FAQs

Applying to the dental hygiene program

Prerequisites

Program details

Applicants and accepted students

Miscellaneous

 

Applying to the dental hygiene program

How do I apply to the dental hygiene program?

The Application for Undergraduate Admissions Health Sciences Programs Link opens in new window is now online. Read carefully and follow all instructions before beginning your application.

Do I need to apply to VCU before I can apply to the dental hygiene program?

No – only one application is required. During the application process, indicate "School of Dentistry" as the school to which you are applying and "Dental Hygiene" as your major. Do not select "Pre-Dental Hygiene".

When do I apply to the dental hygiene program?

Students are accepted into the dental hygiene program once per year in the fall semester. The application deadline for admission is Feb. 15. The application is done entirely online. You may apply at any time after September; however, your application is not complete until after your final, official transcripts (including grades for fall) are received by the Office of Admissions. You should wait until the end of the fall semester, after fall grades have been posted, to request your transcripts. Always follow up to make sure you transcripts are received prior to the application deadline.

The Office of Admissions Link opens in new window is located at 821 West Franklin Street on the Monroe Park Campus.

Students must complete 60 credit hours of prerequisite course work with a "C" or better grade by the end of the spring semester in the year they are applying. Your GPA at the time of application must be competitive with other applicants. All final admission decisions are made by April 30. If an offer for admission is made and you are unable to complete your prerequisites by the end of the spring semester, the offer will be withdrawn and you will have to reapply the following year.

What do I need to submit with my application and where do I send it?

In addition to completing the online application Link opens in new window and online supplemental forms, you must provide the following:

  • Official transcript(s) from all colleges or universities attended (including any college in which you are currently enrolled) in sealed envelopes. Transcripts must include final grades for the fall semester just prior to the application deadline.
  • Two personal references must be submitted electronically with the online application – one academic and one professional. Please do not submit references from friends or family members.
  • TOEFL scores may be required if your native language is other than English. Applicants may be exempted from this requirement if they have successfully completed 60 or more transferable semester credits at a two- or four-year postsecondary institution in the United States, to include the full freshman English (non-ESL) requirement at that school with a grade of "C" or better.
  • If you are required to submit TOEFL scores, and you submit your application without your TOEFL scores, your application will be incomplete and will your application will not be reviewed.
  • During the online application process you will be requested to submit a $40 application fee. Currently enrolled, full-time VCU students are exempt.

It is advisable to read all documentation before you begin your online application. If you mail your application to the Department of Oral Health Promotion and Community Outreach it will be returned to you, causing a delay in receipt of your application by undergraduate admissions.

The electronic application, electronic references and official transcripts must be received by the Office of Admissions on or before the Feb. 15 deadline. Incomplete applications or materials received after this date will not be received by the admissions committee.

I applied to the dental hygiene program before, but did not get accepted. If I want to apply again, do I need to submit another application?

Students who are applying for the second time must contact the VCU Office of Admissions at (804) 827-0151 or via email at jmdavis@vcu.edu and request a reactivation packet.

Please wait until mid-fall semester to request your reactivation packet, as undergraduate admissions processes applications for other programs through August.

Your reactivation packet will include the following:

  • Request for Reactivation of Undergraduate Application for Admission
  • Application for In-State Tuition

Students must submit final (official) transcripts for courses that have been completed since the previous application.

No other information is required; however, the student may submit additional references in the form of a letter and a new or updated personal statement typed on blank paper. These documents should be submitted with the reactivation packet to undergraduate admissions.

Students who are applying for the third time must reapply using the online application Link opens in new window process.

If I am not accepted into the dental hygiene program, can I be accepted to VCU for another program?

No – if you are not accepted into the dental hygiene program and wish to enter a different program at VCU, you must apply to that program separately.

When will I know if I have been admitted into the program?

The Dental Hygiene Admissions Committee begins the selection process in March prior to the fall semester when each new junior class begins. Admission to the dental hygiene program is selective and requires more than meeting certain course or grade point average requirements. The admissions committee takes into account a number of candidate factors including academic credentials, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, motivation and other information submitted by the candidate. Before a final decision is rendered, a candidate may be required to attend a personal or group interview with the admissions committee – the student will be notified by mail should an interview be necessary. Applicants will be notified of acceptance by postal mail no later than April 30.

Can I enroll in dental hygiene courses anytime?

No – courses in the dental hygiene curriculum can only be taken by students enrolled in the two year program at the VCU School of Dentistry. Equivalent courses taken at another institution prior to entry into the dental hygiene program will transfer as elective credit only and are not acceptable as advanced completion for any part of the program curriculum itself.

I am not a Virginia resident. Is there a chance I can be accepted?

While preference is given to Virginia residents, outstanding non-residents will be considered for acceptance. Application to the program is competitive.

I am an international student. How do I apply?

The application process is a bit different for students who have taken courses outside the United States. You will need to have your foreign transcripts evaluated so that we may determine which courses will transfer to VCU and how many credits you will be awarded for each course that transfers. We recommend World Education Services Link opens in new window.

Once you have had your foreign transcripts evaluated, we recommend you also contact the Department of Oral Health Promotion and Community Outreach at (804) 828-9096 to speak with someone about the application process, and contact the VCU Global Education Office Link opens in new window at (804) 828-8471 for information about how to apply as an international student.

 

Prerequisites

What are the admissions requirements?

Though we do not have a waiting list, entry into the program is competitive. We rely heavily on a strong science background. The minimum requirement for entry into the dental hygiene program is a 2.7 GPA in math/science courses and a 2.5 overall GPA.

If you have a GPA below the minimum in any one of these three areas, you will not be considered for entry into the dental hygiene program at the VCU School of Dentistry.

The average GPA for students entering our program is 3.5, which has been consistent over the past five years. The higher your GPA in the three areas mentioned above, the better your chances for entry into the program. Completion of the 60 credit hours of prerequisite course work with the required minimum GPA does not guarantee entry into the program.

A grade of "D" is not acceptable as prerequisite for this program. VCU will not transfer any grade below a "C".

What courses must be completed before I can be considered for admission?

You will need to complete prerequisite courses prior to entering the dental hygiene program, either in VCU's pre-dental hygiene program, or equivalent courses at another accredited college or university. Please refer to our admission requirements for specific course details.

All Science courses must be completed within six years prior to the date of application and must include a lab, for a minimum of three credits each. Most will be four credits. Online courses are not acceptable to fulfill the science requirements for this program.

Do I have to complete my prerequisites before applying to the program?

No; however, all prerequisites must be completed by the end of the spring semester in the calendar year that you are applying. Some colleges do not include courses in progress on the transcript. If you are taking prerequisite courses during the spring semester and those courses do not appear on your transcript, please submit proof of enrollment in the form of a "screen capture" of your university's eServices page indicating your name, the institution and course(s) and the start and end dates for each. Please do not "copy and paste" from the screen, as this can be manipulated and is not considered valid proof.

Can I transfer to VCU to complete my prerequisite course work?

Yes. You may apply to the university as a non-degree seeking student. Please note that degree seeking students have priority over registration options, leaving the non-degree seeking student limited in the courses available.

How is my GPA calculated for math/science and overall?

We break down the requirement and calculate GPA in the manner and categories described below:

  • Math/science GPA is the most important because we are looking for students with a strong science background. All math and science courses taken at a university level are separated from the students' transcript. We total the math/science credits and we total the quality points for those credits, then divide the number of quality points by the number of math/science credits, which produces your math/science GPA.
  • Overall GPA is calculated for the combined total of all university courses ever taken.

If I already have a B.S. degree, do I still need to take all of the prerequisites?

You will need to complete any of the required courses that you do not already have. All science prerequisites must have been completed within six years prior to the date of your applications. This rule may be waived on a case by case basis. If you wish to request waiver of the "six year rule", please contact the Department of Oral Health Promotion and Community Outreach for additional information.

Can I take my pre-requisite courses at a Virginia community college?

Yes – the first two years can be taken at a community college as long as the courses are transferable. Please refer to the admission requirements and follow the instructions provided on how to use the course equivalencies section of the VCU Transfer Guide.

Does VCU accept College Board credit for CLEP?

Yes. The applicant must request official transcripts from the College Board website Link opens in new window to be sent directly to:

VCU University College Testing Center
PO Box 842500
Richmond, VA 23284

The CLEP transcripts must be received by VCU directly from CLEP. Once received, if the scores are high enough, the CLEP official will send a copy of your scores (transcript) to the Department of Oral Health Promotion and Community Outreach along with a form for approval and signature of the department director. If approved and the student is accepted into the program, the form and the transcript are sent to VCU records and registration to be posted.

Does VCU accept College Board credit for Advanced Placement tests?

Yes. VCU accepts credit for AP tests and duel enrollment courses. AP tests scores of 3, 4 or 5 will, depending on the test, be considered for advanced standing and credit for the corresponding courses at Virginia Commonwealth University.

The Office of the Vice Provost for Instruction is the official credit notification point for AP credit for all university programs. A clean copy of the AP Student Grade Report is acceptable and should be submitted with the application package. Final determination of credit will be made after test results have been received and evaluated by the dean’s office. Credits awarded are counted as credits earned toward the degree, but are not included in the student’s VCU GPA.

For more information, contact the Office of the Vice Provost for Instruction at (804) 827-0838. Also visit the VCU Bulletin website Link opens in new window.

Dual enrollment courses: Qualified students who have taken college-level work while still enrolled in a secondary school may receive academic credit. Courses taken as dual enrollment courses will be treated as VCU courses or transfer credits according to the evaluation guidelines Link opens in new window.

I am an out-of-state student; what prerequisites do I take and how do I know if VCU will take these courses?

For questions regarding the transferability of courses taken at a university other than VCU please refer to the admission requirements and follow the instructions provided on how to use the course equivalencies section of the VCU Transfer Guide, which now includes other universities and colleges in addition to the Virginia Community College System and Richard Bland College.

Is my college work from 20 years ago still acceptable?

Yes, however, all science courses must be completed within six years prior to the date of application and must include a lab, for a minimum of three credits each. Most will be four credits. The "six year rule" may be waived at the discretion of the admissions committee if specific circumstances apply.

To request a waiver of the "six year rule", please contact the Department of Oral Health Promotion and Community Outreach.

English is not my first language. Must I take a TOEFL?

TOEFL scores may be required for applicants whose native language is other than English. Please refer to the English proficiency requirement on the admissions requirements page.

 

Program details

How long is the dental hygiene program?

The dental hygiene program is two years (four semesters) after completion of two years of prerequisite course work. Students enter in their junior year.

Can I do part-time study?

We do not offer a part time program.

Is it possible to work part-time while attending school?

Yes, although the faculty does encourage you to limit your part-time employment due to the academic demands of the curriculum. This is especially important during the first year of the program.

What is a typical day like at the dental hygiene program?

Hours each day may vary, but generally the courses run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The core curriculum focuses on a hands-on approach to dental hygiene education. During your senior year you will be assigned to overnight extramural rotations sites such as Lynchburg, the Northern Neck, and Boydton.

The first semester begins on the last Monday in July or the first Monday in August, depending on the academic calendar for that year. All semesters are conducted on a strict full-time schedule.

You may view the dental hygiene class schedules Link opens in new window online. All students are automatically registered for their courses by the director of the dental hygiene program. There are no night classes, no summer courses and no online courses available for this program. The dental hygiene program at VCU is the only such program in the Commonwealth of Virginia directly affiliated with a school of dentistry.

 

Applicants and accepted students

Is financial aid available for this program?

If you are applying for financial aid to help pay for prerequisite courses, be aware – students cannot qualify for a Pell Grant unless they are enrolled in a degree seeking program. Pre-Dental Hygiene is not a degree seeking program.

  • Check with your academic advisor to find out what types of degree seeking programs are available, that will allow you to still take the courses required for this program
  • Check with the financial aid department at your college or university for more information

The School of Dentistry Office of Financial Aid can help with financial aid issues for students who have been accepted to dental hygiene program at the VCU School of Dentistry. If you need financial assistance to help pay for prerequisite course work, you need to visit the financial aid office of the institution where you are enrolled or plan to enroll to take those courses.

I do not live in the City of Richmond and do not want to live in campus housing. What are my options?

There are several options available to students who would prefer to live off-campus or commute into the city. Information about off-campus housing can be found at the VCU Off-Campus Student Services website Link opens in new window. You may also want to check out the Greater Richmond Transit Company Link opens in new window for information about city commuting.

What kind of job can I expect to get after graduation?

You can work in a private dental practice, a health maintenance organization, long-term care facility, a military dental facility or a school system. You can also work for a dental supply company, university or research facility. You can teach part time in a clinical setting.

 

Miscellaneous

Why should I get a B.S. degree in dental hygiene at VCU?

There are many aspects of VCU that make it an excellent place to pursue your dental hygiene career. Being integrated within a dental school provides a wealth of opportunities to interact with a nationally- known faculty, work with a diverse patient population and work along side dentists and dental students. As part of the course of study and community education, students travel to off-campus extramural rotation sites to provide clinical care.

Do you have open house dates?

The VCU Dental Hygiene Program will begin holding information sessions for all of those interested. We will be going over the basics of the program, as well as going over admissions requirements and the application process. We will navigate through the website from beginning to end, highlighting the information that pertains to preparing for entry into our dental hygiene program. This is also a great opportunity to ask specific questions you may have. Although access to clinic areas is limited to patients, faculty, students and staff in accordance with OSHA guidelines, we will be able to tour the dental hygiene offices and classrooms.

The Dental Hygiene Program will offer open house sessions on the following dates:

  • Monday, Sept. 23 from 2-3:30 p.m.
  • Monday, Oct. 21 from 9-10:30 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 13 from 9-10:30 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 4 from 2-3:30 p.m.

Please contact Sabrina Hise, Office Manager, at hises@vcu.edu if interested in attending an open house session.

How much will dental hygiene education at VCU cost?

Detailed estimates of annual fees and expenses can be found at the VCU Student Accounting Link opens in new window website. In the "Select a Semester" drop box, choose the current fall/spring. In the "Select a Program" drop box, choose "Undergraduate – Dental Hygiene, First Year". To select housing, you will need additional information.

I still have some questions about my specific academic situation – who can I talk to?

Please contact the Department of Oral Health Promotion and Community Outreach at (804) 828-9096.