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:
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:
- 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!
- 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!
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!
- 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!
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:
- 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.
- 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.
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!