admissions process does not start when you are about to fill out an
application—it really begins when you made the decision to become a dentist.
This process will
include researching the profession and dental schools, meeting with a prehealth
advisor, completing prerequisite courses, engaging in extracurricular
activities and understanding the pros and cons of the profession by spending
time shadowing a dentist.
One key component of
completing and submitting an application for dental school is that you are
encouraged to do it early. Early submission assures sufficient time to obtain
all supporting documents and allows you to correct any unidentified errors that
may pop up later. Individuals planning to apply to dental school will do
so one year before they wish to enter a dental program.
The dental school
admissions process involves many steps, but is made up of three key components
that may vary slightly by dental school.
1. Take the Dental Admission Test (DAT), or the Canadian Dental
Aptitude Test (Canadian DAT) for Canadian dental schools.
The DAT is administered by the American Dental Association and you should
contact them regarding the times that the test is offered and the
locations. All U.S. dental schools require the DAT and some will consider
the Canadian DAT. You need to check the various schools to confirm if they will
accept the Canadian DAT.
2. Submit an application to the ADEA Associated American Dental
Schools Application Service (ADEA AADSAS®).
To apply to most dental schools in the U.S., you must use the ADEA AADSAS. ADEA
AADSAS collects, verifies and processes or delivers your application
information to each of the schools you have chosen to apply to. It is important
to note that ADEA AADSAS does not make admissions decisions; it is the
responsibility of each individual school to make its own admissions
decisions. The ADEA AADSAS opens around the first of the month in June.
Individuals should check with each school they are interested in to find out
the deadline date for the application. Deadline dates vary by school.
Note: Applicants who are Texas residents wishing to apply to dental schools in Texas will use the Texas Medical and
Dental Schools Application Service (TMDSAS).
3. Submit additional materials requested by each dental school.
There are a number of schools that seek additional information from applicants
in the form of a secondary application. This is in addition to the ADEA AADSAS
application and is sent directly to the school. For example, schools may seek
information on work history, more specific information on shadowing
experiences, etc. Often there is a fee associated with the secondary
application, which will vary from school to school.
4. Participate in interviews.
The majority of dental schools require an interview be considered for entrance
into a class. The process and timing will vary by school and can be in the form
of one-on-one, group or multiple mini interviews. Usually they are conducted by
members of the school’s admissions committee.