Dental Application Tips

Application Service:

AADSAS - Associated American Dental Schools Application Service

TMDSAS - Texas Medical and Dental School application Service (for applicants to any Texas schools)

Important Dates:

First Monday in June - First date to access and submit AADSAS application.

May 1st - TMDSAS opens.

What you should be doing NOW (complete this prior to June 1st):

1) Create the list of schools to which you will apply. Our choosing schools page is devoted to helping you do this.  

2) Schedule the DAT.  The DAT is scheduled online.  You should list all of the dental schools to which you will apply on the DAT registration. If you take the DAT in the same year as your application, you should test in early summer, preferably in May or early June. Although you get an unofficial score on test day, it takes 3-4 weeks for you to get an official DAT uploaded to AADSAS, and schools will not process your primary applications until your AADSAS application has been verified and your DAT scores have been received.  Taking the exam early increases the chances that schools will look at your application early. DO NOT wait for a DAT score to submit your primary application, as it takes 4 weeks for AADSAS to process your primary application before it is sent to schools.

3) Prerequisite coursework.  Complete or plan to complete every required course for each school and plan to complete as many recommended courses as possible.

4) Get involved.  Keep building your resume with meaningful experiences by volunteering, shadowing, researching, leading, etc.  

5) Letters of recommendation

a) Research each of your schools to determine the types of letter they require.  Some schools don't accept the committee letter.  Other schools require additional letters on top of the committee letter.  Make sure you are able to meet the requirements for each school to which you will apply.

b) Ask for any additional letters you need.  Our letters of recommendation page has tips on asking for letters.

c) Plan how to get your letters to your schools.  For most dental schools, you will use the AADSAS to upload your letters. As part of the application, you will will have to enter your letter writers' information.  AADSAS will contact your writers to have them upload letters directly.   

5) Transcripts

a) Verify that everything is correct on your official transcript.  You will need to send official transcripts from EVERY school you have attended to the AADSAS application headquarters.  Because of this, it is a good idea to review your official transcripts to make sure everything is correct before submitting them.  You can order a copy of your USU transcript through the Registrar's office or online through Access/Banner.  This is done through the registrars office or online through Access/Banner.

After June 1st:

1) Fill out your applications.  Instruction manuals are available online for the AADSAS and TMDSAS application.

a) Polish your personal statement.  This is an extremely important part of your application.  You will have about 4500 characters to tell the admissions committee that you are prepared for a career in dentistry.  Use experiences that have helped you build a desire to be a dentist.  Because the committee letter quotes the statement you submitted to them, you should use different experiences, unless you feel that one experience was essential to building your desire and ability to be a dentist.  You should have AT LEAST five other people who know you well read your essay and comment on content, style, and grammar.  Misspelled words and incorrect grammar are great ways to be rejected.  You should start this process early, as waiting a few days between drafts lets you approach the essay with fresh eyes.  Follow the guidelines from ADEA.

b) Polish your activities descriptions.  Enter all of your undergraduate extracurricular activities into the applications with descriptions of what they were and what you learned from them.

c) Enter your completed and planned coursework.   This is perhaps the most tedious portion of the application.  You will need a copy of your official transcript to be able to adequately fill this out and you will need to have the your coursework for the next year of school planned out.

d) Enter schools to which you will apply.   Since you already have your list of schools, you can enter them all.  If you need to add schools later, you can.  NOTE: while most schools have rolling admissions, some do not.  Schools that do not have rolling admissions can be applied to later, after you have completed secondary applications for schools that do have rolling admission, without hurting your chances of acceptance to those programs.  

1) Submit your primary applications (AADSAS).  This should be completed as soon as possible.  We have had several well qualified applicants from USU who have put off submitting their primary applications until July who were not accepted due to the lateness of their application.  Applying early lets you complete secondary applications early, ensuring that schools who would like to interview you have time to interview you.  DO NOT wait for a DAT score to submit your primary application.  

2) Wait for your application to be verified.  This can take up to two months, which is another reason to submit your application early.  If you wait to submit, you may not get secondary applications until the end of August, and students have traditionally struggled with balancing school, extracurricular activities, and secondary application essays.

3) Submit your secondary applications.  Most dental schools will require a secondary application fee, usually about $50-$80, to process your application.  Some schools may require addition essays as part of the secondary application.  Be prepared with other experiences to share in these essays.

4) Interview.  It feels great to be invited to interview.  To prepare, read up on current dental news, review your application, and think of experiences that make you stand out.  Be on your best behavior and, most importantly, be you!

5) Get accepted.  The first round of acceptances is sent on the first Monday of December.  Make sure you tell the advising office so we can celebrate with you.  Pay the fee to hold your seat at the university.  


*Applying to dental school can be financially taxing.  Make sure you are prepared for the costs that are needed to prepare for and take the DAT, apply to schools, interview (plane tickets, food, housing), and pay the deposit when you are admitted.