To get into a top dental school, brush up on your clinical research skills as an undergraduate.
To get into a top dental school, brush up on your clinical research skills as an undergraduate.

Most aspiring dentists major in biology or chemistry at the undergraduate level, much like their pre-med counterparts. Since most colleges don't offer a specific pre-dental track, the best schools for pre-dentistry are research universities with strong science programs and possibly an affiliation with a highly-ranked medical school. This criteria includes many schools, so to get started, review several schools that have these attributes.

Boston University

Boston University is one of the top 20 pre-medical schools in the country, according to rankings provided by "America.edu." BU provides special health career advising to undergraduates who need to meet the curriculum requirements for pre-dentistry while pursuing other diverse majors and research projects. Alternatively, incoming freshmen can apply to the accelerated dental program, combining undergraduate and dental school course work into a slightly shorter, seven-year sequence. This application requires supplemental materials and is due in November, culminating in both a B.S. and a Doctorate of Dentistry.

University of Pennsylvania

A prestigious research university with its own dental school, The University of Pennsylvania certainly has the assets that give students a competitive edge. The Bio-Dental Submatriculation Program allows freshmen to be provisionally admitted to both UPenn and Penn's School of Dental Medicine. However, it's worth noting that this would likely prohibit dual majors. As early as freshman year, students can assist faculty mentors with clinical research projects through the Penn Undergraduate Research Mentoring Program. The faculty's cutting-edge projects include researching implants for diabetic patients and the relationship between oral and cardiovascular health.

Ohio State University

Named one of the nation's top 20 pre-medical schools by "America.edu" and one of the top medical schools by "US News and World Report," Ohio State University sets a high standard without incurring the same tuition costs as many private universities. Pre-dentistry students take a survey of basic science classes, two-thirds of which must be completed before applying to the College of Dentistry. A Bachelor's degree is preferred but not required, depending on the candidate. The College of Dentistry admissions office encourages pre-dentistry students to reach out, and assists with such requests as coordinating observation hours of practicing dentists.

University of Chicago

The University of Chicago is another example of what top pre-dentistry colleges contain: the chance to gain research experience, a strong science program and, if possible, an affiliated medical school and its corresponding avenues for professional growth. These elements can be found in any number of prominent universities, but ranked fifth on the list of "National University Rankings" by "U.S. News and World Report," UChicago stands out as a prime example. One research opportunity for pre-dentistry students is the "Inspiring Future Physicians" program, allowing undergraduates to shadow faculty mentors.