Posted December 07, 2011

DEAP allows for early admission into dental school

Three ACU juniors, John Luke Covalt, Joseph Loh and Marissa Stewart, were officially accepted into The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCA) Dental School as part of the Dental Early Admission Program (DEAP). They will begin their professional school training after only three years at ACU.

DEAP is a joint agreement between ACU and UTHSCA that provides students with the unique opportunity to “pull ahead” in their health professional career by completing three years at ACU then four at UTHSCA and earning two degrees, an undergraduate degree in biology or biochemistry from ACU and Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) degree from UTHSCA.

For John Luke Covalt, the program “has offered great security. It is kind of a dream situation to be able to focus on exactly what I’ve wanted to do for so long, and it is really exciting to be so close.”

DEAP student Joseph Loh notes a number of benefits to participating in this program. First of all, it allows students who are confident in their chosen career paths to bypass courses that are more geared toward individuals interested in pure science. “As a biochemistry major in the DEAP program, I do not have to take Analytical and Physical Chemistry, leaving me time to concentrate on courses that will be beneficial in dental school,” Joseph explains.  It also reduces the number of years spent in training and therefore can result in financial benefits.

Qualified students may apply to the DEAP program through their ACU pre-dental advisor at the end of their freshmen year after the successful completion of 12 to 30 hours of coursework. DEAP admits exceptional students who attend a partner school, like ACU, and have demonstrated academic excellence and a commitment to pursuing a career in dentistry.

Although high GPA and SAT/ACT scores are essential for admission, Joseph believes that DEAP looks for more than smart students. “During the interview process, most of the dean's questions were about problems in dentistry such as a dentist refusing to treat underprivileged patients. Having volunteer experiences, namely medical experiences, definitely helped me in this area,”he says. Additionally, Joseph recommends students interested in DEAP to shadow professionals of several different dental fields. “UTHSCA wants committed students who know what career they are getting into.”

After application and admission to DEAP, students must maintain a high GPA and take the Dental Admissions Test at the end of their sophomore year. If students meet DEAP criteria for these quantitative measures and continue in good standing at ACU, they are guaranteed admission to UTHSCA for matriculation during the fall of what would usually be their senior year at ACU.

Currently, in addition to the three juniors who have completed the DEAP requirements and will begin dental school in the fall of 2012, there are three ACU sophomores, Kristin Goodwin, Corbin Clifton, and Rachel Goodwin who were chosen as DEAP participants at the end of their freshman year and are looking forward to following in the footsteps of those in the class ahead.

High school students and college freshmen interested in applying or learning more about the DEAP program through ACU may contact pre-dental advisor Dr. Diana Flanagan.