2017 ADEA GoDental Virtual Fair – Thursday, June 15th 2-8 pm EST

Comin’ up hot we have the 2017 ADEA GoDental Virtual Fair – an opportunity to participate in a virtual conference, “visiting” the booths of dental schools across the country. The Fair will take place wherever you can log in on June 15th, 2017 from 2-8 pm EST. You can log in and out and back in again whenever you please.

You’ll have the opportunity to:

  • Chat live with admissions representatives from 50 U.S. dental schools;
  • Ask questions about the ADEA AADSAS application;
  • Watch presentations about financing a dental education, the psychology of the dental school interview, letters of recommendation, and more;
  • Join a Social Hour with current dental students;
  • Learn more about paying for dental school;
  • Network with others interested in dentistry in a live chat forum.
    *Information from the ADEA AADSAS staff

You’ll even get to chat with Jamie, Gabe, and I – representatives from Colorado ASDA so we can share all of our love for dental medicine and Colorado!

The best part? It’s FREE!

Register here

~ Colleen

Follow us on Instagram @carpedentumblog

Contact Colleen


Dat DAT: When to Schedule & General Pre-Dental Planning

I started off writing this blog post specifically detailing when to schedule one’s DAT exam in preparation for applications, but it turned into a more general timetable for the dental school application process.

In short, you need to schedule your DAT well before your intend on opening your AADSAS application. If you are planning on opening your AADSAS application and submitting for the current 2017-2018 cycle, you should’ve taken your DAT sometime during fall 2016 or spring of 2017. It takes time for your DAT scores to be sent to AADSAS and I assure you, applying early is key! To break it down, I recommend taking the DAT at least four months prior to opening your AADSAS application on June 1st. Why four months? In the dark instance you do poorly on your DAT, you must wait at least 90 days to retake the exam.

Oh no! I am just now reading this and am scheduled to take my DAT in June and then apply! What do I do?
That’s still fine, your application may not go out in the earliest wave sent to your designated schools, but get it in as soon as possible to hear back from schools earlier. But APPLY EARLY. Still eSubmit your AADSAS at the beginning of June, because again, it takes several weeks for AADSAS to receive and process your DAT scores.

Personally, I had scheduled my DAT for the fall of my junior year, hoping to study for it the summer before. Haha, not without summer research, my job(s) as an RA and an Admission Fellow getting in the way! Originally, my scheduled date to take the DAT was September 26th, having scheduled it in advance on May 26th. I thought I was being proactive, scheduling three months to study intensely. I ended up paying a $25 rescheduling fee to Prometric to take the exam in November, over my Thanksgiving break. I personally felt that three months was far too long to study, dragging out the cramming process and giving me an excuse to be lazy. It also didn’t help that I took a rather unnecessary online DAT preparatory class (IMHO), but that’s a different post. I didn’t begin actively studying for the DAT until the beginning of September, ironically enough when my classes began again. Now that I’m studying for NBDE Part I, I know myself a little better and have given myself less time to study to amplify pressure and up my study habits. Neat!

Traditional Timetable for Applying to Dental School

Though a “traditional” timetable may exist, plenty of applicants and accepted students deviate form the norm. In fact, the so-called “norm” is regressing, as schools begin to select for more diverse classes from greater pools, as more non-traditional students are applying. In my dental school class alone, there are a couple students over age 40 and several students for whom dentistry will be their second, or even third career. Your future dental school class will arguably be one of the more diverse and compelling groups of people you will ever be exposed to. However, the following timetable below will outline the dental school application process for the traditional student, but will also be pertinent to a non-traditional student, as you too will need to complete all of the following steps, in a similar order.

*Recently, it has become popular to take a gap year (or two) between graduation and dental school. In this case, you would actually begin the AADSAS application the summer after your senior year. In other words, the June right after you graduate. I personally did not take a gap year, I didn’t feel like I needed time off prior to beginning dental school, as I took a pretty light senior year schedule. Perhaps we can discuss gap years and nontraditional routes of applying in a different post – so many ideas!

Freshman & Sophomore Year
You should be completing prerequisite courses during these years. Prerequisite courses will vary across dental schools, but generally, they will require introductory biology, physics, inorganic, and organic chemistry courses with corresponding labs. During this time, one should also be gaining healthcare, specifically dental experience. Said experience can be through paid positions as a dental assistant to volunteer positions. Look for positions in which you have the opportunity to build a professional relationship with the doctor or director, but more on that in a future post. Summertimes should be spent with gainful employment, research, or something dental-related. *I personally took classes the summer after my freshman year – this helped me get ahead of the game for classes during my sophomore and junior years. Working a summer job is helpful, as applications (and the DAT!) are pricey.

Sophomore & Junior Year
By this point, you should definitely have completed all prerequisite basic science courses. You should take all of your math and English courses during your freshman-junior years to preserve precious time during your senior year to devote to applications and interviews. Begin planning out your DAT study schedule – when will you take it? What resources will you use?At the close of junior year, most specific prerequisite courses should be complete, as should your DAT. Begin thinking about your personal statement. You should continue to gain professional experience in dentistry: volunteer and shadow.

Junior & Senior Year
The final two years of your undergraduate career will be the busiest, application-wise. You must complete your degree* (or at least all of the school’s require prerequisite courses) prior to matriculating to dental school. You will need to obtain your letters of evaluation and/or a committee letter (see future post). Complete your personal statement. The AADSAS application will open June 1st, the summer in between your junior and senior year and you must have your application and its full components ready to eSubmit (DAT scores, transcript & transcript-matching/request forms, letters of recommendation).

Senior Year
Your hard work is paying off. Complete your degree with additional, final classes. Many schools will begin extending interview invitations as early as July. Relax, enjoy the ride, and take advantage of as many free meals as possible. Interview travel is expensive, as are secondary application fees. Interviews will occur from July through the March of the following year for most schools. Graduate in May, yay! Use May-July to enjoy your final tastes of sweet, sweet freedom (and maybe find a place to live around your new school).

Sometime soon, I’ll try to make a nifty graphic that details the general timeline for preparing for dental school, through prerequisites and the AADSAS itself. Stay tuned, but for now, here’s one that at least details the application timeline, as seen on my general post on the AADSAS:
Screen Shot 2017-05-25 at 6.31.43 PM.png

~ Colleen

*This post is sponsored by Colorado ASDA

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.

Screen Shot 2017-06-01 at 3.06.28 PM.png
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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.):
Screen Shot 2017-06-01 at 3.11.54 PM.png
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.
Screen Shot 2017-06-01 at 3.12.46 PM.png

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.

Screen Shot 2017-06-01 at 3.07.01 PM.png

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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. 

Screen Shot 2017-06-01 at 3.36.19 PM.png
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

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):

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

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!
Screen Shot 2017-06-01 at 3.47.15 PM.png

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

Follow us on Instagram @carpedentumblog

Contact Colleen