Letters of Evaluation for Pre-Dental
Letters of Evaluation
Letters of Evaluation are an important portion of the dental school application. You should familiarize yourself with the types of letters of evaluation each dental school requires well before you head into the application cycle.
The Associated American Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS) allows for up to four letters of evaluation to be electronically submitted. You should check the website of each school where you intend to apply for letter requirements. If there are strong preferences of types of letters, it will be indicated. If the school does not give any guidance about the letters they expect, the "model" typically followed by our successful applicants is two hard science professors, one general dentist and another “professional” reference.
As of January 2016, the Pre-Health Advising Office will no longer serve as a repository/submission service for letters of evaluation to dental school. The absence of a "committee" or "pre-dent" letter will not adversely affect a student’s application.
Click here for AADSAS Instructions for Letters of Evaluation
Who should I ask for a letter?
Individual dental schools are quite specific in the types of letters of evaluation they expect from applicants. Therefore, you should be selective in who you ask to submit letters on your behalf and you should always double-check the individual requirements of each school to which you want to apply. Remember that while you do want to make sure that you are satisfying the requirements of the schools to which you are applying, it is equally critical that you obtain letters from evaluators who know you well and can speak positively on your behalf.
You will submit a maximum of four letters of evaluation. Two should come from faculty members that you have taken hard science courses with and one should come from a general dentist with whom you have shadowed or volunteered. The Pre-Health Advising Office also recommends that for the fourth letter, to choose someone you may have worked closely with (for instance, as part of your double-major, minor, or certificate program), other physicians or healthcare professionals you have shadowed under or worked with, volunteer coordinators, reserach mentors, etc.
You should NOT use personal references such as friends or family nor should you use professional references from evaluators who do not know you — e.g. a professor from a large lecture class who you have never spoken to, a senator that you have never worked with, your pastor, etc.
How should I ask for a letter?
When asking for a letter of evaluation, it is important that you do so in person.
Emailing or calling to set up a meeting or appointment is acceptable but you should
request the letter face to face. Further, you should schedule an appointment with
each of their evaluators by early Spring (no later than May) of the year you wish
to apply to dental school. Your evaluator will need time to work on your letter,
so be courteous and respectful. Do not forget that they are likely receiving requests
from other students as well.
Due to the size of UGA, it can be difficult to generate strong letters from college faculty and staff who know you very well and can offer significant insight into your character traits and capacity for entering the profession of dentistry. Therefore, it is important that you not only work actively to build relationships from early on, but also that you provide your evaluators with as much information as possible when you do request a letter:
- Recent copy of your resume (with picture)
- Detailed instructions for how to submit the letter (AADSAS or Interfolio)
- Brief statement of your educational goals
- Rough draft of your personal statement
- Guidelines for how to write a letter of evaluation
Note: Always waive your right to view your letters of evaluation.
How do I submit my letters of evaluation?
Using Interfolio (Recommended)
We encourage you to consider using Interfolio to collect and submit your letters of evaluation. Interfolio's primary purpose is letter storage, so you can begin collecting letters before the application cycle opens. You can set up an Interfolio account for free to begin storing documents. However, in order to transmit your letters to the application service (AADSAS), you must pay to upgrade to Dossier Delivery for a flat rate of $48 per year. Your letters will be maintained even if your delivery account expires and you can renew your account any time.
How to use Interfolio:
If you do not opt to use Interfolio to store your letters, your evaluators will need to upload their letters directly to AADSAS. When the application opens in early May, you will be able to add new evaluators in the "Supporting Information" section of the application, but you will not be able to submit your application until the first week of June. Be sure that all of the information that you enter about the evaluator is accurate and that you include the correct email address for that person. Once you complete an entry, AADSAS will send an email to your evaluator with an upload link for their letter. It is your responsibility to make sure that your evaluator is expecting this email. (Don't forget to have your evaluator check their spam folder since the email sometimes gets filtered out!)