So, you want to apply to dental school? That’s great! Now that you’ve made the decision, what are your next steps?
Getting ready to apply to dental school begins way before filling out a dental school application. The process starts during your undergraduate studies when you select your courses and meet with your advisors. It’s likely you chose to major in a science-related field, and most dental students have completed four years of college. (Required undergraduate courses for dental school typically include: biology, physics, English, general and organic chemistry.) It’s also a great idea to job shadow dentists, research different dental paths and make a list of potential dental programs before applying to dental school.
Now, let’s get to the application process!
The biggest factor to completing and submitting your dental school application is to start early. At least one year in advance is suggested. This will give you time to obtain the necessary documents and keep you from feeling stressed at the last minute.
Be sure you’re aware of the deadline dates for all the schools you’re interested in applying to. Deadline dates (and even admissions requirements) vary by school.
Many admissions committees will review:
- Academic qualifications
- Grade point average
- Dental Admissions Test (DAT) results (more information below!)
- Job shadowing experience
- Letters of recommendation
For some, the most stressful part of applying to dental school is taking the DAT. The DAT is administered by the American Dental Association. It’s made up of four sections: survey of natural sciences, perceptual ability test, reading comprehension and quantitative reasoning. Decide what your study approach will be – Will you take a prep course? What materials will you use to study? The American Student Dental Association has some great information about preparing for the DAT.
After taking the DAT, you’ll want to submit an application to the ADEA Association American Dental Schools Application Service. The ADEA AADSAS application cycle is open from June - February. They collect, verify and process or deliver your application to each school you choose to apply to.
Once you submit recommendation letters and any other supplemental application materials, looks like you’re ready to apply!
Post – application, most schools also require personal interviews with candidates. Remember that even though they’re making sure you’re a good fit for their school, you need to make sure the school is a fit for you too! After all, this is where you’ll be spending the next four years of your life.
Although each dental programs admission decision timelines vary, you could learn of our acceptance as early as December or January of the year you apply.
For more dental school information, check out our Dental School Bucket List.