Health Clinic, Veterans Administration Hospitals in Kansas City and Leavenworth, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City Regional Center (for developmentally and mentally disabled patients), Ozanam Home for Boys, Richard Cabot Clinic, Samuel Rodgers Community Health Center, and Swope Parkway Medical Center.
One of Kansas City's most attractive features is its cost of living, which is lower than most other major metropolitan areas. Kansas City ranks second in housing affordability among the nation's major cities. Its vibrant downtown, comfortable suburbs, thriving business community, variety of culture and sporting events and exciting shopping and nightlife are evidence of a forward-looking and sophisticated city.

Entertainment/Art available includes: the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kemper Museum of Modern Art, American Jazz Museum, Toy and Miniature Museum, Kansas City Repertory Theater, Lyric Opera, Kansas City Symphony, State Ballet of Missouri, and UMKC Conservatory/Theater productions. Sports includes the Royals (baseball), Chiefs (football), Wizards (professional soccer), T-bones (baseball), golf tours, horse and dog racing, river boat gambling, auto racing, boxing, wrestling, etc.

Although Kansas City is a large (1.7 million plus) metropolitan area, it is a friendly city with annual events, fairs and festivals. These include: Music in the Parks, Crown Center Square concerts, Renaissance Festival, Plaza Art Fair, Westport Art Fair, Brookside Art Fair, American Royal, County Club Plaza Christmas lighting ceremony, St. Patrick's Day parade, Operation Handshake, and annual performances of "A Christmas Carol" and "The Nutcracker". www.visitkc.com

Q: How do I establish Missouri residency?

A: As a public institution financially supported by the state of Missouri, our first obligation is to accept qualified residents of Missouri. Additional factors such as an applicant’s high school state or length of residence within Missouri are also considered. The State of Missouri and Coordinating Board for Higher Education determine the guidelines colleges/universities must follow regarding resident status. Generally speaking a resident must reside within the state for a minimum of twelve immediate past, consecutive months. Additional factors that will be considered are intent to make the state of Missouri a permanent home and documentation of this intent.

The UMKC Office of Admissions provides further details regarding Missouri Residency at http://www.umkc.edu/residency. Applicants to the DDS program must be a resident for twelve consecutive months by the time admission decisions are announced on December 1.

Q: Are international students eligible to be considered for the D.D.S. program at UMKC?
Applicants to the D.D.S. program must be U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents. Internationally trained dentists who are now U.S. citizens or permanent residents and residents of Missouri or Kansas may be considered for a very limited opportunity to complete the four-year D.D.S. program. Applicants are only considered if there happens to be a space available in the current first year class at the close of the spring semester. Applicants meeting the residency guidelines above should contact the Office of Student Programs for more information. The American Dental Education Association (ADEA) offers information for international students and programs available at U.S. dental schools, www.adea.org.

Q: What is the time line for applying, interviews, and decisions?

Q: How does UMKC calculate my science GPA?
When UMKC calculates your science GPA, we follow the same course designations provided by AADSAS. Science GPA generally includes your natural science and math courses. Some examples of natural science courses are: Anatomy, biochemistry, biology, biophysics, botany, genetics, medicine, microbiology, neuroscience, pathology, pharmacology, physiology, zoology, general chemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, agriculture, animal sciences, astronomy, audiology, clinical sciences, 300 and 400 level computer sciences, dental hygiene, engineering, environmental science, 300 – 400 level exercise science, health technology, geology, kinesiology, math at a college algebra level and above, nursing, nutrition, physical science, plant science and sport science. Examples of non-science courses include: Anthropology, behavioral sciences, forensic sciences, geography, political science, psychology, public health, social sciences, sociology, social work, and sports administration. AADSAS’s guidelines are available in the AADSAS Instructions at www.adea.org.

Q: How does UMKC evaluate repeated courses?
While it is never the student’s intention to receive a poor grade in a course, it is often necessary to repeat that course. UMKC will remove the original course from the transcript and replace it with the most recent grade received. Many times this will significantly boost a student’s GPA. Strive to take as few repeated courses as necessary. Keep in mind that AADSAS averages both grades. This is not how UMKC calculates repeats. Therefore, the AADSAS science GPA and the UMKC science GPA may not be equivalent.
Not all dental schools will calculate the science GPA in the same manner as UMKC. This is a question for each dental school.

Q: What is the Dental Admissions Test (DAT)?
The DAT is used by Dental Schools to evaluate candidates in the natural sciences, perceptual ability, reading comprehension, and quantitative reasoning. Test takers receives sub-scores in all the above areas and then an ‘academic average’ score that is primarily used by the dental schools. UMKC School of Dentistry requires students to complete all four sections of the DAT and will review all sub-scores. Scores range from 1 to 30 and a score of a 17 is considered to be the national applicant average. The national dental student enrollee average is a 19. The DAT is a multiple-choice test taking 4 hours and 15 minutes to complete. The test is administered through Pro-metric Testing Centers and offered throughout the week. It is important for applicants to remember that they must wait 90 calendar days between test dates and the most recent test score is the one considered by UMKC School of Dentistry. A score is only good for three years.

UMKC School of Dentistry offers a live, fully online DAT Prep Course. The course is the first of its kind and taught by UMKC faculty members within the testing subjects. The course is offered multiple times throughout the year and provides students the opportunity to fully review and better understand the testing format and subjects. Learn more about this course at www.cewebinar.com.

Q: Do you require a supplemental application?
Yes, students invited to interview are asked to complete a supplemental application SURVEY. The survey provides additional applicant information with regards to the subjective admissions criteria.

Q: What can I do to be a more competitive applicant to Dental School?
It is a very competitive time to be applying to dental school. AADSAS received over 11,000 applications last year for roughly 4,500 available seats in dental school. Applicants need to remember to keep working throughout the admissions cycle to continue strengthening their application. Most schools will ask for updates during the cycle and the updates may play a large role in helping a candidate distinguish himself/herself from the field of applicants. Applicants should work to be well-rounded and strong in all the objective and subjective criteria. Upper level science coursework, graduate coursework and academic research are other ways for applicants to stand out. Take any opportunities to work in a dental office or dental lab. This shows hands-on experience and a deeper understanding of dentistry. Working to exceed the minimum recommendations on shadowing and community service experiences is important. Additionally, extra practice interviewing will allow a candidate to be comfortable and personable during interviews. Each candidate is unique and the Office of Student Programs will work with students to determine how they may be more competitive.

Q: What do I do if I don’t get accepted?
If you don’t get accepted find out WHY and keep pursuing your goal of a dental career. Each year a large number of students who were not accepted are re-applicants. These students worked hard after their first application and applied as a much stronger candidate the following year. The key is for re-applicants to have significant improvements since their last application. The Director of Admissions welcomes the opportunity for applicants not accepted to review their file and receive feedback on areas to improve for the following admissions cycle.

Q: Can I shadow in the UMKC School of Dentistry clinic?
We invite you to spend time shadowing third and fourth year dental students in the clinic. This is a great way for prospective students to see dental education in action and interact with dental students, faculty, and patients. Students see patients in the fall, spring, and summer from 9:00 am-12:00 pm and 1:00 pm-4:00 pm. You can schedule on line for either a  Morning Shadowing Session or an Afternoon Shadowing Session.  Business casual attire or scrubs is required and students must sign-in with the Office of Student Programs (room 420) upon arrival.

Q: How will I pay for my dental education?
Dental School is expensive, but this should not deter any student from pursuing their goal of a dental career. Students are investing in themselves to be able to have a career they will love and that will compensate them well for the professional services they will provide to their communities. Education expenses for UMKC School of Dentistry are available at http://www.umkc.edu/adminfinance/finance/cashiers/. UMKC and the School of Dentistry work closely with accepted students regarding federal financial assistance for our students. In addition, financial aid advisors are available to individually meet with students regarding projected expenses and financial assistance.

The UMKC School of Dentistry annually awards over $450,000 in scholarships to current dental students. This allows us to recognize the accomplishments of our students. We continue to grow our scholarship base so that we can provide more opportunities to assist students with the financial expenses of dental education.

Additional financial information is available through these resources:
• UMKC Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships – www.umkc.edu/finaid
• ADEA Financing a Dental Education – www.adea.org
• Federal Student Aid: Funding Your Graduate Education - www.FederalStudentAid.ed.gov/grad
• American Dental Association (ADA) - http://www.ada.org/2904.aspx

Q: Can I visit the Dental School and talk with an admissions representative?

A: YES, personal visits to the School of Dentistry are highly encouraged and important to ensure prospective students have the correct information. Visits are encouraged for any applicant considering a dental career. Visiting during the senior year of high school or early in college is strongly encouraged. Waiting until you are ready to apply for admissions may limit an applicant’s opportunities to strengthen their application. Visits typically include discussion of an applicant’s desire to be a dentist, admissions criteria and expectations, overview of UMKC School of Dentistry, and a tour of our classrooms, labs, and clinics. Appointments are available Monday-Friday, 8:30-4:00 pm. To arrange a visit contact us at 816-235-2080 or umkc-dentalstupgms@umkc.edu.

Q: Is there a limit on the age of prerequisite courses?

A: All candidates applying to the UMKC School of Dentistry should demonstrate completion of a rigorous academic load and a strong foundation within the sciences. Pre-requisite courses should be completed from a regionally accredited college or university. Candidates with prerequisite coursework more than five years old should assess their retention of the subject matter and be able to demonstrate a strong current foundation in those subjects to remain academically prepared and competitive. This may be accomplished by retaking prerequisite courses, completing upper level science courses and through recent performance on the Dental Admissions Test (DAT). The Admissions Committee strongly believes that recent science coursework is important to maintaining a student’s academic routine and foundation. A dental student’s success in the dental curriculum is dependent on a strong current foundation in the sciences.

Q: Is there a limit on the age of DAT scores?

A: UMKC School of Dentistry will accept DAT scores up to four years from the date of the application deadline for the given admission cycle. (The application deadline is currently October 1.) If a student is applying for the Fall of 2012, we would not accept scores dated prior to 10/1/2007.

Q:  Do you have a DDS / MBA program for dental students?
A:  There is not a formal program for dental students to pursue an MBA degree, BUT the part-time and evening course availability within the UMKC Bloch School of Business and Public Administration would allow a motivated dental students the opportunity to complete a MBA degree.  One unique aspect of our D.D.S. curriculum is a four-year course sequence titled “Transitions into the Profession and Practice of Dentistry.”  These courses are designed to provide students guidance on the practice management/business side of dentistry.

A dental student’s primary academic responsibility is successfully meeting the curricular expectations of the DDS program. Any coursework taken outside the curriculum requires that a student is in good standing and must be pre-approved by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.  The dental “flat-rate” tuition and fees only applies to required courses within the DDS program.  Dental students who elect to enroll in courses other than those required as part of the DDS curriculum will pay separate tuition and fees for those courses.

Q. What abilities and skills must be possessed to complete the dental curriculum?
A. The dental degree signifies that graduates have acquired and demonstrated the knowledge, skills and abilities to function in a broad variety of clinical situations and to render a wide spectrum of dental care. Candidates for admission into the D.D.S. program must possess specific abilities and skills to satisfactorily complete the curriculum. The school’s Technical Standards further define these areas.

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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
E-Mail: umkc-dentalstupgms@umkc.edu