Dental Schools usually require a four year degree. Once you have completed at least three years of your academic career and are ready to apply into Dental school there are a few things you need to know.
First of all, it is important to send applications in early. This could possibly turn into an early interview and hence early acceptance. You should consider gathering all the necessary information and documents prior to the start of the cycle. Try to get a head start on the personal statement as this will save a lot of time during the application process.
It is a good idea to start your application as soon as the cycle opens so that you can send it out early. This year, the cycle opens June 1.
Most dental schools in the United States require that you apply through ADEA's (American Dental Education Association) application services, AADSAS (Associated American Dental Schools Application Services). Your application will ask you for several pieces of information. Besides the typical biography and background information, your application requires:
1. Education Information including Secondary School and Colleges attended, along with the different college level coursework taken (which you have to manually list). Your DAT scores are also to be listed within this section.
2. Professional Experience - This section requires a list of your different achievements. You will need to provide information on the different awards, honors, and scholarships you have or are receiving. You will also need to list your volunteer, extracurricular and community services, Additionally, you are required to list your work, research and dentistry experiences.
3. Personal Statement - You are required to write a personal statement. The personal statement is a brief biography of yourself outlining your accomplishments and your reason for wanting to pursue a career in dentistry. You may contact me if you wish to have a look at my personal statement (just to get the idea).
4. Letter of recommendations - recommendation letters play a big role in your application. Get these from your Professors, dentists or anyone who knows of your accomplishments and potentials.
5. Dental School Designations - You must carefully choose the schools that you think are right for you.
6. Payment - AADSAS charges a processing fee. This amount varies with the amount of designations chosen.
Note that schools charge an additional supplemental application fee. This fee varies with each school.
PS: The Pre-Dental Guide is a handy book that may be beneficial to pre-dental students. I would recommend you getting this book.
For more information on the application process, visit the American Dental Association (ADA) or the American Dental Education Association.