Each part of the application process is important. You should approach each part of the process as if it were the most important aspect with regard to your admission. That includes a writing of your personal statement, or essay.
Unlike most of the hoops you must jump through for dental school admission, your personal essay gives you the ability to let your personality show without actually meeting the parties reading your essay. Let’s face it, most people who are applying to dental school are going to have a similar GPA And entrance exam scores. One of the few places where your application can stand out is in your personal statement.
Don’t wait until the last minute to write your essay. Take some time to think about what you’re going to say. Make a rough draft, then revise it once you’ve given a copy to friends, family members, and your undergraduate school’s adviser. Be sure to make the statement “personal”. Don’t just focus on telling the admissions committee how well you did in college and how much time you’ve spent shadowing your dentist. It’s certainly wise to include the reasons you’re interested in the dental profession, but be sure to include other aspects of your life.
Tell an interesting story about yourself. If reading your own personal statement makes you board, and imagine how someone you don’t know will feel when they read it! When you make a trip to a potential school it’s very possible, almost certain, that one or more of your interviewers will ask you questions directly related to something you wrote in your personal essay. If you write about some interesting part of your life you can bet that the interviewer will will focus on that and ask you questions about it. This makes for an easy interview. So, if you recently competed in a triathlon, traveled to Europe, or won a blue ribbon for your prized cow at the 4-H fair, be sure to include something about it in your essay.
As for how much to write, try to use 90% or more of the maximum allowed space. If they say the limit is two pages, then write nearly 2 pages. If they say the limit is 1000 words try to write 990.
Tags:dental essay, dental school, dental school admission
Can Someone Tell Me, Just How Important Are My Letters Of Recommendation?
April 4, 2008
Knowing the criteria where an individual dental school will place importance is something that isn’t so easy to find out. Schools are not inclined to divulge the answer. Short of becoming a member of the admissions committee in the school you wish to enter, you’re going to have a difficult time finding out the true weight placed on your letters of recommendation.
Instead, focus on making sure that your letters of recommendation show that you are a good candidate for entrance to dental school. How can you do this? Start by selecting writers that know who you are, know your commitment to the profession and your ability to compete with other students.
Let’s address each of those statements one at a time.
Select writers that know who you are. Waltzing up to a chemistry professor after sitting in the 14th row of the lecture hall of a large university that may have several hundred students is not going to get you the kind of remarks that you want the admissions committee to read. Instead, choose a professor that you have connected with during the semester. This is probably an area where a student that attended a smaller college will have an advantage.
Select writers that know you are committed to the profession of dentistry. Showing up to your professors door to ask for a letter while letting them know that you’re applying to dental school is not the best way to approach the problem of getting great letters. You should be establishing ties with the faculty long before you approach them with this kind of request. The earlier the better, as this gives them the ability to tell of how they have known of your desire to pursue the profession for some time.
Select writers that are aware of your ability to compete with other students. In general, you’re going to need to do well in most of your undergraduate classes. While you can still get into dental school with a few blemishes on your record (yes, even D’s or F’s) you certainly do not want to choose one of those professors to write your letter of recommendation! Choose a course where you did excellent work, above and beyond the professor’s expectations if possible. That way you get a glowing report of your ability to handle the academic pressures that you will encounter in professional school.
TIP: Write a letter to the professor that shows your interest in the field, your personal life, your other interests and anything that they may use in their letters. If they choose to use some of the information in their letters it will show the admissions members that the person knows you better than the average student, meaning that you are someone that stands out in that person’s mind.
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Mailing Your Transcripts To AADSAS
December 10, 2006
During the application process you will need a copy of your transcript in order to enter your grade information into the AADSAS application.
AADSAS will also request that you send them official transcripts from every university that you have attended. I suggest that, if it is possible, you should send those transcripts through a service that gives you some tracking information so that you will know that they were delivered to the AADSAS.
This may or may not be possible, depending on the institution you attend(ed). Official transcripts are usually not released to the student, but rather sent directly to the requestor, taking away any possibility that the student could tamper with the information in the transcript. Stop by the office where you request transcripts and ask if you can supply them with a prepaid envelope that is addressed to the AADSAS. Most offices will be happy to do this, particularly if you let them know of the importance of being early when applying for dental school.
If they are willing to send them in your envelope, the extra 15 dollars spent for a FedEx delivery will give you some peace of mind.
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Mailing Your Letters of Recommendation (LOR’s)
December 7, 2006
Your letters of recommendation (LOR’s) are just one part of the equation with regard to getting yourself accepted to a dental program.
The Associated American Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS) requests that you download their letter of recommendation matching form and have your individual letters or pre-professional committee’s letter sent to AADSAS. With a growing number of applicants in the candidate pool each year, having your application completed and ready to be forwarded to your designated schools from the AADSAS centralized service is an increasing concern.
A lot of people will complain about AADSAS. It can be sometimes confusing, it may not always be perfectly compatible with your transcript for recording your academic progress, and they can seem to be uninterested and uncaring when you contact them with your problems. So why not take one of the variables out of the hands of AADSAS?
What do I mean? Well, it’s simple. AADSAS will forward your file to your designated schools, even if you have not sent your letters of recommendation (or letter if from a committee) and they do nat have them on file. When you do send your letters to them (with the LOR matching forms) it can take days, even weeks to get those forwarded to the schools you are applying to, and that is time that can’t be wasted. First offers for interviews, and subsequently first offers of admissions, are definitely related to the timeliness of your application.
You should also consider sending your letters directly to the school. Most schools have no problem accepting the letters directly from their respective authors. In fact, I never had any letters sent from my professors to AADSAS. They all sent their letters directly to the schools to which I was applying.
When I made my requests to each of the people who were kind enough to write a letter of recommendation for my potential to be a good dental student, I included a stamped and pre-addressed envelope to each of the schools. They simply printed the number of copies they needed and sent them to the school’s admissions office.
The cost is negligible when compared to the cost of waiting an additional year because your application was in a little later than “the other guy”. For example, if you were applying to 11 schools, the cost for postage would be $12.87 (a first class stamp is currently 39 cents), and a box of business sized envelopes should not cost more than a couple of dollars. A small price to pay for a little security.
You should also be aware of when you are sending your letters of recommendation. You should asking for letters of recommendation for dental school before the application cycle begins, however do not have authors send their letters of recommendation to AADSAS before May 15th (generally the beginning of the new cycle). If they are received by AADSAS before May 15th they may be considered a part of the previous cycle and never make it to your designated schools.