Dental school applications: don't wait 'til the last minute!August 22, 2016
You’ve shortlisted the dental schools that you’d like to apply to and made a note of their application deadlines. A quick glance through your list shows you that most of the deadlines are still a few months away. Some of the stress melts away as you relax and decide to take it easy for a while before working on your application.
This could be a huge mistake – one that could actually cost you a coveted seat in the school of your choice.
Last minute applications are always a risk as there the chances are higher that they may not be read by the admissions committee or there may not be any seats left by the time you send in your application.
The deadline was clearly mentioned, so why the hurry?
Most dental schools follow a rolling system of admission. That means they do not wait till after the deadline to assess the applications. Instead, each application is evaluated as and when it comes in. If the application is impressive and meets the eligibility criteria, that applicant is invited to interview right away. If the interview goes well, that candidate is allotted a seat right away. In this way, all seats are allocated progressively throughout the admission process.
What this means for you – if there are 120 seats available for the new year, 50 of these seats may get filled halfway through the admission deadline. If you send in your application during the second half of the admission period, you will then have to fight for 70 available seats instead of the original 120 seats. This automatically reduces the chances of you getting a seat in this school. The later you send in your application, the smaller your chances.
What you can do to get your application ready and sent off as soon as possible
The application process is long and complicated. It takes time to make sure you’ve got it right in all respects. The earlier you start, the more time you have to get it perfect, which is what you want. So where exactly do you start? These tips will help you.
Meet with your pre-dental advisor to get some advice as to which schools to apply to and make your shortlist.
Make a note of the requirements and submission deadlines for each school.
Start working on your personal statement. After it is done, read through it again and edit it to perfection. Then give it to somebody else to look at it through fresh eyes to spot where you could improve it some more.
Start working on getting the necessary letters of recommendation.
Sort out your finances and start researching scholarship or financial assistance options.
Look for and participate in extracurricular activities. Consider volunteering with a dental organisation, shadowing a dentist, interning at a dental clinic or doing a dental placement in a developing country.
Prepare for the Graduate Australian Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) and sit for it at the earliest opportunity so that you can receive your test scores before the admission cycle starts.
The GAMSAT is a prerequisite for applying to dental schools in Australia. It takes time for the GAMSAT scores to be processed and if you sit for it after admissions have begun, you would already be too late to the party. Students who have planned their admissions well would have already sent in their applications and they would have started receiving admission letters already.
If you start early with getting all of these components done, you’ll be ready to submit your application as soon as admissions open. This will put you ahead of the game and give you the competitive edge when applying to dental school.
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