Posted by Amy Carbone on Aug 21, 2023 9:00:00 AM
Getting into dental school is hard — really hard. According to a report from the American Dental Association, of the 112,053 dental school applications submitted in the United States and Canada in 2021, only 11.6% of applicants were accepted.
That’s why it’s crucial to stand out if you want to get into the dental school of your choice. Here, we’ll show you four ways you can make sure your dental school application gets noticed.
Dental School Application Tips
1. Do Your Dental School Research and Preparation
Find the Dental Schools That Are Right for You
If you want to be a dentist you first have to show that you’re ready to take your education seriously. That starts with choosing the dental schools where you will submit your application. Evaluate your options and select those that align with your values and goals.
They should have the curriculum, faculty, and specialties you’re interested in. If possible, don’t just choose one. Make a list of your top picks in order of preference so that you have a backup plan just in case your top choice doesn’t pan out.
Understand the Application Process and Requirements
Not much is worse than getting a rejection letter only because you forgot to submit the required documents. Find out each school’s application process and requirements. Organize by time frame so you don’t miss the dental school application deadline for various components.
In many cases, this will include:
- Proof that you’ve met prerequisites.
- Your GPA and standardized test scores.
- Recommendation letters.
- Updated Resume or CV.
- Other dental application fields through ADEA AADSAS® if applicable.
It’s a good idea to prepare a list of interview questions if your chosen dental school invites you to the interview round.
Budget for the Application Process
So you aren’t caught off guard, take note of the costs for applying and starting your dental learning journey. If your chosen dental schools use ADEA AADSAS (most do), you’ll need to pay $264 for the first dental school application fee and $115 for each additional application.
If your application makes it through the first round of selection, it’s possible that the dental school will require you to visit the school for an in-person interview. If this is the case, you’ll need to cover travel and accommodation expenses. Some schools may also require you to pay supplemental fees and a deposit to hold your seat should you be accepted into the program.
Acknowledge that should you get accepted, you may have significant student debt that you’ll need to address. Having a plan for your debt can help you relieve financial stress so you can focus on your education.
Connect With Advisors or Professionals in the Dental Field
If you can get the advice of someone who has been in your shoes, you’ll have a better chance of submitting a great application that shows your potential, even if your age or background is not the “norm” for an applicant.
2. Choose Extracurricular Activities That Set You Apart
Volunteer in the Dental Field
Offer your time at a dental clinic or community outreach center. Even if you’re just cleaning rooms or filing paperwork, you may have the opportunity to shadow a practicing dental professional so you can observe and learn on the job.
Once you’ve established a good reputation as a volunteer, you can ask your supervisor for a recommendation letter. Dental schools are likely to take note of your initiative and will value a recommendation from a professional in the field. If you’re able to maintain a working relationship, you may have a foot in the door for submitting your resume once you’ve finished school.
Join Dental Clubs and Organizations
While the chess club is a nice extracurricular, a dental club membership shows your focus on dentistry. Joining industry-specific clubs and organizations is valuable for networking and support as you begin your dental career.
3. Collect Strong Letters of Recommendation
A letter from a supervisor or club leader can go a long way, but you’ll likely need more than a single recommendation and — potentially — a committee letter or packet.
Ask professors, mentors, or relevant leaders to write letters of recommendation endorsing you for dental school. It’s useful to have a sheet printed out with your basic information and background to ensure that your supporters can write personalized, accurate recommendation letters. If they ask you what to write about, you can suggest that they focus on your character, experience, work ethic, and abilities that would make you a prime candidate.
Additionally, send thank you letters to anyone who recommended you, as they played a part in helping your dental school application stand out.
4. Submit an Outstanding Personal Statement
A personal statement is your chance to show who you are and why you want to become a dental professional. Take some time to reflect on your reasons for applying. Highlight any leadership, communication, and problem-solving abilities you have that will help you succeed at dental school and beyond. One way to showcase your character is by sharing a personal story that demonstrates your passion and dedication to helping others.
Avoid gimmicks, sounding disingenuous, or saying what you think the admissions committee wants to hear. Be your best self and share your sincere desire to learn dentistry. Once you’ve written your personal statement, recruit a friend, mentor, or advisor to review and provide constructive feedback.
Plan for Dental School Application Success
Once your dental school application is accepted, the real work begins — of training in your chosen profession. As you know by now, dental school is not only a lot of work, but it also requires a considerable financial investment. Start your dental career off on the right foot by making arrangements now for managing potential student debt.
Learn more about debt management with Treloar & Heisel.
About Treloar & Heisel
Treloar & Heisel, an EPIC Company, offers dental and medical professionals a comprehensive suite of financial products and services ranging from business and personal insurance to wealth management. We are proud to assist thousands of clients from residency to practice and through retirement. Our experienced teams deliver custom-tailored advice through an active local presence, while our strong national network ensures that clients experience the same high level of service throughout the country.