Professional Development

Dental schools are looking for well-rounded applicants who have confirmed interest in the field of dentistry. Pre-dental students should plan to spend time outside of the classroom to explore and commit to dentistry by engaging in a variety of activities including but not limited to shadowing, working, volunteering, and research.  

ADEA AADSAS Experiences

The ADEA AADSAS application will give students the opportunity to record and describe the developmental experiences they engage in outside of the classroom. Each experience must be categorized using one of the experience categories provided by the application. 

AADSAS Application Experience Categories: 

  • Academic Enrichment  
  • Dental Experience 
  • Dental Shadowing (In Person and Virtual) 
  • Employment 
  • Extracurricular Activities 
  • Research 
  • Volunteer 

Apart from shadowing requirements at specific dental schools, there is no 'minimum' number of hours that need to be completed in each area. There is also no amount of hours that make one candidate more competitive than another. The goal of engaging in these types of experiences is to learn about the profession, and yourself and grow in the areas that will contribute to being a good dentist.  

It is the pre-dental student's responsibility to track all the experiences they engage in throughout the course of their preparation. This means knowing the range of dates, total number of hours, and supervisor contact information for each of the place's time is spent at. The PMHSC suggests using an Activity Tracker to log this information.  

Core Competencies

Many dental schools assess applicants based on the AAMC Core Competencies when reviewing applications. PMHSC advisors encourage pre-dental students to evaluate their experiences against competencies when deciding whether they are ready to apply. Questions students should ask themselves include: 

  1. How have I demonstrated this competency? 
  2. Why is this competency important? 
  3. What do my answers above say about me? 
  4. What did I learn or how did I grow from this experience? 
  5. How has this experience prepared me or influenced my interest? 

Taking the time to evaluate what is learned from experiences allows pre-dental students to develop a well-rounded, robust application. Pre-dental students who are not sure where to start with evaluating their applications should plan to meet with a pre-dental advisor.