Common App Essay In Dent

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Application for the Guaranteed Admission Program for Dentistry

Two applications are required for admission to the Guaranteed Admission Program for Dentistry: one for VCU Undergraduate Admissions and one for the Honors College Guaranteed Admission Program for Dentistry. Both of these applications are available online. Completed Guaranteed Admission applications and VCU Common Applications must be submitted online by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, and official transcripts must be received by Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017. Reference letters must be uploaded by the reference writer to your Guaranteed Admission application by 11:59 p.m. EST on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017. Reference writers will be prompted via email with instructions for uploading their letters to your application once you have submitted your Guaranteed Admission Program application online. We will be unable to consider your application if any components are received after this deadline.

The Guaranteed Admission Program application is also your application for the Honors College. Applicants will only be considered for Guaranteed Admission if they are first accepted to the Honors College. Do not complete both an Honors College application and a Guaranteed Admission application.

It is important that you follow directions carefully and make sure that our office and the Undergraduate Admissions Office receive all pertinent materials on time. The Honors College will not contact candidates to confirm a completed application, so you are responsible for checking to ensure your file is complete.


To be eligible to apply for the Guaranteed Admission Program for Dentistry, you must have a minimum of a 1330 combined SAT score from critical reading and mathematics from one test administration on your SAT or a 29 ACT composite score. In addition, applicants must have an unweighted GPA of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale, or the equivalent.


All applicants should be aware that acceptance decisions are not made on the basis of academic performance alone. The Guaranteed Admission Program for Dentistry has many more qualified applicants than it can possibly accept and the stated academic criteria of GPA and SAT scores merely indicate the baseline each applicant must attain for consideration for the program.

The same noncognitive qualities used in health science professional program acceptance are taken into consideration for the Honors College Guaranteed Admission Program for Dentistry. These include, but are not limited to, interpersonal skills, maturity, personal motivation, written and oral communication skills, letters of recommendation, evidence of commitment to health care, experience in related healthcare fields, compassion, and level of community service.

Qualified applicants are also selected for an interview, with the interviewer’s assessment factoring into the admission decision. The interviewer’s goal is to develop a sense of the candidate’s personality and oral communication skills and to convey these qualities to the committee.

The Selection Committee convenes in late January to review complete applications and all applicants are notified later that month by email whether they’ve been invited for interviews. Interviews are conducted in February with one held on VCU’s MCV Campus, the other on the Monroe Park Campus. Because of the limited number of guaranteed positions, not all applicants are interviewed, even though they may be highly qualified. The Guaranteed Admission Program for Dentistry accepts up to five students each year.

Admission decisions are made based on a ranking of all potential students utilizing each committee member’s assessment of the criteria. Since many factors are considered for acceptance, occasionally individuals with lower GPAs or SAT scores are ranked for an admission offer ahead of individuals with higher GPAs or SAT scores.

Profile of 2017 Applicants

In early March, five students were sent an acceptance letter into the Guaranteed Admission Program for Dentistry. Profile of 2017 applicants: The average unweighted GPA of these students was 3.94 and their SAT scores ranged from 1360 to 1420 (critical reading and math) with an average of 1390. Their ACT composite average was a 31. In addition, accepted candidates had accumulated an average of 340 hours of healthcare-related experience.


Application Procedure

The Honors College considers your application an important part of the selection process. Once you have completed the application online, proofread it carefully before submitting. Do not provide the requested information in any format other than that of the application itself. The application can be saved before submission, allowing you to work on the application over several sittings. The following information is helpful as you prepare to begin your application:

  1. The Guaranteed Admission Program for Dentistry application is due November 15, 2017, by 11:59 p.m. EST. Reference letters must also be uploaded by this time. We therefore encourage you to submit early in order to provide ample time for reference writers to upload their letters to the application.

  2. Once the application has been submitted, it cannot be modified or retrieved. After your application has been submitted, you will be directed to a confirmation page, indicating that your submission has been received. A confirmation email will also be sent to the email provided in your application.

  3. You may track the status of your supporting documents by logging into our status page. Please refer to your email confirmation for instructions on how to visit the status page. The Honors College will retrieve your test scores as well as your official high school transcript from your VCU Common Application sent into the Office of Admissions. You do not need to send separate copies to the Honors College.

  4. SAT scores of at least 1330 (critical reading and math; all in one sitting) or a 29 ACT composite score must be received by the Nov. 15 deadline. November SAT or ACT scores of the year of application will not be considered. The SAT code for VCU is 5570, and the ACT code for VCU is 4379.

  5. The Guaranteed Admission Program for Dentistry application opens after Labor Day.  

  6. A completed application must include a minimum of two, and a maximum of four, letters of recommendation. We suggest that one of these letters come from your school counselor and, if you have volunteer and/or paid work in a healthcare environment, one from your supervisor.  These letters should include, but are not limited to, statements about your ability as a student, potential as a health professional, and extracurricular activities in your school and community.
    You must include your reference writers’ email addresses and names on your application. They will be prompted via email to compose a letter and will be given information on how to upload it into your Guaranteed Admission Program for Dentistry application. The Honors College will not retrieve reference letters sent in with the VCU Common Application. Only letters submitted through the Honors College online submission system will be included with your Guaranteed Admission Program application.

  7. There are two short essays on the application. Each essay is limited to 250 words.  

  • Comment on your motivation for, and interest in, dentistry.
  • Discuss one thing about you that is unique, and that has not been addressed anywhere else in this application.
  1. The application will also collect additional information such as previous healthcare experiences, extracurricular activities, community service activities, leadership roles, and any paid employment.

  2. The Honors College will only accept one application per Guaranteed Admission for Dentistry candidate. If you submit an incomplete application, it will not be considered. The application cannot be altered once submitted. If you have questions or concerns about this, please contact the Honors College at  

  3. Guaranteed admission candidates must also complete the VCU Common Application and submit supporting documents by November 15, 2017, at 11:59 p.m. EST. For more information on the VCU Common Application, please visit the VCU Office of Admissions.


Applications must be submitted and official transcripts received by Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017. Letters of reference must be uploaded by the reference writer to your Guaranteed Admission Program for Dentistry application by Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017. There are no exceptions to this deadline. It is your responsibility to make certain that materials are received by the stated deadline date. Be sure to apply early and check your Honors College application status page in advance of the deadline to make sure all required information is in your file.

Whom do I contact for more  information?

Any questions about the process or the status of your Honors College Guaranteed Admission Program application should be directed to the Honors College at (804) 828-1803 or Contact the VCU Office of Admissions with questions about your VCU undergraduate application.

Editors note: This article has been updated April 2017 and all the information in it is up to date

“Your Personal Statement should address why you desire to pursue a dental education and how a dental degree contributes to your personal and professional goals.”

What Does a “Losing” Personal Statement Look Like?

After this open-ended statement on the AADSAS dental school application lies a blank box for you to wow admissions committees with your courageous goals and impressive abilities. Undoubtedly, filling in the 4,500 characters of your personal statement is an intimidating task. Although you have a lot of information to cover, don’t get overwhelmed. If you follow these steps, you can write a unique, impressive dental school personal statement in no time.

To write a winning dental school personal statement you need to first avoid all of the errors that transform so many essays into unimpressive “losing” essays A “losing” personal statement is:

  • Generic: Here’s the test to see if your essay is generic and unoriginal. Cover up your name at the top of the page and ask yourself: “Is there anything in this personal statement that is unique to me, or could it have been written by any pre-dent?”
  • Safe: A safe essay has shares no vision of the future, gives no promises, shows no ambition and no passion. A safe essay relies on discussion of your past experiences rather than expectations of your future career.
  • Restrained: All the ‘blood’ — the joy, excitement, and enthusiasm — is drained out of a restrained essay. My favorite example is an essay that says ‘being a dentist won’t suck as much as my original plan of engineering.’

Three Main Goals For Your Personal Statement

Your personal statement has three main goals:

  1. It tells the committee why you want to be a dentist
  2. Your essay proves that your experiences have prepared you for dental school
  3. It shows that you have the qualities that will make you a successful dentist.

Start by asking yourself a few important questions. “How will dental school help me fulfill my dreams?” “How do my academic work, my community involvement, my clinical experiences, and my future ambitions all relate to dentistry?”

Paint a Vivid Picture in Your Essay

After you have answered these questions, it’s time to show, not tell. Find stories from your past experiences that will illustrate these ideas. Ask yourself, “What stories demonstrate that I already have a head start on developing the skills of a competent and caring dentist?” You don’t want to start your essay with, “I desire to pursue a dental education because of a, b, and c.” Start with a bang— immediately pull the reader into an engaging story.

Effective statements weave together two or thre e personal anecdotes that illustrate why you want to be a dentist—and why you would make a good dentist. To find your stories, think about aspects from your background that relate to dentistry. What patient contact experiences have you had? Think about one specific patient you showed compassion to or helped. When have you been a leader? Strong leadership stories can come out of group projects, clubs, sports teams, tutoring, being a TA, work, etc. What accomplishments have you achieved? Achievements can range from research projects to job performance to advancement in club leadership. Admissions committees love diverse applicants. What are your talents? Playing the guitar or sculpting not only shows that you’re well-rounded, but also that you work well with your hands—an integral skill for a dentist.

Passion Wins — Don’t Hold Back

The best stories show your readers, rather than tell them about your experiences and qualities. Write about pivotal moments by zooming in on the action. Be descriptive and creative. If you write, “I feel that I can be truly compassionate when a patient is in pain,” you are telling your reader something. If you write, “As tears rolled down the girl’s cheeks, I found myself grabbing her hand. I wanted to keep her from squirming. I squeezed her hand tighter and looked her in the eye,” you are showing your reader how you are compassionate when a patient is in pain. Paint pictures for your reader. Anchor images in their mind with descriptions and dialogue. Detail not only makes your writing more interesting, but it also shows that you have an observant mind—and a good memory.

Tired Themes That Kill Your Essay

Although there is no formula for a winning statement, there are some tired themes to stay away from. First, don’t just say you “want to help people.” It is assumed that every potential dentist would like to help his or her patients. Although a good motive, the admissions officers will have read hundreds of these “I want to help people” essays.

How will you stand out? The second essay to avoid is the “I want to be a dentist because one or both of my parents are dentists.” Perhaps the fact that you were raised in this kind of environment swayed you to follow in the family line, but don’t make this your whole reason for pursuing dentistry. You need to have your own passions and career goals.

Finally, you don’t want to re-write your resume. Don’t begin your essay with, “Since I was three, I’ve always wanted to become a dentist,” and go on to elementary school, high school, and college accomplishments. A chronological list of events does not show your personality or highlight your most recent and relevant experiences.

Piecing it All Together

Once you find your two to three stories, it’s time to organize them into essay form with good flow and consistency. Your stories do not have to be in chronological order, but they do need to be connected. Consider your anecdotes and write about the insight you gained from each that will make you a better dentist. Next, work on transitional sentences to link the stories. Think about how the stories relate and pull them together with a few transitional sentences. Finally, write a conclusion.

Ways to draw your statement to a close are: bringing back an element of your opening story or summarizing how your experiences have prepared you for dentistry. Before writing the conclusion, read your statement through a couple times to see what overall impression you get. You might even need to walk away for an hour and read it again. Then you’ll be ready to write a strong, cohesive conclusion for your personal statement.

Your first draft should be between 5,500-6,000 characters (including spaces). This way, by the time that you finish editing and revising, your statement should be at its appropriate length of 4,500 characters or less. During the revising process, cut filler words and repetitive content. Don’t use excessive wordiness such as, “I found myself with an opportunity to be able to assist the dentist with the first patient he had in the morning.” This sentence can simply be cut to: “I assisted the dentist with his first patient of the morning.” Good writing is made up of the three c’s: clear, concise, and cohesive.

Use Your Own Natural Voice – It’s beautiful!

Finally, write as you speak instead of affecting a formal, academic tone that you would use for a college paper. Writing your personal statement is your chance to express yourself in your own words. Don’t try to impress the admissions committees by writing what you think they want to hear, or pulling out a thesaurus and using grandiose words to sound smart. You want your personal voice to shine through and the stories of your life to give admissions officers a sense of who you are. The ultimate goal of your personal statement is to interest the committee enough to interview you—and the committee wants to interview a person, not an academic essay.

A very useful shortcut is to model your essay after the winning essays of other students who were accepted to dental school. Check out the dental school personal statement sample below: It’s an essay written by a real dental school applicant, with my personal annotations to the side. See how this applicant was able to write a winning dental school personal statement.

How to get help on your essay

Brainstorming, drafting, writing, and editing your essay may seem like an overwhelming project, but there are a few ways for you to get help that

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