Steps for Applying to Dental School
The application for dental school takes at least a year, so be sure to finish your required sciences, as well as any volunteer work or research by the end of your junior year. For more information go to: www.adea.org
Step 1: Take the DAT (Dental Admission Test)
You must complete an application form and pay the testing fee in order to schedule a time to take the DAT. You can obtain an application packet by writing to:
Department of Testing Services
American Dental Association
211 East Chicago Avenue, Suite 1846
Chicago, IL 60611-2678
After you have completed the application, you will receive a notice from the Prometril Registration Center, giving you an 800-number to call to arrange the time, date and place in which you want to test. Testing sites are available at all Sylvan Technology Centers; the test is only administered on the computer (a paper and pencil version is no longer available). It is best to take the DAT before September 1st of your application year.
Although it is not required, many students take a prep course for the DAT. If you choose to do this, be sure to allow yourself enough time to complete the prep course before scheduling your test date.
Step 2: Submit your Pre-Dental Committee Application by June 15th
The Pre-Dental Committee (PDC) cannot review your file until you have completed all of your required science courses, so be sure to finish them by the end of your junior year. When submitting your application, please include:
- Application form
- Personal statement
- Transcripts from every college/university you have attended since high school
- Letter of Recommendation Matching form for each evaluator
Letters of recommendation should be sent directly to Career Services by your evaluators.
Step 3: Apply for admission through AADSAS
Apply on-line or download and print a paper application: www.adea.org
Request a paper application:
1625 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20036-2212
AADSAS (Associated American Dental Schools Application Service) is a centralized application service, allowing you to apply to 55 of the dental schools in the US and Canada with one application and one set of recommendation letters. You will need to have transcripts and DAT scores sent to each school to which you are applying. If you are interested in attending a non-AADSAS school, you will need to contact the school directly to request an application. Check the ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools to determine if the schools to which you want to apply participate in AADSAS.
You will also need to consult the Official Guide to Dental Schools to find the application dates for each dental school, since schools differ in the first and last dates in which you may submit your application, so it will be very important for you to stay organized and adhere to the application dates. Some dental schools also require that you pay an application fee before your application will be reviewed. Again, consult the Official Guide to Dental Schools for this information.
You will also need to indicate on your AADSAS application that Career Services will be sending your letters separately from your application form.
Step 4: Complete secondary applications, upon receipt
After reviewing your AADSAS application, dental schools may send you a secondary application that is specific to the school. You are responsible for providing Career Services with a typed list of the names and addresses of the dental schools to which you are applying.
Step 5: Interview, when invited
Dental schools will invite you to interview after they have reviewed your secondary application and your letters of evaluation. Interviews usually take place at the dental schools; you are expected to cover the costs of travel, lodging and meals while you are there.
Step 6: Receive letter informing you of your status
After you have interviewed, you should receive a letter letting you know if you have been accepted, wait-listed, or rejected by the dental school. Some schools write letters on a rolling basis, while others wait until their interviews are completed to send letters. You may not hear from the school right after your interview, especially if you interview early; it may be one of the schools that waits to write letters.
Other Notes About the Application Process:
Please remember that applying to dental school can be expensive. You are required to pay fees to take the DAT, to submit your application to AADSAS, and to submit secondary applications to the individual dental schools (some of these fees may be waived or reduced if you can document financial need). You will also need to have money to travel to interviews. It is not unusual for applicants to spend over $2,000 on the application process alone, so be sure to plan for these expenses well in advance.
It is also important for you to determine how you will pay for your dental education. Some schools have scholarship money available, but most will expect you to apply for government financial aid programs and/or take out loans. Be sure to file financial aid application forms by the deadlines and to have a sound financial plan for repaying any loans you may incur while in dental school.