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Should I take DAT in August if applying that cycle? / How strong is my application?

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AlecGaro

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Hey everyone so I have 2 important questions listed below.
P.S. I live in California and my #1 choice for dental schools is UCLA. My father also went to UCLA for Dental School and undergrad (Don't know if alumni helps at all for dental school). I'm not sure if that will help you guys give me a more accurate answer to my questions below.


1) First of all I want to know if it is okay to take the DAT this upcoming August (probably early to mid month) if I am also applying to dental schools for that same cycle? I have read up on numerous other posts with similar dilemmas and I am constantly reading many mixed responses. Some people say its completely fine if you fill out the application with everything else and submit it within the first 1-2 weeks of the applications opening up (and let the school know you are taking the DAT in August and send them the unofficial and official scores ASAP). Other people are claiming its really bad to send it in August. Either way, just assume that I can not take the DAT earlier or else I will not be prepared and will therefore get a bad score. I would appreciate it if for this question people only with similar experiences could respond (or people who know of others with similar situations), since I want to get the most accurate answers. My second question is down below.




2) My second question is how strong is my application?.. Especially if I want to get into UCLA as my #1 choice. (These are estimates of what I should have when I apply for dental schools):

- 3.70 overall GPA and a 3.80 science GPA.

- Hoping for AT LEAST a 20AA on the DAT. Most likely a 21-24AA because of all the studying and classes I will be doing.

- 233 community volunteer hours (133 dental related hours). This consists of 108 hours at UCLA's general dental clinic, 100 hours at a Saturday school for my church, and 25 hours at medical/dental set-up events for people in need (like Care Harbor in Los Angeles if anyone knows what that is).

- 313 shadowing hours. This consists of 123 hours at an orthodontist, 25 hours at an oral surgeon, 105 at one general practitioner, 60 at another general practitioner).

- One semester of Bio or Chem research lab experience from my school (Cal State University, Fullerton).

- I can get my hands on 10 possible Letters of Rec (3 of my science professors at my school, 1 from my lab P.I., 1 from the coodinator at UCLA's general dental clinic, 4 from each separate dentist which I have been shadowing, and the last one is a committee letter from the Student Health Professions Association at my school (read below for more info). Can you guys tell me which 3-4 LOR would probably be the best ones I can submit to schools?

- Part of the Pre-Dental Society and Student Health Professions Association for 2 years at Cal State Universtity, Fullerton.




If there is anything on my rough draft application that you think I should do more of or any extra topics I should add PLEASE feel free to let me know. I would love for any kind of suggestions on this.

Thank you everyone!
 
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mystery84

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I think August is fine. Most people on these forums will tell you submit by first week of June but you really want to take the exam when you are ready. That being said earlier is better but you will need to plan your year carefully and give yourself enough time to properly prepare for the DAT.

Get all your documentation to AADSAS as soon as possible!!! Transcripts from all schools you have attended, finish your personal statement, have your committee/LoR sent ahead, enter your coursework into AADSAS, and complete every other portion of your application. I'm not sure if AADSAS will let you e-submit without DAT scores but its worth a shot and send unofficial scores.

Your stats looking promising just keep up your GPA, and destroy the DAT.

edit: I retook the DAT on August 19 but got held up because I was unhappy with my personal statement. You cannot e-submit without that for sure and they wont verify (4-6 weeks) till you submit.
 

AlecGaro

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Okay thank you, but I am confused. So how do people say to submit your app before your DAT is completed IF YOU HAVE TO (like me).. but then you said that AADSAS will not let you submit it without the DAT. Are these 2 separate applications? Sorry I am a bit new with all of the lingo and specific steps for the application process.
 

yihaej12

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August is fine! I took my dat august 2 and I have 2 interviews so far!

and you CAN submit your aadsas application without your DAT score. Just indicate that you will be taking it int he future. After you take the DAT, aadsas will receive your scores, and then send out an updated application.
 

ajj70

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Why are you waiting until August to take the DAT? "Fine" is one thing, everyone's application is different though so just because one person got interviews with a "late" application doesn't mean everyone will. The earlier you get your app in, the sooner you find out about interviews. That is the real advantage of getting your app in early. Your app is strong, having a dentist for a parent makes it even stronger so just do well on the DAT and you should get interviews. No one can really say if UCLA will call you or not but I'd say you have a better than average chance of getting an interview there if you score well on the DAT. If you can work your schedule out to take it earlier, I would.
 

AlecGaro

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Why are you waiting until August to take the DAT? "Fine" is one thing, everyone's application is different though so just because one person got interviews with a "late" application doesn't mean everyone will. The earlier you get your app in, the sooner you find out about interviews. That is the real advantage of getting your app in early. Your app is strong, having a dentist for a parent makes it even stronger so just do well on the DAT and you should get interviews. No one can really say if UCLA will call you or not but I'd say you have a better than average chance of getting an interview there if you score well on the DAT. If you can work your schedule out to take it earlier, I would.
Well I am taking it in August because I am just finishing Ochem 2 and the first course of gen bio this semester and still need biochem and gen bio 2 next semester (along with a few other classes for my major). I don't feel comfortable teaching myself biochem and gen bio straight from the DAT studying material. And even if I took it sooner that would mean I would have to study for the DAT while taking that heavy load next semester. Either way when I've weighed my options it just doesn't seem smart to get a half-assed DAT score just for the sake of getting my apps super early in the application process. Does this make sense, or am I missing an option which I have not thought of.
 

AlecGaro

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By the way thank you for all the replies, and please keep them coming! I wan't to hear what people have to say about both of the questions I have given and the more insight the better for me!
 

mystery84

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Wait a year, if you can, and apply the following year. Take a gap year after you graduate and while your waiting on interviews work, travel, read a few good books, work out, pick up that hobby you've been meaning to learn, learn a new hobby, or just take some time off before dental school. This is, of course, only if your situation allows
 

AlecGaro

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I was in a similar situation last year, although your GPA is higher than mine. I took the DAT Aug 18th 2014 after making the decision in the spring semester to take a year off after graduation. I did this so I could have Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 to pull my GPA up, and so that dental schools would be able to see this grades. This wasn't my only reason, but it was one of them. I ended up doing very well on the DAT after committing myself to studying for it all summer, and proceeded to get the best grades I've gotten in college while taking 6 classes each semester, 4 of which science in the fall, 5 in the spring. I really think that this last year, that dental schools wouldn't have seen had I applied last cycle, is what made my application strong enough to get interviews. Keep in mind I graduated a year early, so I'll be the same age as matriculants who go 4 years of college straight to dental school.

As for my gap year, I'm doing AmeriCorps and while it's not lucrative at all, I am happy with my decision and the work I'm doing.

At the end of the day, the decision is yours. My opinion is that you should wait it out and perform well next year to have a nice upward trend, although this is less important for you because your grades are already good as it is. Good luck!

Thank you for all of that insight. Could I ask what you got on the DAT and what exactly you used to study for it? (Any big courses for any specific questions, etc.)
 

Iwanttopulloutteeth

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Okay thank you, but I am confused. So how do people say to submit your app before your DAT is completed IF YOU HAVE TO (like me).. but then you said that AADSAS will not let you submit it without the DAT. Are these 2 separate applications? Sorry I am a bit new with all of the lingo and specific steps for the application process.

Can't you just submit your apps as soon as the cycle opens but they won't be reviewed until after your DAT is submitted????????
I've seen numerous people recommend this if you have to take your DAT later.
 

AlecGaro

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Can't you just submit your apps as soon as the cycle opens but they won't be reviewed until after your DAT is submitted????????
I've seen numerous people recommend this if you have to take your DAT later.
Yes that is what I am planning on doing but what is the benefit to that? Won't the schools kind of put me into that "other" stack once they seen that I don't have my DAT taken yet? Of course I will say in the app (and call up each admissions office) to let them know that as soon as I take the DAT I will send in the unofficial scores the same day and the official scores will be sent out ASAP).
 

pgex2t

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The best thing for you to do would be to take your DAT earlier than June and have it ready to go once the next cycle starts. Will you get interviews if you take it in August? Of course. But would you have more interviews had you taken it before June? Highly likely. It just seems like a waste given your stats not to apply early.
 

AlecGaro

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The best thing for you to do would be to take your DAT earlier than June and have it ready to go once the next cycle starts. Will you get interviews if you take it in August? Of course. But would you have more interviews had you taken it before June? Highly likely. It just seems like a waste given your stats not to apply early.
Okay well I have been thinking about this more and more because of the replies that others and yourself have given me. Would it be smart to take the DAT something like May 4th, 2016? If I do this I would have to study for the test DURING my semester of gen bio 2, biochem, and my other major classes. With this being said I am going to be realistic and think that I will not get anything impressive.. probably a 19-21 AA with the study time I will be given due to my class load.

Should I do this to be able to put a DAT score on my applications and then also state that I will be retaking the DAT in August (Something like August 10th)? I just don't know if it is a smart idea to risk putting a crappy initial score on my applications, just for the sake of getting my app in early. I feel like even though I am saying that I will retake it, they may still see that first score and be drawn away from my app.

Let me know what all you experienced pre-dental students and even current dental school students think!
 

ajj70

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Start studying for the DAT right after finals, study for 6 weeks or so and take the DAT at the end of June or very early July. You will be fine doing that and you can then submit your app in early June and they won't have to wait long for your DAT scores. You can then email your score sheet to the schools once you get that, some schools will use that until they get the official scores.
 

hellofuturedentists

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Start studying for the DAT right after finals, study for 6 weeks or so and take the DAT at the end of June or very early July. You will be fine doing that and you can then submit your app in early June and they won't have to wait long for your DAT scores. You can then email your score sheet to the schools once you get that, some schools will use that until they get the official scores.
This is kind of what I did. Finished finals late April, took the DAT late June, submitted AADSAS early July (didn't want to deal with it while I was studying). Gave me plenty of time to learn everything and I definitely don't feel like I submitted anything too late.
 

virtualmaster999

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I took mine this past July 14. I originally had June 12, then June 30...glad I extended my study time. Better to wait and take it when you ready. I think if you take it by late June/Early July you put yourself in a very good spot, especially if you esubmit in June.
 

AlecGaro

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Again thank you so much that is such great info! And wow you do seem very qualifies, I am sure they are going to interview you. I will be checking these messages you sent as a guideline for my apps. Also when do you think is the absolute latest I should take the DAT? I am assuming early June by the latest. And if I am to maintain my 3.7 overall gpa and 3.8 science gpa, what should I aim for my minimum DAT score?
 

hellofuturedentists

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Again thank you so much that is such great info! And wow you do seem very qualifies, I am sure they are going to interview you. I will be checking these messages you sent as a guideline for my apps. Also when do you think is the absolute latest I should take the DAT? I am assuming early June by the latest. And if I am to maintain my 3.7 overall gpa and 3.8 science gpa, what should I aim for my minimum DAT score?
I'd say latest would be end of July if you don't want SDN to really start freaking you out. For "first batch interviews" then early June. Aim for a 20
 

addminus

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I took mine this past July 14. I originally had June 12, then June 30...glad I extended my study time. Better to wait and take it when you ready. I think if you take it by late June/Early July you put yourself in a very good spot, especially if you esubmit in June.

I am in a very similar situation as you and I figured you would be the best person to ask. I will be taking the DAT on July 20 but I haven't submitted my application yet. Am I already in a disadvantage? It is now beginning of July. This is freaking me out.
 

AlecGaro

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I am in a very similar situation as you and I figured you would be the best person to ask. I will be taking the DAT on July 20 but I haven't submitted my application yet. Am I already in a disadvantage? It is now beginning of July. This is freaking me out.
Nope you are fine. Just submit as soon as you are done.
 
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