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Michelle Reynolds

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Hey everyone,

Thank you in advance for your help.

I just completed my junior year of undergrad working towards a B.A. in Chemistry. I have a cumulative GPA of 3.88. Overall, I feel behind the ball in my decision to pursue dentistry since most of my peers have experience and have already taken the DAT. To gain experience, I am set to shadow three different general dentists as well as a periodontist and an orthodontist this summer. I am also taking summer courses.

I am set to graduate Spring 2019 with the general pre-dental requirements completed:
  • Biology with lab - 2 semesters
  • Inorganic Chemistry with lab- 2 semesters
  • Organic Chemistry with lab - 2 semesters
  • Physics with lab- 2 semesters
  • English - 2 semesters (one was upper division)
  • I also took the first semester of Human Anatomy and Physiology without the lab.
Since it is my last summer before graduating and I am not scheduled to take the DAT this summer I understand that I will have to do a gap-year. I plan to shadow dentists and continue to volunteer so I don't seem stagnant in my goals during that year.

Does anyone have advice for me and my timeline? It is my understanding that most people submit their scores and applications by January 1st, 2019. But I will not have taken the DAT by then. Does this mean I have to take two years off?

My school does not have a pre-dental advisor so I have been getting all of my information online. I appreciate any help with this.
 

dent_wannabe

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Apply only when you are ready, there is no shame in taking gap years, as long as you are doing something productive with them. I am applying this cycle, and assuming I am successful, I would have taken three gap years. You would ideally want to take the DAT no later than June 2019 if you want to apply next summer. I personally think it is best to not submit an application until you have a DAT score in your hands. For those applying this cycle, most dental schools say you must have a DAT score by Jan 1, 2019, but at that time people are already very late in the game and it is very difficult to have an acceptance.

Due to schools operating on a rolling admissions basis, it is to your benefit to have a complete application as early as possible. Say a school has 100 seats for the next incoming class, and they plan to interview maybe 400 students and accept maybe 300 students (they accept more students than they have seats for, knowing that some students that are accepted will choose to go elsewhere). If you apply right at the start of the cycle, you are competing with other applicants for the full 400 interview slots. If you apply in August, they may have already given out 250 or so of their interview slots, thus you would be competing for their roughly 150 remaining interview slots, so it becomes quite a bit more competitive. Then in September or October or even later, most of the interview slots are already gone, and the competition is very fierce then.
 
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1goldtoof

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Hi Michelle!

From what my advisor told me in undergrad, pre-dents should take the DAT towards the end of their junior year/summer before senior year. This allows time for a retake if needed, and also the assurance for early application submission. However, this is just "ideal timing" and you should actually take the test whenever you feel prepared, putting timelines aside. A gap year filled with shadowing and volunteering sounds great, as long as you are adding to your application.

Here is what I believe to be an A+ plan:
  1. Do great in final year/graduate WOO HOO
  2. Start studying for the DAT after graduation
  3. Begin shadowing to rack up those hours! General + specialists
  4. I would say to take the DAT January/February 2019 to give ample time for retake if needed
  5. Begin working on/finish personal statement in advance
  6. Apply early for the cycle! (For US app opens in June, if TX it is May)
  7. Dental school for you would begin Fall 2020
A gap year is advantageous for DAT studying, knock it out of the park! Please feel free to message me with questions, I am always happy to share the knowledge!
 
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Michelle Reynolds

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Hi Michelle!

From what my advisor told me in undergrad, pre-dents should take the DAT towards the end of their junior year/summer before senior year. This allows time for a retake if needed, and also the assurance for early application submission. However, this is just "ideal timing" and you should actually take the test whenever you feel prepared, putting timelines aside. A gap year filled with shadowing and volunteering sounds great, as long as you are adding to your application.

Here is what I believe to be an A+ plan:
  1. Do great in final year/graduate WOO HOO
  2. Start studying for the DAT after graduation
  3. Begin shadowing to rack up those hours! General + specialists
  4. I would say to take the DAT January/February 2020 to give ample time for retake if needed
  5. Begin working on/finish personal statement in advance
  6. Apply early for the cycle! (For US app opens in June, if TX it is May)
  7. Dental school for you would begin Fall 2020
A gap year is advantageous for DAT studying, knock it out of the park! Please feel free to message me with questions, I am always happy to share the knowledge!
This is extremely helpful advice! Thank you for taking the time to reply.
 

Michelle Reynolds

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Apply only when you are ready, there is no shame in taking gap years, as long as you are doing something productive with them. I am applying this cycle, and assuming I am successful, I would have taken three gap years. You would ideally want to take the DAT no later than June 2019 if you want to apply next summer. I personally think it is best to not submit an application until you have a DAT score in your hands. For those applying this cycle, most dental schools say you must have a DAT score by Jan 1, 2019, but at that time people are already very late in the game and it is very difficult to have an acceptance.

Due to schools operating on a rolling admissions basis, it is to your benefit to have a complete application as early as possible. Say a school has 100 seats for the next incoming class, and they plan to interview maybe 400 students and accept maybe 300 students (they accept more students than they have seats for, knowing that some students that are accepted will choose to go elsewhere). If you apply right at the start of the cycle, you are competing with other applicants for the full 400 interview slots. If you apply in August, they may have already given out 250 or so of their interview slots, thus you would be competing for their roughly 150 remaining interview slots, so it becomes quite a bit more competitive. Then in September or October or even later, most of the interview slots are already gone, and the competition is very fierce then.
Thank you for your advice!! Good luck with your admission process :)
 

dent_wannabe

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Hi Michelle!

From what my advisor told me in undergrad, pre-dents should take the DAT towards the end of their junior year/summer before senior year. This allows time for a retake if needed, and also the assurance for early application submission. However, this is just "ideal timing" and you should actually take the test whenever you feel prepared, putting timelines aside. A gap year filled with shadowing and volunteering sounds great, as long as you are adding to your application.

Here is what I believe to be an A+ plan:
  1. Do great in final year/graduate WOO HOO
  2. Start studying for the DAT after graduation
  3. Begin shadowing to rack up those hours! General + specialists
  4. I would say to take the DAT January/February 2020 to give ample time for retake if needed
  5. Begin working on/finish personal statement in advance
  6. Apply early for the cycle! (For US app opens in June, if TX it is May)
  7. Dental school for you would begin Fall 2020
A gap year is advantageous for DAT studying, knock it out of the park! Please feel free to message me with questions, I am always happy to share the knowledge!
I'm pretty sure you mean take the DAT January/February 2019.
 
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dent_wannabe

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Also another thing I should mention, start coming up with some target schools now, so that you can do your best to ensure that you fulfill their prerequisites before graduating. Of course schools only require you to have their prerequisites completed prior to matriculation, but it can be annoying to have to go back to school to finish them up after graduation.
 
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Michelle Reynolds

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Hi Michelle!

From what my advisor told me in undergrad, pre-dents should take the DAT towards the end of their junior year/summer before senior year. This allows time for a retake if needed, and also the assurance for early application submission. However, this is just "ideal timing" and you should actually take the test whenever you feel prepared, putting timelines aside. A gap year filled with shadowing and volunteering sounds great, as long as you are adding to your application.

Here is what I believe to be an A+ plan:
  1. Do great in final year/graduate WOO HOO
  2. Start studying for the DAT after graduation
  3. Begin shadowing to rack up those hours! General + specialists
  4. I would say to take the DAT January/February 2019 to give ample time for retake if needed
  5. Begin working on/finish personal statement in advance
  6. Apply early for the cycle! (For US app opens in June, if TX it is May)
  7. Dental school for you would begin Fall 2020
A gap year is advantageous for DAT studying, knock it out of the park! Please feel free to message me with questions, I am always happy to share the knowledge!
I do have one follow-up question. I don't see how I can apply June 2020 and then attend school Fall 2020 if the earliest I could hear back from schools is December 2020. Did you mean to write Fall 2021?
 

dent_wannabe

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I do have one follow-up question. I don't see how I can apply June 2020 and then attend school Fall 2020 if the earliest I could hear back from schools is December 2020. Did you mean to write Fall 2021?
He meant apply June 2019.
 
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