The process on how to become a dentist is really one of time and commitment. Dental school programs award the degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD). Earning a doctoral degree in dentistry usually requires four years of additional study (after undergraduate study).
The American Association of Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS), sponsored by the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), is a centralized application service for individuals applying to dental school. AADSAS simplifies the application process for both applicants and schools by allowing applicants to complete one application form. Information is then sent in a standardized format to each school requested by the applicant.
In addition to the centralized application, applicants applying to dental school need to take the Dental Admissions Test (DAT). This test should be taken a year prior to seeking admission. The DAT is a computerized test which measures general academic abilities, an understanding of scientific information and perceptual ability. In order to take the DAT, students should complete at least one year of college-level courses in biology, and general and organic chemistry. Along with DAT scores, dental school's may review other credentials such as academic grade point averages (GPA's), recommendation letters, and conduct personal interviews.
Many dental school interviews are usually designed to assess a candidate qualities, such as a desire to help people, self-confidence, ability to meet challenges, get along with people and one's capacity to work independently. The personal interview should also be looked at as an opportunity to ask questions about the school and its program. Most admission decisions are made after the interviews. How you come across during the interview may be as important as both grades and test scores. In order to prepare for the interview, here are some helpful interviewing tips:
While applicants can be accepted to a dental school as early as December of the admission year and as late as the first of class of the entering year, many qualified applicants are denied admission to dental school. The reasons can vary: low GPA and DAT scores, weak recommendation letters or personal statements, etc. Although granted an interview with this data, your interview may have been the deciding factor. If possible, speak with the admissions committee to find out how to increase your chances of admission, if you intend to reapply.
If you are unable to discuss the rejection with a school official, speak with a mentor or advisor who may possibly help you to find the reasons for rejection. Then develop and implement a plan to correct what you perceive to be the problem before reapplying. While situations are different, there are some ways to increase your chances of admission to a dental school program: