In case you missed the memo, the ADEA AADSAS, aka the big dental school application, for next fall is officially opened! The American Dental Education Association (ADEA) has a general online application called the Associated American Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS) and there is a PERSONAL STATEMENT required **cue the music** Although the essay is about YOU, you still have an agenda: it still needs to be written in a professional manner and highlight your professional skills, experiences, and interests. That doesn’t have to be so scary! Think of it kind of like answering that classic job interview inquiry: “Tell me about yourself.” Oh no. Did I just make it worse? **cue the music again**
Your AADSAS Personal Statement is a place for you to “organize your thoughts about why you are seeking a dental education” all under 4,500 characters (including letters, spaces, punctuation (like on twitter)), which is about a page long. Unless you’re applying to a Texas school, then the Texas Dental School Application System (TMDSAS) has a 4,500-character limit. “Why are you seeking a dental education?”, you need to articulate that you motivated, academically prepared, plus knowledgeable and passionate about the profession. This can be a little tricky; the key is balance. You want to sell yourself professional while remaining personable. By no means is this a creative writing piece; you want to be clear, concise, and professional. Keep in mind: dental schools are making first judgments on you based on this AADSAS application, and the AADSAS Personal Statement is the ONLY place to make a case for yourself IN YOUR OWN WORDS!
Remember that you’re selling yourself as a great addition to the dental profession. This is where you talk about your strengths, passion for the field, and all your extra-curricular hard work you’ve done in preparing for dental school (and let’s face it also for this particular essay here).
Three key points to hit:
o Why Dentistry? – The lifelong childhood dream is all good and fine really but if that’s not the case be candid and honest and talk about your road to discovery, that’s interesting! Your journey to writing this AADSAS Personal Statement may be long and winding. How did you land on dentistry?
o Shadowing or Assisting Experience – Talk up your observation hours in a dentist’s office setting and how these times increased your knowledge and understanding of the field. These experiences show you really know what’s like in the real world application of the dental school.
o Volunteerism – show your interest in working with/for the community and commitment to helping other. It’s important to include both volunteer activities that are relevant to the field and even some that isn’t. For example, working at an animal shelters shows your well rounded not just in a pre-dental mode all the time. Also include the volunteer work related to the dentistry profession that you may have done with a pre-dental society (that’s how you work that you were active in the club in the essay too)!
The ole phrase “writing is rewriting” rings true here this case. Have a trusty professor or dental professional read and give you feedback. They know what admissions committees are looking for and have insight on how to relate your experiences to the field. Final piece of advice: you can upgrade your DAT Cracker account and unlock the all the practice tests for $49 instead of the regular $99 sooooo go do that and you’ll have gleaming DAT scores to match this beautiful essay!
If you need any help on your personal statement, we recommend the people over at Grad Personal Statements at www.gradpersonalstatements.com