With December 1st having reared its ugly head, many are celebrating closure to their hard earned work. For others, the waiting game has just begun. While it’s easy to feel disheartened, the extra time can become a strategic approach to putting together a great application for the next cycle. Here are some thing you can do during this time:
- Ask for feedback. Whether you interviewed at the school or not, it never hurts to ask what could have made you a more competitive applicant. Chances are, it was probably something tangible and (hopefully) not your interpersonal skills. Which leads me to the next one…
- Improve your DAT score if needed. According to ADEA, for the 2015-2016 class, the average national DAT score was 19.20. For Texas A&M College of Dentistry, the average admitted DAT score has been a 21 for the past 2 years. If you have a dental school goal, try looking up their matriculation statistics and see how you compare.
- Enroll in a masters/post baccalaureate program and take more upper level science classes. If you did not take most of the biology classes offered by your undergrad, they may want you to take more in preparation for dental school. Make sure to also do well in these classes, as this is another way they can pre-assess your success in dental school. Schools want to see an upward trend. This shows drive and persistence!
- Volunteer, volunteer, volunteer. Continue the volunteer work you did in undergrad. If you did not do much, now is the time to find new opportunities. Look for events hosted by your local dental school, register for Missions of Mercy events, volunteer at a local dental clinic, etc. The opportunities are always there!
- Find new letters of recommendations if applicable. If you had strong letters last year, maybe you can include an optional letter from someone you know will speak well on your behalf.
- Be realistic. Choose a school in your reach (not ivy leagues if you don’t feel as competitive) and out of state friendly schools (NYU, Tufts, Michigan, etc…). When applying.
These are all the tips I can think of for a re-applicant. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list. There may be other things on your application which are unique to you that can be added/ improved/ removed. I hope this has given you some ideas! But whatever you do, do not turn in the same application. Change your essays and update your application with new experiences. Don’t be afraid to mention you’re a re-applicant in your essay! Use it to your advantage as this could be a great segue for mentioning how you have improved since last year.