Retention through Early Acceptance of Dental Students in the Eastern Panhandle (REAP DentSTEP)

Along with having an impact on the health of a region, a career in dentistry offers a variety of challenges and rewards.

Today's dental professionals focus not only on the diagnosis and detection of oral health problems, and educate patients on how to prevent oral disease, but also on cosmetic treatments that improve a patient's appearance. Dentists in private practice serve as their own boss, allowing them the flexibility to balance their professional and personal lives. In 2001, the average income of a dentist was in the highest 5% of U.S. family income, a trend that is expected to continue as the demand for care grows.

Retention through Early Acceptance of Dental Students in the Eastern Panhandle, REAP DentSTEP is a joint program of Shepherd University and the West Virginia University School of Dentistry that helps simplify the process of dental school admission while easing the financial burden of the application process. The program gives motivated Shepherd students early access to the School of Dentistry and unique opportunities to better prepare them for WVU's challenging program.

REAP DentSTEP allows qualified students applying for admission to Shepherd to also apply for early admission to the WVU School of Dentistry at the same time. After graduation from Shepherd, students will attend WVU's Morgantown campus to complete four years of dental education. Students have the unique opportunity to work in rural healthcare facilities in the latter part of the dental curriculum and may be assigned to a facility in the Eastern Panhandle region. Admission to REAP DentSTEP is open to a select number of top high school seniors and – for a limited time – to established Shepherd freshmen. Students are selected in a competitive process, which includes an application and interview. Because the WVU School of Dentistry values diversity, students from groups that are under-represented in dental school programs are encouraged to apply. WVU and Shepherd University are both aware of the great need for dentists in the Eastern Panhandle and see this program as a part of their mission to serve the community.

Admission Requirements for High School Seniors

  • Written letters of recommendation (three) from a science teacher, a principal or guidance counselor, and a community leader
  • Demonstrated maturity, citizenship, leadership, service, and scholarship
  • Minimum 3.25 high school GPA and a minimum ACT of 22 or SAT of 1000

Students accepted into the program will be guaranteed admission to the WVU School of Dentistry if they:

  • Successfully attain the required courses for admission
  • Maintain overall and science GPAs of 3.25 at Shepherd
  • Take the Dental Admission Test (DAT) and score at or above the average score
  • Fulfill preparatory, citizenship and service requirements
  • Successfully complete an application and interview

Ongoing Requirements

To remain in the program while enrolled at Shepherd, students must:

  • Maintain 3.25 overall and science GPAs.
  • Participate in the Retention through Early Acceptance Program (REAP), community service and shadowing programs
  • Maintain standards of honesty,integrity and citizenship

Required Shepherd University coursework:

  • Biology/Zoology - Introductory class plus 2-4 upper-division classes
  • Chemistry - General chemistry and organic chemistry with labs
  • Biochemistry - 1 year with labs
  • Physics - 1 year with labs
  • Mathematics - Statistics/epidemiology
  • Psychology- Normal and abnormal,1-2 classes
  • Philosophy/Ethics - 1-2 classes
  • General Studies - U.S.History, World History, etc.
  • One year each - English, computer literacy, sociology
  • One semester- Art or music appreciation

For More Information Contact:

Dean of the School of Natural 
Sciences and Mathematics
Shepherd University
P.O. Box 5000
Shepherdstown, WV 
Phone: (304) 876-5227 or 
(800) 344-5231, ext. 5227
Fax: (304) 876-5028


WVU Health Sciences Center, 
Eastern Division Office of Student Services
2500 Foundation Way
Martinsburg, WV 25401
Phone: (304) 264-9202 ext. 6316
Fax: (304) 596-6330