Do dental admission boards frown upon taking a longer time, for example 6 years, to finish their undergraduate degree?

There are a few factors that need to be considered in order to come to a conclusion

  • Of the 6 years, are any of them attended at a community college? If so how many?
  • Are you picking up a second major or a minor? (assuming you have been staying the extra years to take biology and chemistry courses)
  • Have you had a full course load throughout college?
  • Is your GPA demonstrating hard work throughout the six years or an escalating performance?
All admissions personnel I have spoken to tell me that time is not a factor. The decision is based on what you have done in that time, not time itself. If you have 6 years, then you should have a good amount of extra curricular activities, volunteer work, and shadowing accumulated over that timespan. If you do not, I would highly recommend getting involved as early as possible!
Age is defiantly not a factor as dental schools have many students who are in their late 20’s or early 30’s. Some enter dental school after earning a masters or even a PhD!
Please be aware that during an interview, the interviewer may ask you why it took you so long to complete your undergraduate degree. It is important to have a strong and well thought out answer and in many cases it will make the fact that it took 6 years to complete an undergraduate education irreverent to their decision.
This also applies to those who want to take a Sabbath before entering dental school. You can take as many years as you need off as long as you can show why you needed this time, how it bettered you, and what you have done during the time.
Based on the information above, you should be able to conclude if you are still on track! If you have any personal situations you would like to discuss include answers to the 4 bullet points listed above when filling out the Ask Elias form.

By Elias Almaz

I am a dentist in Sacramento, CA. During undergrad, I served as the President of my local Pre-Dental Society and learned the intricacies of the dental admissions process. documents much of what I learned during that time.