There are three general steps to the dental school application process. See the tabs below to view the three steps, an application checklist, and more information on financial aid resources.

Application Process

There are three general steps in applying to dental schools: the primary application, the secondary application, and the interview. 

1. Primary applications

2. Secondary applications or supplementary forms are specific to individual dental schools. Schools may include these applications in the AADSAS application. Other schools may send these applications after they have received the AADSAS application. Both frequently request additional information, essays, letters of recommendation, and/or fees. Some schools may even screen applicants before the applications or forms are sent out. Most fees are $35 or more and change from year to year, depending on the applicant numbers. 

3. Interviews: After reviewing the primary and secondary applications (or supplementary forms), dental schools invite promising applicants to interview. Applicants are responsible for all costs incurred while interviewing, including airfare, lodging, ground transportation, professional attire, and meals. 

For Hawaiʻi Residents Only: Apply to the Hawaiʻi WICHE Professional School Exchange Program. PSEP enables residents from WICHE participating states affordable access to enroll in out-of-state professional healthcare programs, at participating WICHE institutions, when those programs are not available at a public institution in their home state. Applications open on August 1.

Traffic Rules: Although the application process varies from school to school, ADEA has established “traffic rules” to ensure fairness for all concerned. The rules are available online and stipulate both schools’ and applicants’ rights and responsibilities during the application process. All applicants should be familiar with these rules before applying.

Background Check: Prior to official acceptance, schools usually contact a background check on accepted students. Thus, please ensure that you conduct yourself professionally at all times. A record of misconduct may result in the residence of acceptance by schools.

Re-applicants: Many applicants may not be admitted to the professional school that they desire on their first try. However, if an when you choose to re-apply, there are many things to consider before re-submitting another application the following cycle.


  • The more you know about the school, the better your chances of being accepted.
  • Most application questions can be answered by reading the ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools.
  • Review individual schools’ websites to find out how they handle:
    • Advanced Placement (AP) credits
    • International Baccalaureate (IB) credits
    • College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) credits
    • Military credits
    • Courses taken at a community college
    • Non-US coursework
    • Courses taken for credit/no credit instead of a grade
    • Residency issues
    • Time limits on prerequisite science courses

Please note that if you are retaking courses because dental schools may not accept Advanced Placement (AP), online, or community college credit, your financial aid and/or scholarship status may be affected.

Application Checklist
Financial Aid


UH Mānoa has an early acceptance program for dental school with the Lake Erie College of Osetopathic Medicine (LECOM)! Learn more about how to apply here.

A.T. Still University's Missouri School of Dentistry has an Early Assurance Program designed for undergraduate students interested in their Doctor of Dental Medicine program. Learn more about how to apply here.