You’ve decided you want to become a dentist – that’s great, congratulations! But sometimes, if you’ve got low grades, especially at GCSE or A-levels, you might not be offered a place. No matter how badly you want it. So let’s look at how to get into Dentistry (Dental School) with low grades.
There are some important points that you must consider:
Check what the entry requirements for your University choices are
Firstly, you should check what the entry requirements for your chosen universities are. Then you should compare them to your predicted grades. Most universities require AAA in Biology, Chemistry and one other A-level. In recent years, Dental Schools do not place as much emphasis on GCSE grades, but you should still check your individual choices.
If your grades are just off the required grades (for example, you have been predicted ABB), you must reconsider some of the universities you have applied to. Some Dental Schools accept AAB or even in rare instances ABB grades, so you should apply to those universities to give yourself the best chance. Applying to 4 Dental Schools that all want AAA when you only have ABB predicted grades will weaken your application.
If your grades are nowhere near the required grades, then you may need to consider some of the options below.
Strengthen your application
Dental Schools want all-rounded candidates to study dentistry. That means they want more than just academic (A-level) success. One way to get into Dentistry (Dental School) with low grades is to boost the rest of your application to stand out from the crowd. We recommend you focus on the following areas to strengthen
- UCAT Score: a very strong UCAT score will make up for slightly weaker academic grades. Many Universities use a “weighted” system, where they allocate you points based on your UCAT and your A-Level grades. The higher your UCAT score, the more points you will be allocated. Check out our Universities Package to find out which Dental Schools offer interviews based on this “weighted” system
- Personal Statement: if you have low grades, your Personal Statement must be outstanding. This means you will need expert help to boost your application and impress Dental Schools. Many candidates have been able to get into Dentistry (Dental School) with low grades by working with our Admissions Specialists to strengthen their Personal Statements.
- Work Experience: More work experience than the average applicant will prove to the Dental School that you are passionate and motivated to study dentistry. Get in touch with our Admissions Specialists today to help arrange work experience anywhere in the UK!
- Extra-curricular activities, sports, voluntary work and paid work: As we said earlier, Dental Schools want all-rounded individuals. You need to demonstrate that you have more to offer than just A-level grades, and that the activities that you have chosen demonstrate passion, determination, teamwork, leadership and a care for the community.
In recent years, many Dental Schools have made it possible to get into Dentistry with low grades. They have introduced a “Pre-Dental Year” or “Gateway Year to Dentistry”. Essentially, this is an extra year of study before you start Dentistry that covers biology and chemistry that will be required for Dentistry. You will be guaranteed a place on the Dental Course the following year once you have passed the Pre-Dental year.
It is an excellent option for those with low grades.
Dental Schools that have started offering this additional year include University of Bristol and University of Manchester, among others. For a full explanation of their application criteria and requirements, you should visit our Universities Guide here.
If you have been rejected from Dental School due to your low grades, there may be some hope on Results Day. If you score better than your predicted grades, even by one grade, you can phone Dental Schools on Results Day and ask them to reconsider you. Most Dental Schools will have up to 10 extra spaces available for candidates who do this, and you could be one of the lucky ones!
We recommend you spend the night before collecting all the relevant details and phone numbers of the Dental Schools you wish to call, and then be ready to make these calls as soon as you receive your results.
Unfortunately for some candidates, even these steps may not be possible to get into Dentistry (Dental School) with low grades. It may be necessary to boost your application by retaking your exams.
It proves to Dental Schools that you are determined and motivated to improve yourself and get into Dental School, even though you will have an extra year of study for the retakes. This is an admirable and respectable quality to have.
NOTE: Some universities do not accept retake A-level grades. You should check with your chosen Universities before applying to them.
We hope this was a useful guide on how to get into Dentistry (Dental School) with low grades. If you have any questions, please contact our Admissions Specialists for more guidance and help.
Written by Become A Dentist Team