Welcome to SDN! September isn't early or late, it is more in the middle of the road as far as applying goes.
Certainly, June and July are early, August through September would be when most applicants submit, and October on would be considered late.
This was not always the case, but applicants who submit information in October or later are now behind in the application cycle. 2 months (or less!) to fill out secondaries, return fees, schedule interviews, and have the committee apply all of that information, doesn't leave much time for the Dec. 1 acceptance date. Of course, MANY students get admitted after this date, but if they are shooting for Dec. 1, they really ought to apply in September at the latest.
The best time to apply in my opinion is the first day, or worst case scenario within the first week. Gavin and I have received the rewards of applying early and I find it my mission to spread this good news. September is okay, but it almost assures that you will not get any interviews until mid-December and early january. Since AADSAS is so slow this year, and every school knows it, it may be longer. So now what is done is done. If I were you I would focus more on being organized and making sure that each school will have your complete application when they receive your AADSAS so they can get a hold of you on the spot. Honestly, strategically speaking interviewing before dec. 1 is ideal since that is the first legal day schools will send out acceptances. If only 4000 people have applied by then you have a much better chance of getting accepted somewhere. September is not too bad, you will just have to wait to hear more good news. But the goal is to get in, no matter how long the wait. I just applied early since I was thirsty to get accepted by Dec. 1 so i could just relax for 6-8 months without worrying where fate is going to throw me. Just my thoughts, but as I mentioned. Make sure you recs, transcripts, DAT scores and supp materials get to the schools immediately.
What Desi added is all very true. Many students will deny it (because they got in and applied late, or know somebody who did), but applying early -- the first 2-3 weeks -- is key for many applicants.
Also, having your DAT scores already available is also key for many schools. Some schools hand out interviews without those scores, but the majority of schools won't seriously consider your application until they have those scores.
I staunchly stand by the following advice:
Take the DAT in April, May, or June, and send in AADSAS within 2-3 weeks of the available date. Have your letters of recommendation complete and mailed to AADSAS in mid-May. Also have your transcripts send in mid-May.
Admist all of my jarble, I realized that I never directly answered your question.
So here it is: yes, you are at a disadvantage. That isn't to say you won't be better off than some (those who apply in October or November), but I've had two interviews, have another one scheduled this week, and my application (fees & secondaries) are complete at every school I've applied to. In that sense, I have a greater advantage than you.
Don't fret too much, as Desi said, your application has been submitted. I'm sure you'll have plenty of success with the cycle.
Hi ItsGavinC, I have a unusual question and hope you can give me your opinions. I am going to apply 2004 entry. As DesiDentist, I would send my application as early as possible on first day (June 1.), but I would not have my DAT score ready at that time. I plan to take DAT around 8/20. Do you think the most schools (I saw your previous post) hold my application until they receive my DAT score? It it is the case, it does not matter if I send my application in on first day. Or like DesiDentist, most schools still consider me as first cycle applictants and have the early-apply advantage? Thanks for your reply!
I haven't taken my DAT's and I have four interviews thus far. I think a big misconception of most "tardy" applicants is that you have to wait until all the recs are ready, and all the scores are concrete. Just send in the app and then take your DAT, just I did. If you have a good gpa (3.4+) and solid EC's and a passion for dentistry then I think you have a good shot at getting interviews even before your DAT. Good luck.
The best answer to your question is that it depends on what schools you have applied to. The schools I have applied to have told me (because I've asked) that they won't view an application until it is complete, and that includes the receipt of DAT scores.
Other schools will view applications and schedule interviews at times even if they don't have your complete application. The schools that granted Desi interviews are in this catergory.
As a general rule of thumb, however, 90% of the schools WILL NOT view your application (consider you for interviews) until they have received your entire application. This includes fees, supplemental applications, residency forms, scholarship applications, DAT scores, AADSAS materials, letters of recs., etc.
Of course, it is possible to speak with schools before applying so as to maximize your chances based on their application procedures.
To directly answer your question: Yes, most schools will hold your application until receiving your DAT scores. But further, you still should send in your AADSAS application as soon as possible in the cycle! The schools having your AADSAS application but not having your DAT scores is much better than the schools having nothing. And as usual, AADSAS is notoriously slow and behind, whereas the ADA is usually prompt (2-3 weeks) in sending your DAT scores to schools.
Gavin, I believe only Temple would grant me an interview w/out my DAT scores. UPENN does interview a couple people who demonstrate good academics and EC's I was shocked to have received the UPENN interview. When I called NOVA, the admission director told me that they will not grant me an interview until they get my DAT scores, i was shocked as well. Boston, I am dumbfounded by them granting me an interview request, since I never kept in touch with that school.
Some schools will make exceptions. It is your job to make sure they do. Other schools will make no exceptions.
ECs = Extracurriculars, including hobbies, leadership, volunteering
Passion = along with EC's the jobs you do, and how well you portray that dentistry is for you. As for me, I illustrated every iota of experience and EC's and I believe the way I illustrated my desire to become a dentist truly gave me a heads up in getting interviews, before my DAT scores.
I believe dental schools would much rather have someone who is passionate about dentistry, rather than someone who is not, but still has a good gpa/dat scores (they aren't everything ya know).