Dental School Application Process and Requirements
Generally the dental school admissions process begins with the Medical College Admission Test, which is better known as the MCAT. Other various batteries of questions may be issued to students, but in any case there will more than likely be a standardized test that starts the process off. Questions are taken from the social sciences, humanities, physical sciences and chemistry in addition to the natural sciences and biology. This means that students should prepare information related to a number of topics in order to ensure that they’ll be prepared for the MCAT.
Types of Tested Content
Dental school admissions that use the MCAT will issue it as a computerized exam with test dates that match up with months between January and September. They’ll test three different batteries that consist of physical science, verbal reasoning and biological science. They’re each scored out of 15 points, and the average acceptance score is somewhere between 10 and 11. Test results are received in less than 35 days, so they usually get there before dental school application deadlines become a problem.
Those that use the DAT issue it as a computerized exam as well, and the fees associated with it cover the cost of sending scores over to five different dental schools. Additional fees are charged for those who send them to more than five. It’s offered year round, and consists of four different batteries. These test a survey of natural sciences, perceptive abilities, reading comprehension and quantitative reasoning. Each battery is scored out of 30 points. Most students who get accepted to the top dental schools USA score between 19 and 20. Test results are received right after the test has been taken. This helps to avoid any problems that might arise as a result of deadlines, but remember to still not cut everything too close in the end.
Working with Centralized Applications
The next step in the dental school application process may involve a centralized application. Associated American Dental Schools Application Service or AADSAS is what most students will face. The application system will involve identifying information. It may also involve processing coursework and transcripts, applying volunteer and work experience and attaching this to personal statements and letters of evaluation.
Naturally dental school application requirements differ greatly amongst different schools. Nevertheless, there are a few constants amongst each one.
Key dental school application items to always consider include:
- Ensuring that the application is filed early enough
- Finishing any necessary courses at the current academic level first
- Having a strong science GPA
- Filing primary applications before secondary ones
- Ensuring that letters of evaluation are filed correctly
- Asking professors and others to grant those letters early enough
Handling the Letters Section
Applications generally ask for the letters in the dental school application process next. Some schools require forms to be filled out by some sort of evaluator instead, though. Those who need a number of letters for admissions into the dentistry program are recommended to receive the following:
- An individual working in the profession that is being applied for (dentistry)
- Two science faculty members who know the student from courses or some kind of research experience
- One non-science faculty member
- Two individuals who know the student well or worked with them on a volunteer basis
The letter packet then needs to be made as comprehensive as possible. It has to show what sort of individual is applying. Remember that letters of evaluation are supposed to be confidential. Even though it may not actually be necessary, it’s always a good rule of thumb to have all letters on hand before the primary applications come through. That will ensure that they’re accessible when the time comes for submission.
Tackling the Dental School Personal Statement
Writing a dental school application personal statement might be the single most difficult aspect of the application process. The statement has to be well written, but it also has to genuinely be personal and explain why the student is pursuing medicine and dentistry in particular. Many people discuss:
- Various individuals or incidents that have shaped one’s life
- Elaborations of things that were actually listed on the application previously
- Explanations of various types of academic irregularities
- Statements of a personal philosophy
- Non-traditional academic backgrounds
Dental school application personal statement writing is kept to a character limit. The AADSAS for instance maintains a strict 4,500 maximum character limit. Those who submit them to services need to avoid mentioning any specific school. Now usually most people would be told to write a personal statement that’s different each time they file a separate application. They shouldn’t go around submitting the same one over and over again to different colleges.
Generally this would be true, but the unified application systems allow various schools to see the same exact content packet. These are shared amongst a variety of schools. Those who have several schools that they’re submitting to would obviously be extremely embarrassed if they sent out a personal statement that mentioned other competing universities. That being said, those who are doing things the traditional way should ensure that they’ve written an individual personal statement to be submitted before the dental school application deadlines of each school rear their ugly head.
Filling Out All the Dental School Requirements
Those who are faced with a variety of the best dental schools application requirements can really benefit themselves if they ask for a unified sheet of them. Look on college sites as well as those that promote the various combined application systems. Very often they have a PDF that outline all of the various requirements. While these aren’t intended as a checklist, they can often function as a very nice one. For that matter, there are sometimes printed pamphlets or other things given away by admissions counselors. These can be used in much the same way if physical access to the college campus in question was provided to the student to begin with.
Image credit: dentistry.usc.edu