Admissions FAQ: Application Process

What is the application process?
How will I know if I am missing anything from my application?
How soon after I apply can I expect to hear from HSDM?
How do I schedule an interview?
Does HSDM have a secondary/supplemental application?
What subject should I major in?
What is the cutoff for DAT scores? GPAs?
Will AP courses fulfill the HSDM prerequisite courses? What if I am exempted from a course based on other criteria?
Will Harvard accept a statistics course or computer programming course in place of calculus?
How do you calculate GPA? What if I have a bad grade?
Do I have to complete all of the prerequisite courses in order to apply?
How many applications do you receive for the DMD program?
When is an application considered complete?
Who should write my letters of recommendation? How many letters do I need?
How do I pay the application fee? When should I send it?
May I send my application directly to HSDM?
Do I need to reapply to HSDM if I have applied in the past?
I have been out of school for several years; am I still eligible to apply?
May I speak with an admissions counselor at HSDM? May I receive feedback about my application?
Will you send me admissions information?
What is the average GPA and DAT of students who are accepted?

What is the application process?
HSDM uses the AADSAS application. The AADSAS application, DAT scores, transcripts, and letters of recommendation will be submitted to AASDAS, which will verify this information, duplicate it electronically, and forward it to HSDM. Please click here for the application and for more information on AADSAS.

You will be notified by email when your application is received from AADSAS. HSDM will then compile all parts of your application— the AADSAS form, letters of recommendation, DAT scores from the ADA, and the HSDM application fee. You can expect to receive a one-time automated e-mail indicating items missing from your file. Once all items have been received you will receive an e-mail indicating that your application file is complete. Your application is then forwarded to the Screening Committee for review. The screening process can take up to four weeks, depending on the number of applications under review at that time.

If selected for an interview, you will be contacted by phone to schedule an interview at your convenience. Additional material regarding the interview will be sent to you once the interview is scheduled. Students not invited for an interview will be notified of their status by mail only. All mail will be directed to the preferred address you indicate in your AADSAS application.

How will I know if I am missing anything from my application?
The HSDM Office of Admissions will send applicants an e-mail notification when their electronic and paper application materials have been received. The applicant may receive subsequent notification that the application is complete or that one or more parts of the application are still missing.

How soon after I apply can I expect to hear from HSDM?
We make every effort to review complete applications on a timely basis. As noted above, a complete application includes an AADSAS report, all anticipated recommendation letters, official DAT scores, and the HSDM application fee. Since various components of the application arrive in the admissions office at different times, there may be a delay between the time you submit your AADSAS application and the time your file is actually complete and ready for review. Please be patient; the Office of Admissions does review all complete applications, and you will hear from us.

How do I schedule an interview?
Appointments for interviews are made by invitation only. Members of the HSDM Admissions Committee review all completed applicant files, and based on that review, we select candidates to invite to the School for an interview. We will telephone students who are invited for an interview and will schedule an interview at the students’ convenience. If we cannot reach a student by phone, we will pursue other methods of contact.

Does HSDM have a secondary/supplemental application?
A Supplemental Questionnaire will be sent only to individuals who have been invited for an interview.

What subject should I major in?
Applicants can major in any field for a bachelor’s degree or pursue other degrees in any field. In order to apply to HSDM, students must complete the prerequisite courses. Many students major in the sciences; HSDM has and will continue to also accept students with degrees in nonscience fields who have shown that they are competent in the required areas. Since each incoming class includes only 35 students, the Admissions Committee works very hard to accept incoming students who will be an active and involved part of the class and to accept students with a variety of interests, talents, skills, and knowledge. HSDM encourages students to pursue their own academic interests, as we believe that a diverse student body will contribute to a well-rounded class and a vibrant School.

What is the cutoff for DAT scores? GPAs?
HSDM does not have a cutoff for DAT scores or GPAs. We look at each complete application in its entirety, regardless of scores, and make admissions decisions based on the whole application. We do recommend that applicants have at least a 3.0 GPA.

Will AP courses fulfill the HSDM prerequisite courses? What if I am exempted from a course based on other criteria?
HSDM will accept AP credits for the prerequisite courses provided that your undergraduate university accepts these courses for credit and they appear on your transcript. Keep in mind that one AP course is equal to one semester of a college-level course. Placing out of a course through a university-administered test will NOT grant you credit at HSDM; all prerequisite courses must be taken at the college level and must appear on your transcript for credit.

Will Harvard accept a statistics course or computer programming course in place of calculus?
No. HSDM requires a year of calculus (2 semesters or 3 trimesters).

How do you calculate GPA? What if I have a bad grade?
Your GPA is calculated by AADSAS using all undergraduate courses and grades. The Admissions Committee at HSDM looks at your transcript and at individual grades. The AADSAS application has a specific section that asks about inconsistent grades; this would be an appropriate place to acknowledge poor grades if you feel the need to do so.

Do I have to complete all of the prerequisite courses in order to apply?
You are not required to complete all of the prerequisite courses before applying to HSDM, although we do suggest that applicants have a strong handle on these courses, as these are grades that the Admissions Committee will be most interested in. If you have not completed all of the prerequisites by the time you apply to HSDM, you should indicate a plan to complete any outstanding courses. If you are interviewed and subsequently offered a place in the incoming class, this offer will be contingent upon your successful completion of any outstanding prerequisite courses. HSDM reserves the right to rescind admission to any student who has not completed the courses required for admission when students arrive for matriculation in the fall.

How many applications do you receive for the DMD program?
In the 2012–2013 admissions cycle, HSDM received more than 1,000 applications. We interview approximately 120 applicants for each entering class of 35 students.

When is an application considered complete?
An application is complete once the Office of Admissions has an applicant’s AADSAS application, nonrefundable processing fee of $75, three letters of recommendation or a committee letter, college transcript(s), and official DAT scores.

Who should write my letters of recommendation? How many letters do I need?
HSDM requires three letters of recommendation and will accept up to four. At least three of these letters should be from professors and at least two of these letters must be from professors in the sciences. Alternately, a composite letter of recommendation from a pre-health advising committee will meet the requirement for letters of recommendation; no other letters need to be submitted if a letter is written by a committee on your behalf. All letters should be submitted through AADSAS.

Letters of recommendation should be written by professors who know you in an academic setting: either they have taught a course(s) that you have taken, or they oversee your academic work in some way (e.g., research, thesis mentor, etc.) You should be confident that your professors are able to write a personalized letter on your behalf and are in a position to address your academic abilities. Often, professors and teaching assistants will collaborate in letter writing for larger lecture classes; HSDM will accept coauthored letters.

Professional letters of recommendation—for example, letters from a boss or a dentist you’ve shadowed—may be submitted as a fourth letter of recommendation. We will not accept more than four letters.

How do I pay the application fee? When should I send it?
We recommend that you submit your application fee at the same time as your AADSAS application is completed. Once your application arrives, we will match your fee and your application and deposit your check.

The nonrefundable application fee is $75, payable to Harvard School of Dental Medicine by check or money order. Checks must be in US Funds. Make sure your name and Dentpin are on the check. Fees should be sent to:

Harvard School of Dental Medicine
Admissions: DMD Program
188 Longwood Avenue
Boston, MA 02115

May I send my application directly to HSDM?
No. You must apply through AADSAS.

Do I need to reapply to HSDM if I have applied in the past?
Yes. Applicants to both the DMD and Advanced Graduate Education programs must reapply, even if they have applied in a previous year. An applicant must send all materials again, even if they were sent previously. These applicants should be sure to mention in their personal statement what they have been doing in the time period since their previous application.

I have been out of school for several years; am I still eligible to apply?
HSDM does accept applicants who have been out of school for some time. We highly recommend, however, that these applicants take or retake some core science classes such as biology or chemistry before applying. Contact the Office of Admissions for specific questions.

May I speak with an admissions counselor at HSDM? May I receive feedback about my application?
As a small admissions office in a small school, we are not able to counsel individual students on their applications to HSDM. For advice on your application, we suggest that you talk to a pre-health or academic adviser at your college or university, who will be able to provide specific guidance for your individual application. Likewise, we are not able to provide feedback for students who applied to HSDM and were not offered admission to the School. Students who are not accepted are welcome to reapply in the following cycle.

Will you send me admissions information?
All HSDM admissions information can be found online. If you have questions that are not addressed on the HSDM website, we will be happy to answer your questions through e-mail.

What is the average GPA and DAT of students who are accepted?
The average GPA for the class that entered in the fall of 2012 was 3.86. We recommend that applicants have a GPA of at least 3.0. The average DAT scores for the fall 2012 entering class were 22 academic average and 22 total science average and 20 PAT. Higher grades are not a guarantee of admission to HSDM, however, and lower grades do not necessarily mean rejection. Some applicants with a 4.0 GPA may not be admitted, while students who have more modest grades may be admitted. HSDM considers many factors when making admissions decisions.