Dentistry - Applying

Where to Apply ~ When to Apply ~ How to Apply ~ Tips and Procedures ~ What Happens Next

Where to Apply

When you have consulted with the Pre-Health Advisor and are preparing to apply to dental school, you should consult the ADEA resources: Here you can find statistics on grade point averages, admissions processes at each dental school, deadlines, and DAT score information that will help you assess your potential competitiveness as an applicant.
  • Do independent research - a good place to start is the current edition of the ADEA's Official Guide to Dental Schools handbook
  • Make an appointment with Susie Fang to discuss your options.

When to Apply

Applying to dental school is a year long process. Most schools begin accepting applications in early summer each year and it is recommended that you apply as soon as possible for the best chances at admission and financial aid. If you are applying through a centralized application service, keep in mind that it can take several weeks for your application to be processed before it is transmitted to your schools.

How to Apply

Most U.S. dental schools use the Associated American Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS).

When you apply, materials you will send to AADSAS are:

  • AADSAS Web Application
  • AADSAS Application Fee
  • Letters of Evaluation
  • Transcripts

Materials you will send directly to your school(s) are:

  • DAT scores

*Texas schools use the Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service (TMDSAS). You do have the option of using AADSAS, but the schools would prefer that you use TMDSAS.

Tips and Procedures

Coursework: Make sure to check the admissions requirements of the schools you are considering. Some schools may have requirements beyond the regular pre-dental course work. You can plan to take these courses during the application year.

Letters of Evaluation: Some dental schools have specific letter requirements. For example, they might specify a minimum number of evaluations or suggest a specific type of person they want an evaluation from. Make sure you check with the schools you are applying to in order to ensure you meet their evaluation requirements.

In general, you should aim for 3-4 letters with one from a dentist with whom you have shadowed/ mentored/ discussed careers in dentistry.)

For information on letter procedures, visit the Evaluations page.

Personal Statements: Personal Statements can be a maximum of 4,500 characters with spaces or approximately one page single-spaced. The Admissions Committee members who read your essay are looking for individuals who are motivated, academically prepared, articulate, socially conscious, and knowledgeable about the profession. Write about your experiences and any qualities that will make you stand out. Check the ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools (available in the Pre-Health Advising Office) for ideas about essays. You can also visit our Personal Statements/Essays page.

Professional Experience: You will have the following sections on your AADSAS application. Brief written descriptions of each of your activities will be required - they do not need to be lengthy, but make sure they are well written!

  • Academic Enrichment Programs 
  • Awards, Honors, Scholarships 
  • Dentistry Experience 
  • Extracurricular/Volunteer/Community Service 
  • Work Experience (Including Military Service) 
  • Research Experience 

What Happens Next?

Most dental schools will make a first cut based on a minimum GPA, DAT score, or overall feel of the primary application. They will then decide if they will grant you a secondary application. This is handled directly though the school, not through AADSAS.
Secondary applications are different for each school and are an opportunity for you to demonstrate that you would be a good fit at that individual dental school. Usually they request you to answer a few short answer or short essay questions related to why you are interested in dentistry, why that particular school, or experiences you have had.
The only way you can move forward in the application process is by turning in your secondary applications on time. From there, your application is reviewed and the committee decides if you will receive an interview. (An additional application fee will be required.) For information on interviewing, visit our Interview page and you might also consider scheduling a mock interview with your Career Services Office.
Please inform the Pre-Health Advisor if you are interviewed or accepted to a health professions program/school. We track all of this data to better inform future applicants of where our students have had success.