Dental school can be quite a challenging experience.
A dental education often tests students both in terms of their theoretical knowledge and capacity to effectively enact that knowledge using fine motor skills to benefit a patient’s dental health.
It’s a profession that demands students to dedicate a lot of time and strenuous effort—because patients deserve the best.
On top of this, as any dental student knows, getting into dental school is a challenge in itself. According to WorkVeteran.com, receiving an acceptance into dental school is more challenging than the vast majority of graduate programs.
With all of this in mind—the hours of study, the acceptance rates, and the importance of this profession for our society’s health—the last thing a dental student needs to be thinking about is the stress of dental school’s financial strain.
One should be able to focus on their life-saving, life-changing profession, not finances.
But, unfortunately, dental school is often one of the more expensive graduate degree programs. Currently, a student attending dental school can anticipate that their degree will cost, on average, around $200,000.
Luckily, dental students aren’t alone in their attempts to fund their studies.
Through institutional and national scholarship competitions, dental students can help finance their degree while simultaneously having their hard work and excellence acknowledged by some of the most prestigious dental institutions in the nation.
As such, this list will break down 10 of the best dental school scholarships in the United States, so that dental school students have a foundation upon which to start their scholarship search.
In compiling this list, attention was given to the award amounts for each scholarship and the breadth of students who would be eligible to apply for each individual scholarship.
In no particular order, these are 10 of the best dental school scholarships available to students to help them gain much-deserved recognition and financial support.
American Dental Hygienists’ Association Scholarships
The Institute of Oral Health, in partnership with the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, offers scholarships for graduate students, bachelor program students, and associate degree students seeking an education in a dental health-related field.
For each category of student, there are many scholarships for which one may be eligible. Scholarships tend to be within $1,000 to $3,000 in value, but scholarships certainly may have a higher value than this.
Examples of scholarships include the Karla Girts Memorial Community Outreach Scholarship, a scholarship for those who focus on serving the geriatric population, and the Hu-Friedy/Esther Wilkins Instrument Scholarships, which help students purchase their dentistry equipment.
ADEA/Crest Oral-B Scholarships for Predoctoral Dental Students Pursuing Academic Careers
The ADEA is another organization that offers a variety of scholarships to dental students, with some of their largest in value being the Crest Oral-B scholarships.
Two predoctoral dental students will receive a scholarship totaling $5,500 in value each.
As opposed to those pursuing a career in medicine alone, this scholarship is designated for those students who are also pursuing academic careers in dentistry.
In order to apply, students must be members of the ADEA. The process for becoming an ADEA member is outlined on the ADEA website.
To qualify, students must be enrolled in a predoctoral dentistry program at an ADEA member institution to qualify.
HRSA National Health Service Corps
The National Health Service Corps will repay the total amount a student needs to take out for loans in any branch of medical school, in exchange for that student providing medical services to health professional shortage areas.
The HRSA will pay for one’s medical school for up to four years. In exchange, one will have to serve in a health professional shortage area for an amount of years equivalent to the amount of years the HRSA has paid for one’s medical school.
For example, if the HRSA pays for four years of one’s dentistry school, upon graduating that student would need to serve in a health professional shortage area for four years.
Any U.S. citizen or national in any medical specialty is eligible to apply.
Dental Trade Alliance Foundation Scholarships
The Dental Trade Alliance provides a variety of scholarships to any dental student who has received a nomination from the dean of one’s dental school.
This scholarship provides up to $25,000 to the scholarship competition’s top applicant, $10,000 to three runners-up, and ten $5,000 scholarships.
In selecting the scholarship winners, the DTA pays special attention to one’s community service and leadership activities.
On top of letters of recommendation and a scholarship essay, students will also film a 2-minute video essay submission to demonstrate one’s aptitude for the scholarship in a more personal manner.
The Dr. Michael Krochak Scholarship
This scholarship is intended only for undergraduate students interested in a career in dentistry.
The Dr. Michael Krochak scholarship provides students with $1,000 in tuition assistance and the chance to receive dentistry mentoring from the organization.
Alongside this, winners are showcased on the scholarship website’s homepage, where future employers and graduate programs can see firsthand how one’s excellence in dentistry was recognized in a national competition.
Any pre-dental undergraduate junior or senior is eligible to apply.
In order to apply, one must upload one’s transcripts, have a 3.3 GPA or higher, and answer the essay question, “Why would you like to become a dentist?”
Audacity To Dream Scholar
This scholarship, administered by the National Dental Association Foundation, is intended for Black students pursuing a career in dentistry.
Each year, there is one $10,000 and one $20,000 scholarship winner.
In order to apply, students must be a member of the Student National Dental Association.
Furthermore, students must attend the SNDA Rights of Passage Gala at their local chapter the year they plan to apply.
Only students with at least a 3.5 GPA are considered.
Alongside the larger Audacity to Dream scholarship, three other scholarships are administered by the Audacity to Dream scholarship foundation to recognize leadership, research, and community service.
Bessie Delaney Scholarship
The second of the three National Dental Association Foundation scholarships on this list is the Bessie Delaney scholarship.
This scholarship is intended for women pursuing a postdoctoral degree in a specific sub-speciality related to dentistry. Scholarship winners receive $10,000.
For example, once a student has received their doctorate, they may plan to receive a degree in public health, law, administration, or otherwise to specialize in their competencies related to dental medical practice.
This scholarship is intended to fund the ambitions of students who believe seeking this additional degree will aid them in making the most significant positive impact possible in their dental practice.
Students must be National Dental Association members to apply.
Dr. Joseph L. Henry Scholarship
The final National Dental Association Foundation scholarship on this list is more wide-scope in its eligible application pool.
The Dr. Joseph L. Henry Scholarship is intended for incoming freshmen dental students.
Scholarship winners are awarded $2,000 and can renew that $2,000 for four years until they graduate. As such, this scholarship has a total value of $8,000.
Students must have an undergraduate GPA of 3.5 or higher to apply and attain a recommendation from the dental school dean they are/plan to attend.
Alongside one’s application essay, CV, and academic letter of recommendation, applicants will also be required to submit one non-academic letter of recommendation which speaks to a student’s activities outside the classroom.
ICD-WUDAA Scholarship Program
The International College of Dentists and Washington University Dental Alumni Association have teamed up to provide dental students anywhere in the nation with the opportunity to decrease their tuition costs.
This scholarship offers a number of scholarships each year that are usually around $2,500 in value each. In recent years, five scholarship winners were awarded scholarships of $2,500.
Alongside selection criteria like academic excellence and extra-curricular activities, this scholarship pays special attention to a student’s mentorship activities and humanitarian/community service.
Any student enrolled in a dental school is eligible to apply, including international students.
With changes brought about by the number of donations the scholarship foundation receives, the specific number of scholarships offered and the amount of each scholarship are likely to vary from one year to the next.
Alongside the wonderful national and state opportunities available to dental students, it is essential to note that most dental schools also offer internal scholarships designed to mitigate the high costs of dental education.
According to Top Universities, all 10 of the world’s top dentistry schools offer scholarships that can come close to covering the total cost of tuition.
For example, at Washington University, students can participate in a Washington-state-specific loan repayment program, in which one provides dental care within the state of Washington after graduating.
On the other hand, Harvard’s School of Dental Medicine offers over 20 scholarships specifically designed for HSDM students.
As such, the majority of HSDM students will receive some form of financial aid.
Therefore, it is strongly advised that one contact the financial aid office of the specific institution in which they intend to enroll in dental school, as many of these scholarships will require supplemental application materials.
Alongside the national scholarships, each institution has a world of financing options rife for exploration.