The Basics

The Associated American Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS) opens in June and closes the following February. Individual dental schools may have their own deadlines, ranging from October-February. Read the instruction manual for ADEA AADSAS and information for the programs you will be applying to before beginning the application process. You should consider applying early in the cycle due to application verification and rolling admissions. Programs with rolling admissions may provide decisions regarding interviews and/or admissions within a month of completing the application. Some programs offer Early Decision. If you choose Early Decision and are admitted, you are committed to that program. If you are considering Early Decision, you are strongly encouraged to speak with a health professions advisor.

Secondary/supplemental applications or additional questions may be a part of the application process for programs you are applying to. This provides you the opportunity to further discuss your interest in a specific program. You may also be required to send additional materials to the programs. Do not delay in completing secondaries—schools want to learn more about you and your interest in their program. 

Entrance Exam

Dental schools require the Dental Admissions Test (DAT) which measures academic ability, scientific understanding and perceptual ability. It is important to plan ahead to determine when you should sit for this exam, in regard to your ideal application timeline.

Personal Statement

Your personal statement explains why you want to pursue a dental career. The statement should not exceed 4,500 characters (including spaces, carriages, numbers, letters, etc.). You should not make the statement specific to each dental school, as ADEA AADSAS will provide the statement to all dental schools designated in the application. Consider the following questions when writing your essay:

  1. Why have you selected the field of dentistry?
  2. What motivates you to learn more about dentistry?
  3. What do you want dental schools to know about you that hasn’t been disclosed in other sections of the application?
  4. Reflect on the experiences you have had (student organizations, volunteering, research, clinical healthcare, study abroad). How have these experiences influenced you to become a dentist?

Your personal statement is also an area where you may address the following:

  1. Hardships, challenges or obstacles that have influenced educational choices
  2. Commentary on significant fluctuations in your academic record if it is not explained elsewhere on the application


You may submit a maximum of four individual letters in ADEA AADSAS. Please note, Illinois does not provide a “committee letter” for applicants to any health professional program. Letters may be sent electronically through a letter writer application/evaluation or through Interfolio letter service. You are responsible for determining the specific type of letters that are required by the programs you are applying to. Letters may be required from:

  1. Science Faculty (2)
  2. Non-Science Faculty (1)
  3. Faculty Advisor
  4. Employer/Supervisor
  5. Research Mentor
  6. Healthcare Provider
  7. Volunteer Manager


You will need to request transcripts from all institutions you have attended (University of Illinois, community colleges, previous institution, etc.). ADEA AADSAS will calculate several GPAs.  Repeated courses are included in the ADEA AADSAS GPAs, as well as grades and credit hours for all failed courses, even if they are not included in the GPA calculations of the transcript-issuing institution.


Dental schools have adopted a variety of interview styles to evaluate applicants. If you are not sure what type of interview the program will be utilizing, you should contact the school for additional information. You are advised to spend time preparing for your interview.  The Career Center conducts mock interviews during the academic year. You can also schedule an appointment to discuss interview preparation.