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Dentistry Entry Discussion and Questions

I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this, but I'm considering taking a gap year from uni to get into Dentistry next year.

So I went through year 12 not really having a clue what I wanted to do. I did random subjects that I enjoyed (English, 4U Maths, Economics, Society and Culture) and ended up getting an ATAR of 99.00. I never sat the UCAT as I never envisioned a health career - or any careers to be frank. I'm currently enrolled in Actuarial Studies at Macquarie Uni because I liked maths and econ, but I'm not really vibing with the content of the degree (lots of finance and stats rather than social science) or the nature of the profession (working in the financial sector - the risk management side of actuarial is to boost corporation profits).

I was considering a career in dentistry or oral health as I enjoyed having braces and coming up with all sorts of weird ways to keep my teeth clean, and I think I'd like the fine motor skills aspect, as well as being able to serve a community rather than a corporate. Is this even a good enough reason to want to do dentistry? I know changing from actuarial to dentistry looks like a money hungry move, but I just really don't know what's right for me.

Through a gap year, I should be able to cover La Trobe's chem and bio prerequisite through TAFE, and hopefully enrol there next year (if the cut-off doesn't skyrocket), or maybe sit the UCAT and go somewhere else. Is this something that I should consider doing?

I'm clueless about pretty much everything, so all advice is greatly appreciated!
I'd just like to note that a 99.00 is right on the border with the cutoff for LaTrobe. I reckon there might be some risk involved if you took a gap year, considering that you are really on a knife's edge in terms of where you sit on their cutoff. I'm not sure if you can do this in the state you are in, but perhaps look into retaking a highschool subject while also spending the rest of your spare time doing the TAFE courses. This might help to boost your ATAR. Another way is to study for the UCAT and then get into another course somewhere else. Why limit yourself to LaTrobe?
If they don't want to risk potentially doing poorly in courses they don't believe they have much interest in then maybe it might make sense to take a gap year and study for the UCAT because a 99.00 ATAR is eligble for UQ, JCU, LaTrobe (as it stands), and a good position for UAdel, im not sure how UWA treats NSL. If OP feels like he can maintain an equivalent GPA in his current studies then I would suggest that he keeps studying (maybe try harder to get Griffith) but if he cant do that then he might be better off using his ATAR and taking a gap.
Latrobe made an error on their website. I think 99.20 is the cut-off for metro applicants based on vtac stastitics.
Metro: lowest 99.20 Highest 99.85
Rural: lowest 99.00 Highest 99.75

If they only published 99.00, it could be the cut-off for second/third round offers. Since they used 99.75 as the maxmimum atar, it is likely they made a mistake. Their website is maintained by the future students centre which has little contact with the admissions team. However, they did release a few top-up offers to people below the threshold.

Are you eligible for seas? If so, you should be able to get an offer next year once you fulfil the prerequestes. If you are not eligible, taking a gap year can be risky.

If you decide to take a gap year, don't take latrobe's offer for granted, sit the UCAT and apply to as many dental schools as you can.
 

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tksm

Lurker
Hey everyone! Thanks for all your replies. I guess I need to evaluate if this is something that I should be doing, and undertake the necessary steps to get a chance of making it happen.

Are you eligible for seas? If so, you should be able to get an offer next year once you fulfil the prerequestes. If you are not eligible, taking a gap year can be risky.

If you decide to take a gap year, don't take latrobe's offer for granted, sit the UCAT and apply to as many dental schools as you can.
I talked to La Trobe, and just found out that doing their approved bridging courses turns you into a non-standard applicant - so my ATAR + SEAS becomes irrelevant anyway. It looks like the best possible option is to continue with my studies, sit the UCAT and see how things go from here!
 
Hey everyone! Thanks for all your replies. I guess I need to evaluate if this is something that I should be doing, and undertake the necessary steps to get a chance of making it happen.



I talked to La Trobe, and just found out that doing their approved bridging courses turns you into a non-standard applicant - so my ATAR + SEAS becomes irrelevant anyway. It looks like the best possible option is to continue with my studies, sit the UCAT and see how things go from here!
If you're eligible for SEAS, can you study year 12 biology and chemistry in a high school?
 
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nourz

Member
Hi all,
with a GPA of roughly 5.3/5.5 gemsas, what are my best options of dentistry unis? I know USYD uses gpa 5 as a hurdle, so I will attempt the GAMSAT. I am also considering UCAT for adelaide, what are the requirements of uni of queensland? I feel really depressed right now because I know my GPA is quite low but I've heard of people getting in with good GAMSATS/interviews, so I guess I'm looking for any options
 

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tdnii

Lurker
Hi all,
finished my Bachelor of Nursing last year with a GPA of 5.85/7. I know it is too low to be eligible for dental school. I am currently working as a grad nurse and looking forward to starting a new bachelor degree in science to improve my GPA and also my general knowledge in health science.
I see there're some posts mentioned that UQ only considers your GPA from your first degree regardless of your new degree. Is there anyone applied UQ by using the GPA from a new degree? thanks.
 

Cal

Will You. Review. Mah Mixtape 😤😤
Valued Member
If you were at UQ for that degree, a Gpa of 5.85 is actually just above the cut off, I am not exactly sure about starting a new degree at another institution, but if you start a second one at uq, then they can forget past education and go based off the uq results if it favours you. Also I think a 5.85 is actually high enough for most other dent schools if you have a good ucat and interview. It is good enough for usyd (5gpa cut off with GAMSAT), uadel, csu and possibly jcu based off of rurality. Also UWA states a 5.5 GPA cut off and unimelb states no cutoff but obviously although possible, would require a great GAMSAT score. I am not sure about Latrobe (although I think they only do entry based off of ucat for non-standards). So your 5.85 GPA can get you into various dental schools, depending on your ucat. So depending on scenario Griffith is the only uni that I can guarantee that you are ineligible without starting a second degree (UQ as well if you completed the degree elsewhere)
 

DrSleeper

Lurker
If you were at UQ for that degree, a Gpa of 5.85 is actually just above the cut off, I am not exactly sure about starting a new degree at another institution, but if you start a second one at uq, then they can forget past education and go based off the uq results if it favours you. Also I think a 5.85 is actually high enough for most other dent schools if you have a good ucat and interview. It is good enough for usyd (5gpa cut off with GAMSAT), uadel, csu and possibly jcu based off of rurality. Also UWA states a 5.5 GPA cut off and unimelb states no cutoff but obviously although possible, would require a great GAMSAT score. I am not sure about Latrobe (although I think they only do entry based off of ucat for non-standards). So your 5.85 GPA can get you into various dental schools, depending on your ucat. So depending on scenario Griffith is the only uni that I can guarantee that you are ineligible without starting a second degree (UQ as well if you completed the degree elsewhere)
Hey Cal, what's the best advice you would say for getting into UQ Dent! It's my dream course and uni, really keen to get in!!! ☺
 

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Cal

Will You. Review. Mah Mixtape 😤😤
Valued Member
Same for me please!! Much appreciated :D
Hey Cal, what's the best advice you would say for getting into UQ Dent! It's my dream course and uni, really keen to get in!!! ☺
It depends quite alot on the personal scenarios at hand I guess, but one thing I would say is to not downplay the importance of the ucat test. That will essentially decide whether you get in or not. So I would try your best to improve that score to be as best as possible and go from there. So although uni/school results are important, as long as you have over a rank of 99 (keep in mind bonus points for higher level maths and a lote) you shouldn't worry about it too much. But if you give me your scenarios I can tailor some more useful info for you :)
 

youngsvet

Lurker
Hey guys, I really need some advice.
I am an Australian citizen, I finished high school in the US and then got in for free into the Russian dentistry university. After some time, I realized that I really don't like it here, I developed mental health problems, everything is really unorganized and unprofessional here, plus I really miss my family in Australia. I am thinking about applying to the University of Adelaide for dentistry. I contacted them, and they told me that they can convert my American scores. Has anyone been in a similar situation? What should my GPA and ACT /SAT score be?
I am considering retaking ACT because I don't think my score is high enough, also I want to take UCAT. Both of these exams are in July. In June I have to pass the exams for the university I'm currently enrolled in. I feel like I'm putting too much on my plate. I don't want to drop out of this university unless I get an offer at Adelaide, which as I discovered, is really hard to get in the first place.
Is it even worth it applying?
Another choice would be finishing the remaining 4 years in Russia, and then applying for dentistry specialization programs in Australia.
 

ponyswordz

Adelaide BDS (2020-2024)
Hey guys, I really need some advice.
I am an Australian citizen, I finished high school in the US and then got in for free into the Russian dentistry university. After some time, I realized that I really don't like it here, I developed mental health problems, everything is really unorganized and unprofessional here, plus I really miss my family in Australia. I am thinking about applying to the University of Adelaide for dentistry. I contacted them, and they told me that they can convert my American scores. Has anyone been in a similar situation? What should my GPA and ACT /SAT score be?
I am considering retaking ACT because I don't think my score is high enough, also I want to take UCAT. Both of these exams are in July. In June I have to pass the exams for the university I'm currently enrolled in. I feel like I'm putting too much on my plate. I don't want to drop out of this university unless I get an offer at Adelaide, which as I discovered, is really hard to get in the first place.
Is it even worth it applying?
Another choice would be finishing the remaining 4 years in Russia, and then applying for dentistry specialization programs in Australia.
Because you are an Australian citizen, you classify as a domestic and thus have to sit the UCAT exam. Under the 2021 Admissions Guide for entry, the ranking system for the Adelaide interviews is same as the past few years where the interview results get the first ranking level, followed by ucat marks then your academic results in that order. Based off my experiences with talking with others here in Adelaide dentistry, there are several people who got in with atar marks in the low 90's. Whilst this is not officially stated by Adelaide uni, it does feel as though the interview has a 100% (if not 100, a VERY HIGH) weighting with the ucat marks being the primary tiebreaker and the school/uni marks being a secondary tiebreaker (NOT CONFIRMED). As a result, make sure that your GPA is enough to meet the conversion rank of 90 ATAR. Once that is dusted, the highest priority is getting into the interview stage which from memory was a UCAT percentile of around 88 (not too sure on this one). Once you reach that stage, it's all up to your performance in the interview to decide your entry into adelaide uni.

However, it is really interesting for me to understand why you may have developed mental health problems. Was it because the dentistry course at the Russian university was not up to scratch in terms of an education standpoint? Was it because your interest in dentistry was not what you originally expected to be and as a result do not enjoy the career aspect? From the looks of your interest in Adelaide uni, it doesn't seem to be the latter which is very great to hear about since you could definitely touch upon your experiences from one year of dentistry school to bolster your interview performance above that of other candidates.


Wishing you the best and feel free to ask me more questions.
 
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TKAO

ima head to oooo-wahhh for med
Valued Member
Hey guys, I really need some advice.
I am an Australian citizen, I finished high school in the US and then got in for free into the Russian dentistry university. After some time, I realized that I really don't like it here, I developed mental health problems, everything is really unorganized and unprofessional here, plus I really miss my family in Australia. I am thinking about applying to the University of Adelaide for dentistry. I contacted them, and they told me that they can convert my American scores. Has anyone been in a similar situation? What should my GPA and ACT /SAT score be?
I am considering retaking ACT because I don't think my score is high enough, also I want to take UCAT. Both of these exams are in July. In June I have to pass the exams for the university I'm currently enrolled in. I feel like I'm putting too much on my plate. I don't want to drop out of this university unless I get an offer at Adelaide, which as I discovered, is really hard to get in the first place.
Is it even worth it applying?
Another choice would be finishing the remaining 4 years in Russia, and then applying for dentistry specialization programs in Australia.
Of course it is worth applying. For your scores to be converted to Australian equivalents, I would suggest contacting the university directly and asking them to directly convert it because there isn't an official standardised way it is being done in Australian universities. I would however like to note that the ACT/SAT, GPA and other measurements are usually converted very favourably into their Australian equivalents (in my personal point of view) so you might actually have an advantage there.

For your current situation - I think if you spread your time wisely you would be able to balance all 3. UCAT is an aptitude test(the effect of studying and buying tutoring material is contested) and the ACT/SAT are tests you have sat before so really they aren't particularly new to you. If you are just able to maintain pass grades through your Russian course it might be worth just aiming for just passes to hold onto your spot in the university.

It is highly inadvisable to go to a foreign dental school/medical school and then say that you can get into the dentistry specialisations easily. The competition is much rougher and the road to working in Australia is far more daunting.
 

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dotwingz

Irregular Member
Hey guys, I really need some advice.
I am an Australian citizen, I finished high school in the US and then got in for free into the Russian dentistry university. After some time, I realized that I really don't like it here, I developed mental health problems, everything is really unorganized and unprofessional here, plus I really miss my family in Australia. I am thinking about applying to the University of Adelaide for dentistry. I contacted them, and they told me that they can convert my American scores. Has anyone been in a similar situation? What should my GPA and ACT /SAT score be?
I am considering retaking ACT because I don't think my score is high enough, also I want to take UCAT. Both of these exams are in July. In June I have to pass the exams for the university I'm currently enrolled in. I feel like I'm putting too much on my plate. I don't want to drop out of this university unless I get an offer at Adelaide, which as I discovered, is really hard to get in the first place.
Is it even worth it applying?

Another choice would be finishing the remaining 4 years in Russia, and then applying for dentistry specialization programs in Australia.
Firstly, I think its important to prioritise mental health over ANYTHING. If you are developing extreme home sickness from being in Russia when your friends are in the US and family is in Australia i think its incredible valuable to consider your ability to complete the course if you are unable to keep yourself healthy.

It is always worth applying. From their international students website (i know your actually a domestic student due to your citizenship) Entry to dentistry for international applicants it looks like they only consider SATs for American High School students. IIRC the average atar for adelaide dentistry is probably around 97+ (i cant seem to find a direct source - you could probably email them and ask). Given that I cant find a direct SAT-ATAR conversion table, my estimates will be a bit off but ANU reckons that a SAT score of 1960/2400 or 1390/1600 is equivalent to a 96 so you're probably looking at SAT scores of 2000+/2400 or 1400+/1600 (https://www.anu.edu.au/files/resource/2017 International student qualifications table - August.pdf.pdf) but not all uni's are equivalent so take that with a grain of salt.

Is there any reasons Adelaide in particular? All dental degrees in Australia are equivalent and by restricting yourself to only ~30 places you are slimming your chances. A few other options might be CSU, JCU, or UQ. UQ fortunately is clear about their academic requirements for things other than ATAR (https://future-students.uq.edu.au/files/14268/minimum-entry-requirements-for-international-undergraduate-programs.pdf)

Lastly, I cant tell you how to prioritise your time. But all the schools (except for JCU) requires UCAT scores into the 90 percentiles. However UCAT is a test best prepped in short amounts over a long period of time so that might alleviate your stress.

Edit: and because your Australian you get HECS debt which is interest free student loans, so you wont have to pay back your uni fees until you start earning money. It significantly reduces the financial burden if that was a concern of yours
 

TKAO

ima head to oooo-wahhh for med
Valued Member
Firstly, I think its important to prioritise mental health over ANYTHING. If you are developing extreme home sickness from being in Russia when your friends are in the US and family is in Australia i think its incredible valuable to consider your ability to complete the course if you are unable to keep yourself healthy.

It is always worth applying. From their international students website (i know your actually a domestic student due to your citizenship) Entry to dentistry for international applicants it looks like they only consider SATs for American High School students. IIRC the average atar for adelaide dentistry is probably around 97+ (i cant seem to find a direct source - you could probably email them and ask). Given that I cant find a direct SAT-ATAR conversion table, my estimates will be a bit off but ANU reckons that a SAT score of 1960/2400 or 1390/1600 is equivalent your probably looking at SAT scores of 2000+/2400 or 1400+/1600 (https://www.anu.edu.au/files/resource/2017 International student qualifications table - August.pdf.pdf) but not all uni's are equivalent so take that with a grain of salt.

Is there any reasons Adelaide in particular? All dental degrees in Australia and by restricting yourself to only ~30 places you are slimming your chances. A few other options might be CSU, JCU, or UQ. UQ fortunately is clear about their academic requirements for things other than ATAR (https://future-students.uq.edu.au/files/14268/minimum-entry-requirements-for-international-undergraduate-programs.pdf)

Edit: and because your Australian you get HECS debt which is interest free student loans, so you wont have to pay back your uni fees until you start earning money. It significantly reduces the financial burden if that was a concern of yours

Lastly, I cant tell you how to prioritise your time. But all the schools (except for JCU) requires UCAT scores into the 90 percentiles. However UCAT is a test best prepped in short amounts over a long period of time so that might alleviate your stress.
Should also be noted that it might be possible to complete the dentistry degree in Russia then apply for graduate entry into the Australian dental schools - seeing as though the chances that the russian dentistry degree is recognised is slim. Not sure about the inner workings of this strategy however - but it might be something you would also want to look into.
 

dotwingz

Irregular Member
Should also be noted that it might be possible to complete the dentistry degree in Russia then apply for graduate entry into the Australian dental schools - seeing as though the chances that the russian dentistry degree is recognised is slim. Not sure about the inner workings of this strategy however - but it might be something you would also want to look into.
Tbh If they are having a hard time adjusting into dentistry in russia it may affect their ability to achieve the grades needed. I would say dentistry would already be a hard enough course to achieve high enough grades to get into dentistry without the added stress of living in an area where you are not well
 

youngsvet

Lurker
Should also be noted that it might be possible to complete the dentistry degree in Russia then apply for graduate entry into the Australian dental schools - seeing as though the chances that the russian dentistry degree is recognised is slim. Not sure about the inner workings of this strategy however - but it might be something you would also want to look into.
Yes, I checked, Russian dentistry diplomas are not recognized in Australia, but I found this site and document:

and it says that I should undertake some examinations to receive a limited registration, with which I can apply for postgraduate training. Though I am not sure what are my chances of getting in with a limited registration

Because you are an Australian citizen, you classify as a domestic and thus have to sit the UCAT exam. Under the 2021 Admissions Guide for entry, the ranking system for the Adelaide interviews is same as the past few years where the interview results get the first ranking level, followed by ucat marks then your academic results in that order. Based off my experiences with talking with others here in Adelaide dentistry, there are several people who got in with atar marks in the low 90's. Whilst this is not officially stated by Adelaide uni, it does feel as though the interview has a 100% (if not 100, a VERY HIGH) weighting with the ucat marks being the primary tiebreaker and the school/uni marks being a secondary tiebreaker (NOT CONFIRMED). As a result, make sure that your GPA is enough to meet the conversion rank of 90 ATAR. Once that is dusted, the highest priority is getting into the interview stage which from memory was a UCAT percentile of around 88 (not too sure on this one). Once you reach that stage, it's all up to your performance in the interview to decide your entry into adelaide uni.

However, it is really interesting for me to understand why you may have developed mental health problems. Was it because the dentistry course at the Russian university was not up to scratch in terms of an education standpoint? Was it because your interest in dentistry was not what you originally expected to be and as a result do not enjoy the career aspect? From the looks of your interest in Adelaide uni, it doesn't seem to be the latter which is very great to hear about since you could definitely touch upon your experiences from one year of dentistry school to bolster your interview performance above that of other candidates.


Wishing you the best and feel free to ask me more questions.
I really like dentistry, and I am really happy I chose it, I just don't like the way it's taught here and there is not enough hands-on experience. My senior roommate had only 7 patients throughout her university career. I must admit though, the theory is taught really well and on a really high level here.
I had mental health issues before I started studying. Just the factors of being alone, not having friends, a really bad educational system, played their part and my mental health is getting worse. So far I can manage to study, but I'm afraid I'll get expelled if it gets even worse.

Firstly, I think its important to prioritise mental health over ANYTHING. If you are developing extreme home sickness from being in Russia when your friends are in the US and family is in Australia i think its incredible valuable to consider your ability to complete the course if you are unable to keep yourself healthy.

It is always worth applying. From their international students website (i know your actually a domestic student due to your citizenship) Entry to dentistry for international applicants it looks like they only consider SATs for American High School students. IIRC the average atar for adelaide dentistry is probably around 97+ (i cant seem to find a direct source - you could probably email them and ask). Given that I cant find a direct SAT-ATAR conversion table, my estimates will be a bit off but ANU reckons that a SAT score of 1960/2400 or 1390/1600 is equivalent to a 96 so you're probably looking at SAT scores of 2000+/2400 or 1400+/1600 (https://www.anu.edu.au/files/resource/2017 International student qualifications table - August.pdf.pdf) but not all uni's are equivalent so take that with a grain of salt.

Is there any reasons Adelaide in particular? All dental degrees in Australia are equivalent and by restricting yourself to only ~30 places you are slimming your chances. A few other options might be CSU, JCU, or UQ. UQ fortunately is clear about their academic requirements for things other than ATAR (https://future-students.uq.edu.au/files/14268/minimum-entry-requirements-for-international-undergraduate-programs.pdf)

Lastly, I cant tell you how to prioritise your time. But all the schools (except for JCU) requires UCAT scores into the 90 percentiles. However UCAT is a test best prepped in short amounts over a long period of time so that might alleviate your stress.

Edit: and because your Australian you get HECS debt which is interest free student loans, so you wont have to pay back your uni fees until you start earning money. It significantly reduces the financial burden if that was a concern of yours
Thank you for your response :) I want to apply specifically to Adelaide because my family lives there, and since I'm so homesick, it would kind of deceive the purpose if I would live in a different city, also it would save me rent money. But if I'm looking at just applying to Australia, then yes, I would apply to all universities possible.
 
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dotwingz

Irregular Member
Thank you for your response :) I want to apply specifically to Adelaide because my family lives there, and since I'm so homesick, it would kind of deceive the purpose if I would live in a different city, also it would save me rent money. But if I'm looking at just applying to Australia, then yes, I would apply to all universities possible.
I think you’ll find that living anywhere else in Australia will make you alot less home sick than Russia...

One thing that was not mentioned is that Adelaide has reduced entry requirements for current Adelaide Uni students through their tertiary transfer pathway.

Although I wouldn’t recommend it to most people. Considering your not having a great time in Russia and due to Russian dental schools not being accredited with the dental board in Australia so it might not be so likely you work in Australia as a dentist. What you could do if you really want is to apply for an alternative program at Adelaide (say Physio, Pharmacy, etc) and try to use the reduced entry pathway as a way to get in. This way you could roll the dice and make it easier to get in. Also I think you’ll put yourself in a better position GPA-wise living at home and studying in Adelaide if you wanted to apply for a different uni in Australia
 

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