Five Parts of Your Dental School ApplicationJune 10, 2015
Becoming a dentist can offer a rewarding career, stable income and opportunities to learn new things. Before you can open your office, there is a lot of hard work ahead. The first hurdle is getting accepted into dental school. Dental school is four years and involves classroom lectures with associated labs and working in the student dental clinic.
The application process to get into dental school may seem overwhelming at first. If you break down the process into different sections, it can make it easier to understand and less stressful.
The first thing to be aware of regarding the dental school application process is you will need to obtain a unique identification number. The number is referred to as the DENTPIN and is assigned to each applicant and dental student. In order to obtain a DENTPIN, you have to register for one with an email address through the American Dental Association website.
Once you create a DENTPIN and are ready to apply to dental schools, you can log into the American Dental Association website where you will submit your application through. The dental school application can be broken down into different parts including the following:
- General Application:
The application includes general biographical information about you, such as contact information, race, gender and military experience. Information on parental occupation and education is also included in this section. This section includes disadvantaged status and background information, such as disclosures of legal actions.
Be sure to read each section thoroughly and follow the direction exactly. Skipping sections or leaving things blank will not help your chances of getting accepted. It is also critical to be honest. If you had a little legal trouble, which is on your record, don’t try to hide it. It will come out. You are better off disclosing the incident and explaining how you corrected the situation and have avoided problems since.
- Personal Statement:
Your dental school application will also include a one-page personal statement on why you want to become a dentist. Seems simple enough, but don’t rush through the process. Follow the directions. Currently, the personal statement guidelines limit statements to 4500 characters. But always read the most up to date information to be sure you are using current guidelines.
Before you start writing, think about your reasons for choosing a career in dentistry. Although only so much personality can come through on one page, this is your chance to be unique and set yourself apart from every other applicant. Ask yourself a few questions to get started. When did you decide to become a dentist? Do you hope to specialize? What skills and personality traits do you have that make dentistry a good fit?
Becoming a dentist does not have to be a dream since you were a little kid. But you want to explain how it came to be your career choice. Your essay should convey enthusiasm for the profession and a strong desire to work in the field.
The American Dental Education Association usually starts accepting transcripts from applicants in June. In order to get a transcript sent to the American Dental Education Association, print the transcript matching form located in the online application packet. Send it to the schools who will be submitting your transcripts. Allow plenty of time for the schools you attended to process your request.
- Letters of Evaluation:
Letters of evaluation, which are also sometimes called letters of recommendation, are another part of your dental school application. You are required to provide a list of people who will be submitting a letter of evaluation. The letters are not attached to the application. The individuals you choose will forward either the online electronic document evaluation form or mail a paper letter to the American Dental Education Association.
Obviously you want to choose people who you know will speak highly of you. Consider a dentist who you shadowed or a supervisor where you worked or volunteered. A professor, especially in a science class, is also a good choice.
The Dental School Admission Exam is required before you can go to dental school. You do not have to take the exam to apply to dental school, but schools will not accept you until you have taken the test. If you have not taken your admission test by the time you apply to dental school, at least register for the exam.
Keep in mind, dental schools will not review your application until they have your exam scores. It makes sense to schedule your test sometime in your junior year of college. If you do not do as well as you would have liked, you will have time to take it again before you have to submit your dental school application.
Things to Consider
Very few applications you complete will be as critical as your dental school one app. There is a lot riding on your application. In order to make the process smoother, there are several things you should consider.
Organize what you need well in advance. Review all information involving the dental school application process at least a few months before you have to get started. Be aware of the timeline and have a thorough understanding of the process. Considering meeting with a pre-dental advisor at your college to make sure you have everything completed, such as required science classes before application time rolls around.
Review everything in your application before submitting. It never hurts to double check everything before you hit send. This is especially true when it comes to your personal statement. Read your statement out loud to check for errors and determine how it sounds.
Make sure you are aware of deadlines. There is a lot involved in the application process. Many students are still in school, and you may be studying for exams, attending classes and juggling other responsibilities. It can be easy to let a deadline slip by.
The last thing to do after submitting your application is try to relax. Now all you have to do is wait for a response. Although sometimes the waiting is the hardest part. Keep in mind, you did the best you could, and that’s all anyone can do.