I need help cutting down the number of schools I should apply to. This is my first time applying, so I really need the upperclassmen to help me out. My goal is to apply to around 15-20 schools. I really need to get in with my first try. About me: - male in early twenties - resident of Illinois - just completed my junior year at a 4 year university in IL - have 86 total semester hours - S-GPA of 4.0, O-GPA of 4.0 - assisting a general dentist for past 2 years - on the board in 3 clubs at my school - completed summer research program - courses completed include (all sci courses are with lab): gen bio 1 & 2, genetics, cell bio, physiology, gen chem 1 & 2, orgo chem 1 & 2, physics 1 & 2, pre-calc & calc, english 1 & 2, spanish 1 & 2, psychology, sociology Only part I have not mentioned: D---A---T !!!!!! I always do horrible on standardized exams. In high school I got a 19/36 on my ACTs. However, I was still able to get into very good 4-year institutions because everything but my ACT score was very competitive. I had 3.8 GPA, multiple EC clubs, excellent LORs, etc. I will be trying to use those same tactics in trying to get into dental school. I took a practice Kaplan DAT exam around two months ago and got 13AA/14TS/13PAT. A very good friend of mine told me not to panic b/c ironically he got those same exact practice scores, but ended up getting 19AA on real DAT, and is now D1 in NYU. I will be submitting my application prior to June 1. I will take the DAT around August 15 then send my scores to the respective schools ASAP b/c I would like my app to be complete prior to the (early) September 1 deadline. Reaching a 19AA on the DAT would be a dream come true. I do believe however that getting an 18 is doable. Hence, when analyzing the following list, consider that I have 18AA/19TS/18PAT. ******************* Key: ps (private school), rps (religious private school), number% (% of accepted students who were out-of-state, 2006 data from http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=519401) Schools I feel that I really should apply to: MWU: ps, new buildings UCONN: 72% NOVA: 41%, ps UIC: priority given to me b/c Im in-state resident SIU: priority given to me b/c Im in-state resident INDIANA: 31%, I hope they give priority to neighboring states students LOUISVILLE: 56% MARYLAND: 46% BU: 92%, ps TUFTS: 87%, ps UDMercy: 35%, rps MICH: 62%, close to home CREIGTON: 82%, rps BUFFALO: 50% CASE: 91%, p PITT: 60% TEMPLE: 75% VCU: 60% W VIRGINIA: 49% MARQUETTE: 61%, rps ---total: 20 schools Schools I am not sure on whether I should apply to: LLU: rps USC: 31%, ps, I am getting worried after reading some students dont like PBL (http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?p=6502713) UMINN: 32% UMKC: 34% OHIO ST: 35% TENN: 43% ---total: 6 schools Schools that are not on the list were deleted either because they had very low out-of-state acceptance, or I felt that their avg DAT scores were too high for me to achieve. ******************* My goal is to enter a public university. However, b/c states must give priority to in-state residents, I am obligated to apply to private schools (ps) and religous private schools (rps) in order to increase my chances of getting accepted this year. I think that my application looks strong, with the exception of the DAT. Like I mentioned above, I do not want to show dental schools that I am desperate about getting in on my first try, even though technically I am. I know for a fact that they will ask me on my interview: Why us out of the 20 schools you applied to? Ill think of an answer by then, for now however, I need the honest opinion of whoever can advise me on what they think I should do. Please let me know whether I should change/add/delete any schools from my schools I feel that I really should apply to section. Any advice is good advice, so please advise. Essentially, the advice that I will receive here is the most valuable advice that I will receive. Hence, by the end of this post, whatever schools are on the list (based on your suggestions), are the schools that I will be applying to on May 15. Thanks to all.