Six Best Practices

  1. Fill knowledge gaps by establishing relationships with key individuals/institutions. Tap into the content experts at your institution or in your local area. These experts can include a career/advising center, English and Business departments, dental school admissions officers and local or state dental societies.

  2. Develop resources aligned with the dental school application preparation timeline. Three years prior to applying, encourage students to start thinking critically about their choice of dentistry by creating a questionnaire that can help them explain why dentistry is the right career path for them. Additionally, encourage students to begin building a solid relationship with potential evaluators as early as possible. This includes science professors and practitioners they have shadowed.

    Two years prior to applying, help students demonstrate their knowledge of the profession by developing best practices and guidelines around manual dexterity skills, shadowing and leadership. 

    During the application year, consider hosting an ADEA AADSAS application kick-off session that offers information on perfecting the personal statement and incorporates a mock interview session. Additionally, create pre-application short answer essay questions to help students more effectively prepare for the ADEA AADSAS application. The essay questions should focus on shadowing/clinical experiences, explaining a gap year, research, service to others, cultural competency, passion for dentistry, family and life background, and teamwork. 

    During the months following an application submission, provide students with a dental school interview checklist and as many mock interview sessions as possible. Additionally, encourage students to use financial planning tools such as the National Student Loan Data System or

  3. Help students plan for financial expenses associated with applying to dental school. Advisors should discuss with students the importance of planning early for both expected (e.g. DAT courses, application fees, deposits) and unexpected (e.g. marriage, death of a family member, or sudden illness) costs related to applying to dental school. Encourage students to set-up a small “career” savings account as early as freshman year.

  4. Encourage peer-to-peer engagement through a predental/prehealth club. Predental and prehealth club members are some of the most engaged students on campus. All students interested in dentistry should be encouraged to participate in a predental student organization, which often can nurture leadership opportunities such as a peer-to-peer mentoring program or a student-run shadowing network.

  5. Host “Dental School 101” sessions each year. Dental school-specific workshops, including sessions on the intricacies of the ADEA AADSAS application and the importance of strong manual dexterity skills, can help applicants more successfully tackle their dental school applications. In-depth workshops on preparing for the DAT can also be a valuable resource.

  6. Leverage ADEA resources. ADEA has several free resources to help students prepare for a career in dentistry, including:

We recognize how hard you work as a health professions advisor to help your students fulfill their dreams, and we hope these best practices prove valuable as you help shape the next generation of dental professionals.