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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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.
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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.
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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