Pre-Dental: Application Process
Since most dental schools have rolling admissions, applying early is important. As the cycle proceeds and spots in the class are filled, admission for the remaining spots can become more competitive. The entire application process takes nearly a full year to complete. By familiarizing yourself with the application process early on, you can develop a schedule for the many application-related tasks you will need to complete and submit a high quality application early in the cycle.
[Click here for the HSAC timeline.]
Here are the five main parts to the application process, and the details that you should know about them:
- Primary Application: Submit through AADSAS (June)
- Ideally you will have strong DAT scores from April or before.
- You pay a base fee which covers 5 applications - you pay extra for each additional school to which you apply.
- The application is submitted on-line. You fill in pages of questions - record keeping type information -about grades, experiences, etc.
- You also submit a personal statement- a one-page statement about why you want to go to dental school.
- Note that the personal statement is often the distinguishing element at the first evaluation since all applicants will be expected to have good grades, strong DAT scores and a healthy laundry list of activities/honors. No committee letter of support accompanies this level of application - students must make the first cut on their own, hence, the importance of grades, DAT scores, and that personal statement.
- Make sure you check that AADSAS has received your transcripts
- Other students have had their applications held up because their transcripts didn't arrive at AADSAS. When this happens the application never makes it out of the starting gate.
- If you don't check, they may sit in limbo for months while other applicants' primaries are processed.
- It is very, very seldom a glitch in our Registrar's office that results in non-submission of transcripts to AMCAS; it is your responsibility to follow up on your application and find out if it is complete.
- Important: Legal citations.
- Student's legal profiles are critical. Even small citations on your record may come back to haunt you during the application process. Even though the AADSAS application may not ask explicitly about your legal record, when given the opportunity to provide "other information," do so and explain the circumstances.
- Secondary Applications (July-Fall)
- The schools examine your application and then decide whether to invite you to complete a secondary application, one that's directly tailored to that institution.
- FAQs about Secondary Applications (from ADEA)
- These secondary applications involve more questions, statements, and a separate check payment to each school ($75-$100 per school).
- The schools expect that secondary applications will be returned in about 2 weeks. Getting them right back can really make a difference as those who delay response may be perceived as being less serious about attending a particular medical school.
- NOTE: Some dental schools may request the secondary application at the same time as the primary application. These schools will have this information available on their websites.
- Committee Letter of Recommendation
- Only after the secondary application goes back to the school is the letter of recommendation sent from HSAC.
- IMPORTANT: You must communicate to your HSAC advisor / the committee chair the accurate addresses for those institutions to which you need the committee letter sent.
- Your HSAC letter of recommendation will get to the school, for the most part, 7-10 days after your application arrives.
- This sequence ensures that when the letter gets to the school it has a "home" in your file.
- The sequence also allows you to make a legitimate phone call to the school to ask, politely, if your application is complete.
- Most schools cut you some slack and will be happy to receive them even 3-4 weeks after the secondary is received, but once you send your secondary, all that should be left to complete the file for final evaluation is our letter.
- Check to make sure your file is complete!
- Once our letter has gone, your advisor will email you; contact each individual program in 2 weeks to be sure the letter has arrived and your file is complete.
- Letters get lost and misplaced at this point in the process. Every year we resend about half a dozen letters out of the 150-200 letters that go.
- Unfortunately, some students don't check on their files for months and a second letter from our end may arrive too late to really make a big difference.
- If all goes well, interviews can happen as soon as late August or early September.
- UMD usually starts interviews around the last week of September.
- Private schools always seem slow.
- Good candidates typically spend all fall interviewing.
- Appreciate that some of our students have already interviewed and been accepted before others find time to send their secondaries back. When this happens, if you are "late to the gate, "you are not usually interviewed until Jan.-Feb. after the class if nearly or completely filled. Then you may find you're in the categories "waitlist," "hold" or "alternates."