to dental school can be an arduous process. If you find that you were not
accepted to any dental schools this past cycle, you're not alone. Your dream is
still attainable, and I believe that you should put your best foot forward to
reapplying. Reapplicants should consider the following tips below.
first impulse for some candidates is to reapply immediately in the next cycle.
In reality, it is essential to slow down and consider whether any changes you
need to implement will take more time—such as retaking the Dental Admission
Test (DAT) exam, bolstering a suboptimal GPA or increasing dental exposure. It
is vital to seek advice from prehealth advisors and/or dental school admissions
and Analyze Your Previous Application
your application by assessing accurately where you stand. What are your
strengths and areas for improvement? What held you back the last cycle? Factors
of your application are complex and include the objective measurables: your
GPA, DAT and the like. The non-cognitive factors of your application includes
everything else: your personal statement, letters of evaluation, supplementals,
interview skills and more.
- GPA and DAT – Many predental students think, "Students with low
GPAs and/or DAT scores get into dental school every year." They're right,
but they often forget that these predental students are the exceptions that
prove the rule. The ones with low grades or test scores who get in often have
something extraordinary in their past that helps them.
- Are You Standing Out? –
There are too few spots in dental school to accommodate everyone. As a result,
it's not enough to be qualified; you must stand out. One great way to stand out
is through diverse
activities. If you can boast about
distinct, unusual activities, you’ll automatically be more memorable to the Admissions
Committees. Another way to stand out is through exemplary writing.
- Letters of Evaluation – The most successful students obtain the correct type and
maximum number of letters of evaluation from the required people who know them
well—both inside and outside the classroom. As an applicant, you can’t brag
that much, but your letter writers can go to bat for you.
an interview is a huge accomplishment, but a bad one can sink your chances and
can be hard to come back from—so practice, practice, practice. Work on speaking
in front of a group as much as possible and research commonly asked questions
so that you can be prepared. You'll need to convince the Admissions Committee
that things have changed.
you have identified areas of growth, take the time to grow! Attack the gaps in
your application with excitement and energy. Ask yourself how can you learn
from further studies or experiences to help you become an exceptional future
dentist? Journal about your experiences. What stories can you share about your
journey? Reflect on the opportunities you've had, the people you've learned
from, and the kind of dentist you want to be. After understanding the
limitations in your previous dental school application, you can then assess
where you stand and what realistic goals would be.
Timeline, Requirements and Checklists
- Apply early – Taking advantage of the ADEA AADSAS® (ADEA
Associated American Dental Schools Application Service) soft opening in May
means that you can work ahead on the application before the submission open in
June. Applying early with a thoroughly complete application can be a massive
benefit to your application and make it stand out. Applying later than the
dental school recommends can hinder your application regardless of your
- Focus on what’s new in your application– Focus on the
recent experiences that clarified your motivations and goals. Start with the
personal statement. First and last impressions are crucial, so give attention
to your hook and conclusion. If you’re applying to the same schools as last
year, show your more profound commitment and understanding of the profession of
dentistry. If you used familiar tropes in your previous essays (ie. the reward
of helping people, the value of hard work, the importance of educating
patients, etc.), try to give them more complexity or nuance this time.
Dwell on Past Rejection
like to think of applying to new schools as comparable to a first date, and
it’s a big turnoff when your date spends the whole time talking about their
past relationship. So, when you’re sending an application to a new school, you
probably don’t want to draw attention to your past rejection and create an
unnecessary bias against you. Be wary, though. Some information in your application
will let dental schools know that you’ve applied before.
luck on your journey!
Crystal Ridgley, M.B.A. :
Crystal Ridgley, M.B.A.
Associate Director of Admissions and Student Engagement
University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine
Crystal Ridgley, M.B.A., joined the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine (CU SDM) with over 10 years of education administration experience. She mainly focuses on developing and implementing a plan to engage and recruit new students into the CU SDM’s D.D.S. program, ensuring strategies are inclusive of underrepresented populations. In addition, she also creates and presents an annual recruitment plan, goals, strategies, reports and recommendations to the School’s communication team, committees and executive deans, and collaboratively implements all approved plans and activities.
Ms. Ridgley earned a B.S. in Psychology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute of Technology and State University and an M.B.A. from Indiana Institute of Technology. She is currently working on her Ed.D. in Higher Education at the University of Colorado, Denver with an emphasis in Equity. She is set to graduate in May 2022.