APPLYING TO DENTAL SCHOOL CHAPTER 2 A s you prepare to apply to dental school, you will find it helpful to become acquainted with the usual educational curriculum, typical admissions requirements, and the application process. This chapter offers essential information about these topics, organized into four sections: The Dental School Program provides an overview of the basic educational curriculum at most schools, recognizing that each dental school has its own mission and distinguishing features; Qualifying for Dental school reviews the typical numbers of students involved in applying to and attending dental schools and summarizes general admission requirements; The Application Process describes the steps of applying to dental school; and Special Admissions Topics addresses the special topics of advanced standing and transferring, combined degree programs, and admissions for international students. THE DENTAL SCHOOL PROGRAM A common goal of all dental school programs is to produce graduates who are: ? Competently educated in the basic biological and clinical sciences. ? Capable of providing quality dental care to all segments of the population. Committed to high moral and professional standards in their service to the public. The traditional dental school program requires four academic years of study, often organized as described below.
Since there is wide variation in the focus and organization of the curricula of dental schools, the schools’ descriptions in Part II of this guide show the specifics of courses of study that won’t be covered here. ? Years One and Two Students generally spend the major part of the first two years studying the biological sciences to learn about the structure and function of the human body and its diseases. Students also receive instruction about basic sciences such as human anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, microbiology, and harmacology and dentally oriented biological sciences such as oral anatomy, oral pathology, and oral histology. In many dental schools, first and second year students learn about providing health care to diverse populations. They also learn the basic principles of oral diagnosis and treatment and begin mastery of dental treatment procedures through practice on models of the mouth and teeth. In many programs, students begin interacting with patients and provide basic oral heath care. ? Years Three and Four The focus of the final two years of dental school generally concentrates on clinical study. Clinical training, which is broad in scope, is designed to provide competence in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of oral diseases and disorders. Students apply basic principles and techniques involved in oral diagnosis, treatment planning, restorative dentistry, periodontics, oral surgery, orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, prosthodontics, endodontics, and other types of treatment through direct patient care. They learn to attend to chronically ill, disabled, special care, and geriatric patients and children. In addition, 13 ADEA OFFICIAL GUIDE TO DENTAL SCHOOLS dental schools provide instruction in practice management and in working effectively with allied dental personnel to provide dental care.
During these two years, students may rotate through various clinics of the dental school to treat patients under the supervision of clinical instructors. They often have an opportunity to acquire additional clinical experience in hospitals and other off-campus, community settings. These experiences give students an appreciation for the team approach to health care delivery through their association with other health professionals and health professions students. As dental school curricula are designed to meet the anticipated needs of the public, every school continues to modify its curriculum to achieve a better correlation between the basic and clinical sciences. In clinical training, there is increased emphasis on providing comprehensive patient care—a method of training that permits a student to meet all the patient’s needs within the student’s existing levels of competence.
Widespread efforts also are being made to integrate new subject matter into the curriculum and to allow students free time for elective study, participation in research, and community service. The D. M. D. and the D. D. S. re equivalent degrees that are awarded to dental students upon completion of the same types of programs. QUALIFYING FOR DENTAL SCHOOL At least 59 U. S. and ten Canadian dental schools will be accepting applications to the first year of their Doctor of Dental Medicine (D. M. D. ) or Doctor of Dental Surgery (D. D. S. ) programs in 2011–12. The D. M. D. and the D. D. S. are equivalent degrees that are awarded to dental students upon completion of the same types of programs. ? Numbers of Applicants and Enrollees More than 19,000 students participated in D. M. D. and D. D. S. programs in the United States in 2008-09; of those, 4,794 were enrolled as first-year students. Of the 12,178 individuals who applied for admission, 39% were enrolled. Women comprised 47% of the applicants and 44% of the enrollees in 2008. Black/African Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, and Native Americans comprised 11. 8% of the applicants and 12. 3% of the enrollees in 2008. These underrepresented minority figures are expected to increase in the future. In Canada, approximately 1,598 students were enrolled in predoctoral dental school programs in 2008-09. Of these 454 were first-year students. See Table 2-1 for a comparison of the number of dental school applicants to the number enrolled for the 2008–09 academic year. ? General Admission Requirements Dental schools consider many factors when deciding which applicants to accept into their programs.
Utilizing “whole” application review, admissions committees assess biographical and academic information provided by the applicant and by the undergraduate and graduate schools the applicant attended. These committees generally also assess the applicant’s results from the Dental Admission Test (DAT), grade point average (GPA), additional information provided in the application, letters of evaluation, and interviews. All U. S. dental schools require students to take the DAT (all Canadian dental schools require students to take the Canadian Dental Aptitude Test), but other admission requirements vary from school to school. For example, differences may exist in the areas of undergraduate courses required, interview policies, and state residency requirements. Each school’s individual requirements are specified in Part II of this guide. TABLE 2-1. TOTAL U. S. DENTAL SCHOOL APPLICANTS AND FIRST-YEAR ENROLLEES, FOR CLASS ENTERING FALL 2008 Total* Male/Female White African Hispanic/ Native American/ Asian/Pacific Other Not American Latino Alaska Native Islander Reported Applicants Enrollees 12,178 4,794 6,502/5,663 2,673/2,120 6,747 2,832 734 267 633 279 77 41 2,962 1,056 742 231 283 88 *Sum of applicants and enrollees by gender do not add to total number of applicants and enrollees because a small number did not provide this information. Source: American Dental Education Association, Applicant Analysis for the 2008 Entering Class. 14 CHAPTER 2 APPLYING TO DENTAL SCHOOL Although most schools state that they require a minimum of at least two years (60 semester hours) or three years (90 semester hours) of undergraduate education (also called “predental education”), the majority of students admitted to dental school will have earned a bachelor’s degree prior to the start of dental school. Of all U. S. students entering dental schools, more than 90% have completed four or more years of college, less than 1% have just the minimum two-year requirement, and about 8% have graduate training. Individuals pursuing dental careers should take certain science courses. However, you do not have to be a science major to gain admission to a dental school and successfully complete the program. As shown in Table 2-2, most dental students are science majors as undergraduates, but many major in fields not related to science. ? ADEA Admissions Guidelines As the primary dental education association in North America, the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) has developed guidelines addressing dental school admission.
Although adhering to the guidelines is voluntary, member institutions (which include all U. S. and Canadian dental schools) are encouraged to follow these guidelines as they consider and accept applicants to their schools. The guidelines are as follows: ? ADEA encourages dental schools to accept students from all walks of life who, on the basis of past and predicted performance, appear qualified to become competent dental professionals. ? ADEA further encourages dental schools to use, whenever possible as part of the admissions process, a consistently applied assessment of an applicant’s nonacademic attributes. ? ADEA urges dental schools to grant final acceptance only to students who have completed at least two years of postsecondary education and have taken the DAT. ? ADEA further suggests that dental schools encourage applicants to earn their baccalaureate degrees before entering dental school. The recommendation for at least two years of postsecondary education may be waived for students accepted at a dental school under an early selection program. Under these programs, there is a formal and published agreement between a dental school and an undergraduate institution that gives a student, at some time before the completion of the predental curriculum, guaranteed admisTABLE 2-2. UNDERGRADUATE MAJORS OF DENTAL SCHOOL APPLICANTS AND ENROLLEES, sion to the dental school. Admission is 2008-09 dependent upon successful completion of Predental Major Percent of Percent of Percent Rate the dental school’s entrance requirements Applicants Enrollees of Enrollment and normal application procedures. ADEA recommends that dental schools notify applicants, either orally or in writing, of provisional or final acceptance on or after December 1 of the academic year prior to the academic year of matriculation. ? ADEA further recommends that: – Applicants accepted on or after December 1 be given at least 45 days to reply to the offer. – Applicants who have been accepted on or after January 1, the minimum response period should be 30 days.
Biological Science Engineering Math/Computer Science Social Sciences Business Education Language/Humanities/Arts Predental Other Major No Major/Major Not Reported 50. 5% 14. 6% 2. 4% 1. 1% 1. 2% 4. 3% . 7% 3. 8% 14. 3% 4. 0% 3. 2% 51. 5% 15. 2% 2. 7% 1. 1% 1. 2% 4. 5% . 6% 3. 8% 13. 0% 4. % 2. 4% 40. 1% 41. 0% 44. 3% 42. 2% 38. 9% 41. 5% 34. 5% 39. 6% 35. 7% 39. 1% 14. 3% Chemistry/Physical Science Source: American Dental Education Association, Applicant Analysis Report for the 2008 Entering Class 15 ADEA OFFICIAL GUIDE TO DENTAL SCHOOLS – Applicants accepted on or after February 1, the minimum waiting period can be reduced to 15 days. ? ADEA believes that dental schools are justified in asking for an immediate response from applicants accepted after July 15, or two weeks before the beginning of the academic year, whichever comes first. ? Response periods are subject to change. Be sure to consult schools’ websites for any updates. Finally, ADEA recommends that dental schools encourage a close working relationship between their admissions and financial aid staff in order to counsel dental students early and effectively on their financial obligations. THE APPLICATION PROCESS The dental school application process involves a number of procedures but is easily followed once you learn what is needed. This section explains how the application process works in general, recognizing that specific details may vary somewhat from school to school. Once you have a basic framework, you will find it easier to adapt to these variations. There are three main steps in the application process: ? Take the DAT (for Canadian schools, the Canadian Dental Aptitude Test). In the vast majority of cases, submit a centralized application form to ADEA’s Associated American Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS). (As of November 1, 2009, three of the 59 U. S. dental schools do not participate in AADSAS. ) ? Acquire and submit institution-specific materials.
Following is a brief description of each step and whom you should contact for more information. This section concludes with advice on how to effectively manage the timing of the application process.
Always remember that the application process for an individual school may vary from this general information; see Part II of this guide for specific application requirements by school. Not sure what to write about in your essay? Consider these ideas. The AADSAS application requires a personal essay on why you wish to pursue a dental education. Where do you start? Put yourself in the shoes of the admissions committees that read application essays. They are looking for individuals who are motivated, academically prepared, articulate, socially conscious, and knowledgeable about the profession.
What can you tell admissions committees about yourself that will make you stand out? Here are some possible topics for your essay: ? How did you become interested in studying dentistry? Be honest! If you knew you wanted to be a dentist from the age of six, that’s fine, but if you didn’t, that’s all right too. Explain how you discovered dentistry as a career possibility and what you have done to research the career. Admissions committees are looking for how well thoughtout your career plans are. ? What have you done to demonstrate your interest in dentistry? Have you observed or worked in dental offices? Have you talked to practicing dentists? How good of an understanding do you have of general dental practice? How do you envision yourself utilizing your dental degree? ? What have you done to demonstrate your commitment to helping others? ? Do you have any special talents or leadership skills that could be transferable to the practice of dentistry? Have you benefited from any special experiences such as participating in research, internships, etc.? ? Did you have to work to pay for your education? How has that made you a stronger applicant? ? Have you had to overcome hardships or obstacles to get where you are today? How has this influenced your motivation for advanced education? ? Take the DAT All U. S. dental schools require applicants to take the Dental Admission Test (DAT). The DAT is designed to measure general academic ability, comprehension of scientific information, and perceptual ability. This half-day, multiple-choice exam is conducted by the American Dental Association (ADA). It is a computer-based test given at Prometric Testing Centers in various sites around the country on almost any day of the year. Candidates for the DAT should have completed prerequisite courses in biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry. These tips are provided by Anne Wells, Ed. D. , ADEA Associate Executive Director for the Division of Education Pathways and former Associate Dean for Admissions, University of Louisville School of Dentistry. 16 CHAPTER 2 APPLYING TO DENTAL SCHOOL STUDENT PROFILE What are you doing now? I’m in my fourth year of dental school and working in the school’s clinic. We get a phenomenal amount of clinical experience at Baylor. I think you need to be competent in a wide range of dental procedures because there are a lot of people with needs who won’t be able to go to a specialist. I’ve also done several externships over the summer in dental clinics in Alaska and underserved areas in Texas.
What are your short-term and long-term goals? After dental school, I’m going to move with my family to Alaska to practice. When you first get into dentistry you hear a lot about the oral health care issues in Alaska. I did an externship with the Indian Health Service (IHS) where I visited an island called Mekuryok and saw them first-hand. I didn’t choose dentistry solely for financial reasons. I want to make sure that the investment I make in my education and talents are helping people with access to care issues. At the end of your third and fourth years you start to realize how many options are available to dental graduates. I think more people would become interested in the profession if they knew about them. In the long-term, I’d like to try to open a dental school in Alaska to help address the access to care issues. Advice to applicants and first-year . People say applying is a game.
You have to figure out what the school is looking for and be that person. But just be yourself. You’re often at dental school more than you’re at home. You’ll excel in a dental school that fits your personality. My top choice actually became my last choice during the interview process. I ended up choosing the school that was looking for the type of person that I felt comfortable being. First-year students may be overwhelmed with the coursework.
There are a lot of number one students at dental school who haven’t gotten less than an A since third grade. Students end up getting some low grades because of the rigorous academic demands.
You have to overcome that and pick your battles. If you have 13 exams in one week you can’t learn all of the material. I chose to learn what I needed to learn to be a good competent dentist. What do you view as the most interesting issue in dentistry? The Dental Health Aide Therapist (DHAT) and access to care issue in Alaska. It’s easy for people to be opposed to a program they don’t know much about, but when you go up there and see the actual oral health care needs you understand it better. The programs aren’t perfect, but the concern is competent care for the patient. I can’t say that I am entirely in favor of the DHAT program, but I definitely better understand the basis for its creation. It’s better to get some treatment than no treatment. What is the last good book you read? I recently read Mountains Beyond Mountains: Healing the World: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer by Tracy Kidder. It follows the life of a physician who dedicates his time to treating underserved populations in Haiti and Peru.
His story shows there is more to treating patients than money and prestige. I would recommend it to any health professional. What to you do for balance in your life? I’m a very social person and like to be active. I play volleyball with a group once a week and basketball on Saturday mornings. Any time outside of that is spent with my family. Are you married/partnered/single? Any children? I’m married and have two children, a two year old son and four year old daughter. They definitely don’t make dental school easy, but they make it worth it. ADAM WEAVER FOURTH-YEAR DENTAL STUDENT BAYLOR COLLEGE OF DENTISTRY HOMETOWN: EL PASO, TEXAS Why Dentistry? There were a few reasons I chose dentistry. I actually decided when I was 14 that I wanted to be a dentist. My friend’s dad was an endodontist. I saw that the profession offered him a lot of time to spend with his family, and I wanted to make sure that I would some day be available for my own family and able to take care of them. I’m also very involved in my church and dentistry would allow me the ability to serve and give back to the community. Finally, I knew I loved the sciences, working with my hands, and working with people.
Advanced level biology and physics are not required. Most applicants complete two or more years of college before taking the exam. ADEA strongly encourages applicants to prepare for the DAT by reviewing the content of the examination and basic principles of biology and chemistry and taking practice tests. The DAT Candidate’s Guide, the online tutorial, and the application and preparation materials are available in the DAT section of the ADA website at www. ada. org/prof/ed/testing/dat/index. asp. The ADA suggests that applicants take the DAT well in advance of their intended dental school enrollment and at least one year prior to when they hope to enter dental school. See Table 3-3 in this guide for an overview of individual schools’ requirements regarding the DAT, including the average scores of enrollees and timelines that will help you schedule the DAT. You should also note that the DAT can be taken a maximum of three times.
Applicants who wish to take the DAT more than three times must apply for special permission to take the test again. For details, see the DAT section of the ADA website. The DAT consists of multiple-choice test items presented in the English language and requires four hours and 15 minutes for administration. The four separate parts of the exam cover: ? Natural sciences (biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry) ? Perceptual ability (two- and three-dimensional problem solving) ? Reading comprehension (dental and basic sciences) ? Quantitative reasoning (mathematical problems in algebra, numerical calculations, conversions, etc. ) 17 ADEA OFFICIAL GUIDE TO DENTAL SCHOOLS Most dental schools view the DAT as one of many factors in evaluating candidates for admission. As a result, the emphasis schools place on different parts of the test varies. Candidates applying to take the DAT must submit application information to the DAT testing program from the DAT section of the ADA website. The fee is $205. After the application and fee payment are processed, the ADA notifies Prometric that the candidate is eligible for DAT testing. At the same time, the candidate will receive notification from the ADA including instructions on how to register with the Prometric Candidate Contact Center to arrange the day, time, and place to take the DAT at a Prometric Testing Center. A current listing of testing centers is at www. prometric. com/ADA/default. htm. The candidate is eligible to take the test for a 12-month period. If the candidate does not call, register, and take the exam during this period, he or she will have to submit another application and fee in order to take the exam later.
Candidates may apply and retake the test up to three times, but they must submit a new application and fee for each re-examination, and the re-examination must be taken at least 90 days after the previous exam. Individuals with disabilities or special needs may request special arrangements for taking the DAT. For details, visit the Special Accommodations section of the Prometric website at www. prometric. com/TestTakers/FAQs/default. htm. The Canadian Dental Association (CDA) and the Association of Canadian Faculties of Dentistry have developed the Dental Aptitude Test for applicants to Canadian dental schools.
All Canadian dental schools require the test. For more information, contact the Dental Aptitude Test Program of the Canadian Dental Association (L’Association Dentaire Canadienne), 1815 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1G 3Y6; 615-523-7736; dat@cda-adc. ca, www. cda-adc. ca. Since many schools have a rolling admissions process and begin to admit highly qualified applicants as early as December 1, applicants are encouraged to submit their applications early. ? Submitting an AADSAS Application ADEA’s AADSAS (pronounced “add-sass,” the acronym for the Associated American Dental Schools Application Service) is a centralized application service sponsored and administered by ADEA. At least 56 of the 59 U. S. dental schools, including Puerto Rico, participate in AADSAS. One Canadian school also participates in AADSAS. The Application The ADEA AADSAS application is available online at www. adea. org. The online AADSAS application requires you to submit information: ? Biographical information ? Colleges/universities attended ? Coursework completed and planned prior to enrollment in dental school. ? DAT scores, if available ? Personal statement (essay)—a one-page essay in which you present yourself and your reasons for wanting to attend dental school ? Background information—information about your personal background, including experiences related to the dental profession; extracurricular, volunteer, and community service experiences; honors, awards, and scholarships; and work and research experiences ? Dental school designations—where you select the dental schools that you want to receive your application ? Official transcripts—you will also be required to submit an official transcript from each college or university you have attended to the AADSAS Verification Department ? AADSAS also accepts and distributes letters of evaluation (sometimes called letters of recommendation) with your AADSAS application 18 CHAPTER 2 APPLYING TO DENTAL SCHOOL Submitting your ADEA AADSAS Application: Words of Advice Before you begin the application process: ? Meet with your health professions advisor to discuss the application process, including the timing of application submission and the DAT, services that may be provided by your advisor such as a Pre-Dental Committee Report or other application assistance, and potential dental schools to which you plan to apply. ? Consider the timing of the Dental Admissions Test (DAT). You may submit an ADEA AADSAS application before taking the DAT, but you should know that many schools consider you for admission only after they have received your DAT scores. However, you should also be aware that delaying the submission of an ADEA AADSAS application prior to taking the DAT can result in a late application and can reduce your chances of being accepted for admission. ? Collect copies of all transcripts and have them at hand for your reference. ? Begin to line up individuals who will be providing letters of evaluation early. Be sure to plan around school vacations when faculty advisors may not be available. ? ADEA AADSAS staff strongly recommend that you submit your application well in advance of the deadlines of the schools to which you apply. ? Your application will ask you to indicate the names of individuals who will be providing letters of evaluation on your behalf. While ADEA AADSAS accepts letters in print format, it strongly recommends that letters be electronically submitted. Refer to the instructions for details about submitting letters of evaluation. ? The ADEA AADSAS application becomes available on or around May 15. Watch the ADEA website (www. adea. org) for the start date of the application cycle.
After submitting the application: ? Be sure to check with the schools to which you are applying (and their individual entries in this guide) to find out what supplemental materials or fees are required. These must be submitted directly to the school, not to AADSAS. ? Log on to your ADEA AADSAS account to monitor the status of your pplication while it is being processed and after it has been sent to the dental schools. ? Update any changes of address or other contact information in your application at any time in the application process, even after your application has been sent to your designated schools. ? ADEA AADSAS does not retain application information from year to year. Individuals re-applying for admission to dental school must complete a new application each year, including providing new transcripts and letters of evaluation. For further information, visit the ADEA website at www. adea. org, and select the ADEA AADSAS link. Processing the application, including transcript verification, generally takes about one month. Remember that your ADEA AADSAS application is not considered complete until ADEA AADSAS receives your online application, fee payment, and official transcripts from every college and university attended.
While completing the application ? When you set up your ADEA AADSAS account, you will identify a user name and password. Keep these in a safe yet accessible place. ? Be sure to read all application instructions before you start to fill out the application. ? Any time after you set up your account, you can go back into the application (using your user name and password) to add or change information up until the time you submit it for processing. ? Print the Transcript Matching Form from your application. Request that an official transcript from each college and university you have attended (include transferred coursework posted to later transcripts) be sent to ADEA AADSAS. The Transcript Matching Form must be attached by each college’s registrar to the official transcript and mailed by the registrar to ADEA AADSAS. Applications are not processed until all official transcripts are received. ? Remember that ADEA AADSAS accepts only official transcripts sent directly from the registrar. ADEA AADSAS does not accept student-issued transcripts. These recommendations were provided by Anne Wells, Ed. D. , and Ms. Chonte James of ADEA AADSAS. Submission Deadlines Applications may be submitted beginning on or around May 15. Each school has a specific application deadline date, which is noted in he online AADSAS application and in the individual school entries in Part II of this guide. Please note that these dates are subject to change; consult each dental school’s website for the most up-to-date information on deadline dates.
Your completed application, transcripts, payment, and other required documents must be received by AADSAS no later than the stated deadline of the schools to which you are applying. Since many schools have a rolling admissions process and begin to admit highly qualified applicants as early as December 1, applicants are encouraged to submit their applications early. 19 ADEA OFFICIAL GUIDE TO DENTAL SCHOOLS Application Fees Check the AADSAS website for complete information about application fees. Payment may be by check, money order, or credit card (VISA, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express). All fees must be paid in U. S. currency drawn on a U. S. bank or the U. S. Postal Service. AADSAS has a fee reduction program for applicants with demonstrated financial hardship. Details may be obtained on the AADSAS website. AADSAS Schools The schools that use AADSAS are listed by state in Table 2-3. If you are applying only to the schools that do not participate in AADSAS, you should apply directly to those schools. Texas residents applying to Texas dental schools must utilize the Texas Medical and Dental Application Services (TMDSAS), www. utsystem. edu/tmdsas. Graduates of non-ADA accredited dental schools (i. e. nternational dental school graduates) may be eligible for admission into advanced placement programs offered by many dental schools.
International dental graduates may want to refer to ADEA’s Centralized Application for Advanced Placement International Dentists (ADEA CAAPID), located on the ADEA website (www. adea. org) for information about these programs and the application process. Please note that AADSAS serves as an information clearinghouse only. It does not influence any school’s evaluation or selection of applicants, nor does ADEA recommend applicants to dental schools or vice versa. ? Submit any required supplemental application materials Each school has its own policy regarding the payment of a separate application fee and the submission of additional application materials.
These materials may include an institution-specific supplemental (or secondary) application form, documentation of dentistry shadowing experience, and official academic transcripts. Part II of this guide briefly reviews each dental school’s application requirements. In addition, the ADEA AADSAS STUDENT PROFILE and fix the problem. I started to realize that my dad was right all along. What are you doing right now? I’m in a hospital residency program at Christiana Hospital. I actually met the Program Director Dr. Robert Arm through ADEA. At the time I wasn’t really thinking about residency programs, but he said to keep an open mind and that you receive great training. At Christiana it’s great to be part of an interdisciplinary team and interface with physicians. I get to be involved in community health aspects. I never do something two days in a row. I may be in a private health center where I see all the dental work I didn’t see in dental school or observe dental specialties and OR dentistry. I’m also a Vice President for the ADEA Council of Students, Residents, and Fellows. What are your short-term and long-term goals? I want to go on to a residency program in pediatric dentistry. I’d like to be in a hospital based practice working with children and patients with special needs and teaching. It can be difficult to address access to care issues in other practice situations.
Advice to applicants and first-year students? For applicants, they want to know you know what you’re getting into. Before applying you should have done some shadowing and hopefully more than your own braces. Think about how to take the profession beyond what it is whether it’s working on access to care issues, in research, or developing ways to cure dental anxiety. For first-years, find a mentor. They never find you. I struggled with motivation and spun my wheels a lot. I have a lot of energy and wasn’t sure what to do with it. I needed someone to say why don’t you try this.
Time management was huge. Every semester is packed to capacity. You think, “How can I do more” and the next semester you do. You have to change your study habits. If you miss a couple days, you hate your life. It’s hard to discipline yourself and it was exhausting, but there is a light at the end. What do you do for balance in your life? I do a lot of yoga and trained for a marathon. I also have friends outside of dental school.
What is the last good book you read? I read books about travel since I can’t do a lot. I just read a great book on China. What do you view as the most interesting issue in dentistry? The dental profession’s place in healthcare and how to execute it so our profession remains valuable. The definition of access to care is so different depending upon where you are. Some cannot afford it, and some do not value it. It’s important to have early education and a form of health care that takes care of basic needs. Dentistry needs to lead this because no one on the outside truly understands what we do and how we work.
Are you married/partnered/single? Any children? Single MARIA CORDERO, D. M. D. GENERAL PRACTICE RESIDENT CHRISTIANA HOSPITAL Why did you choose dentistry? I spent time trying not to choose dentistry. My father is a dentist, but he’s given me a lot of leeway to find my own path. I always thought dentistry is what my dad did, and I wanted to do something different. But he’s always been so happy.
Dentistry allows you to make a diagnosis, treat, 20 CHAPTER 2 APPLYING TO DENTAL SCHOOL TABLE 2-3. DENTAL SCHOOLS PARTICIPATING IN ADEA AADSAS (AS OF NOVEMBER 1, 2009) Alabama Arizona California University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine Loma Linda University School of Dentistry University of California, Los Angeles School of Dentistry University of California, San Francisco School of Dentistry University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry University of Southern California School of Dentistry Western University of Health Sciences College of Dental Medicine University of Colorado Denver School of Dental Medicine University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine University of Florida College of Dentistry Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry Indiana University School of Dentistry University of Iowa College of Dentistry University of Kentucky College of Dentistry University of Louisville School of Dentistry Louisiana State University School of Dentistry University of Maryland Baltimore College of Dental Surgery Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine Harvard School of Dental Medicine Tufts University School of Dental Medicine University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry University of Michigan School of Dentistry University of Minnesota School of Dentistry University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry Virginia Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Nova Scotia Nebraska Nevada New Jersey New York Creighton University School of Dentistry University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Dental Medicine University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Columbia University College of Dental Medicine New York University College of Dentistry Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Dentistry Case School of Dental Medicine The Ohio State University College of Dentistry University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry Oregon Health & Science University School of Dentistry University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine The Maurice H. Kornberg School of Dentistry, Temple University University of Puerto Rico School of Dental Medicine Medical University of South Carolina College of Dental Medicine Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry Baylor College of Dentistry University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Dental Branch University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Dental School Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry University of Washington School of Dentistry West Virginia University School of Dentistry Marquette University School of Dentistry Dalhousie University Faculty of Dentistry Colorado Connecticut Florida Illinois Indiana Iowa Kentucky Louisiana Maryland Massachusetts North Carolina Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania District of Columbia Howard University College of Dentistry Puerto Rico South Carolina Tennessee Texas Michigan Minnesota Missouri Application website includes a chart that identifies the supplemental requirements for the participating schools. Note that this information is subject to change; consult dental schools’ websites for most up-to-date requirements. After you have submitted all of your materials, the dental schools that wish to consider you for a place in the entering class will contact you for a visit to the campus. This visit will likely include an interview with the admissions committee, a tour of the campus and facilities, meetings with faculty and students, and other meetings and activities. When you visit a dental school, the admissions committee is evaluating you as a prospective student, while at the same time, you will have the opportunity to evaluate the dental school program and environment to determine if you think it would be a good fit for you and your goals. ? Manage the Timing of the Application Process The trick to managing the timing of the application process is summed up in two words: DON’T PROCRASTINATE! Most dental schools will fill a large percentage of their 2011 entering classes by December 2010. This means that even though schools have deadlines for completing all the application requirements that range from October 2010 to February 2011, it is not a good idea to wait until the last minute to take the DAT, submit the AADSAS application, or complete any supplemental materials requested by the schools to which you are applying. 21 ADEA OFFICIAL GUIDE TO DENTAL SCHOOLS YouTube for Dental Students – ADEA Video Mentors ADEA now gives a voice to dental students on YouTube. com.
Through the creation of ADEA Video Mentors, a channel on YouTube. om, prospective dental students and current dental students can share their experience and offer advice. The site features dental students (allied, predoctoral, postdoctoral) discussing topics related to dental careers, dental education, and the application process. Dental students submit videos that answer the questions predental students most frequently ask: What made you decide to go into dentistry? How was your path to dental school unique? What surprises you most about dental school? What would you recommend students do to prepare their dental school applications? A second component of the site, AADSAS Answers, responds to timely questions about the AADSAS application process. This component is a separate channel on the ADEA Video Mentor site that answers questions regarding the AADSAS Application process. AADSAS is the centralized application service (sponsored by ADEA) used by 56 dental schools. Students are invited to submit their videos or visit the site to learn more about being a dental student and the application process. Your participation encourages today’s high school and college students to become the health professionals of tomorrow.
The videos are currently housed at www. youtube. com and can be accessed by viewing ADEA’s dedicated video mentoring channel, www. youtube. com/ADEAVideoMentors. The individual dental school information in Part II of this guide includes an admissions timetable for each school’s entering class. It is essential that you become familiar with the timetables for the schools to which you are applying and that you make plans to complete the admission application requirements on time. SPECIAL ADMISSIONS TOPICS For those of you interested in advanced standing and transferring, combined degree programs, and admission for international students, this section briefly addresses those areas. Part II of this guide provides some additional information on these topics for each dental school, but you should contact the dental schools you are considering for more details. ? Advanced Standing and Transferring Advanced standing means that a student is exempted from certain courses or is accepted as a second- or third-year student. Advanced standing is offered at the time of admission to students who have mastered some aspects of the dental school curriculum because of previous training. An individual who has a Ph. D. in one of the basic sciences, such as physiology, for example, may be exempted from taking the physiology course in dental school. Some schools may also grant advanced standing to students who have transferred from other U. S. or Canadian dental schools or who have graduated from international dental schools. In these cases, applicants may be allowed to enter as second- or third year-students. 22 CHAPTER 2 APPLYING TO DENTAL SCHOOL Each dental school has its own policy on advanced standing and transferring students; see the individual school entries in Part II of this guide. But it is important to be aware that most students do not obtain advanced standing and that very few students transfer from one school to another. ? Combined Degree Programs Many dental schools in the United States and Canada offer combined degree programs that give students the opportunity to obtain other degrees along with their D. D. S. or D. M. D. Degrees that may be combined with the dental degree include: ? A baccalaureate degree (B. A. or B. S. ) ? A master’s degree (M. A. , M. S. , M. B. A. , or M. P. H. ) ? A doctorate (Ph. D. , M. D. , or D. O. ) Numerous dental schools have formal combined baccalaureate and dental degree programs.
Combined degree programs expand career options especially for those interested in careers in dental education, administration, and research. They may also shorten the length of training where specific agreements have been made between the dental school and its parent institution. The undergraduate and dental school portions of some combined degree programs take place at the same university, while other combined programs are the result of arrangements made between a dental school and other undergraduate institutions. Sometimes colleges will independently grant baccalaureate degrees to students who attended as undergraduates and did not finish their undergraduate education but did successfully complete some portion of their dental training. Many dental schools also sponsor combined graduate and dental degree programs. These programs, which usually take six to seven years to complete, are offered at the masters or doctoral level in subjects that include the basic sciences (biology, physiology, chemistry), public policy, medicine, and other areas. See Table 3-6 in Chapter 3 of this guide for a list of dental schools with combined degree programs. If you are interested in more information about combined degree programs, you should contact the schools directly. ? Admissions for International Students The term “international student” refers to an individual who is a native of a foreign country and who plans to study in the United States or Canada on a student visa.
Students who have permanent residency status in the United States are not considered international students; they have the same rights, responsibilities, and options as U. S. citizens applying for admission to dental school. Applicants who have completed coursework outside the United States or Canada (except through study abroad) should supply a copy of their transcripts, translated into English, plus a course-by-course evaluation of all transcripts. Application details for international applicants are contained in the ADEA AADSAS application.
International applicants who are not graduates of international dental schools are considered for admission to most U. S. and Canadian dental schools. Each dental school has its own policies on admission requirements for international students. However, most dental schools require international students to complete all the application materials mandated for U. S. citizens and permanent residents. In addition, international students may be asked to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or demonstrate English language proficiency. International students should expect to finance the entire cost of their dental education. ? International Dental Graduates Graduates of international (non-ADA accredited) dental schools may be eligible for admission into an advanced placement program. These programs provide an opportunity for dentists educated outside the U. S. and Canada to obtain an accredited degree that is recognized by state and provincial licensing officials.
The ADEA Centralized Application 23 ADEA OFFICIAL GUIDE TO DENTAL SCHOOLS A Guide to Preparing for Dental School Maybe you already know that you have a strong interest in dentistry but don’t know where to start. It’s never too early to begin preparing. Below are a few guidelines to help you plan your coursework and get in touch with mentors and other professionals who can help you along the way. Keep in mind this guide offers a general timeline for preparation. Many successful dental students have been non-science majors or pursued other careers before deciding dentistry was right for them. In fact, the guide can be used at any point in your academic or professional career. It is also helpful if you are not completely sure that dentistry is where you want to focus your energy and will help you decide if attending dental school is a commitment you want to make. FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS ? Take science and math classes, including chemistry, biology, and algebra. If available, take Advanced Placement (AP) level coursework. ? Talk to people in the field. Call local dentists or contact the dental society in your city or town to find people who can help answer your questions. Contact your local dental society through the American Dental Association’s (ADA) website at www. ada. org/ada/organizations/ local. asp.
Information on the ADA’s mentoring program can also be found at www. ada. org/public/careers/beadentist/ mentoring. asp. ? Check out ExploreHealthCareers. org (EHC) “Meet a Dentist” page at www. explorehealthcareers. org/en/Career. 1. aspx. COLLEGE YEAR 1 Fall semester ? Meet with prehealth advisor and plan coursework ? If your school doesn’t have a prehealth advisor, look into obtaining a copy of the ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools to review the dental schools’ requirements. Although most schools require a minimum of one year of biology, general and inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics, specific requirements vary from school to school. ? Complete required predental coursework Spring semester ? Think about volunteer or employment opportunities in dentistry for the summer like shadowing a dentist or volunteering in a community health clinic. ? Complete required coursework and register for the fall semester. ? Research prehealth enrichment programs at Explore Health Careers: www. explorehealthcareers. Also look into the Summer Medical and Dental Education program for college freshman and sophomores at www. smdep. org. Prehealth enrichment programs can help you decide if a career in dentistry is a good fit and help you prepare for the application process. Summer ? Complete an internship or volunteer program ? If necessary attend summer school Service for Advanced Placement for International Dentists (ADEA CAAPID) provides an online portal for applicants to submit materials one time and direct them to multiple institutions.
Information about these programs, their admission requirements and the application process can be found at www. adea. org. 24 COLLEGE YEAR 2 Fall semester ? Schedule a time to meet with your prehealth advisor ? Attend prehealth activities ? Join your school’s predental society if one is available ? Complete required coursework ? Explore community service opportunities through your school (doesn’t necessarily need to be health-related). If possible, continue activities throughout undergraduate career. COLLEGE YEAR 3 Fall semester ? Meet with prehealth advisor to make sure coursework completion is on schedule ? Discuss dental schools ? Complete coursework and register for spring semester ? Visit ADEA’s website at www. adea. org to learn about applying to dental school ? Place order for the ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools ? Research schools COLLEGE YEAR 4 Fall semester ? Meet with prehealth advisor and complete coursework ? Attend interviews with schools ? Notification of acceptances begins December 1 Spring semester ? Apply for federal financial aid Summer ? Relax and get ready for the first semester of dental school! ? Attend school’s open houses or events ? Prepare to relocate if necessary Spring semester ? Look into paid or volunteer dentalrelated research opportunities ? Complete second semester coursework and register for the fall Spring semester ? Review each dental school’s required documents early in the semester ? Identify individuals to write letters of recommendation ? Take the DAT late spring or early summer ? Prepare to submit AADSAS application. Applications become available on or around May 15 ? Complete coursework and register for the fall ? Schedule a volunteer or paid dental related activity Summer ? Complete a summer research or volunteer dental-related program ? If necessary attend summer school ? DAT preparation Summer ? Take the DAT if you have not done so already ? Prepare for school interviews in the fall ? Budget time and finances appropriately to attend interviews ? Participate in volunteer or paid opportunity ? If necessary attend summer school 25
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