Dental School: What to Know for the 2023-2024 Admissions Cycle

Published March 2023

It’s almost that time of year again! The dental school admissions cycle for Fall 2024 starts soon! The application portal will become available on May 9, 2023 with applications able to be submitted starting on May 30, 2023.

The American Dental Education Association (ADEA) maintains the American Dental American Association of Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS) which is the main application service for US dental schools. This system is used to submit your applications.

If applying to TX schools, you need to apply through the Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service (TMDSAS) which has its own nuances.

From 2017-2018 to 2021-2022, first year enrollment in United States pre-doctoral DMD/DDS programs has increased by 2.8 percent from 6,184 to 6,360.

Here are my tips to guide you in navigating the dental school admissions process!

1) There are some changes for 2023-24 cycle. Applicants who has an “in progress” application status can now update their experiences section after they submit; there is now a question about your current location; there is now a question about legal province of residence for Canadian applicants. In addition, you can find your high school in a pull-down list instead of typing it; you can answer your preferred name; and there is a phonetic name question so admissions offices know how to pronounce your name.

2) Start working on materials before the application even opens! Do not rush important elements. A lot of time and strategy goes into presentation of your candidacy. You can compose certain items first on your computer in a program such as Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or Apple Pages.

Many items do not change year to year. Your personal statement is 4,500 characters max, including spaces. For the Experiences section of the application, you have to categorize your activities into Academic Enrichment, Dental Experience, Dental Shadowing (In Person), Dental Shadowing (Virtual), Employment, Extracurricular Activities, Research, and Volunteer. You get 600 characters per activity including spaces and need to answer other questions such as hours spent and duration. Six activities can be chosen as the most important.

3) When the application opens in May in AADSAS, start filling in the information and use your previous documents to guide you. Make sure you spell-check and that things are presented in a positive and engaging manner that emphasizes action and leadership.

4) Request official copies of your US and/or Canadian college transcripts to AADSAS, as well as make sure you have taken your DAT (Dental Admission Test). The score will be sent electronically from the ADA (American Dental Association)

5) Make sure your recommenders are done submitting your letter(s) by the date you want admissions to review your file.

6) Apply to enough schools! Sometimes applicants choose a very small list of schools and with only a little more than half of applicants to US dental schools get into any program. It is important to cast a wide net. Especially if your statistics are below GPA and DAT medians, you should apply to at least 15-20 schools. If you are above statistics for a school, your list does not have to be this large, but it still makes sense to apply to a good range of schools as there is no guarantee that you will be accepted to your first choice and you want to have options.

7) Do not submit any of your primary applications past the date of July 15. Even if many of the schools ‘deadlines are many months later, you can be facing a serious disadvantage if you wait past mid-summer. Many schools start interviewing in the summer, and you want to get your materials in as soon as possible to have the best chance.

8) If asked to submit a secondary application to a dental school after submitting, do that as soon as possible.

9) The vast majority of dental schools request that candidates they are considering for admissions participate in an interview. Make sure you have strong answers about why you want to attend that school in particular – and mention specific things about their particular program that they offer that are special to that school. Go beyond just location, their prestige, price of tuition, etc.

If you have any questions, please reach out to Renaissance Admissions Consulting! We can help with choosing recommenders, creating school lists, editing and brainstorming about ways to approach the personal statement, essays and resume; proofreading before application submission, preparing for interviews, and standing out in the process to best present your candidacy to admissions committees!

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