Last Updated on December 7, 2023 by Laura Turner
Unlike applicants to other health professions programs, aspiring dentists applying through AADSAS must wait until December to get the first notification of an offer of admission. Beginning at midnight (Eastern time) on December 15, admissions offices can communicate with their interviewed applicants – dental school decision day.
The process leading up to Dental School Admissions Decision Day varies by school. Some may select applicants early, while others continue to offer interview slots even after December 15, depending on their class-filling strategy and response to initial offers.
What should you do to prepare for the big day?
Before Dental Decision Day
Remember to sign up for Informed Delivery with USPS and delivery tracking with UPS and FedEx. Although many schools are now communicating offers through online portals or electronically, some may still send official hard copies. Review past years’ school-specific threads for guidance; before the pandemic, certain schools would send letters via FedEx, UPS, or USPS to align with Decision Day. By tracking your deliveries, you might get an early hint of an offer packet.
Review Online Profiles and Voicemail Greetings
Ensure your online profiles and voicemail greetings are professional, as schools may review or interact with these during the application process. Set up a personalized voicemail greeting; schools calling on Decision Day might not leave messages with automated responses. This could also be crucial for advance notifications about scholarships.
Visit the SDN “How to Get Into Dental School” guide to learn more about dental school admissions.
On Dental Decision Day
Avoid Missing Admissions Calls
On December 15, ask your friends and family to avoid calling, emailing, or texting you throughout the day. Mute all messaging apps to ensure you’re not interrupted, especially if you’re awaiting a call from a program that notifies accepted students via phone. Admissions calls will typically happen during office hours, though evening calls are possible. Be prepared for calls from various university representatives, including faculty or deans, and be aware of the area codes of the schools you interviewed with. Your caller ID may not always clearly identify the university, as some calls might come from personal numbers.
You might also receive a text after midnight to prompt a callback, a feature available in many admissions systems.
Look For Other Types of Decision Notifications
While many schools will update their portals and send emails on Decision Day at a time convenient for them, not necessarily right at midnight, be prepared for traditional phone calls as well as innovative video greetings. You may receive personalized video greetings from students, faculty, and program staff, welcoming you aboard.
You also may receive an email notification. Keep an eye on your junk mail inbox in case the message is routed there.
Yay! I’ve Been Accepted! What Now?
If you wind up with an offer of acceptance, congratulations! There are a few things you will want to do after your acceptance.
Join Student Communities
Upon acceptance into a program, you’ll likely be invited to join both official and unofficial communities, including your peers, upperclassmen, and possibly school administrators. Official groups are usually moderated by school authorities, while unofficial ones are more private, catering to student concerns away from faculty oversight. Before joining, especially if you are uncertain about your program choice or concerned about privacy, consider these factors and the image you present. Use your application email for formal groups. Maintain professionalism within these communities, avoiding personal or inappropriate interactions. If you decide against accepting an offer, remember to withdraw from all these groups voluntarily.
Start Planning to Move to the School
In the student communities, it is common to ask about on- or off-campus housing. Seniors may visit the site looking for individuals to “take over” their apartment leases. Many of your peers may also want to find a group to share an apartment or a house with. You may get opportunities to buy materials used for preparing for the board exams. In any case, think carefully about how you want to set yourself up before going to school on that campus full-time.
Keep an Eye on Admissions Portals
Don’t forget to continue to check your admissions portal. That area should update frequently, and you will be prompted to provide documentation on immunizations. Materials may be published for all incoming students.
Don’t Miss Deadlines
Keep the deadlines in mind. Here’s the official rule from the ADEA AADSAS:
- Applicant Response Periods. Allow an applicant who has been given a provisional or final acceptance between Dec. 15 and Jan. 31 the minimum response period of 30 days.
Note that while this is not specifically stipulated, the spirit of this rule should also apply to any scholarships extended to you with your offers. However, be aware that in the past, as well as in some other health professions programs, while you often have the entire response period to accept their admissions offer, you may have less time to accept a full-tuition scholarship.
There is no “punishment” mechanism against programs that require a rapid response to scholarship offers. This is not a behavior that should be rewarded, but many applicants may feel that they have no choice. You are encouraged to go back into the School-Specific threads to see if one of these schools is on your list.
Consider Asking About Scholarships
Navigating scholarship discussions with schools can be daunting, but it’s important to approach it thoughtfully. Begin by reflecting on your value to the school’s mission and the unique perspective you bring. Networking with current students can provide insights into the school’s scholarship landscape.
Remember, not all schools offer many scholarships, and full tuition is even rarer. Research previous threads and connect with current students for more information. Understand that many schools may not have the flexibility to negotiate additional funding.
When making a scholarship request, be clear and polite:
“Dear [School’s Financial Aid Office/Scholarship Committee],
I am truly excited about the prospect of attending [School Name]. However, I have received a scholarship offer from [Other School Name], making it a more financially feasible option. I am writing to inquire if there’s a possibility to adjust my scholarship to make attending [School Name] more competitive in cost. I am deeply committed to [specific elements of the school’s mission or program], and I believe [School Name] is the ideal place for my academic and professional growth.
Thank you for considering my request. I look forward to the possibility of joining the [School Name] community.
Remember, scholarships may have specific criteria to support particular communities or perspectives. Once enrolled, you might be eligible for additional scholarships, especially if you maintain a strong academic record. Engage with your student services office for guidance on internal and external scholarship opportunities. Your story and how it resonates with alumni and donors can be a significant factor in scholarship decisions. Be mindful of how you align with past scholarship recipients as showcased by alumni offices.
Share the Good News
When juggling multiple acceptances, remember you have 30 days to decide, so take your time and be familiar with the ADEA AADSAS traffic rules. Once you’ve decided, consider announcing it creatively on social media, akin to an athlete on National Signing Day. If you decline any offers, sharing this on the SDN school-specific threads could offer hope to those on waitlists. As you prepare for your future in dentistry, remember that self-promotion is part of the journey. Be thoughtful, professional, and fun – and feel free to include your pets in your “dental school acceptance dance” announcement! However, be cautious about what you share, especially regarding scholarships.
Also, please share your announcement on SDN! We love to hear success stories.
Thank Those That Helped You
After taking a day to absorb the excitement of an admission, consider expressing gratitude to your advisors and mentors with a thoughtful gift. Options like a small gift card, cookies, tea or coffee with a mug, or candies and chocolates are great choices. A handmade item adds a personal touch. Accompany your gift with a note to genuinely convey your appreciation.
If you are still in classes, focus on finishing your classes strong. If you have exams this week, it can be hard to focus, but you need to get it done. You don’t want to lose your seat because you took your eye off the ball at the last minute.
No Dental Decision Day News
Not all students will get their dreamed-of acceptance call on December 15. If you don’t hear from programs or find out you’ve been placed on the waitlist, don’t lose hope.
When Will I Know if I am Rejected?
Rejections can happen at any point. It’s unlikely you’ll hear from schools on December 15th if it is a rejection, as it’s not common for admissions offices to call with rejection news. They might either update your status online or not contact you at all. It’s best to check past forum discussions for specific schools’ communication trends around Decision Day to see how schools normally handle rejections.
Waitlist: Still in the Game
Being waitlisted on Decision Day doesn’t mean the end of your journey. The Traffic Rules can still work in your favor, with more decision dates coming up in mid to late January. Stay positive, and remember that you’re likely part of an unranked or semi-ranked waitlist pool. After the new year, check in with the schools; they may send surveys to gauge continued interest. Respond promptly to these and send a brief note expressing your ongoing interest, along with any academic updates. Also, connect with dental students you met during interviews to hear their experiences of receiving late-cycle offers. If you’re on an interview hold or waitlist at other schools, reach out to them soon, as interview spots may open up. Keep your spirits high and stay proactive in your pursuit.
As your journey toward dental school unfolds, remember that Dental Decision Day is just one milestone in a more extensive journey. Whether you’re celebrating an acceptance, navigating waitlists, or still anticipating news, stay proactive and positive. Keep refining your skills, expanding your knowledge, and connecting with your future community. At SDN, we’re rooting for you every step of the way and can’t wait to see the incredible dentist you will become.
This article was developed based on this thread: https://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/decision-day-2022.1472067/
Emil Chuck, Ph.D., is Director of Advising Services for the Health Professional Student Association. He brings over 15 years of experience as a health professions advisor and an admissions professional for medical, dental, and other health professions programs. In this role for HPSA, he looks forward to continuing to play a role for the next generation of diverse healthcare providers to gain confidence in themselves and to be successful members of the inter-professional healthcare community.
Previously, he served as Director of Admissions and Recruitment at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, Director of Admissions at the School of Dental Medicine at Case Western Reserve University, and as a Pre-Health Professions Advisor at George Mason University.
Dr. Chuck serves an expert resource on admissions and has been quoted by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).