Application Process & Timeline

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Candidacy Assessment

Your preparation for application to dental programs should always begin with assessment of your individual candidacy. Use the Pre-Health Pillars Candidacy Assessment as a guide to self-assess and plan to speak with a Pre-Health Advisor about your progress. 


Pre-Health Pillars Candidacy Assessment 


AADSAS: Associated American Dental Schools Application Services

  • This application is used for the majority of dental schools in the United States and some international schools.

TMDSAS: Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service

  • This application is used to apply to medical, dental, and veterinary schools in the state of Texas.

Application opens each year in early June. Although closing deadlines are not until February, you should apply in early summer due to the application verification and rolling admission cycle.

Dental Admission Test (DAT)

The exam consists of four sections that measure academic ability, scientific understanding, and perceptual ability: 

  1. Natural Sciences (Biology, Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry)
  2. Perceptual Ability
  3. Reading Comprehension
  4. Quantitative Reasoning

Test Preparation Resources

There are many types of test preparation resources that vary in cost and approach. Pre-Health Advisors do not endorse any of the providers below, but are happy to speak with you about how you might identify the style of preparation that best fits your needs.

Source Cost Level

ADA Resources:

Free - Low
Khan Academy Free
Coursesaver Low
DAT Destroyer Low
DAT Genius Free - Low
DAT Bootcamp Free - Mid
Crack the DAT Low - Mid

Kaplan Test Prep

Free - High
Princeton Review Free - High

Selecting Schools

It is essential to select schools that are not only a good fit for you academically, but also a good fit for your values, skills, interests, and that will help you become the professional you want to be. Take time to research programs prior to the application process. Here are some factors you should consider:

  • Admission requirements: coursework and clinical experiences
  • Institution's mission, goals, curriculum, grading system
  • Size of cohort/class
  • Location: Where do you want to live? Where will you have a support network in place? What is the cost of tuition and cost of living?
  • Where will you complete your clinical rotations? What type of patient population will you serve (i.e. urban, rural)? Will this provide the experiences you hope to gain?
  • Does the school's mission and training focus align with your professional interests?

Recommended Length of School list: 12-15


Guidelines for Making a School List
ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools

Letters of Recommendation (LORs)

You may submit up to 4 individual letters to AADSAS. Some schools accept additional letters individually. Letters can be sent electronically through the AADSAS Evaluator's Portal or through the Interfolio letter service.  

You should determine any specific LOR requirements from programs of choice. However, letters are most commonly required by:

  • Science Faculty (2)
  • Non-Science Faculty (1)
  • Practicing Dentist (1)


Guidelines for Letters of Recommendation

Personal Statement

Your personal statement is a distinctive aspect of your application. It begins with reflection. Consider the following questions to begin:

  • Why do you want to become a dentist? Why is this the profession you have chosen instead of another?
  • Think back to your experiences volunteering, shadowing, researching, studying abroad. Can you provide a specific story that deeply impacted you and your decision to become a dentist?
  • What do you want the committee to know about you as a person or future colleague? What makes you a good fit for the profession?

The AADSAS personal statement section includes a 4,500 character limit (including spaces). While there is no formal prompt, AADSAS additionally suggests considering the following topics:

  • Do you have any special talents or leadership skills that could be transferable to the practice of dentistry? 
  • Express your commitment to helping others and mention any efforts made that enforce that commitment.
  • Did you have to work to pay for your education? How has that made you a stronger applicant? 
  • To get where you are today, have you had to overcome hardships or obstacles? If so, how has this influenced your motivation for advanced education?



Request official transcripts from all institutions attended. Make sure to carefully follow AADSAS instruction manual guidelines for specific details on transcript submission to the application service. 


UVA Registrar's Office

Interview Preparation

Pre-health mock interviewing is available to students and alumni preparing for or currently in the health professions application cycle. Interviews are one hour and include a feedback session aimed at increasing your readiness and confidence before an actual admissions interview. To schedule a mock interview complete the following steps.

  1. Schedule Your Mock Interview With an Advisor: Contact the UVA Career Center at 434-924-8900 and indicate you are requesting a Pre-Health Mock Interview or schedule online through your Handshake account.

  2. Come to the Career Center to be Interviewed: Please dress as if this were a real interview. By doing so, you can become comfortable with an interview situation dressed in professional attire. The Pre-Health Advisor will provide feedback as to appropriate interview attire. If you do not have interview attire at this time, please dress in the most appropriate outfit you have available.


Interviewing for Health Professions Admissions 

UVA Statistics for Dental School Applicants

The information reported reflects the UVA applicants who selected Advisor Release within their AADSAS application.

  Number of Applicants Number of Accepted Percentage Accepted
2018 39 27 69%
2017 33 21 64%
2016 37 26 70%
2015 30 19 63%
2014 59 41 69%
2012 70 42 60%

*Statistics unavailable for 2013


The entire application process lasts approximately 16-18 months, which spans two academic years. Whether you plan to apply immediately after your 3rd year, 4th year, or after graduation, this timeline begins with preparation in the fall prior to your application submission in early summer.

  • Consider creating an Interfolio account (Letter of Recommendation reference file account information can be found at
  • Begin requesting letters of recommendation (LORs) from faculty and dentists
  • Attend all relevant application process meetings and workshops in preparation for June submission of your application
  • Attend all relevant application process meetings and workshops if not attended in October
  • Continue revising your Personal Statement Draft
  • Finalize your Personal Statement
  • Consider Mock Interviewing if not previously completed 
  • Participate in Mock Interview if not previously completed
  • Confirm receipt of all LORs
  • Take DAT no later than early May
  • Review AADSAS application instruction manual
  • Primary application (AADSAS) opens in early June
  • Submit primary application, transcripts, and all LORs by early July
  • Utilize InterviewStream and Mock Interviewing 
  • Complete secondary applications within two weeks of receiving them
  • Utilize InterviewStream and Mock Interviewing
  • Interviews begin
  • Complete secondary applications within two weeks of receiving them
  • Interviews continue until spring
  • Provide any relevant (academic, co-curricular) updates to schools in December

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