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How Many Dental Schools Should You Apply To in 2023?

Like any medical school, getting into dental school can be challenging. You must maintain a strong GPA, participate in meaningful curricular, and pass the Dental Admission Test with merit.

Usually, pre-dental students can predict their chances of getting admitted with the acceptance rate data of the school they are applying to. This way, you can know if you should try alternatives.

I don’t advise pre-dental students to apply to only one dental school, no matter how high the acceptance rate is. To be on the safer side, you should apply to more than one dental school.

The question now is: How many dental schools should you apply to? This article will disclose the minimum amount of dental schools you should apply to use your specific parameters and values. Let’s dive right in!

How many Dental Schools should I apply to?

Determining how many schools you should apply to as a dental student depends on several factors, which I will discuss in this article.

However, there is an average number you should apply to based on general stats and the admission history of these dental schools. Generally, you should apply to a minimum of 15 dental schools using the following ratio:

  • 2–4 reach schools (your GPA and DAT are below their average statistics)
  • 8–12 target schools (your GPA and DAT are close to their average statistics)
  • 3–5 safety schools (your GPA and DAT are above their average statistics)

In essence, dental school students must apply to as many dental schools as possible, following the above ratio.

Ideally, aspiring dental school students are offered admission into a dental program within their state. However, developing multiple hypothetical plans for your dental school career is crucial, hence the reason you are advised to apply to as many schools as possible.

As I mentioned, you can determine how many dental schools you should apply to use your unique parameters.

How to determine the dental schools to apply to

To find out how many dental schools you should apply to, you need to follow a particular procedure:

  • Do your research and create a list
  • Find out what type of applicant you are
  • Consider your budget
Dental health care

1. Do your Research and create a list

Before you can conclude on what number of dental schools you should apply to, the first thing you should do is research dental schools and your favorite list.

You don’t need to submit applications to every dental school you find interesting. The first step in deciding how many dental schools you should apply to is researching and creating a list of schools. You can start by checking background requirements for each school you are interested in and ensure they fit well for your academic/professional background. If they fit, you can add them to your list.

As a dental school student, I’d always advise you to avoid schools with extremely low acceptance rates or unrealistic expectations. The competition is usually high, and you might have little to no chance of getting admitted.

After drafting a list based on these criteria, review it and see if you may need to remove some schools from the list or even add some. This will also give you an insight into how many applications you should submit.

2. Find out what type of applicant you are

After creating a list of the dental schools you wish to apply to, you should also find out what type of applicant you are. The number of applications you should submit will also depend on what type of applicant you are.

The number of applications you submit will depend on your grades, test scores, and recommendations. If you have excellent grades and test scores, applying to multiple dental schools will be a great idea. This way, you can increase your chances of getting accepted into any of these schools and possibly receive a scholarship offer from any.

On the contrary, aspirants with weaker grades and test scores are advised to apply to fewer schools with very little competition. Due to the low competition in these schools, your credentials could still be enough for admission consideration.

3. Consider your budget

Your budget is one of the most important things to consider when applying to dental school. Several dental schools in the United States require an application fee from students. Your application will only be considered successful after the completion of this payment.

If you have the budget to apply to only five dental schools, then do so. If you can apply to more, you should also go for it. What matters the most is how you manage your application, and that’s why this guide is essential.

Before submitting applications, you should consider your budget and determine if it allows for several application fees simultaneously. If possible, you may have to wait until later in the year when more funds may become available.

Dental school application mistakes

You may be wondering why you have applied to several dental schools yet haven’t seen a positive result. It could be due to an application mistake you make every time.

To boost your chances of admission to any dental school, here are some common mistakes you should avoid:

1. Applying late

No matter the dental school you are applying to, sending your applications late may jeopardize your admission chances.

Usually, applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis. Therefore, students who apply earlier are at an advantage over those who apply late and, in most cases, tend to get admission first.

2.  Writing an average-quality personal statement

Your statement is equally as important as your GPA or DAT score. Therefore, aspirants are usually advised to draft a well-written personal statement.

Submitting a mediocre, poorly written personal statement will drastically reduce your chances of getting into dental school. Your personal statement must answer questions like why you want to become a dentist; if it doesn’t, it automatically becomes terrible.

You’ll need to take the time to write an engaging personal statement that convinces whoever reads the piece of your interest and passion in dentistry. Give the admissions committee a reason to want to meet you in person for an interview.

3. Submitting a bad application

The AADSAS application for dental school differs from a traditional CV or resume format. It provides specific categories with strict format limitations to document your extracurricular experiences and activities.

You should also note that the application does not require a CV or resume. Moreover, completing the entire application can be time-consuming and may take several weeks to finish.

The unconventional format of the application, coupled with the substantial time commitment it entails, can deceive applicants into taking shortcuts in the process, particularly if they have an above-average GPA and DAT scores, which they hope will carry their application.

However, you should note that submitting a subpar application can hurt your admission, regardless of your impressive academic statistics.

4. Applying to the wrong mix of dental schools

As mentioned earlier, the number of dental schools you apply to should depend on a particular ratio.

Some applicants have too many reach and not enough target or safety schools. Others apply as out-of-state applicants solely to public state schools, unaware that this particular demographic often faces a lower acceptance rate than the average applicant pool.

It’s essential to apply to a good mix of reach, target, and safety schools and a balance of private vs. public schools. Once again, I recommend applying to at least 15 schools with roughly the following ratio:

  • 2–4 reach schools (your GPA and DAT are below their average statistics)
  • 8–12 target schools (your GPA and DAT are close to their average statistics)
  • 3–5 safety schools (your GPA and DAT are above their average statistics)
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