Preferred Applicant Track for Dentistry

The Preferred Applicant Track for Dentistry offers VCU Honors College pre-dental students an opportunity to apply to the Honors College Guaranteed Admission Program for Dentistry at the end of your sophomore year at VCU. Upon successful completion of the Preferred Applicant Track for Dentistry, students will be eligible to enter the School of Dentistry without further competition.

Who is eligible?

All Honors College pre-dental students are eligible for admission through the Preferred Applicant Track. Students who are not admitted to the Honors College prior to entering VCU must meet the requirements for admission to the Honors College and be admitted to the Honors College at the time of application.

In order to apply, a student must be in good standing in the Honors College with a 3.5 cumulative grade point average and have completed, or be enrolled in, the following courses: HONR 250/UNIV 112 and HONR 200/UNIV 200, MATH 200, CHEM 101-102 and labs, BIOL 151-152 and labs, CHEM 301 and lab, and PHYS 201 or 207. Courses must be completed at VCU during either the fall or spring semesters or by AP/IB/dual-enrollment credit in high school. Any exception to this requires the written approval of the Director of Guaranteed Admission Programs.

A minimum of two and maximum of four references are required. One of these references must be from a practicing dentist who is neither your caregiver nor your relative. When you fill out your application, you will list your references and their email addresses. Once you submit your application, each reference will automatically receive an email from the Honors College with instructions on how to upload their letter to your application. All reference letters are to be submitted online by 4:30 p.m. EDT, Monday, May 6, 2019.


Candidates who have received any institutional sanction, such as an honor-code violation, or any legal conviction are not eligible to apply.

Are transfer students eligible?

Although we are certainly delighted to have strong pre-dental students transfer to VCU to complete their pre-dental training, the Preferred Applicant Track for Dentistry is open only to students who enter VCU as freshmen. Transfer students are not eligible.

What do I need to do to apply?

An application for admission to the Honors College Preferred Applicant Track Program for (Dentistry) will open to you during the spring semester of your sophomore year. This application, along with two letters of recommendation (one of which must come from a practicing dentist), must be submitted to the Honors College by the deadline date.

 The application will be available on the VCU Honors College application portal.  Students should log in using their VCU eID and password. A minimum of two and maximum of four reference letters are required.  One letter must be from a practicing dentist who is not a relative nor a caregiver to you. These letters should include, but are not limited to, statements about your ability as a student, potential as a health professional, and extracurricular activities within your school and community.   When you fill out the application, you will list the name and email address of each reference writer. Upon submission of the application, each reference writer listed will receive an email from the Honors College with instructions on how to upload their letter online to your application. While the application can be saved prior to submission, the emails to reference writers are only sent upon submission of the application. Please note that you may track the status of your reference letters after submission of the application by logging back into the portal, but all letters will remain confidential.  

There are two essay prompts for the Preferred Applicant Track Program application:

  1. Provide a narrative statement describing your motivation for choosing your specific healthcare profession.  5000 characters or less
  2. What are two characteristics you possess that would make you a great future healthcare provider in your chosen field? 1500 characters or less

Additional fields on the application will request information on exposure to the healthcare profession, community service, extracurricular activities, honors and awards as well as research experiences.

Applications and all supporting materials must be received in the Honors College office by Monday, May 6, 2019. If your file is not complete by close of business (4:30 p.m. EDT) on this date, you will not be considered by the selection committee. There are no exceptions to this deadline; it is your responsibility to make certain that materials are received by the stated deadline date. Interested students are encouraged to apply early in order to ensure adequate time for submission of all required materials.

Are there any requirements for the program?

Students accepted into the Preferred Applicant Track for Dentistry must successfully complete the requirements of the Guaranteed Admission Program for Dentistry.

What happens after my application is submitted?

Application packets will be reviewed by members of the Selection Committee for the Guaranteed Admission Program. Students selected for an interview will be notified via email. On-campus interviews will take place in early June. Due to the limited number of guaranteed positions, not all applicants are interviewed, even though they may be highly qualified. You will be notified of your interview status by the end of May.

All applicants should be aware that these decisions are not made on the basis of academic performance alone. Each year, the School of Dentistry attracts more qualified applicants than it can accept. The stated academic criterion of a GPA merely indicates the baseline each applicant must attain for consideration for the program. The noncognitive qualities taken into consideration for the Guaranteed Admission Program are the same as those used in dental school acceptance. These include, but are not limited to: interpersonal skills, maturity, personal motivation, both written and oral communication skills, letters of recommendation, evidence of commitment to health care, experience in related healthcare fields, compassion, community service and the assessment of the interviewer who sees the candidate at the personal interview.

The interviewer’s job is to develop a sense of the candidate’s personality and oral communication skills and to convey these qualities to the committee. Decisions are made based on a ranking of all potential students utilizing each committee member’s assessment of the above-mentioned criteria. Since many factors are considered for acceptance, occasionally individuals with lower GPAs are ranked for an admission offer ahead of individuals with higher GPAs.

What must I do if I get an offer?

You must complete the requirements of the Guaranteed Admission Program for Dentistry. If you complete all requirements, you will be able to enter the VCU School of Dentistry without further competition.  

What if I don't get an offer?

You will still have the benefit of an excellent pre-dental education. Further, all applicants who are not offered admission in this process will be given an opportunity to receive feedback from the Director of the Guaranteed Admission Program for Dentistry.

Can I go to dental school a year early?

The Guaranteed Admission Program for Dentistry is an eight-year program — four years of undergraduate study and four years of study at the School of Dentistry. If you wish to apply for an earlier date of admission, you must go through the standard admission process.

What do I have to major in?

Students are free to choose any of the undergraduate majors offered by VCU. All can accommodate the prerequisite course work for dental school and offer excellent pre-dental preparation, although certain structured majors may require summer school to complete the prerequisites. Your four years as an undergraduate should be a time of wonderful challenge, exciting discovery and the joy of learning — all experiences that are best achieved if you choose a major you are passionate about. Your Honors College advisor will work closely with you to help you accomplish your learning goals.

Whom do I contact for more information?

Contact Associate Dean Carrie Connolly, Ed.D., at (804) 828-1803 or