Summer Enrichment Program

Summer Enrichment Program

The Summer Enrichment Program (SEP) provides educational and professional development experiences for under-resourced students so that they can successfully gain admission into dental school and pursue a career in dentistry. SEP is a summer residential program that provides free housing and DAT preparation, and a stipend to cover food and travel expenses.
The components of SEP include:

  • Preparation for the Dental Admission Test
  • Personalized assistance with the dental school application process
  • Admissions and financial aid workshops
  • Interview preparation
  • Hands-on Simulation Laboratory activities
  • Observations in the dental clinic and/or other primary care sites
  • Conversations with faculty about dental specialties
  • Academic success, professional development, and cultural competency seminars
  • Networking events with students, staff, faculty, alumni, and local dental professionals
  • Social outings including tours of Detroit and trips to museums and sporting events

Program Qualifications 

To participate in the Summer Enrichment Program, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • As of June 2023, must be a Junior, Senior, or a recent college graduate (within the last 5 years)
  • Demonstrate a strong interest in pursuing a career in dentistry and improving the health of underserved patient populations
  • Have a minimum of 2.9 GPA
  • Completed the following courses
    • Two (2) semesters of biology labs
    • Two (2) semesters of inorganic chemistry with labs
    • Two (2) semesters of organic chemistry with labs
    • One (1) semester of physics
    • One (1) semester of college-level mathematics
    • One (1) semester of English composition
  • Have taken the DAT at least once
  • Be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or an individual granted deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) or have the appropriate documentation to apply to dental school.
  • Identify as one or more of the following:
    • Educational, socially or economically disadvantage OR
    • Underrepresented minorities in the field of dentistry
  • Must be fully vaccinated and boosted for the following: Hepatitis B Titer, Tdap, Tetanus, MMR, Varicella Titer, TB and Covid-19.

Disadvantaged Background
An individual is considered to be from a disadvantaged background if he or she meets two or more of the following criteria:

  • Were or currently are homeless, as defined by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act
  • Were or currently are in the foster care system, as defined by the Administration for Children and Families
  • Were eligible for the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program for two or more years
  • Have/had no parents or legal guardians who completed a bachelor’s degree
  • Were or currently are eligible for Federal Pell grants
  • Received support from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) as a parent or child
  • Grew up in one of the following areas:
    • A U.S. rural area, as designated by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) (Rural Health Grants Eligibility Analyzer:
    • A Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services-designated Low-Income and Health Professional Shortage Area

Environmentally Disadvantaged
If a student, who comes from an environment that has inhibited them from obtaining the knowledge, skills, and abilities to enroll in and/or graduate from a health professions or nursing school is considered as being Environmentally Disadvantaged.

The following is a list of common characteristics that describe students who are Environmentally Disadvantaged. The examples are provided as guidance only, and are not intended to be all-inclusive:

  • Person from a high school with low average SAT/ACT scores or below the average state test results
  • Person from a school district where 50 percent or less of graduates attend college
  • Person who has a diagnosed physical or mental impairment that substantially limits participation in educational experiences
  • Person for who English is not his or her primary language and for whom language is still a barrier to academic performance
  • Person who is the first generation to attend college
  • Person from a high school where at least 30 percent of enrolled students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches.

Economically Disadvantaged** 
An individual who comes from a family with an annual income at or below low-income thresholds according to family size. **In order to qualify for a financially disadvantaged status, your tax returns from the previous year will be considered by the SEP Admissions Committee. Information on 2022 can be found at

 Application Deadline is February 15 by 5pm Eastern Standard Time (EST).
The online application AND all required materials must be received by the deadline.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is a typical day like at SEP?

    Days at SEP will vary, but typically involve a morning spent in DAT Preparation Course at the School of Dentistry, a lunch break, study time, and scheduled rotations to shadow in the Detroit Mercy Dental clinics. Generally, SEP participants engage in planned activities from 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.  SEP includes workshops devoted to study skills, personal statements, interview preparation, and much more. Participants can interact with faculty, staff, administrators, and current students throughout their time at Detroit Mercy Dental.  During most evenings, participants spend a significant amount of time studying for the DAT on their own or in small groups.

    What costs are covered by the program?

    Included in SEP at no cost to participants are: housing, transportation to/from campus and required events, DAT preparation course, and a financial stipend. Participants stay in a dormitory, usually with a roommate. Some meals are provided; participants are expected to cover the remainder of meals with the financial stipend included with the program.

    Who is the ideal student for SEP?

    Participants who benefit the greatest are those who are ready to fully commit to the program and put in the necessary study time. SEP has a heavy focus on DAT preparation, so ideally, participants take the DAT (whether for the first time or as another attempt) following the program. SEP involves advising to help students decide whether they are ready to apply for dental school, but students in SEP should meet the basic academic requirements for admission to dental school. Students should be ready to apply to dental school either immediately following SEP or in the following cycle.

    Can I still apply if I haven’t taken all the required prerequisite courses?

    Students are eligible to participate in SEP if they have taken at least one semester of each of the following at a college level: Biology, Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physics, Math, and English. We recommend two semesters of Biology with labs, two semesters of Inorganic Chemistry with labs, and 2 semesters of Organic Chemistry with labs, if possible. Above all, we want to make sure participants are ready to take the DAT right after the program and so have completed the necessary coursework to lay the foundation for DAT preparation.

    Do I have to participate in the entire duration of the program to apply? Can I miss a few days or a weekend?

    It is a program requirement that participants attend the entire program. There are a variety of social events scheduled on Saturdays; participants are free to spend Sundays as they like. We do sometimes excuse absences on Saturdays for SEP participants to attend important events, but this must be approved in advance.

    Can I have a job or take classes during SEP? Can I live off campus?

    No. SEP is a full-time, immersive program that also requires study time in the evenings. This is a time when students can focus fully on preparing to apply to dental school. All participants stay together in the dormitories, allowing everyone’s full focus to be on the program. The 2023 Summer Enrichment Program will take place from May 1 - May 29, 2023 (self-pace) and May 30 - June 30 (face-to-face).