Selection process

When evaluating an applicant for admissions, the Dental Hygiene Admissions Committee considers both his/her academic and non-academic qualities. In assessing an applicant's academic qualities, the committee members ask, "How likely is it that this applicant will be able to successfully complete the rigorous, science-based dental hygiene curriculum?" Answering this question begins by considering the applicant's math/science GPA and overall GPA.

As the applications are received by DHCAS, they are placed into one of three categories, or tiers, based upon the following criteria:

 Math/science GPAOverall GPA
Tier I 3.60 - 4.00 3.70 - 4.00
Tier II 3.10 - 3.50 3.60 - 4.00
Tier III 2.70 - 3.00 2.50 - 4.00
  • Tier I applicants contain excellent academic records based upon these GPA criteria. At the beginning of the process, the assumption is, generally, a student with a previous record of academic excellence is more likely to successfully complete the program and will be granted an interview.
  • Tier II applicants have good academic records based upon their academic indices. In deciding whether a given Tier II application warrants further review, the academic record is thoroughly evaluated to determine if factors such as academic rigor, work responsibilities or family commitments might have contributed to a more modest performance. Applicant motivation is also evaluated. Tier II applicants may be granted an interview.
  • Tier III applicants are those who meet the minimum required GPA for consideration into the program and those in which the GPA may or may not support a presumption of academic success. 

Prerequisites for admission

Ensuring that all prerequisite coursework be completed by no later than the spring semester of the application year is solely the responsibility of the applicant. Please read our admissions requirements.

Advanced placement policy

Each dental hygiene program is unique with regard to sequencing of courses and program requirements. Because of this, it is extremely difficult to award advanced placement for coursework from dental assisting, dental hygiene or dental programs while maintaining the appropriate sequencing essential for student learning and preparation for graduation and board examinations. Such a delicate decision requires in-depth evaluation of previous coursework and its transferability into our program. Advanced placement students are considered for admissions on a space available basis.

Foreign education

Any prospective student who has attended a foreign university or other institution of post-secondary-level education outside the United States will be required to complete the entire dental hygiene education curriculum in the United States at an accredited college or university. No coursework or degree, including dental or dental hygiene training, completed abroad will exempt a student from any of the dental hygiene education coursework. Additionally, the university must receive complete official records of study (transcripts) from each foreign and United States institution as part of the review process.

Non-academic criteria

The fundamental question the admissions committee poses to evaluate an applicant’s non-academic qualities is, “Does the applicant possess the qualities of good dental hygienist?” In order to answer this question, the committee considers various non-academic criteria, such as work ethic, knowledge of the profession, motivation, compassion, integrity, communication skills, leadership and desire to contribute to society. In addition, the committee will assess an applicant’s resiliency, willingness to accept responsibility and maturity.

Community activity

Community service activities are viewed as an indication of an applicant’s desire to contribute to society. These activities need not be directly affiliated with dentistry/dental hygiene. The applicant should clearly and succinctly describe his/her level of participation in these activities.

Letters of recommendation

Each applicant should obtain two letters of recommendation – one academic, one professional – to assist the admissions committee in measuring the applicant’s personal character. Individuals best chosen to complete an applicant’s evaluation are those who know the applicant well enough to provide meaningful comments. In addition, evaluations should come from individuals who can assess the oral and written communication skills as well as the scientific background of the applicant. The admissions committee reserves the right to check references for verification and accuracy.

Personal statement

The personal statement portion of the application is a candidate’s opportunity to make a case as to why he or she is the best possible candidate for the dental hygiene program at VCU. It is a chance to set yourself apart from other candidates, give the DHAC background information that might not otherwise be included in the application, explain special situations or circumstances that have influenced you as a person and where you see yourself in the future.

Personal interview

Non-academic evaluation of the top qualified applicants in Virginia, and out-of-state pools may include face-to-face personal interviews with members of the admissions committee (30-minutes each).

The personal interview will be used to clarify any issues arising from the academic and non-academic evaluation and to appraise the applicant’s maturity, motivation, communication skills, knowledge of the profession, and desire to contribute to society through dental hygiene practice.

Final evaluation

After all information has been accumulated on qualified applicants, the admissions committee will meet to decide which applicants are best suited to enter the dental hygiene program. Both academic and non-academic factors will be used to reach a final decision.

Notification procedures

All candidates who interviewed will be notified of their acceptance status on or before April 30. All unsuccessful candidates are also notified of their status.

Applicants who are admitted to the dental hygiene program need to submit final academic transcripts by July 15 prior to enrollment.

Unsuccessful applicants who wish to be considered for the following year must contact the VCU Office of Admissions at (804) 827-0151 or via email at and request a reactivation packet.

Students must also submit any additional final (official) transcripts for courses that have been completed since the previous application. No other information is required; however, if the student wishes to submit additional references or a new or updated personal statement, they may do so. Students who are applying for the third time must complete and submit a full application packet.

The admissions committee assumes the applicant, if offered admission, is fully prepared to enter the dental hygiene program starting in the fall semester. Deferral of admission is considered by the committee on a case-by-case basis and granted only under special circumstances.