Tips From Current D.D.S. and Dental Hygiene Students

Preparing for the ADEA AADSAS Application

Posted by Parinaz Esteghamat on May 24, 2021

If you are planning to apply to dental school in the United States, ADEA AADSAS®(ADEA Associated American Dental Schools Application Service) is the main platform that simplifies the application process, allowing you to save time and energy by completing just one application for multiple dental schools.

If you are aiming to apply for dental school right after your undergraduate degree, ADEA AADSAS should be filled out during your junior year. Otherwise, please keep in mind that the application to dental school is a year-round process which opens in early May and closes in February, and it is on a rolling basis (first come, first served). The earlier you apply by submitting the complete application, the higher your chance of getting an invitation for early interviews.

The Four Main Sections of ADEA AADSAS

  1. Personal Information 

  2. Academic History

    In the second section, you are required to include the most accurate information about your Dental Admission Test (DAT) score and the grades for all the courses you’ve completed. My recommendation is to obtain official transcript(s) from all the colleges you attended. It will help you to accurately enter the name of the course, the number of units and the grades.

    Upon submitting your application, your transcript entry will be verified, and if there is an error, your application will be returned to you for correction, which results in a delay in your application review. So, please be mindful of submitting your official transcript(s) to ADEA AADSAS early and entering the transcript(s) accurately. 

  3. Supporting Information

    1. Experiences
    2. In this section, you get the opportunity to showcase your portfolio of what you did after high school. These activities include, but are not limited to, dental shadowing (include the hours), volunteering, extracurricular (sport, art, music and clubs), research, paid work and leadership positions. There is also space to write up to 600 characters about the activity.

      Here are some guiding questions that can help you construct the experience description: 

      • What is/was your role and responsibility?
      • Why did you choose this specific activity?
      • How are you contributing to the activity?
      • What are your takeaways and how are you going to apply what you learned in future?

    3. Personal Statement
    4. In this section, you have the opportunity to talk about, in 4,500 characters, why you chose to become a dentist. I suggest starting by writing an outline and get all of your ideas on paper. Then, start centralizing your ideas by narrowing it down to two to three important experiences that matter the most to you and represent who you truly are. Please avoid cliches, such as “I love art and science” or “I want to help people smile.” Rather, show how you genuinely prepared yourself during your undergraduate studies and extracurricular activities and how that preparation will help you to become successful in dental school and beyond. 

    5. Letters of Recommendation
    6. Typically, schools require letters of recommendation from two science professors, one dentist and one more source of your choice, which can be your job manager, research supervisor, mentor or leadership head. Please refer to the school’s website to ensure that you are requesting the letters from the right people since some schools’ criteria may differ. 

    7. Achievements/Honors
    8. This section includes your membership and/or participation in any honor clubs and any honor awards you’ve received. You can also include any extracurricular recognitions, including but not limited to winning in sports/dance/music/baking competitions and scholarships. 

  4. Program Materials

    1. School Specific Questions 
    2. Here, you can select as many as schools for which you wish to apply. I recommend reading each school’s description carefully and be sure to answer any specific questions the school may include in ADEA AADSAS. Some schools will invite you to the secondary application via email, and others may have their secondary application accessible on their websites.  

The application timeline for dental schools, including the exact dates, may differ from one year to another, so please check out ADEA GoDental website for the most up-to-date information.

The general timeline is as follows:

  • In mid-May, the application opens for the students to start entering their information.
  • In early June, the submission portal opens.
  • The first academic update period is in August – September for those who are still attending college.
  • The second academic update period is between December – February.
  • Early December is the first round of acceptance announcements.
  • In early February, the application closes.

I hope this overview of ADEA AADSAS helps you to prepare in advance for what you can expect of the dental school application. I highly advise applicants to start writing their personal statements and 600-character descriptions for experience section in advance to allow ample time for revision and review before submission. Once you submit the application, nothing can be edited. You can only keep adding to your application by updating your grades and adding new experiences. 

Applying for dental school is a big step in your predental journey for which you should be proud of yourself making such a critical decision. 

Good Luck!

About Parinaz Esteghamat:

Parinaz Esteghamat

Parinaz Esteghamat 
First-year Dental Student, Class of 2024 
Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC

Parinaz Esteghamat completed her undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences at the University of California, Irvine in 2020. She is currently a first-year dental student at Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC. Her biggest goal in life is mastering time management skills because she believes that balancing professional, social, family and “me time” all are constituents of life. 

In her spare time, Parinaz plays music, exercises, paints, dances and hangs out with her friends and family. She advises, “Having fun and peace of mind are extremely important in the life of a busy dental student to gain healthy physical and mental status.”