Dental School Applications

Dentistry provides a great field to mix your interests in technology, healthcare, and artistry. Applications to dental school are through a common application system called AADSAS. Students from Texas apply to the Texas programs through a system called TMDSAS.

For some reason, the dental school application process has become particularly expensive over the past several years, so plan ahead! Information is below, but remember that Pre-Professional Advising is here to help.


Application Opening Dates
TMDSAS Dates--Only Texas residents apply through TMDSAS all others apply through Texas schools through AADSAS
  • May 1, 2024-TMDSAS opens at 8am CST
  • May 15, 2024-Application submission begins at 8am CST
  • Nov 1, 2024-Submission deadline by 11:59pm CST

Both AADSAS and TMDSAS open in May. You should plan to submit your application in June or early July if at all possible. Our Timeline (below) will provide you more information about all the other things that need to be done.

Summer Before Application Year
  • Prepare a plan for how you will prepare for the DAT.
    • Students who do well typically spend 300-400 hours preparing.
    • This needs to include several full-length timed practice exams.
    • Consider in your planning how you will pay for the test--it costs $500+.
    • If you need fee assistance, a partial fee waiver for the DAT is available. You must apply for this before signing up to take the DAT. Apply well in advance.
  • Think ahead about who will be writing letters of recommendation.
    • Research schools where you intend to apply to be sure that you are planning to collect appropriate letters.
    • Make a plan for obtaining letters if you don't yet know who to ask.
    • AADSAS generally permits only 4 letters.
    • TMDSAS prefers 3 letters with one of those coming from a dentist. There is an option for a 4th letter.
    • Read over materials on the PPA website about the letter service and consider using the letter service when it opens for your application cycle (it opens in January).
  • Research programs.
    • Make a list of what is important to you in a program--do not over apply.
    • Use individual school websites as well as national websites.
    • Consider investing in the ADEA Dental School Explorer
  • Plan ahead for application costs.
    • Dental school application is very expensive. Research fee assistance in advance to see if you qualify for it. You must be granted fee assistance before applying, they will not reimburse you after you have already applied.
    • Even though you are not applying for medical school, the FIRST financial resources through the AAMC are a good place for information on financial planning and funding a medically-based education.
  • Look over the AADSAS and/or TMDSAS application instructions so that you know what your application will entail.
  • Start gathering notes on your activities.
Before you apply--Fall Semester/Early Spring Before Application
  • Check with individual schools about any questions on coursework.
    • For example, will they accept CHM 12901 (for 8 hours of general chemistry) or SCLA 10100 (for English) for prerequisite requirements?
    • If you need to make sure that one of your classes will be counted for their required credits, check early.
    • Also make sure you know how to verify that they have approved a course during the application process.
  • Plan for letters.
    • Verify that the letters you intend to get will meet the needs of the school at which you intend to apply BEFORE you apply to those schools
    • Meet with and ask letter writers for letters no later than spring break.
  • Register early for the DAT.
    • Apply very early for any accommodations you will need for the DAT. This can be a long process to obtain approval.
    • Ideally you will take the DAT only 1 time. It is a lot of preparation time and it is EXPENSIVE.
    • Think carefully before taking it again. Do you have the time to put into to study again? Did you give your best effort to studying the first time? What can you change the next time? Talk to a school and see if they think you should take it again. Talk to a PPA advisor.
    • Remember you must wait 60 days before you can retake the DAT.
  • Become familiar with the application process ahead of the application opening.
  • Read your individual school websites, the AADSAS Help Center (application instructions), and the TMDSAS Application Guide.
  • Research whether any of your schools require the CASPer exam (a situational judgement exam).
Spring Before Application--Pulling it All Together
  • Request your letters (ideally by about Spring Break).
    • Ask your letter writers if they can support your application by providing a POSITIVE letter of recommendation.
    • Ask in person if possible.
    • Provide a resume and anything else that your letter writer might need to help them write the letter including information about how, when and where to submit their letter.
    • Consider using the PPA letter service.
  • Start drafting your personal statement.
    • Plan on more than one draft.
    • This essay is an important element of your application and will take more than one draft.
    • Focus on 2-3 main points you want to make.
    • Write clearly and concisely.
    • Be descriptive and provide concrete examples.
    • Make sure the essay represents who you are and your reasons for pursuing dentistry.
  • Review your personal statement.
    • Have trusted friends, faculty, and advisors provide comments on your personal statement. You want a range of people reading and commenting on it as different people will react differently to it.
    • Discuss any writing difficulties with The Writing Lab.
    • If you want the Pre-Professional Advisors to read your draft and provide comments, please email it as a Word attachment to
      • We will email comments back to you.
  • Finalize your list of schools.
    • Think about what you value: Location (area of country; urban/college town/rural setting; relatively close to home; far from family, etc); curriculum structure; school's mission; etc.
    • Be aware of that school's admission credentials and in-state admission (for state schools) policies. This process is expensive. Don't throw away money by making poor decisions.
  • Organize for your application.
    • Make a database with items such as contact information, any additional requirements you still need, extra application requirements, types of letters they prefer, etc. It will help in your decision making.
  • Submit Fee Assistance Application early if you decide to apply for it.
  • Clean House.
    • Make sure your social media is professional.
    • Make room on your phone for a school to leave a message if needed.
    • Be sure your phone message is professional.
Summer of Application
  • Submit early.
    • Apply in June or early July if possible.
  • Follow-up on your application.
    • Make sure all elements of your application arrive to the application service (AADSAS and/or TMDSAS and to the schools).
    • Once you have submitted your application, check your email and junk mail folders regularly to make sure that you do not miss any communications from schools.
  • If you qualify, begin to gather materials for the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Most students pay for dental school with Federal Student Aid. You will often need to apply for this even before you have been admitted. You can decline it if you do not attend in that application year.
  • Start preparing for Interviews.
    • Research how your schools do interviews.
    • Look at the PPA website for information on how to use Big Interview which is free to you as a Purdue student.
    • Request practice questions from
    • Once you have practiced with these tools and have an interview scheduled, meet with our PPA graduate assistant for a mock interview.
  • Practice patience.
    • There will be a lot of hurry and get this part in. Then a lot of waiting to hear something. The waiting can be extraordinarily difficult. Your advisors in Pre-Professional Advising understand this and are here if you want to chat.
Plan Ahead
  • Remember that we are here for you even after you graduate!
  • You have worked amazingly hard to get this point! You should be very proud of all that you have accomplished!
    • As you probably realize, dental school application is a hyper-competitive process.
    • Instead of submitting your application then kicking back to see what happens, now is the time to start adding to your application.
    • Think about any gaps in your application. Where should you add to your application?
    • How could you be a stronger applicant the next time around if you had to apply again? We all hope that isn't necessary, but if it is you need to be proactive about that now. If you wait, you may not have time to add new activities before it is time to reapply.
  • If you have been on the early end of receiving good news (Yippee! We would love to hear about it), it is time to get in that FAFSA (if you qualify) and start making plans. Get in touch with your school's financial aid office if you have questions or need assistance.
    • Make sure you are watching for any and all communications from your program. Keep up with anything they need you to do.
    • Keep up your final semester grades. All admissions are dependent on you finishing your degree in good standing. They can revoke that offer if senioritis gets the better of you.
    • Same goes for not getting in trouble (though we have faith in your decision-making and not letting that happen).
    • Look for a place to live in your new community.
    • Celebrate--safely!
    • Let us know (please!) what you will be doing and let Purdue know by filling out the Next Steps Survey when asked. This is important data for the University and helps younger Boilers learn about what opportunties they have by seeing what other students have done with their majors. (Plus people will call you over and over again if you don't just fill out the survey.)
Reminder: Early Application Helps Your Application!
  • One of the easiest things you can do to help your application is to apply early.
  • Try to submit your application within a month to a month and a half of the application opening.
Dental Admission Test

What's On It?

  • The test has 4 sections
    • Survey of Natural Sciences-Biology, General & Organic Chemistry
    • Perceptual Ability
    • Reading Comprehension
    • Quantitative Reasoning

Timing of the Test:

  • Schedule at least 60-90 days ahead of desired test date
  • Allow for 300-400 hours of study time
  • Should you want to retake the test, you need 60 days between tests

When and where is it offered? It is offered at Prometric Test Centers on most days, but dates do fill up so plan ahead.

Accommodations: Accommodations are available but will take time to apply for and to be arranged. Plan ahead. Check the DAT Guide (below) for more information.

Fee Waivers: Some partial fee waivers are available. Check the DAT Guide (below) for more information.


  • All sections are scored on a scale from 1-30
  • The national average is 17
  • Competitive scores for many programs are typically 18-20+
  • Unofficial scores are provided when you leave your test
  • Scores are generally valid for 3 years depending on the school

2024 Dental Admission Test Candidate Guide




Many dental schools offer combined degree programs allowing students to earn their DDS or DMD along with either

  • a master's degree (MA, MS, MBA, or MPH)
  • or a doctorate (PhD, MD, or DO)

Some combined baccalaureate and dental degree programs are also available.

Combined degrees can expand career options into administration, research, product development, dental education, and certain areas of treatment.

The ADEA Offical Guide to Dental Schools has a full list of combined degree programs.

Dental School Application Resources
General Information

ADEA Dental School Applicant Quick Guide

Important Application Dates

Information for Reapplicants


Applicant and Enrollee Data

Applicant Data

Dental Education Trends


Prometric Testing Center Test Day Information

Prometric Biometric Check-In

Prometric DAT Online Tutorial


AADSAS Customer Support

Fastest response is to use the chat while in the application

Phone: 617-612-2045


M-F, 9am-5pm ET


TMDSAS Customer Support

Fastest response is to use the chat while in the application

Phone: 512-499-4785


M-F, 9am-12pm and 1pm-5pm CST