Dental School Application Timeline for 2017-2018 (for applicants planning to start dental school in fall 2018)

Because most dental schools have rolling admissions, applying is important. As the cycle proceeds and spots in the class are filled, admission for the remaining spots can become more competitive. The entire application process takes nearly a full year to complete. By familiarizing yourself with the application process early on, you can develop a schedule for the many application-related tasks you will need to complete and submit a high quality application early in the cycle.




There are two separate centralized application services for U.S. dental schools:

AADSAS (Associated American Dental Schools Application Service)

TMDSAS (Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service) – For Texas residents applicants Texas dental schools.

In addition to submitting a primary application through one of these services, most dental schools require a secondary or supplemental application. The final step in the application is an interview.

Here is a timeline for the 2017-2018 dental school admissions cycle to help you with your planning:


October – December 2016


  • Become familiar with the application process. Good sources of information are the AADSAS and TMDSAS sites and your pre-health advisor.
  • Gather information about dental schools. The ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools is updated each spring and available for purchase at the ADEA site.
  • Check to make sure that you are on track to complete the pre-requisites courses for dental school.
  • Find out if your undergraduate institution school offers a prehealth committee letter and the process for obtaining one. If your school does not have a committee letter, make sure that you check with the dental schools you plan to apply to regarding their requirements for letters of reference, as they vary from school to school.
  • Continue to gain dental, community service and/or research experience throughout the next year.

January-March 2017


  • Request letters of recommendation from faculty and dentists individually or obtain a committee letter per your undergraduate institution’s protocol.

April-June 2017


  • Register for the DAT. Information regarding the DAT may be found at the American Dental Association (ADA) site
  • Prepare for and take the DAT. Take the DAT earlier if preferred, but do not delay past June in order to have scores submitted to the schools early in the cycle.
  • AADSAS applications become available online in mid-May but may not be submitted until the cycle opens around June 1.
  • TMSDSAS cycle opens in early May.

July-September 2017


  • Retake the DAT if needed.
  • Complete secondary applications. (Note: a few schools request that secondary applications be submitted at the same time as the primary application.)

September 2017 – Spring 2018


  • Continue submitting secondaries.
  • Interview at dental schools.
    Schools notify applicants of acceptances beginning Dec. 1 and continue until the class is full.
  • Stay in contact with schools you are waitlisted at.

Fall 2018


Begin dental school!


The application process to dental school can be time-consuming, so plan ahead so that you can complete each step early in the cycle.

More Information about Dr. Eaton's Admissions Consulting Services

Comprehensive dental school admissions consulting including: general guidance on the dental school admissions process; detailed review of your application; thorough editing of your personal statement; and interview coaching and mock interviews.
Dr. Eaton is a graduate of the UCLA School of Medicine and has advised hundreds of successful applicants to dental and medical school over the past thirteen years.
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3 thoughts on “Dental School Application Timeline for 2017-2018 (for applicants planning to start dental school in fall 2018)”

  1. Ningshu Lyu says:

    I am an international student, and I almost finished (lack of some biology class) my undergraduate school in chemistry major. I want to apply for dental school in 2018 (class 2019). I didn’t take DAT yet, and there are 66 dental schools, so which one is the best fit for me?

  2. Dr. Eaton says:

    As an international student, the most important factor in deciding where to apply is determining which schools accept a reasonable number of international applicants. I can’t recommend specific schools for you as I am not working with you as an advisor, but I recommend that you purchase the ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools and look at the policies and statistics for each school regarding international applicants. You may want to wait until April, however, because that is when the new edition comes out. Here’s a link to the page for the book.

    If you have further questions or are interested in the advising services I offer, please contact me to schedule a free 20-minute phone consultation.

  3. Alejandra Bados says:

    Would I still get a chance of getting accepted into a school if I submit my application this month (September)? Also, I have not taken the DAT yet but plan to do so by mid-October. I have a GPA above 3.5.

    Thank you in advance.

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