recommendation, also known as letters of evaluation, are a required portion of
the ADEA AADSAS® application. ADEA AADSAS allows you to submit up to four letters.
Individual dental schools also sometimes ask for additional letters of
recommendation separate from the ADEA AADSAS application.
institutions have different systems for completing letters of recommendation
for students applying to dental school. It is important that you find out as early
as possible what system your school uses so you can start forming strong
relationships with potential evaluators early in your undergraduate career.
Letter: This is exactly what it
sounds like—individual professors, advisors, dentists you have shadowed
and other professionals qualified to recommend you for dental school write
and submit their own individual letters of recommendation electronically
(preferred) or by mail through ADEA AADSAS. Most dental schools require
two letters from science professors, one from an advisor and one from a
Letter: If your institution
constructs committee letters in lieu of individual letters of
recommendation, then it has a prehealth advising committee, or the
advising office has constructed a committee, to discuss individual
students and then write a combined letter of recommendation.
A committee letter counts as three letters of recommendation in the ADEA
AADSAS application. Often, committees are comprised of five to 15
If your institution does committee letters, you will likely be interviewed
by some or all of the committee members before they write your letter.
Larger institutions often do committee letters so they can ensure every
student gets the thorough evaluation process required of submitting
successful letters of evaluation to dental schools. The prehealth advisor
on the committee often takes comments from all of the evaluators and is
actually the one to write the letter based on the comments from the group.
Letter: This is similar to the
committee letter, but instead of the advisor ultimately writing the letter,
a few people on the committee write notes and/or letters about you and
then submit them to the advisor who then writes a cover letter for the
packet based on the notes the committee members wrote about you. The
composite letter also counts as three letters of recommendation in the
ADEA AADSAS application.