Navigating the Dental School Application Process
The Primary Application
The first part of your dental school application –the primary application– is generally submitted in early summer of the application year. For example, if you’re planning to begin dental school in 2021, your primary application would be submitted in the summer of 2020. The American Dental Education Association’s Timeline to Apply is a good resource to help you plan for undergraduate classes and volunteer experiences, explore your dental school options, and keep your application process on track.
To apply to most dental schools in the United States, you’ll use the American Dental Education Association Associated American Dental Schools Application Service (ADEA AADSAS), which is the ADEA’S centralized application processing service.
Each year, the AADSAS application cycle begins in early June and ends in February of the next year.
ADEA AADSAS simplifies the application process, allowing you to save time and energy by completing just one application for multiple dental schools. From their website you will need to set up an account and fill out the many categories of information including your personal information, the classes you have taken, the class you plan to take, DAT scores, a personal statement, and others. You will also need to send official copies of your transcripts to AADSAS which they will use to calculate your GPA. You then need to select which schools you wish to apply to. When you have completed all the information, you will then submit your dental school application and pay the fee which is based on the number of schools you are applying to. After you complete your submission, it takes anywhere for 4 to 8 weeks for your selected schools to receive your AADSAS application.
ADEA AADSAS does not make admissions decisions; each participating school is responsible for making its own individual admissions decisions.
The Supplemental Application
In addition to applying to ADEA AADSAS, some dental schools request applicants to submit a supplemental or secondary application. These applications are used when the dental school wishes to collect additional information not asked in the ADEA AADSAS application that is important to that particular school. The list of school-specific materials you need to send directly to each school is available on this AADSAS website.
Following the supplemental application, most schools request an interview of applicants they are interested in. You will need to travel to those schools that request an interview. Typically, interviews are scheduled from August through March.
The first date schools are allowed to accept students is December 1st, but acceptances will be sent out through May. Students not accepted will either be rejected or put on a wait list.