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Student Status

First-time freshmen completing their prerequisite coursework at USD should complete the application for admission to USD. You'll follow the program admissions process when you're further into your prerequisite work.

For students ready to apply to the program after prerequisite coursework, if you are not currently attending or have never attended USD, you'll first need to submit an application for admission. For the Intended Enrollment section, please choose the fall semester of the year for which you are applying, unless you plan to take USD classes before you would start the Dental Hygiene program.

Application Materials

The following need to be included in your application:

It is critical that you carefully and fully complete the application, especially with regard to disclosure of prior or pending criminal charges as omission of this information could lead to the disqualification of your application. Please fill out online, print form out, sign in both places and send to the Department of Dental Hygiene.

Please provide a written explanation and a copy of the court report for any offenses that have been disclosed on the dental hygiene application. If you do not have the court report and the offense happened in South Dakota, you can request a record search request here: SD Record Search . If the offense occurred in another state, you may be able to find a record search request on that state's website.

  • ACT scores (typically these will appear on high school transcript) are required. Without these scores applications will not be considered. Please contact ACT to have scores sent or to sign up for testing.
  • Official college transcripts from all colleges attended

Please have official transcripts sent from all colleges attended to the selection committee by January 15. Transcripts must be sent directly from the schools to USD Admissions to be official (USD Admissions, 414 E. Clark St., Vermillion, SD  57069 or electronic copies to These will be forwarded to Enrollment Services Center for admissions purposes. Prerequisite courses must be completed or in progress at time of application deadline and need to be completed by June 1. 

  • We understand the difficulty some applicants are having gaining permission to observe in a dental office due to restrictions caused by COVID19. This year for applications for fall 2021 we are allowing an alternative option of learning more about the dental hygiene profession (for those who aren’t able to complete all 12 hours of observation). It involves completing the following:
  • Three recommendation forms completed by a person from each of these categories:
    • A dental professional
    • A college instructor
    • An employer or personal reference
  • Dental Office Experience Form


Watch the following videos to become familiar with some of the characteristics and duties of a dental hygienist. Keep in mind their limitations (for example, one video refers to hygienist as “she”; one video refers to an associate level program; they don’t provide much information about the different settings a hygienist can practice in such as public health):  

Write a reflective paper -

  • Discuss the characteristics and duties of a dental hygienist. Indicate whether you possess these qualities and why.
  • Discuss what surprised you, if anything, about what you saw in any of the videos.
  • Indicate what your feelings are about performing the procedures presented in the videos as a dental hygienist.

Your paper should be typed, double spaced, 12pt font, and 150-200 words. 

Application Submission

Completed applications must be received by the department by February 1 to be considered for the upcoming fall class but may be submitted at any time. Applications incomplete on February 1 will not be considered.

Mail to:
Secretary, Selection Committee
Department of Dental Hygiene
University of South Dakota
East Hall 120
414 East Clark Street
Vermillion, SD 57069.

It is your responsibility to ensure that all application materials are submitted. After completing your application, the majority of communication from the Selection Committee will be via e-mail. Letters of selection and non-selection may be sent out as late as May 1.


If you have already applied to the program and are reapplying please submit the following: