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Dental School Application Process

Students hoping to enter dental school in the fall following graduation should plan to take The Dental Admission Test (DAT) in spring of the junior year or in the summer following. This will allow you to complete your application early in the cycle.

The DAT is a computerized multiple-choice exam, and it is offered throughout the year. The four parts of the DAT are:

  • Natural sciences: biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry
  • Perceptual ability (PAT): two- and three-dimensional problem solving
  • Science reading comprehension
  • Quantitative reasoning: math

Your DAT preparation can be supplemented with a commercial preparation course, review books or software. This important test is required by every dental school. Take it seriously and prepare well.

Next, you will submit a primary application form to AADSAS (American Association of Dental Schools Application Service). AADSAS is a central collection organization that checks, duplicates and distributes the information on the primary form to your designated dental schools. Application materials become available in late spring. You should speak to the professors who will be writing recommendation letters on your behalf early in spring semester so that the letters will be complete by the June submission. Students with financial need should request fee assistance from AADSAS well in advance of the application.

While schools may post deadline dates of, for example, December or January, this does not imply that a last-minute applicant will have the same chance for acceptance as earlier applicants. Many dental schools will have filled a large proportion of their next entering class by the official deadlines. In this process, sooner is definitely better.

After receiving your AADSAS application, individual schools may send you their own (secondary) application, along with requests for supplementary material. When all application material has been received, selected applicants will be invited to visit the dental school and interview with members of the admissions committee.

To make sure that you will have satisfied all requirements for graduation, have your coursework checked by the College of Arts & Sciences early in your senior year. You must also apply to graduate by February in order to receive your degree and matriculate into dental school.