Early Decision Rural Dentistry Track Program

Early Decision Rural Dentistry Track Program

Early Decision Rural Dentistry Track Program

What is the Early Decision Rural Dentistry Track Program?

People living in rural Minnesota have a more difficult time finding a dentist to care for them compared to those who live in urban areas. There are shortages of dentists in parts of rural Minnesota and many of the dentists who currently practice in the rural areas are near retirement age. To help build the dental workforce in rural Minnesota, the School of Dentistry is introducing the Early Decision Rural Dentistry Track Program for students who are thinking about a career in dentistry in a rural setting.

Early Decision Rural Dentistry Track Program


Rural Students Testimonials:

“Through shadowing a rural student, I started to realize that being a rural dentist is so much more than just being a dentist. I began to realize that a rural dentist is a leader in the community, a man or a woman dedicated to the health of all and who is passionate about every patient to come into the practice. When I saw my dentist work on his patients, I witnessed the fact that he knew them on a personal level and deeply cared about their lives outside of the practice. This was a type of man I wanted to become, and was the type of profession of which I wanted to dedicate myself”. —Skyler Svendsen, Browerville, MN

“I want to practice dentistry in a rural community because of the huge shortage of dentists available. Even in Park Rapids, there are people who are being denied dental care because of the shortage of staff available to see them. I don’t want anybody to have to put his or her health on the line because of something that is likely to be fixable”. — Ben Sitz, Park Rapids, MN

“In Minnesota there are many communities in need of dentists, especially in rural areas. One such community that I have recognized includes my hometown of Motley, Minnesota. My community resides in one of the poorer counties in Minnesota, and the dentists in the area are around retirement age, so new dentists are needed.” —Samuel Duberowski, Motley, MN


Early Decision Rural Dentistry Track Program
To see full poster, click here.


Are You Eligible?

To qualify for the Early Decision Rural Dentistry Training Program, you must:

  • Have a strong commitment to practice in a rural area after graduation
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident (preference for Minnesota residents)
  • Provide a letter of support from a community
  • Complete prerequisite courses and obtain a cumulative GPA of 3.4 and a science GPA of 3.2 at the end of your second year
  • Complete at application 30 hours of shadowing in a rural health dental practice and certified b the dentist in the practice. (You must continue shadowing during college)
  • Submit a letter of support from a rural dentist who will serve as your mentor

Acceptance into this program will allow you to:

  • Obtain an early provisional admission decision by the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry at the start of your second year in college
  • Participate in the Summer Dental School Experience, part of the Building Bridges Program at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry
  • Enjoy mentoring with students and faculty at the School of Dentistry who also have interest in rural dentistry
  • Stay focused on a career path that will increase your likelihood of being successful in a rural community after graduation
  • Be mentored by a rural dentist
  • Receive tuition scholarship from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH)/Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)


Rural Outreach          


Early Decision Rural Dentistry Track Program Standards
  • Continue to be enrolled in college and complete all course prerequisites and electives for DDS application
  • Maintain an overall GPA of 3.4 and Science GPA or above
  • Take the DAT and obtain an average score of 18 or above in ALL subjects
  • Continue shadowing a dental practitioner
  • Complete a community project (may be done in collaboration with students from School of Dentistry, School of Public Health Medical, Medical School, or School of Veterinary Medicine)
  • Complete the DDS application process at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry and obtain full admission

Students apply after the first year in college and may remain in the program for three years.
Students who are unable to satisfy these criteria but continue to be interested in applying to the dental school will be considered in the general applicant pool.



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  • Last modified on October 5, 2012