Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Pre-dent advice from Dave: 4. Applying through AADSAS during the power summers

Dave writes faster than a typewriter. :-) After I commissioned him to write a couple of blog posts for me, he powered through these comprehensive and thorough posts & had them in my inbox, one after the other. The key idea is this: everything takes time! And in the world of dental applications, time is money, figuratively speaking. Get hustling. There’s an admissions officer somewhere ready to stamp your application with a big “ACCEPTED” stamp.

Check out the entire Pre-dent advice series from Dave:
1. The basic application checklist 
2. DAT study material tips
3. DAT test day & interpreting your DAT score 
The time has finally come – your DAT is scheduled/taken, your letters of rec are being written, and you’re perfecting your personal statement. As the calendar turns to June, you should start thinking about and be seriously prepared to apply through AADSAS – The ADEA’s American Dental Schools Application Service – what a mouthful! Below are some suggestions to guide you through this stressful (and exciting) time.

This year's guide- from the ADEA Instagram account

  • Apply Early: Most dental schools use rolling admissions, so start filling out the application as soon as it opens. Usually this date is around June 1st. Every week new applications are released from the service to the schools, so as more weeks fly by, the later your application will be seen. You can apply without a DAT score, so if your letters of rec/transcripts are in, pay & apply! 
  • Do two things RIGHT AWAY: These take some processing time, so do them as soon as you access the application:
    1. Request official transcripts: Every school you attended after high school needs to send transcripts to AADSAS with a special match form you fill out. Then the application service needs to verify your coursework & GPA. This takes time!

    2. Start the letter of rec request: If you have a committee writing the letter, put in the point of contact’s info for the upload. If you have physical writers being sent, put in their contact info. Once their info is in the system, remind your letter writers to follow their special link to upload/send to the address. Once received, the application service has to confirm authenticity. This also takes time!

Be Prepared, Have Everything Ready: The application will be completely closed for preview before June, but find a friend or colleague from previous years who printed their application/saved a digital copy. Peruse the sections so you know what to expect. As I mentioned in my first blog post, have these ready
  1. Unofficial transcripts: You will need to list every course, number of credits, and grade EXACTLY as seen on your transcript. Have copies ready. Your big task will be splitting courses into science and non-science designators; if ever in question, call AADSAS!
  2. Personal statement: If it’s already complete and within the character count, all you will have to do is copy and paste. The website is not quite like a word processor, so just make sure to re-format quickly.
  3. List of Schools: The website will simply display a list of 65 dental schools with a box next to each to check off – don’t sit there like a fool – know which schools you are applying to beforehand!
  4. Resume: You will need to record all job shadowing, volunteering, research, and work experience. There is also a space for hobbies requiring manual dexterity. Have this information ready and waiting on a resume or list.
+Money: To use AADSAS, there is a processing fee of $244 + $90 fee/school to be paid online. Have a winning lottery ticket, sugar daddy, or parent ready to pay – just kidding, I mean credit card!
There will be other sections to fill out, such as demographic information, financial background, and family information, but it is much more straightforward. Complete the application in a timely manner! Your DAT score is sent to each dental school separately; the only thing you put in AADSAS is the date you took/will take the exam. Remember, APPLY EARLY!'

Fill out Secondary Applications: Most dental schools require a separate fee paid to them, additional essays/information, photographs, and other goodies. The exact requirements are listed in AADSAS – there is a separate list you can access with the address or website where you will be completing the secondary application.

When do you do this? Do this while filling out the application or immediately after you pay and submit AADSAS! Some schools will e-mail you to indicate when you should complete additional materials. Your application to individual schools will not be complete without them. Many schools will send you receipts of materials; if you are in doubt, just call, but don’t pester daily!

Mentally Prepare: Once submitted, three things may happen:

  1. Interview invitation: Congrats! All dental schools require interviews in person, and this invitation is the next step towards acceptance into their program! You will have to schedule an interview trip.

  2. Rejection: Some schools may decide not to interview you for the application cycle. 
Nothing: Some dental schools may never respond to you until months/one year later. They may even ignore calls or e-mails from you.
Yesle: You may get an email about this change in your application status… or you won’t. Make sure to check back on your AADSAS portal daily. Also about the 3. Nothing possibility, there are schools I still haven't heard back from... three years later.

I experienced all three of these scenarios. Be ready for anything. Anxiety is at a high while waiting for the call, so fill your time wisely: Work, study, exercise, and settle into your hobbies as normal. Don’t seize up and panic!


  1. Hi - great blog and blog post! :) Just a couple questions for ya:

    Does the manual dexterity question part still exist on the application? Although I'm not applying until next June, I started an app to look at the format and couldn't find it anywhere!

    Also, is there a spot to attach a Resume or CV? Or do you enter it all in?

    Thanks for your input and time!

    1. You enter everything into the application- I believe the manual dexterity question is still there.

  2. Hi! I really enjoy your posts! I am planning on applying to dental school next June. I hope to have my application done in the beginning of June but I will not have taken the DAT by then. What is the latest time that you recommend to have the DAT done, after I submit my application?

    1. It's better to have everything completed when you apply so that your app doesn't get lost in purgatory. If it's a re-take that's better since there will already be a score on file. But differs according to schools since some may not evaluate if they consider incomplete- you should call them.

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