Pre-Dental Resource for Pre-Dental Students
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FAQs

The following list are frequently asked questions that I receive from readers. If you can’t find the answer you are looking for below, feel free to ask me any questions on the Ask Elias page.

DAT Questions (5)

Will AADSAS automatically get my DAT scores from last year?

AADSAS will automatically match your scores within the first few days of opening your application. Make sure the dentpin you give AADSAS matches the one you used to register for the DAT. AADSAS will distribute them to all the schools …
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What is a good DAT score?

You should aim for as high as possible, however a nice“safe” score is 20 and above. This applies to virtually all dental schools. Rule of thumb is that if you score under 17 on any section, then you should retake …
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Should I retake the DAT?

You can take the DAT once every 90 days and are only allowed 3 attempts. In most cases, your last attempt is the score that is reviewed by dental schools. Please be aware that any regression in score will override any higher …
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When should I take my DAT if I have not done it yet?

It is highly recommended that the DAT is completed as early as possible. Having a DAT score is not a requirement to submit the application. You can indicate that you plan to take it in the near future. To still …
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Would you recommend me to retake the DAT before reapplying again next year if I had low DAT scores?

Generally, retaking the DAT will help improve your chances. BUT getting a lower score the second time around WILL hurt you. I would only recommend retaking the exam it if you have the time and the motivation to do better. …
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Reapplying (2)

Would you recommend me to retake the DAT before reapplying again next year if I had low DAT scores?

Generally, retaking the DAT will help improve your chances. BUT getting a lower score the second time around WILL hurt you. I would only recommend retaking the exam it if you have the time and the motivation to do better. …
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Does applying for a second cycle hurt my chances?

While most schools will see that you have applied previously, they will treat your application similarly to first timers. They may also use another factor to help their decision by looking into how you have bettered yourself since your previous …
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Dental School Admissions (29)

Is observing dentists for a few months enough to meet dental schools’ requirements?

Observing for ~100 hours is the “minimum” requirement set by most schools. I spoke to the Dean of Nova a few years back who first gave me that number. He also told me any more shadow experience than that is …
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Any advice for dental school interviews?

Those who get interviews are individuals who the dental school recognizes as potential dental students. The interview process is there to make sure those who are joining their school have adequate social skills to be a dentist. During the interviews …
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How do I make a DENTPIN?

A DENTPIN is needed in order to apply and take the DAT as well as opening an AADSAS application. Most of you should have a DENTPIN from taking the DAT; however, for those taking the DAT after submitting their AADSAS …
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How do I make a Portal account?

When the application opens at 12:00 PM EST on the first Monday of June, the option to “Create New Account” will be activated and can be found immediately under the login on the left hand side. This is when you’ll …
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I forgot my DENTPIN. What should I do?

If you forgot your DENTPIN search your email inbox for the subject “DENTPIN Registration Successful” or click one of the links below to resend the information: If you have forgotten your DENTPIN, retrieve your DENTPIN here. If you know your DENTPIN …
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Can I submit my official transcripts before the AADSAS application opens?

No, official transcripts will not be accepted unless they are sent along with the AADSAS “Transcript Matching Form”. Once the AADSAS application is submitted, you will be provided with a form to deliver to all the schools you have attended. …
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Can I submit my Letters of Recommendation/Evaluation before the AADSAS application opens?

No, Letters of Recommendation and Letters of Evaluation will not be accepted unless they are sent along with the AADSAS “Letter of Evaluation Matching Form”. Once the AADSAS application is submitted, you will be provided with the form to give to …
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What should I do while I am waiting for dental schools to receive my application?

After submitting your application through AADSAS, check all the websites of the applied dental schools to learn more about their secondary application. Many schools view a secondary application as a REQUIRED supplemental application in order for an application to begin …
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Where can I find supplemental applications for the dental schools I am applying to?

Many schools have a supplemental or secondary application which is a requirement to begin viewing an application. Other schools may send a secondary application after meeting initial requirements like GPA and DAT scores. You can find basic information (e.g. cost of …
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Can I get into dental school with a failing grade (D or F)?

Yes you can! Make sure to retake the course and get a high grade. Unlike most college GPAs, AADSAS will not replace the failing grade. They will request both the failing grade and the repeat grade and use both for …
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Where can I get status updates for each dental school I applied to?

AADSAS itself has a decent status update system that indicates the current status of your application at every dental school. Please note that it is common for the status to change a few days before or after a milestone occurs …
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Which dental schools offer a lot of clinical opportunity?

This is a very difficult question to answer. Mainly because there are 65 (and growing) schools in North America. This is something you will have to research on your own, however here are a few tips: Dental school is meant …
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What qualities should we look for in a dental school that will prepare you well for the profession?

This is  a difficult question to answer since every individual has their own personality, interests, and ways of learning. Here is a short summary of what I look for in a dental school. There is a high chance no dental …
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How Expensive is Applying to Dental School?

Applying to dental school can easily total over $5,000 dollars. Be sure to budget for these expenses. I recommend reviewing a full breakdown of expenses to expect during the application cycle. Use the page to estimate your expenses based on the …
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As there a disadvantage to applying to all 65 schools?

There is no known disadvantage to applying to all 65 schools that I am aware of. I have spoken to administrators at schools and they have indicated that they CANNOT see any other schools you applied to. The paper application …
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I graduated from a 4-year university but completed most of the requirements at a community college. Is that okay?

Community college course grades are looked upon differently than courses taken at a 4 year university. Not only is your GPA for each school calculated separately but community college courses are generally weighted lower than their 4-year university version of the course. …
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Will taking 1-2 courses per quarter/semester hurt my application?

Dental schools do take into consideration how packed you were during each quarter/semester. They know that taking less classes correlates to higher grades. Be ready to explain to them why you had to take less courses at any time through …
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I keep hearing apply early. What does “early” mean when it comes to submitting my application?

Generally, if you apply before the end of the month of July, you are considered an early applicant. Applications submitted during the first month month are immediately processed but not sent to dental schools until the last Friday of June …
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What do you mean by apply early?

Applying early doesn’t mean just submitting your application. It means having your application 100% complete by the end of July. If any part of your application is missing, a school will put your application on hold and your application will …
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Am I waitlisted if I have not heard back from the school yet?

If you have not heard back from the school you are not waitlisted. The general rule is if you haven’t received a rejection then your application is still pending a decision. Waitlisting for dental school only occurs after interviews, not …
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What would dental schools think when a GPA started out really high, like 3.9, then start declining later on?

There is no definitive answer for this. Generally a downwards trend is not good. Even though classes may be getting harder an applicant is expected to maintain the same performance or improve on themselves. In my opinion, it ultimately depends …
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Does taking a year off between undergraduate and dental school hurt my chances of getting in?

Taking a year off is completely acceptable; in fact, you can take as many years off as you would like! The only catch is that you have to show that you have grown as an individual during that time period. …
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How important are the prerequisite classes listed for dental school?

Prerequisite classes are most likely mandatory courses the school requires in order to be accepted in their school. Any class that is mandatory must be taken or listed on an AADSAS application. From what I understand, you will still be accepted …
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Do dental admission boards frown upon taking a longer time, for example 6 years, to finish their undergraduate degree?

There are a few factors that need to be considered in order to come to a conclusion Of the 6 years, are any of them attended at a community college? If so how many? Are you picking up a second …
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How long does it take for dental schools to receive my application?

Your application’s delivery time can vary significantly depending on when you submit. If you submit during the peak of the cycle (typically the end of June/early July) the processing time on your application could be 3 or 4 weeks long. During …
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What factors make up a strong dental school applicant in the eyes of dental school admissions?

Fulfilling all these categories will put you and your application in a very good standing. Being solid in all of these categories will make you an extremely strong applicant anywhere. Coursework Gives the admissions officers an idea about the difficulty …
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I have a few C’s. Will that prevent me from getting into dental school?

1 or 2 C’s will not hinder your application much. Depending on the difficulty of the class, a C can be considered acceptable.

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How would dental schools look at my pre-med experiences?

Your pre-med experience is great! There is nothing wrong with experience. If dentistry ends up being your thing, you can use this experience to show the dental schools that you were open minded about other careers and after investing a …
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Is it a bad idea to apply to medical schools and dental schools at the same time?

Dental schools have been recently looking for qualities that prove ones commitment to dentistry. This has sprung up and become fairly popular in the past few years. Those who apply to medical and dental school are at a disadvantage if …
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Dental School Preparation (4)

What is manual dexterity?

Manual dexterity is the ability to perform fine motor skills using ones hands and eyes in an orderly fashion. These skills might come naturally for some people such as the legendary pianist Mozart , or Michelangelo’s lifelong painting found at …
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What are some things I can do to refine my manual dexterity skills?

I have provided a list of activities that I have found useful in practicing fine motor skills. Please note that there are far more things that can be done to enhance one’s manual dexterity, this is merely a list. Learn …
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I want to volunteer as a Dental Assistant for the less fortunate and help make an impact in their lives since I do believe that everybody deserves health care. Do you know of any exceptional non-profitable programs that I could engage in?

Below are a few excellent resources for dental related volunteer work. Healthy Smiles for Kids of Orange County CDA Cares Free Dental Clinics HealthCare Volunteer Flying Samaritans (UC Irvine) Dental Volunteer Dental Jobs (Volunteer page) UCLA General Clinic Volunteer Program …
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Do you have any recommendations on curriculum that will improve my application and ease my load during dental school?

It is highly recommended that more than 1 science class is taken per quarter. Some important classes to take with their respective labs are: Human anatomy Physiology Bio chemistry Histology Microbiology Many of these classes will be taken again in …
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Letters of Recommendation (9)

Do I need two science letters of recommendation for dental school?

In 99% of cases, yes you will need two letters from science professors. It is very likely at least one (most likely more) of the schools you apply to will need multiple science letters. The article simplifies the whole process by …
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What if I have more than three letters of recommendations?

The AADSAS application accepts more than three letters! However, please be aware that admissions faculty is only required to read three letters, regardless of how many you submit. For example, imagine a scenario in which you submitted five letters, two of them …
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Does research count as a miscellaneous letter of recommendation or a science letter?

The answer to this question depends on if you received units for research, and as a result a letter grade based on your research performance. If a letter grade was given, then research qualifies as one of your science letters …
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What characteristics are looked for in a letter of recommendation?

Admissions officers are looking for specific things in recommendation letters. It is important to nail key characteristics like interpersonal skills, teamwork, and personality. The admissions director emphasized being very careful picking who writes you a letter of recommendation. Do not …
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What if the letter is not written by the due date. What do I do?

Don’t put yourself in this situation! The people who will be writing letters for you are very busy individuals and they often forget to write a letter of recommendation. The worst thing to do is to remind them last minute …
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Do you have any advice on how to get a good letter of recommendation?

Make sure the person knows who you are, and that you are in good standing with them. A letter of recommendation can go one of two ways. The recommender can write a letter recommending you, a neutral letter, or a letter against recommending …
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Should I give the person writing the letter anything to help make the writing easier?

Yes! Please do! When asking for a letter of recommendation, do not rely on a verbal agreement or an email conversation. Have a physical request that you hand directly to the person. I found a letter of recommendation template in high school …
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How many letters of recommendation should I have?

Your goal should be to have 2 science curriculum letters of recommendation and one miscellaneous letter. The miscellaneous letter carries weight in its own way. It is a great opportunity to show admissions officers your life outside of academia and how people …
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What if I submit my application immediately, but I am waiting for a letter of recommendation?

Every requirement of the application must be ready in order to have the application reviewed by dental school admissions. If any part of the application is missing, the whole application is put on hold until the required pieces are submitted. …
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Pre-Med (2)

How would dental schools look at my pre-med experiences?

Your pre-med experience is great! There is nothing wrong with experience. If dentistry ends up being your thing, you can use this experience to show the dental schools that you were open minded about other careers and after investing a …
Read more

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Is it a bad idea to apply to medical schools and dental schools at the same time?

Dental schools have been recently looking for qualities that prove ones commitment to dentistry. This has sprung up and become fairly popular in the past few years. Those who apply to medical and dental school are at a disadvantage if …
Read more

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AADSAS (8)

I am a third year undergraduate applying this cycle. Do I wait until spring quarter grades are posted before sending my transcript?

Without knowing more about your situation, I would wait (like I did). Many schools have a 3 academic year minimum making waiting for your spring grades the safe route. The more coursework on your application, the stronger of an applicant you will …
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Do you send transcripts to each school your applying to or just AADSAS?

When you make your AADSAS account it will generate a matching form with a barcode. You will have to include that with your transcript for it to count as official. AADSAS will then verify and send your application to each …
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What is the AADSAS Holistic Cover Sheet?

The ADEA AADSAS Holistic Coversheet is a new page to the application that is provided to your designated dental schools. The ADEA AADSAS Application Coversheet provides a quick reference to your application by displaying selected highlights of your background, experiences, …
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Is the AADSAS academic update mandatory?

Academic Update is not mandatory, but not completing it can appear suspicious to dental schools. Think about it if you were in their shoes.

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Will AADSAS automatically get my DAT scores from last year?

AADSAS will automatically match your scores within the first few days of opening your application. Make sure the dentpin you give AADSAS matches the one you used to register for the DAT. AADSAS will distribute them to all the schools …
Read more

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How Expensive is Applying to Dental School?

Applying to dental school can easily total over $5,000 dollars. Be sure to budget for these expenses. I recommend reviewing a full breakdown of expenses to expect during the application cycle. Use the page to estimate your expenses based on the …
Read more

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I’m using interfolio, do I choose paper delivery or electronic delivery on AADSAS? Would I still need to provide the email address of my letter writers?

From my understanding you select paper but interfolio sends them electronically. This is due to the fact that interfolio needs the matching forms which are not generated when you select electronic since the instructions are sent to the letter writer …
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Do Canadian students applying to dental school in the United States convert their GPA to OMSAS or the ADEA ADDSAS scales?

There are a few Universities in Canada which strictly award percentage grades with no letter grade or conversion scales on the official transcript. Fortunately, AADSAS defaults to using the OMSAS (Ontario Medical School Application Service) conversion scales for Canadian applicants …
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