Application Process

Students interested in pursuing a post-graduate program will apply through the ADEA Postdoctoral Application Support Service (PASS) and/or the Postdoctoral Dental Matching Program (Match). The PASS is the central application system administered by ADEA for applications to post-graduate programs. The Match is an automated system for matching students to their preferred residency training program based on the program's list of most desired students. PASS is administered by the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), while the Match is administered by National Matching Services, Inc. (NMS).

Although PASS and Match are separate application services, they allow you to apply to multiple postdoctoral programs at once. Each program may decide to participate in either PASS, Match, neither or both programs, so verify each program's application requirements before starting the application process. ADEA PASS is open from May through February each year. Applicants can create only one application per cycle.

ADEA PASS application requirements:

  1. Obtain the DENTPIN you were issued by the ADA when applying to dental school.
  2. Create an account on the ADEA PASS portal.
  3. Obtain copies of transcripts from undergraduate/graduate colleges, dental school and advanced dental education programs attended.
  4. Submit two evaluations: Institution Evaluation Form from the dean of the dental school and 2-4 Professional Evaluation Forms that are similar to letters of recommendation.
  5. Provide an essay up to 650 words on why you want to pursue an advanced dental education program.
  6. Upload a CV/resume and unofficial undergraduate transcripts if applicable.
  7. Pay the required fees per program by the established deadline.
  8. Some programs may require applicants to submit scores for the Advanced Dental Admission Test (ADAT), NBDE, GRE another other tests. Check the requirements of each program to verify which test scores must be submitted.

Advanced Dental Admission Test (ADAT)

The ADAT was developed by the ADA to enable advanced dental education programs to quantitatively compare and rank order applicants using a nationally standardized and objective test. It is different from the NBDE, which is designed for licensure decisions.

The ADAT is administered by Pearson VUE in the U.S., Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Canada. The test is given from April to July annually. To find more information, including fees and content, or to register, go to the ADAT site or contact the ADA at 800-232-1694.

The Match

The Match provides an orderly process to help applicants obtain positions in first-year postdoctoral programs of their choice and to help programs obtain applicants of their choice. Similar matching programs are used throughout North America in the annual recruitment of medical residents. Information about registering for and participating in the Match for dental residency positions is available at Dental Match.

Matching Process

The matching process uses the preferences stated on the rank order lists submitted by applicants and programs to place individuals into positions. The process starts with an attempt to place an applicant into the highest ranked program on the applicant’s list. If the applicant cannot be matched to their first choice program, an attempt is then made to place the applicant into the second choice program, and so on, until the applicant obtains a tentative match, or all the applicant’s choices have been exhausted.