Pre-Dental

Colorado ASDA Summer Pre-Dental Academy 2017

So my pre-dental-centered advice blogs are being published at a rather inopportune time, since the AADSAS application for the 2017-18 cycle opened, like last week. Oops. This isn’t entirely unfounded, though, I am mainly writing the series as a resource to withstand longer than just a single cycle and as a supplement to the Summer Pre-Dental Academy (see below).

Summer of 2014, I caught wind of a series of events University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine was holding – a Summer Pre-Dental Academy. The event was put on by a then-DS2 and now recent graduate of the school, Kyle L. Back then, the Academy was an eight-week series of lectures every Saturday and I really looked forward to flexing my chops at drilling and filling basic class I’s on #19. But being the weasel I was (and still am), I wanted to get in with current students, picking their brains on the application, the DAT, and the curriculum itself.

1517614_1454631734760783_62786714_n.jpgLook what we found in the ASDA pre-dental archives (2014). Issa me (far right)! Issa Lynn (Colorado ASDA’s Vice President-Elect second from the left)!
Photo courtesy of Ryan Gonzales (now DDS)

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At that time, I hadn’t yet taken by DAT and regularly shadowing local dentists. I dabbled, here and there – the fire hadn’t been lit beneath me just yet. Kyle’s presentations, which ranged anywhere from preparation for the DAT’S PAT to dental anatomy inspired my aspirations to dentistry. I single-handedly owe it to this program in making my ultimate choice to attend the University of Colorado.

DSB101, as Kyle called it, presented me with the information I need to pen my personal statement, organize my DAT study schedule, and figure out the logistical nightmare that is AADSAS application. I am proud to call myself a product of the Colorado ASDA Summer Pre-Dental Academy and am even prouder to now help run it with my friend, Jamie M., a current DS2.

This summer, the Academy will run for four Saturdays in July (makes it easier to attend all of sessions, right?) and will cost a total of $90.67 (not-round number due to Eventbrite fees ¯\_(ツ)_/¯). Breakfast is included so even if you wind up hating dentistry because of us you’ll get four ~$22 Panera meals out of it.

Register here on Eventbrite

Check out the Facebook event and like Colorado ASDA Pre-Dental Committee on Facebook

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*This post is sponsored by Colorado ASDA

Follow us on Instagram @carpedentumblog

Contact Colleen

Featured image is Jordan D., former Colorado ASDA Pre-Dental Chair

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Pre-Dental FAQ

I’m taking a break from writing on the AADSAS to write an FAQ for pre-dentals. It can be rather confusing to parse through so many pages of information, especially reading my lengthy writing #sorrynotsorry. Anyways, I’m really enjoying writing these and based on the blog stats, people around the country are actually reading them! I had phenomenal advisors and mentors through my pre-dental years and I can only hope to give back just a little to that community! So here’s your FAQ and I’ll try to make it short-ish:

What in the world do dentists do?
From the ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools: “A dentist is a scientist and clinician dedicated to the highest standards of health through prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of oral diseases and conditions.”

Easy enough. A general dentist can pick and choose which procedures they do, specifically focusing on operative and restorative dentistry – this can manifest itself as fillings (composite and restorations), dentures, minor orthodontic work (i.e. Invisalign), implants, straightforward root canal treatments, and so much more that I don’t even know about since I’m still learning too. See below for info about dental specialties.

Ew mouths are gross. Why be a dentist?
I’ll insert my own quip here but after this I’ll shut up – I was asked this question all the time in college. Someone even went as far as to say, “You probably want to be a dentist because you know you’ll never get into medical school.” I have professors and maybe future employers reading this blog so I can’t really say what my response was.

Anyways, again, here is the ADEA guide’s response: “Dentistry is a dynamic health profession. Dentists are financially successful health professionals and highly respected members of their communities. The demand for dental care will continue to be strong in the future, ensuring the stability and security of the profession.”

In my words: Dentistry is chill because you’re always doing something different. It’s no desk job and the cubicle is obsolete in this field. You’re always doing something with your hands, interacting with patients, and using unique skills to alleviate patients’ pain and also prevent future health problems, both oral and systemic. Dentists make good money with a great lifestyle to boot and you have many options when it comes to work – corporate, private practice, etc. You own yourself. Lastly, as long as people have mouths (and last time I checked, the world isn’t selecting for the mouthless), dentists will be needed – job security is omnipresent. That was long but I hope I’ve convinced you!

Sold! Wow! How cool! How do I become a dentist?
In most cases, you’ll need a BA or a BS to matriculate to dental school, but your major doesn’t matter. I studied both biology and classics and though the latter is relatively useless in what I’m currently doing in SIM clinic, I still liked doing it in college. You’ll need to complete a series of prerequisite classes that varies from school to school, but generally is 8 hours of biology (with lab), 8 hours inorganic chemistry (with lab), 8 hours organic chemistry (with lab), 8 hours physics, 8 hours English, DAT scores, and experience with dentistry by means of shadowing or volunteering.

Note, though, dental school is, by no means, easier to get into than medical school. This is absolute fiction and dentists are real doctors as well.

Screen Shot 2017-05-30 at 8.48.38 PM.pngYou do NOT have to major in biology or the natural sciences to become a dentist or even apply to dental school. Plenty of people do just fine with majors external to STEM. Major in whatever you want – liberal arts for all!

Oh no, I have an X GPA and a Y DAT score, I don’t think I’m going to get into dental school. What do I do?
Well, you never know unless you try. The average DAT score of a matriculating dental student is 18 and the average GPA is around a 3.6* (these numbers held true for when I applied to dental school, however, I can no longer find a reliable source for either of these two numbers, will update when I can). Keep in mind that these are averages, and therefore there are accepted students that deviate beyond these numbers, but on the upper and lower limits of the DAT and GPA scales. It’s just an average, but realistically, your DAT and GPA are the two biggest things on your application that you are in total control in. Aim to do as well as you can in college and study as hard for the DAT, both will result in habits that will benefit you well in dental school.

In the instance you are rejected and must take a gap year, consider changing up your application – do you need to retake the DAT? Do you need to retake classes? Diversity your portfolio of extracurriculars? Rewrite your personal statement? All or only some of the aforementioned might be pertinent to you, but to put things plainly, never submit the same application as the previous one that got you rejected. The sheer definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and hoping for a different result. Don’t do it. Ultimately, it’s up to you to channel that sadness, anger, etc. and use it in your best interest, revamping your application and making yourself a better applicant the second time around. (Make sure your prerequisites and DAT score will still be valid when you apply the following year, each school is different and some will only accept prerequisites taken within X years of applying, as with DAT scores. For DAT scores, they typically expire after three years, but again, you must check with each school).

If you want to be a dentist badly enough, you will eventually get in.

How do I become a compelling applicant?
Dentistry should be your passion, and your application should exude that, inside and out. Your extracurriculars and school activities should focus on things that give a window to the world on who you are – dental admission committees are pretty good at discerning fact from fiction and one’s true passions and intentions. Coming from someone who used to serve in an office of admission at a selective liberal arts school, I can absolutely assure you that it is relatively easy to see through an applicant that looks impeccably perfect – real patients are treated by real doctors, who are real people.

Great candidates for dental school are those that have done their research and confirmed that dental school is the path they want to take to arrive at their lifelong career. High GPAs, stellar DAT scores, dental experience, excellent letters of recommendation can demonstrate to admission committees your commitment to dental medicine. However, it is crucial to note that there is no single “perfect” applicant, hence I used the terminology “compelling.” Dental schools could fill their entire classes with boring, type-A students (not knocking type As) with near perfect GPAs and DAT scores – again, real people make real doctors that treat real patients. Demonstrate that your skills and life experiences are unmatched and unlike those of any applicant with your personal statement and extracurricular activities.

Finally, certain schools look for certain traits in applicants. Again, this comes down to researching your designated dental schools. Some schools are heavily research-based and expect publications from their dental students during their tenure at the school. Other schools are clinic-heavy, wanting to produce practitioners with the best hand skills required to do all types of dentistry. Other curriculums may have an inclination toward community service. Consider which schools and their corresponding philosophies might best fit your lifestyle and personal beliefs.

I’m an older student (>25 years old), what advice do you have for me?
If you are applying later in life than most applicants (traditional applicants applying during their junior year of college or during their gap year), I frankly think you have an advantage. You have far greater life experience that has molded and imparted you wisdom beyond that of a regular college graduate. Use the personal statement and your extracurriculars to talk about those experiences and the lessons learned from your prior careers, travels, or family life. If you can demonstrate your maturity and expansive skill set, you too can stand out amongst the sea of recent graduates.

Dental school sounds hard. How long is it? What type of tests do you take during it?
You’re darn right that dental school is hard! But it’s also so much fun. Dental school is a four year program, with the exception of University of the Pacific in California, which awards a DDS degree in only three years instead of four. What’s the difference between the DDS and a DMD? Absolutely nothing. Doesn’t mean a thing, other than people now address you by “Dr.”

During dental school, you will take three board exams – the first two, NBDE Part I and II are multiple choice, computer-based exams at Prometric centers just like the DAT. Dat computer-based standardized testing never ends! NBDE Part I focuses on didactic material you learn during your first year or two of school (so things like anatomy, physiology, dental morphology, occlusion, etc.) and the NBDE Part II focuses more on dental-related things (i.e. the length of a 329 vs. a 330 bur, case studies, etc.). However, I have been told that beginning with the class of 2021, some dental schools will be rolling out a new, comprehensive NBDE exam to be taken during the fourth year. This will whittle the number of high-stakes exams down from three to two, but caveats include combining all of that material, accumulated over the course of four years as opposed to 1-2 per NBDE exam. More information to come as I pick administrative minds about the new NBDE.

Finally, during your fourth year, you will take a clinical exam (NERB, WREB)  or an alternative exam (the OSCE, portfolio, etc.) to become a licensed dentist in the region in which you will practice.

What’s the day in the life of a dental student?
Great question. It changes every day, just like the life of any normal, practicing dentist. Generally, your first two years of dental school will focus on didactic and preclinical work (on SIM clinic mannequins) and your final two years will involve you treating patients in the school’s dental clinics or even traveling for rotations and outreach in underserved populations. Some schools have block schedules for their classes (i.e. a certain blocked-off timeframe to complete one class, then you move on to another block to complete the next class, and so on), but each dental school is unique in its own scheduling model. For blog posts on my own everyday experiences as a dental student, go over to the right navigation bar and click “D School.”

What can I do after dental school?
Dental medicine is great because you are not required to enter into a residency or fellowship upon completion of your four years at an accredited dental school. That means you have the option to participate in MATCH or attempt to specialize beyond general dentistry or you may dive into the workforce and begin your attempt at chipping away from your massive pile of student loans.

Dental residencies include a General Practice Residency/Advanced Education in General Dentistry (12 months; technically not a specialty residency, but considered advanced education), Public Health (1-2 years), Endodontics (2-3 years), Oral Surgery (4-6 years), Orthodontics (2-3 years), Pediatrics (2-3 years), Periodontics (3 years), Prosthodontics (1-3 years), Oral Medicine, or Radiology (I am unsure of residency lengths for the final two). There will be a separate post detailing each residency.

*This post is sponsored by Colorado ASDA

~ Colleen

Follow us on Instagram @carpedentumblog

Contact Colleen

 

 

 

 

AADSAS – Letters of Evaluation

So it’s been confirmed by one of my pals that applied during the 2016-17 cycle: This is indeed a new AADSAS format and people everywhere are scrambling to finish their applications in this format, so you all are not the only ones. Today, we’re going to be talking about letters of evaluation, which now fall under the purview of the AADSAS’s “Supporting Information” section (along with Experiences, Achievements, Licenses, and Personal Statement).

By the way, thank you for all the views! I had no idea people would be interested so early in this blog’s inception! I’m coming for Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop throne.

Letters of evaluation (formerly and mistakenly called letters of recommendation) give dental school admission committees a window of who you are from an objective perspective. It provides a brief judgment of both academic and non-academic abilities from selected sources, hopefully a positive one!

Before asking someone for a letter of evaluation, consider the following:

  • How well do you know this person?
  • In what context have you worked with this person?
  • Did you do well in this professor’s class?
  • Offer to meet with the evaluator during their office hours to present the prospect of writing your letter, it helps put a face to the name in what may be a class of 100 pre-health students
  • Provide this person a copy of your transcript, dental school personal statement, and resume to guide their letter
  • Be prepared to give your evaluator a good answer of why you want to pursue dentistry and why you are deserving of their recommendation
  • Give evaluators plenty of time (around one month is reasonable)
  • Explain how your letter of evaluation should be submitted – either to AADSAS itself or to a pre-health committee (if your evaluator is submitting to AADSAS themselves, once you add them as a recommender, the system will forward them a link where they can upload their evaluation; same with the committee letter as well)
  • Write a “Thank You” note to each evaluator
  • Respect the confidentiality of your letters and refrain from requesting a copy or asking to view it

Consider these Don’t’s:

  • It’s a bad idea to have a family member write you a letter, even if your parent is a dentist that you technically shadowed, needless to say, familial ties obscure the veracity of the letter
  • It’s rather unwise to get an evaluation from a well-known or famous person unless you just happen to be close to them in a professional context – I would’ve loved to have Chrissy Teigen write me a letter of evaluation for dental school, but she’s only favorited my tweets three times (maybe I would’ve considered it if she favorited just one more, but)
  • Don’t ever write your own letter of evaluation
  • Don’t ever read your letter, especially if you indicated that it was confidential (and you should indicate such!)

Dental school admissions committees are looking for personal anecdotes of you in your letters. They want to get an idea of how others view you beyond pure classroom experiences and brief encounters. Therefore, your recommenders should be people that will do just that, recommend you and shed positive light on you. Choose your recommenders carefully, but take note of certain criteria recommended here:

The new AADSAS specifies that you may enter a maximum of four individual evaluation requests or one individual and one committee request. Once you have created an Evaluation Request, the recipient/evaluator will receive a link to a upload their letter to AADSAS directly. What does this mean for who you should be asking for a letter from?

This actually varies from dental school to school. Again, this is something that you need to evaluate with each individual school you have designated. D school research is still the ultimate key here. However, many pre-health committees will request these letters for their committee letter: two science professors, one dentist (either from a shadowing or other dental experience), and one other. Someone once told me that the “other” letter should be from a job supervisor, principal research investigator, or a non-science professor.

I personally followed this model and requested a committee letter, submitting requests for two of my science professors, a periodontist I shadowed, and my research advisor (who also happened to be a science professor I took classes with). My “extra” letter in addition to my committee letter came from my pre-health advisor in my college’s Career Center.
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Letters of evaluation can be individual or committee – committee letters are a compilation of all of your obtained letters of recommendation, often written by your college’s pre-health committee if one is available. This helps to highlight the best qualities of all of your letters and streamline the reading process for dental schools. Some college pre-health committees will pen committee letters but also attach copies of all of the original letters in full behind the single committee letter, that way, an admission committee can still read them further if they so oblige.

Are individual or committee letters preferred?
Hmm. It depends. I’ve asked a lot of pre-health advisors and some dental school admission committee members this and they tell me to select whichever letter(s) might be more personal. I’ve also been told that if your college offers a committee letter, you should probably defer to that option – I’m not sure why.
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It is recommended that all letters submitted should be professional letterhead and signed, please inform your evaluators.

Letters of evaluation can be submitted either electronically (email) or via hard copy letter mail, but I think any wise pre-dental knows that electronic letters are the way to go for speed’s sake. Definitely inform your evaluators (and/or school’s letter committee) that you’d prefer the former.

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Do letters need to stay confidential?
Absolutely. Yes. Dental schools will see if you fail to waive your right of access to an evaluation, which comprises the integrity and veracity of the letter. Confidentiality ensures a candid and honest response from the evaluator.

If your dentist/professor/supervisor asks you to pen your own letter and have them sign it, DO NOT DO IT. It is very easy to discern a fake letter from a real one and this is a phenomenal way to be blacklisted from dental school forever. It is not worth it. If your recommender simply no longer has time to write the evaluation, select a new one.
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You can check the status of your letters and transcripts (i.e. whether AADSAS has received them or not) by clicking the “Check Status” tab at the top of the navigation bar.

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*This post is sponsored by Colorado ASDA

~ Colleen

Follow us on Instagram @carpedentumblog

Contact Colleen

AADSAS – Transcript Entry

Wow! Double blog posts today, I must really like doing this. Or something. Happy June 1st!

So originally, I prewrote all of my AADSAS-related blog posts and was planning on publishing them one at a time over the course of the next few weeks, but as with all great things, nothing ever goes as planned. I opened up the AADSAS on today just like thousands of excited and anxious dental student-hopefuls across the country and was smacked in the face with a brand new interface and webpage made over to match the century we currently live in. (I’m really okay with it, the old website was kind of an Internet Explorer-worthy eyesore.) The one year I start blogging the darn application has to change on me, rendering all of my ugly screenshots obsolete. As I stated in my previous blog post on the Professional Experience section of the application, I’m working on getting everything updated so it’s good to go for pre-dentals in the upcoming years.

To be as honest as possible, transcript entry is tedious busy work. No, it’s nothing hard or painfully difficult, but it is a lot of typing and redundant entry. It’s easy, but I wouldn’t suggest you go at it with a bottle glass of wine on hand. Frankly, you cannot make any errors, or you run the risk of holding up your entire application after eSubmitting and AADSAS finds your alcohol-fueled errors. Be careful, attention to detail is so prime here.

Here’s a link to the video AADSAS had made for transcript entry. It’s actually rather helpful. In fact, I think it’s so good, I’m going to keep my writing to a minimum and direct you to the source themselves. But my brief synopsis with screenshots will be below.

For transcript entry, you’ll need copies of all of your transcripts from all of your colleges that you plan to sent to AADSAS (which needs to be all of them, even the community college you took classes from in high school). Settle yourself in begin working.

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Follow the directions presented to you. If you successfully entered all of your Colleges Attended in the “Academic History” section, they will pop up under Transcript Entry. AADSAS will ask you to open a semester and enter in all classes that you took during that time period (Fall XXXX, Spring XXXX, Summer XXXX, etc.):
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You’ll be able to enter in all of the information requested. If you’re still in college and entered all of your information up to your junior year info, you must enter in your expected courses and denote their status as “In Progress/Planned” since you haven’t actually taken the class yet. This will gray out the grades boxes and you can update those during the AADSAS’s fall academic update (more info to come).

There are seriously a million different subject options to categorize your classes, so even if you went to a liberal arts college like me, you’ll find a way to categorize your “Sociology and Neurophilosophy of Counterculture and Free Will in the Southwest, with a focus on Third Wave Feminism” class. Options, we like options.
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This is new for the 2017-18 cycle, but if you scroll to the very bottom of the page, your designated dental schools’ prerequisite information will follow you. This actually helps categorize your classes, as you can ensure that the classes you took actually line up with the dental school’s categorization of it. Nifty.
Screen Shot 2017-06-01 at 3.13.01 PM.pngFinally, I thought I’d talk about the Professional Transcript Entry service that the ADEA offers. Personally, I didn’t use it and instead just spent a June afternoon completing the steps I outlined above, if I guess if you’re really pressed for time and/or have many different transcripts to enter (i.e. you went abroad, switched undergrad institutions multiple times, or any other scenario in which you’d have an abundance of paperwork following you), it costs $65 for up to three transcripts, $90 for 4-6 transcripts, or $140 for 7 or more transcripts – it’s not cheap whatsoever. Basically, what happens is that Professional Transcript Entry begins as soon as you submit your application and AADSAS receives all of your official transcripts (with transcript matching forms as well!). Once your application is submitted and AADSAS receives all of your official transcripts, they can still take up to ten business days to complete the Professional Transcript Entry order (which sounds like more time than it’s worth IMHO). Your call.

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~ Colleen

*This post is sponsored by Colorado ASDA

Follow us on Instagram @carpedentumblog

Contact Colleen

AADSAS Education Section – Transcript Matching

Submitting the AADSAS application and designating which dental schools will be lucky enough to read your application is a game of time. Admissions are rolling so applications submitted earlier will be read ahead of those submitted later. Though it varies by school, I’ve called around and confirmed that many schools read applications in waves, though the exact timeframe of each wave cannot be divulged – so APPLY EARLY.

I recognize this post is coming late, but I hope those of you that are reading and following along might benefit.

My suggestion: When the AADSAS opens (like tomorrow!), immediately print off your transcript matching forms. They should look very similar to the photo I have of the TMDSAS transcript matching form below. Remember, you cannot do this in advance of June 1st, as you will not have your AADSAS or TMDSAS ID – sorry, you cannot use my sample! Colleges/universities differ on how official transcripts must be obtained. I suggest you research this before June 1st and BUDGET for the minor costs associated with obtaining and sending official transcripts.

When submitting your request to your college’s Registrar’s or Academic Affair’s office for an official transcript, you MUST give them a copy of your completed transcript request form to be included in the envelope in which they send your transcript in! Transcripts submitted to the AADSAS must be accompanied with a matching transcript request form that details the applicant’s information. This helps AADSAS or TMDSAS correctly match each applicant’s transcript with their corresponding application. Please make sure your registrar knows this! All transcripts submitted to the AADSAS must be accompanied with a transcript request form (containing applicant’s information, ID, etc.).
Screen Shot 2017-05-30 at 4.05.03 PM.pngTMDSAS transcript-matching form example. Not to be reproduced and used. 

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Update: I was able to snag a copy of the AADSAS transcript-matching form on June 1st when the AADSAS opened. You’re welcome.

This is almost verbatim to what I added to the end of my post on the general AADSAS application, but it needs to be repeated because it is so important. It can take up to six weeks for your transcripts and DAT scores to be processed. SIX WEEKS. If you submitted your application on June 1st, your transcripts and DAT scores might finally be processed mid-July. Hence, it is important to apply early AND submit your transcripts and DAT scores as soon as possible. You do not need to wait until your transcripts and DAT scores are processed before you can eSubmit your application. Once all components are sent in, AADSAS processes items on their own and forwards all application components to the schools when it is has been prepared. If your DAT scores are submitted late, AADSAS will send your application to your designated schools without the DAT scores and then forward an updated application to schools when your scores arrive to them.

When I inquired at a few dental schools, several of them actually told me that while they still read applications without all components of the application (since you should theoretically already have imported your classes and grades into the AADSAS application’s Education section and self-report your DAT scores as well), they will not invite you for an interview until your application is “completed,” meaning all official transcripts and DAT score reports have been forwarded to them by AADSAS.

*This post is sponsored by Colorado ASDA

~ Colleen

Follow us on Instagram @carpedentumblog

Contact Colleen

Where the $&*% should I go to school?

^^ It’s a great question. (This post was updated on 01/01/17 to include screenshots from the new AADSAS interface.)

First of all, I’d recommend you purchase a copy of the 2017-2018 (or -insert year here-) ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools here. No, like really, STOP. DROP. And buy the book. Both a print and online (usually) version are available for a pretty nominal sum compared to the information you’ll ultimately get out of it. Or, better yet, ask your pre-health advisor if he/she has it in their office and if not, try to convince them to purchase a shareable copy for everyone! The Guide is a pretty comprehensive resource that profiles all American and Canadian dental schools, providing demographic information, average DAT scores and GPA of matriculating class, in-state vs. out-of-state tuition information, and will overall streamline your school selection. Even getting your grubby hands on one that’s a year or two old will be immensely helpful.

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Applying to professional school, especially medical or dental school, is vastly different from applying to college. At least when I applied to undergrad, I applied to schools that fell into one of three categories: Safety Schools, Middle Ground Schools, and Reach Schools. Unfortunately, dental school doesn’t quite work out in this same way, as with dental school, only about 50% of applicants are actually invited to enroll. Certain assets of an applicant will make them more attractive to one school over another. For example, a brief glance at the Official Guide reveals that state schools tend to enroll higher numbers of in-state residents compared to out-of-state residents, largely due to state government education grants and state-specific statutes of residency. However, for certain states without public dental schools, programs like WICHE exist to help subsidize out-of-state tuition costs for students that reside in a state without a public dental school. I can post separately on that later.

Think about it – where might you see yourself living for the next four years? Where might you want to practice after dental school is all said and done? Geographic location matters, as does living in an urban or rural environment and the patient bases in each of those places. Consider rising rent costs and the cost of living around each dental school, not to even mention the sheer price of tuition and fees alone. What are equipment rental fees? Does the school offer scholarships? All are factors to ponder when the cost of a four-year dental education can easily topple a quarter-million dollars.

Think about what type of dentistry you’d like to do – is community service a pillar by which you live your life? What is the school’s focus – clinical skills, research, etc.? What is the school’s teaching style? What type of technologies exist at individual schools and how are those technologies integrated into the curriculum? When are Part I and II* (this will change soon with the integrated NBDE written exam) of the NBDE taken? Think about continuing education, the student:faculty ratio, and the alumni network that exists.

The search for a best fit school is a lengthy process involving extensive research: scour the website, talk to students and alumni to see what they liked about the school they attended, contact the admission committee, and tour the campus.

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A school everyone should apply to:
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Edit 06/01/17: AADSAS does something really cool now; when you select the schools you wish to apply to, they link to a sweet little webpage that integrates the school’s values, goals, and prerequisites on a single page – basically, a nice comprehensive information sheet that explains what the school is about. Wish we had that when I was applying, would’ve made school research (hey!) infinitely easier. Another tip is if you’re reading this blog and you’re a pre-dental who won’t be applying to d school for another  couple of years, go ahead and make an ADEA AADSAS account and open an application. You’re under no obligation to submit it and you can use this “fake” account to familiarize yourself with the application and, with this new feature, with specific dental schools and their programs.

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Do you see those three beautiful faces in the header? Those are my classmates (Matthew, Kasey, and Clarke, from left to right), they’re achieving next-level fame!

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*This post is sponsored by Colorado ASDA

~ Colleen

Follow us on Instagram @carpedentumblog

Contact Colleen

The AADSAS Application – General

If you’ve stumbled upon this blog without knowing me or what I do, there’s a pretty safe bet that you’re a pre-dental looking into how to apply to dental school and/or researching dental schools themselves. All of the above apply. Today’s (actual) post details the ADEA AADSAS (which I’ll be calling the AADSAS from here on out) application, the centralized application system used by all* American dental schools (*except for Texas, they think they’re their own country and I can say that since I’m from Houston). I’ll be making a separate post to tackle the TMDSAS, aka the Texas AADSAS.

If you’re currently a junior in college and wanting to matriculate the fall after you graduate, you need to apply RIGHT NOW. If you’re a junior in college and want to take a gap year, matriculating the fall following your graduation, you will complete the AADSAS next year, during the 2018-2019 cycle. For a better understanding of this, see the graphic below:Screen Shot 2017-05-25 at 6.31.43 PM.png

The American Dental Education Association’s Associated American Dental School Application System is the application in which you, the pre-dental, will consolidate all of your transcripts, DAT score, personal statement, letter of recommendations, and experience/shadowing/etc. It is one application that is sent to all schools that you select, therefore, you shouldn’t tailor your personal statement or application to just one school. The AADSAS application for the 2017-2018 cycle opens on June 1st, 2017 (nifty countdown timer here) and I can imagine that some of you are already itching to submit. The application fee is $245 for the first school, with each addition school being $98. As you might imagine, this adds up fast, not even accounting for the money you will inevitably spend on secondary applications and traveling for interviews. There is a minimal fee assistance program available, but most everyone I’ve talked to has said it is more trouble than it is worth (you must submit the FAP application before e-submitting your application – this can delay your submission).

The AADSAS application is rolling. This means you should apply ASAP, as applicants submitting their materials earlier will be evaluated first. Listen up – you want to be first. The opening of the AADSAS application should be the end – have all your materials, letters of recommendation, transcripts with transcript matching forms, description of activities, etc. READY TO GO. The AADSAS application instructions can be found here, see below for the basic jist, and see directly below for a TL;DR if you cannot be bothered with reading.

TL;DR: Save your DENTPIN from your DAT registration or you’re gonna be in a world of hurt. Make an AADSAS account on June 1st and finish that sucker ASAP. eSubmit and sign away your retirement fund.

4 Steps to Apply (*5 as of 06/06/17):

1. DENTPIN
The DENTPIN is used for DAT registration, the AADSAS registration, and NBDE Part I/II. In other words, if you’ve already taken the DAT, you should have this. Do not lose it! Make sure the email connected to your DENTPIN is an email you can access forever, so perhaps not your undergraduate college email or the middle school one with your favorite Neopet in it.
Register for a DENTPIN here

2. AADSAS
Make an account on the ADEA ADEA AADSAS portal as soon as you can (most often beginning June 1st). You will access your application from here.
Screen Shot 2017-05-25 at 7.37.17 PM.png

Edit 06/01/17: New ADEA AADSAS landing page screenshot below – we have moved into the era of modern font and user-friendly interfaces!
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3. Complete the AADSASScreen Shot 2017-05-25 at 7.40.13 PM.png

Edit 06/01/17: New ADEA AADSAS homepage screenshot below.
Screen Shot 2017-06-01 at 2.59.38 PM.png

7 parts: application information, education, professional experience, personal statement, letters of evaluation, release statement, dental school designations (stay tuned for updated blog links as posts go up).
Edit 06/06/17: There are now four parts to the AADSAS application, though all seven parts of the previous application are still contained in the new four. Supporting information will contain your letters of evaluation, professional experience (experiences, achievements, licenses), and personal statement.
The newest section is Program Materials; supplemental questions for individual school designations are now included in the primary AADSAS application. Clicking Program Materials will take you to a page in which you can view prerequisites and supplemental questions for each school.

4. eSubmit
Press submit and pay a sizeable sum of ca$$$$h money. Make sure to check each school’s individual deadline, though if you took my first piece of advice (apply EARLY) this wouldn’t even be relevant. You can always add extra schools after eSubmitting and pay the $98 fee.
This is bolded because it is an addendum to the post published earlier: It takes time, in fact, up to six weeks for the AADSAS to receive your transcripts or DAT scores. This further highlights the importance of being EARLY in submitting your AADSAS application. However, you do not need to wait until everything is processed before you can eSubmit. Once everything is sent in and submitted, AADSAS will process and file transcripts and DAT scores on their own time, submitting your comprehensive application to schools as soon as all components are available.
What does this mean? If your DAT scores are holding up your application, once you eSubmit, AADSAS will forward your application to your designed schools sans DAT scores and then send them when they are available later on.
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5. Check Status (Updated 06/06/17)
Now that all of your hard work is done, kick back and wait for the interview requests to start rolling on. But if only it were that easy. You’re not quite done. You still need to monitor the status of your transcripts and evaluations, and you want a place to see the status of your submitted applications, right?
That’s where the Check Status tab at the top of the AADSAS application webpage comes in handy. I don’t recall if this was ever an interface offered to us back when we applied, but it sure does help in localizing all of the components separate from the primary AADSAS you just eSubmitted – I’m looking at transcripts and evaluations especially.
Here, you’ll also be able to check the status of your applications at different schools. This screenshot says “In Progress” because I have yet to submit my *fake* application. Once CU receives it, “In Progress” will change to “Under Review.” If I am invited for an interview, the status will change to “Interview Offer Extended,” and so forth. This is a great way to check up on your individual school designations and where you file stands with them.
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*This post is sponsored by Colorado ASDA

~ Colleen

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