Tips & Resources for Pre-dental Students


Pre-Dental Advising

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Advising Center
Location: 360 Fariborz Maseeh Hall
Phone: (503) 725-3822
Appointments: Call (503) 725-3822 to schedule an appointment to meet with a pre-dental adviser. Students should meet with a pre-dental adviser at least once per term.

Dental Education Information

American Dental Education Association (ADEA)

Associated American Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS)

ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools - order at:

American Student Dental Association (ASDA)

Dental-Related Opportunities

Pre-Dental Student Organization (PSO) at PSU
Location: M107E (the mezzanine) in SMSU (to enter the mezzanine, look for the sign that says "Student Groups" near the elevators on the second floor of SMSU).
Phone: (503) 725-5682

To access the PSO website and be added to their listserv, email and ask to be invited to join PSO via OrgSync.

OHSU School of Dentistry Shadowing & Assisting
Contact Tammy Stange, School of Dentistry Clinic Administration, at or 503-494-4817 to inquire about shadowing or assisting in the OHSU dental clinic. Students will need to observe in settings outside of OHSU as well; we recommend that you inquire with dentists at area clinics regarding observation and/or volunteering opportunities.

Aspects of Dentistry (CH 199, offered every spring term at OHSU)
Information on this course is sent to the pre-dental listserv each year.

Dive into Dentistry (day-long, hands-on experience each summer at OHSU)
Information on this course is sent to the pre-dental listserv each year.

Oregon Dental Association Conference
Attend this conference each spring for free as a PSU pre-dental student. Information on this opportunity is sent to the pre-dental listserv each year.

DAT Resources

DAT Achiever

DAT Destroyer

Crack the DAT/PAT

Chad's Videos

Scholarware TopScore

Kaplan Test Prep

Community & Leadership Opportunities

Student Activities & Leadership Programs

Orientation Leaders

Student Ambassadors

Hands on Portland


Plan Strategically

  • Pace yourself – start somewhat conservatively
  • Pay attention to prerequisites
  • Take full, challenging course loads but don’t overload
  • Drop if you need to – watch the academic calendar
  • Don’t get over-involved in activities – they are important, but academics are priority #1
  • See your pre-dental adviser regularly

Remember the Meaning Behind the Madness

  • Choose activities and a course of study that are meaningful to you
  • Maintain a focus on learning (avoid checklist thinking)
  • Invest – actively pursue opportunities (academic and non-academic)
  • Stay balanced – don’t abandon hobbies/interests outside of dentistry
  • Take responsibility for being informed and making decisions
  • Seek and be open to feedback on your plans and ideas

Participate in Events and Opportunities

  • Sign up for the pre-dental adviser’s pre-dental listserv (email
  • Sign up for the Pre-dental Student Organization (PSO) listserv (email
  • READ the emails you receive from these listservs
  • Look for and research special programs and opportunities on your own
  • Push yourself to pursue new and challenging opportunities


  • Seek out volunteering opportunities in the dental field
  • Seek out volunteering opportunities in other areas you find interesting (not all of your volunteering has to be focused on dentistry)


  • Make an effort to network with dentists and be willing to hear the answer, “no,” several times until you hear, “yes.” You can even use the Internet or phone book to find contacts at local clinics that you find interesting.
  • Start out by requesting an informational interview (simply request 30 minutes of the dentist’s time). Informational interviews are a key part of learning about any field. Conducting an informational interview is an excellent way to learn about dentistry while using only a small amount of the dentist’s time and allowing him or her to meet and learn a bit about you as well. It allows you both to become acclimated before you bring up the topic of shadowing. Talk with the pre-dental adviser and/or the Career Center for ideas on questions to ask in an informational interview.
  • Be reasonable and flexible when making your job-shadowing request. Long term, regular shadowing is preferred, but if a dentist can only have you shadow for a day, take it!
  • Make the most of the shadowing experience. Engage in the experience by developing learning goals for yourself and sharing those with the dentist, asking questions (when appropriate), conducting outside research to complement your learning, and offering to contribute non-clinical duties such as cleaning exam rooms and the waiting area, filing, etc. (you would be offering to help out not in order to get “hands-on” experience, but rather to return the favor and give back).

Work in the Field

  • Some students pursue jobs within the field. However, if you elect to pursue work in the field, avoid committing to a job with a schedule and hours so intensive that your academics and other activities will be compromised. Because it can be difficult to balance a job with pre-dental studies, many students do not work in the field until their senior year or post-graduation. Working in the field is not required in order to be a competitive candidate.
  • Most jobs within the dental field require formal training/certification. However, some pre-dental students work as receptionists and/or sterilization techs in dental offices, positions that do not require formal training/certification.

Take Advantage of Campus Resources

Pre-dental Advising (M305 SMSU, 503-725-3822)

  • Information on prerequisites for dental school, pre-dental activities and opportunities, and the dental school application process
  • Assistance with course planning and determining DAT/application timing
  • Advice on the Health Sciences Advising Letter service, letters of evaluation
  • Feedback on personal statement for dental school application
  • Encouragement and support

Major Advising

  • Information and guidance on the requirements for your major
  • Opportunity for intellectual discourse, opportunities within the field of study
  • Check with your major department to find out how to make an appointment

Faculty Office Hours

  • Assistance with course material and advice on how to succeed in the class
  • Hours and location typically listed on course syllabus

The Learning Center (2nd Floor, University Library, 503-725-4448)

  • Math and science tutoring
  • Academic coaching
  • Workshops on time management and strategies for multiple choice and essay exams

Chemistry Tutoring Room (221 SB1)

  • Assistance with chemistry from graduate students

Writing Center (188 CH, 503-725-3570)

  • Assistance with writing assignments and your personal statement 

Career Center (402 USB, 503-725-4613)

  • Volunteering and work opportunities
  • Mock interviews and feedback on personal statement for dental school

Student Health & Counseling Center (200 UCB, 503-725-2800)

  • Help dealing with stress and depression
  • Testing for disabilities

Disability Resource Center (503-725-4150)

  • Disability counseling, educational training, advocacy, and accommodations

OHSU Center for Diversity and Inclusion (503-494-5657)

  • Advising for prospective college student interested in OHSU programs with the goal of advancing the academic, career and personal development of underrepresented minority and disadvantaged student populations.