Frequently Asked Questions

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Undergraduate FAQ

When can I apply for the undergraduate (pre-matriculation) phase?
Plan to complete the application 2½ years before you aspire to enter dental school. For the traditional application, this is the sophomore year. The application window is only open September through Feb. 1 each year.

In addition to good grades, what else can I do to enhance my chances of being selected?
MRDSP seeks candidates with a demonstrated history of volunteerism, excellent time management skills, strong work ethic, leadership skills and initiative. It is also essential that applicants have been involved in dental shadowing at the time of applying. Applicants without shadowing experience will not be considered.

Do I need to have dental shadowing to apply to the MRDSP undergraduate program?
Yes! Applicants will not be considered for selection if he or she does not have any dental shadowing with a general or pediatric dentist. Rural dental shadowing with a general or pediatric dentist is strongly encouraged.

Can I be eligible for the pre-matriculation phase if I don't live in a small town?
MRDSP is designed for students who grew up in rural areas. Occasionally, urbanites have life stores that tie them to their rural roots. Examples would be recurrent summers spent with relatives in rural areas or time spent in a rural area doing service or dental shadowing.

How many positions are available in the undergraduate (pre-matriculation) program?
Three to five participants are selected each year.

Does being a MRDSP Scholar automatically grant admission into UMMC Dental School?
No. Because of the competiveness of dental school admission, being involved in the scholarship program could enhance the probability of being admitted, but will not guarantee acceptance.

Since the practice site must meet two criteria, what defines a "rural" community?
Though there are numerous definitions, the MRDSP Board of Directors have chosen to define "rural" as a community of 10,000 or fewer according to the most recent U.S. census data.

What does "medically underserved" mean?
MRDSP utilizes HRSA guidelines which are based on the ratio of primary care physicians/1,000 patients, infant mortality rates, percentage below poverty level and percentage of the population over age 65.

Who approves the rural site where I will practice for four years?
The MRDSP scholar can submit preferred practice sites for approval by the MRDSP Board of Directors. All sites must be in a community of 10,000 or fewer residents and be located more than 20 miles from a medically served area based on federal guidelines. Medically underserved areas (MUAs) follow federal guidelines and population is determined by the latest U.S. census.

When will I know if my practice site is approved?
After submission of required information to the MRDSP Board, the scholar will usually get a response within a month. At the latest, practice sites must be approved at least 90 days prior to the completion of training. The new dentist must begin work in the rural area within 90 days of completion of residency to avoid being in default.

Do I have to practice in the same location for all four years?
Though remaining in one location is desirable, dentists may relocate as long as the subsequent location meets the criteria and is approved by the MRDSP Board prior to relocation.

Who should I contact if I have questions during the application process?
Contact MRPSP executive director Dr. Wahnee Sherman or call (601) 815-9022.