(As shared by one of our students. Listed in no particular order.)
Follow up on your application with each school once AADSAS sends it. Make sure they have everything they need from you.
- Applying early helps immensely because they won't be inundated with applications yet.
- Fill out secondary applications and pay secondary fees as soon as you can. -Schools will not review your application until it is complete. Some will notify you of remaining items but don't rely on them to. It is your responsibility.
- Some schools have you wait until they contact you. AADSAS tells you each school's secondary requirements.
Go to as many visiting schools' presentations as you can.
- Great way to build relationships with representatives from the admissions departments.
Get their contact info and stay in touch with them.
- Some will allow you to send them your personal statement and will give you feedback on it.
- Representatives are usually great indicators of the school's personality.
- It is a great way to learn about each school’s admissions process, the school, tuition figures, acceptance stats (GPA, DAT, M/F, etc.)
Be active/involved. (PDS activities, dental observation, service opportunities)
- Schools don't want just 4.0 students but instead favor well-rounded individuals.
Do well on the DAT.
- Set aside a reasonable amount of time for you to prepare.
- Some schools use this as the biggest indicator of dental school performance.
- You can apply without taking the DAT. Take advantage of the time if needed.
- DAT scores get sent quicker than your AADSAS application.
Get good letters of recommendation.
- Get to know your professors. The better they know you the better letter they can write
- Let the professor know in advance you will be asking for a letter of recommendation. Provide them with an outline of you, your hobbies, etc. This will help them personalize and strengthen your letter. (Maybe change the wording for each professor so they don't cut and paste excerpts verbatim.)
- Be a TA.
- The professor will know you better and can write you a better letter.
- When you shadow:
- Ask lots of questions. Ask to assist. Ask to help around the office. Etc.
Find out about what it means to be a dentist.
- Talk to practicing dentists.
- Would they do it all over again‘?
- Is it what they expected?
- This will help come interview time. They want you to have an idea of what you're getting into. A school's biggest risk is a student dropping out because they can't replace the vacancy once school starts.
- John and Mayumi are great resources. They will provide you with positive feedback and possible areas of improvement. Take advantage.
Spend time on your personal statement.
- Don’t write it the night before. Write it, leave it alone for a couple days, then look over it again and make revisions. Do this a bunch of times. Make sure it says what you want it to say about you.
- Have a few people look it over including John and Mayumi. Accept criticism and make
the changes you feel necessary. Don't change it to appease other people. You want
it to be your voice. Inject your personality into it. Schools will be making a determination
on you without meeting, you. Make it the best representation of you it can be.
- Attend John and Mayumi’s Personal Statement Workshop.
Apply to a few schools.
- Increase your chances of getting in.
It may seem overwhelming now but just take it day by day. It is doable. Don't get discouraged. At a future time, it will all be worth it.