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How to Complete the AADSAS Application

If you are in the process of applying to dental school, you probably know there is more to the primary application than just the personal statement. The Associated American Dental School Application Service (AADSAS) application has many different sections that ask you all sorts of questions from personal biographic information to your manual dexterity skills to your professional experiences. Most dental school applicants spend a great deal of time on the AADSAS personal statement, but sometimes, they underestimate the importance of the other components of the AADSAS application. How you complete the other sections of the AADSAS application is a lot like what you wear to the interview. It says a lot about your professionalism and attention to detail. So here, we will provide some tips and pointers to help you put together a clean, professional, and well-presented AADSAS application. We will start with some general pointers and then review how to complete the different sections of the application.

1) General Point: One important point that cannot be overemphasized is to pay attention to grammar, capitalization, and punctuation!

  • Grammar: Following rules of grammar in this section is very important and poor grammar will count against you. Make sure you pay attention to your grammar the same way you would in your personal statement.
  • Punctuation: Applicants sometimes forget to pay attention to the importance of punctuation. In sections where you are writing in full sentences, you want to use periods to separate ideas the same way you would in any other writing. In sections where you are listing, you may either number ideas or separate them with a comma or semicolon. We suggest using a semicolon to separate different ideas. For example, in the manual dexterity section you may separate different ideas with a semicolon.
  • Spacing Between Punctuations: There is no space between the last letter of a sentence and a period.  The same applies for commas  After a comma, use one space and after a period use one or two spaces.  Does not matter which you choose, but be consistent!  These rules also apply if you are listing items and not writing in full sentences.
  • Capitalization: Follow rules of capitalization as you would in any other writing. Start sentences with a capital letter. Do NOT capitalize entire words or sentences. When using proper nouns such as university names or street names make sure you use capital letters for the first letter of each word that is part of the name.  For example in New York University, notice how the word University is uppercase as well because it is part of the name. If you are listing activities or experiences, we suggest starting each new item with a capital letter. If you are listing items and numbering them, using bullets, or separating by commas or semicolons, we suggest starting each new item with a capital letter. First letters of all words in the name of awards and honors should be capital because they are proper nouns.  
  • Be Consistent: In some places there are no hard and fast rules. For example, we recommend separating items with semicolons or using numbers to list them. Either of these approaches work but make sure you are consistent throughout your application.

2) Applicant Information: This is perhaps the most straightforward part of the application. As in the other sections of the application, make sure you strive for being as complete as possible. Also, consider the following:

  • Write out your complete address. Do not forget apartment numbers!
  • Include your zip code, city, and state
  • Use upper case for the first letter of all proper nouns, including street names, city names, etc. Also use upper case for words like ‘Apt. #72′
  • Words like “avenue” and “street” are capitalized when they are included as part of a name. For example: Broadway Street.

3) Legal and Disciplinary Action Reporting: When it comes to disclosing legal and disciplinary action, be honest! Previous disciplinary or legal action does not automatically disqualify you from dental school. You will have the opportunity to explain your situation and admissions committees will consider your explanation.

4) Manual Dexterity: In this section, you will be asked to describe experiences you have had with manual dexterity. Remember, there is limited space and you are not expected to provide detailed information. We recommend the following approach:

  • Write a brief description of the activity, state the period of time you have been involved, and if you have room provide additional information that may be relevant.
  • Use numbers or semicolons to separate the different activities.
  • Start each new item with a capital letter
  • Example: 1) Playing the piano for 8 years, performed at 2 recitals 2) Water color painting for 3 years.

5) Relatives in the Dental Profession: Follow the instructions on the AADSAS application. As of the time this blog was published, the AADSAS asks you to list the following information for relatives in dentistry: Write their name, their relationship to you, the name of the dental school from which they graduated, their degree or certificate, and the year of their graduation. A few points to keep in mind:

  • Follow the exact format that AADSAS instructs
  • Separate the different items by commas or semicolons
  • Do not write this information in sentence format!
  • Do not put Dr. before the relative’s name
  • For the name of the school, list the official name as stated on their website. If you have room, avoid abbreviations. Some institutions are titled College of Dentistry while others are School of Dentistry. Check to make sure you have the right title.
  • For the individual’s degree or certificate you can put Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS), Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD), or Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH). Notice that the first letters of the words in the degree or certificate are upper case.
  • Example: Jane Doe, mother, New York University College of Dentistry, Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS), 1995.

6) SES Education/Occupation Indicator: This is a new section that AADSAS uses to assess an applicant’s socioeconomic status. In this section, as with all other sections, be honest and provide appropriate information about your parental occupation and educational background.

7) Education Information: This section is relatively self explanatory. AADSAS requires applicants to include information about all colleges and universities attended. Do not omit any colleges or universities from this section.

8) Professional Experiences: The professional experience section has several different components and can be a source of confusion. Here are a few points to remember about the different sections:

A. Academic Enrichment Programs: As stated in the AADSAS information section, these are programs that are sponsored by a college or university. Follow these instructions:

  • As with all aspects of the application, make sure to properly follow rules of capitalization when entering the name of the program. For example, if the name of the program is Student Dental Research Initiative, make sure the first letter of each word is capitalized because this is a name (proper noun).
  • For the description section, write in full sentences. Make sure you describe the program and if there is room, describe your involvement in the program.
  • Example: The Student Dental Research Initiative provides pre-dental students with the opportunity to participate in dental research during the summer. I conducted a study on…

B. Dentistry Shadowing Experience:

  • Do not use Mr., Ms., or Mrs., before the name of the supervisor.
  • If the supervisor was a dentist, list her name followed by the abbreviation of the degree. Do not put Dr. before the name.
  • For example, if your supervisor was Jane Doe, use the following format: Jane Doe, DMD.
  • Note, the last name and the degree abbreviation are separated by a comma.
  • The position title refers to your position in the office. If it was a shadowing experience, your title can be either shadow or observer.
  • In the brief description section, write in full sentences.
  • Describe the activities in which you participated or the procedures you observed.
  • Example: Observed fillings, root canals, and cleanings. Assisted with sterilization of dental instruments.
  • Make sure to be as accurate as possible in this section. Do not overstate your role in the dental practice.
  • If your number of hours in the dental office varied from week to week, calculate the total number of hours worked and divide by the number of weeks you were involved to come up with an average.

9) Coversheet: The coversheet is a synopsis of your application, highlighting the most important parts of your application. AADSAS allows you to choose up to 3 activities from each section to include in your coversheet. We recommend choosing the most noteworthy activities. Do not feel compelled to include 3 activities from each section. In this section, quality is more important than quantity.

If you follow the above instructions, you will ensure that your application comes across much stronger. We recognize that some of the details covered may seem minute and tedious to implement. But these details are worth considering. Proper sentence structure, organization, and consistency on the AADSAS application says a lot about you and your level of professionalism.

For more information on our AADSAS application services, please check out: http://admissionshelpers.com/american-dental-schools-application/