Words From Your Peers

Attendees Consider Careers in Dentistry at the 2018 ADEA GoDental Recruitment Event

Posted by ADEA on March 30, 2018

Link to view ADEA GoDental Recruitment Event images at the end of this post!

Predental students filled last month's ADEA GoDental® Recruitment Event as they contemplated their future in dentistry and as dental professionals. Nearly 600 attendees convened in Orlando to hear from admissions officers, financial aid advisors and dental educators about the process of applying to dental school. 

This popular event, in its ninth year, is geared toward high school, community college and four-year college students, as well as others interested in dentistry. It allows attendees to network with others who are considering careers in dentistry and to learn more about applying to dental school from admissions officers.

“The ADEA GoDental Recruitment Event offers aspiring dentists a unique opportunity to engage with admissions officers from more than 50 U.S. dental schools at one time, in one location,” says Elizabeth Johnson, Director of Recruitment for ADEA Application Services, an event co-organizer. “Attendees have a chance to learn valuable tips on becoming a successful dental school applicant and network with peers.”

Leon Assael, D.M.D., CMM, Chair of the ADEA Board of Directors and Director and Professor of Community Based Education and Practice at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Dentistry, welcomed attendees with inspiring words about his path to the dental profession. He stressed that this is a journey, and that the future of the profession was right here in this room. “This whole meeting is about you. Our theme is ‘Vision 2030,’ which is the future of dental education. You will be the new practitioners of 2030. I’ve had a gratifying career, and I hope you will have a great career in dentistry.”   

mock dental school interview

A mock dental school interview and panel discussion provided dental school applicants with insight on how an actual dental school admissions interview may unfold. Panelists explained the questions and answers from the mock interview, sharing what an admissions team will look for during an interview, and answered questions from participants. 

Attendees were reminded that interviews are by invitation only. The dental school admissions officers told the attendees that they should come prepared. Receiving an invite means the school is really interested in them as a candidate and they should not waste the opportunity to share why they want to become a dentist and what makes them passionate about the profession. The interview day can include campus and classroom tours, presentations on financial aid and networking opportunities with faculty and students during meals and events. 

Panelists from several dental schools shared key takeaways about the admissions process:

  • Be ready to answer questions about information contained within your application.
  • Get involved in shadowing—it is key to learning what dentistry is all about. Dental school is a major investment in your future. You should take the opportunity to observe a general dentist or specialist at work so you understand what it takes to complete dental school and be a successful practitioner. You should also learn about the business side of dentistry so you understand the basics of running a practice.
  • Use dental terminology when describing your experiences in shadowing to show you are engaged and invested in entering the dental profession.
  • Engage in community service to amplify your education and experience and reflect a well-rounded student.
  • Disclose any legal or conduct issues up front. Share what you have learned from that experience and how it has shaped your path.
  • Explain your DAT scores and grades if they are not optimal and outline strategies that will allow you to successfully tackle the tough dental school curriculum.
  • Highlight your hobbies, which are important as they often translate to dentistry. Like pottery or sculpture? These are translatable to hand work skills necessary in the profession.
  • Understand that GPA and DAT scores are important, but they are one part of a holistic review of applications. Overall and science GPA are often considered separately. Biological science knowledge is important for success in dental school. Understanding these sciences is a predictor of success in the first and second years of dental school. Reading comprehension is also key since complex text is a large component of the education.
  • Emphasize your leadership, teamwork and experiences. Involvement with athletics, clubs, the military and your local predental society will help to distinguish you from other applicants. Be engaged! The breadth and depth of your experiences will show your passion for dentistry.
  • Obtain letters of evaluation from faculty who are familiar with you and your journey. Provide them with your CV in advance so that they are able to write letters which can demonstrate a clear idea of your path, and why you want to be a dentist.
  • Proof your application! Have someone else review all components of your application for errors and omissions. 

For the fourth consecutive year, the profession of dentistry is listed among the top 100 jobs featured in U.S. News & World Report rankings. As you prepare your application to enter this competitive and rewarding career, be prepared, and be ready to explain your experiences and share your passion for this amazing profession.  

View the 2018 ADEA GoDental Recruitment Event Recap Album here.

About ADEA:


The American Dental Education Association (ADEA) is The Voice of Dental Education. Our mission is to lead and support the health professions community in preparing future-ready oral health professionals. Our members include all 78 U.S. and Canadian dental schools, more than 800 allied and advanced dental education programs, 50 corporations and approximately 18,000 individuals. Our activities encompass a wide range of research, advocacy, faculty development, meetings and communications, including the esteemed Journal of Dental Education®, as well as the dental school application services