Writing a personal statement for the AADSAS application can be daunting. Although most students focus mainly on GPA and DAT scores, the personal statement is a very important component of the application and should be carefully written. It is the applicants opportunity to share with admissions committees things about them that are not noted in other sections of the application.
The AADSAS essay is limited to 4500 characters (1 page). The applicant will be asked to address why they desire to pursue a dental education and how a dental degree contributes to their personal and professional goals.
The Pre-Health Advising Office recommends students have several different people objectively read their personal statement and provide constructive feedback. The letter-writers are often a great option. There are also resources on campus that can be of assistance, such as a student’s major advisor, the UGA Writing Center, Elizabeth Hughes (Honors Pre-Health Advisor) and Jenna Lostritto-Simmons in the Career Center.
What should be included?
Applicants should use the AADSAS personal statement as an opportunity to distinguish themselves from other applicants. Students should consider the personal statement content carefully.
Some questions students may want to consider while writing this essay are:
- Why have you selected the field of dentistry?
- What motivates you to learn more about dentistry?
- How have you demonstrated your interest and commitment to your decision?
- What experiences have allowed you to develop the skills necessary to be successful in dental school and to become an effective dentist?
- Did you have any exposure to role models who influenced your decision? Which of their attributes inspired you?
- Are your perceptions of the dental profession realistic?
- What are your professional goals?
- Is there anything you wish for dental schools to know about you that hasn't been disclosed in other sections of the application?
In addition, you may wish to include information such as:
- Unique hardships, challenges, or obstacles that may have influenced your educational pursuits.
- Commentary on significant fluctuations in your academic record that are not explained elsewhere in your application.
What should NOT be included?
- Avoid cliches: How many times do you think admissions committees have read the phrase, “I want to become a dentist because I like science and I want to help people”?
- Avoid being vague: "[Insert experience] was challenging and rewarding." What does that mean? Be specific about what was impactful and how it affected you.
- Avoid brash decision-making: Your decision to become a dentist should be the result of a series of thoughtful, conscious, and reflective decisions. NOT an instantaneous realization. Similarly, you have not “always known” that you want to be a dentist. No one is "born to be a dentist." Nothing is innate, you have to work for it.
- Avoid excuses: In general, there are better uses for your personal statement than explaining away and justifying poor grades, incidents of misconduct, etc. However, if you choose to address these subjects, be sure to focus on what you have learned from those incidents and how your experiences have made you a stronger person. Never, ever blame anyone else for your mistakes.
- Avoid restating resume: Choose ONE or TWO significant and distinguishing experiences to elaborate upon.
- Avoid grandiosity: For example, claiming that you “know what it is like to be a dentist from [shadowing/clinical volunteer experience].” No, you do not. That is precisely why you are hoping to go to dental school.
- Avoid inflammatory or controversial topics: You do not know the values, beliefs, and background of the person who is reading your essay. For these reasons, it is advisable to avoid making any strong statements regarding politics, religion, and other polarizing topics. Be extremely cautious to avoid expressing any views that could be construed as derogatory to any group. Additionally, your beliefs are not the only “correct” beliefs.
- Do not lie: Honesty and ethical behavior are the hallmarks of being a dentist. Do not include details that you are not prepared to talk about or are simply untrue.