Gaining acceptance into a dental school is a lengthy process with specific requirements, including the DAT (Dental Admissions Test). There have been exceptions to this requirement for exceptional candidates or exceptional circumstances. However, even with a completed DAT, admission is highly competitive. The ADEA (American Dental Education Association) reported a 39.6 percent admissions rate for 2009. With this low admission rate, it is important to both qualify the schools you apply to and to have an exceptional application.
Evaluate Your Qualifications
Calculate your science and overall GPA based on ADEA guidelines. The ADEA listed the 2009 enrollee average GPA as 3.55 and science GPA as 3.47. Without a DAT, your GPA should be above those statistics to gain an acceptance.
Up to 40 percent of your application will be rated on non-academic qualifications. This includes your extra-curricular activities, recommendation letters and onsite interviews. Identify the areas of your academic resume that may need strengthening.
Take any steps necessary to improve upon the weakness you previously identified. As an example, if you find you are lacking quality reference letters, seek other opportunities for higher quality letters.
Cross reference your qualifications with schools in the ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools and make a list of the schools whose accepted students match your qualifications.
Research contact information for the schools on your created match list. You will want to identify a phone number and/or email address for either a school recruiter or admissions representative.
Contact the admissions representative or recruiter at the schools on your list to find out if they will process your admission without a completed DAT. You can use the email address you researched or call the person you identified in step 5.
Edit your list of schools to include only those schools that will process your application without a DAT.
Complete Admissions Application (AADSAS) and Follow Up
Register for a DENTPIN (Dental Personal Identifier Number) through the American Dental Association website.
Use the DENTPIN to register on the AADSAS (Associated American Dental Schools Application) website to create an admissions application.
Complete your application on the AADSAS website. Be sure to double check information entered. Also make sure your contact information is up to date.
Submit your application to the schools you identified during the research process through the AADSAS website.
Monitor your email address for notifications from schools you have applied to. You may receive requests for more information from the schools, and it is important that you respond quickly.
Make sure to allow yourself a considerable amount of time to complete this process. Begin at least two months prior to your desired application date.
It is best to apply early in the application process.
Not completing the DAT is nontraditional. Be aware of the competition and always have a back-up plan.