Dental School: Application Timeline

dental-school-application-photoMany of us, at some point or another, have inquired about when and what we should do in order to apply to dental school. Unless, you have a close friend/family member who has applied to dental school, or you asked your school’s pre-dental adviser you are probably pretty clueless on where to begin. Below is a detailed timeline of what you should do and when.


Dental School Application Timeline

  1. In order to register for the Dental Admissions Test or for a dental school application, you will need what is called a DENTPIN. You can register for a DENTPIN on the ADA website by following this link
  2. Now that you have your DENTPIN go to the ADEA AADSAS  website and register for an application for dental school. This will not obligate you to submit your application but will allow you to view the current application so that you can get an idea of what you will need to prepare and the types of questions that are asked.
    • I suggest copying the application and putting it into a Word Document. The website is closed to registration during the month of May which is immediately before the next cycles application is posted (June 1st).
    • Fill the application in as you go. When the new application opens on June 1st all you will need to do is copy and past your information into the online version and check for spelling, grammar, and formatting errors.


  1. Make an appointment with your pre-dental adviser. Become acquainted with him or her and inform them that you are preparing yourself to apply to dental school in June. At this point, your adviser may be able to give you additional information or resources.
    • This is a good time to find out if your school does committee letters or not. Some schools will have you send your letters of recommendation to them and give you a small interview. In return, a committee will write a summary letter to go along with your letters of recommendation.
  2. Explore different resources for the Dental Admissions Test (DAT). Find out what you want to use in order to prepare for the test and when you will begin your preparation.


  1. Begin requesting letters of recommendation. Some professors get several requests, so you will want to be one of the first. See “Obtaining Quality Letters of Recommendation” for details.
    • If your school does a committee letter you should be able to have your letter writers send you letters to the pre-dental adviser. Before you request your letters be sure to talk with your adviser and see where they would like you to have the letters submitted.
    • If you do not have a pre-dental committee you will want to have your letter writers hold on to the letters until June 1st (or when you register for your application after June 1st). At this point, the ADEA AADSAS application will give you and your letter writers instructions on how to upload or send your letters.
  2. Prepare for the DAT and/or take the DAT if you have had adequate preparation. I would highly recommend planning on taking the DAT only one time. Many will say that they are just going to take it the first time for “practice”. NOT A GOOD IDEA. You will have to wait 90 days to take the test again if you so desire and it some schools will average your first scores with your second (most take the most recent). You also only get three chances at the DAT and you do not want to waste one on a “practice” run.


  1. Follow-up with the professors and dentists who are writing your letters of recommendation. Make sure they have everything they need to write your letter. Remind them of when you need the letter completed by.
  2. If you are going to receive a committee letter meet with your pre-dental adviser in order to set up an interview.
  3. Continue your preparation for the DAT and/or take the DAT if you have had adequate preparation.
  4. Begin writing your personal statement. See “Writing a Personal Statement” for more details. You will want to plan on having this complete by June 1st (this is when the application opens for the new cycle).
  5. Make sure that you have accounted for and documented all of your hours for shadowing, volunteering, and service opportunities.
  6. Get contact information for any and all colleges that you have attended in your entire life. When the application becomes available on June 1st you will need to request transcripts from each college.


  1. The application will open on June 1st. You will have to register for a new account even if you already registered for one during the previous cycle. Remember you will need your DENTPIN for this.
    • Filling out the application can take some time. It will take a lot less time if you already printed and filled out the previous cycles application in a Word Document. All you will need to do is copy/paste the text into the online application and check for spelling, grammar, and formatting errors.
    • In order to have the best chance at getting an interview, you will want your application in as early as possible. If you have it complete within the first 2 weeks of the application you will definitely be considered early. You will still be early in the cycle if you submit it anytime in June or the beginning of July. Much later than that and other applicants may have a slight upper hand on you.
      • Do not rush taking your DAT just to get your application in early (Note: You can submit your application without your DAT but it will not be considered complete until you take your DAT and submit your scores). If you can, prepare and have it taken before the middle of June. If for any reason you are not ready, take extra time preparing and do well on it the first time. Remember, if you do poorly you will have to wait 90 days to retake it which will set your application back to September (assuming you took it for the first time in June).
  2. Have your letters of recommendations submitted in order to complete your application.
  3. Request transcripts from all previously attended colleges.
    • This may seem obvious but be sure to follow all of the directions on the application. This application is not something you want to throw together so be sure to take your time and triple check for any mistakes or errors.


  1. You will receive “secondary” applications from many of the schools that you apply to. They will ask for additional information and money(approximately $50-75 for each school). Be sure to make each of these applications quality and at the same time get them in quickly. The sooner you can send these the sooner you will receive an interview.
  2. Some of you may begin receiving interviews near the end of July and towards the beginning of August. You will want to prepare yourself for each interview. Contact your pre-dental adviser to see if your school does mock interviews.


  1. Interviews and interview invitations continued.
  2. During this time feel free to follow up with each school, especially if you have not heard back from them. Do not bother them with questions such as “have I been rejected” or “what are my chances of getting an interview” but you can ask them to confirm that your application is complete and that they do not need anything else from you. In fact, I would highly recommend doing this as sometimes they may, for one reason or another, be missing a part of your application such as a required letter of recommendation or even your DAT scores.
  3. Some Schools may begin sending out rejection notices. Never call a school to “see” if you are rejected. If they haven’t sent you a notice this means they are still considering your application or they are waiting to send them at a later date.


  1. December 1st is the first day that schools send out acceptances! If you don’t receive one on this day don’t worry. There is still plenty of time as many students will receive multiple acceptances and will have to choose to give up their seats at all but one school.
  2. Interviews and interview invites continue
    • Many schools will have interviews during December and throughout the spring.
  3. Acceptances will continue to be sent out throughout this time also. Some schools may handout acceptances as late as May or June.
The key to having a good application is to be proactive. Get yourself organized and be sure that you are getting things done on time. Remember the earlier you get your application turned in the greater your chance of getting interviews. Good Luck!