Timeline for Applying to Residency

As you begin to consider your options after graduation, keep these 10 tips in mind if you are interested in post-graduate training:

  1. Keep an open mind throughout dental school about your post-graduate training options. You may be surprised about what field you end up falling in love with.
  2. The faculty in your pre-clinical and clinical education are a wealth of information. Make sure to reach out to them regarding questions about the future of dentistry as well as the different specialties.
  3. Don’t let pre-clinical failures deter you from pursuing a field you are interested in.
  4. Connect with classmates and upperclassmen with similar interests. Joining an interest group (or multiple interest groups, if you are like me) at your dental school is a great way get involved and develop your interests.
  5. If you are interested in a something and can’t find a club or organization, talk to your dental school’s administration about starting an interest group.
  6. Find a mentor and then ask them lots of questions.
  7. Like dental school applications, you will need “letters of recommendation” for residency application so make sure you get to know faculty on both a professional and personal level.
  8. Be proactive when considering program requirements, as each specialty has slightly different requirements (i.e. some post-graduate orthodontic programs require the GRE while post-graduate dental public health programs require a master’s in public health).
  9. Being involved in research is a great way to be involved in the future of your chosen specialty and sets your apart from other applicants.
  10. Make sure to keep track of all your activities throughout dental school. It is surprisingly difficult to remember things you did and respective dates when putting your resume together for residency application.

Follow this timeline to stay on track of the necessary steps and deadlines for applying to post-graduate programs.

First year of dental school

  • Focus on your medical didactic courses because they are the foundation of your dental knowledge.
  • Begin to join various organized dentistry and interest group organizations.
  • Get involved in a research project in a topic you are interested in.

Second year of dental school

  • Take the NBDE Part I examination by the end of the second year (note, each dental school is slightly different regards to when they let their students challenge this examination).
  • Continue to be involved in various clubs and activities and aim to take on leadership roles within these organizations.
  • Enjoy your specialty-specific didactic courses and start to think about if you want to specialize.

Third year of dental school

  • Take the NBDE Part II examination (again, each dental school has slightly different timelines in regards to this examination).
  • Create a profile on the ADEA PASS website. The ADEA PASS is a centralized application service for students applying to advanced dental education programs. The application cycle generally opens in May prior to your anticipated start year (i.e. the 2018 cycle is scheduled to open on May 17, 2017).
  • Start to make a list of programs you are interested in and their respective deadlines.
    • Note that “Phase I” programs such as orthodontics, Canadian GPR, periodontics, prosthodontics and dental anesthesia have earlier application deadlines, match ranking deadlines and earlier match dates.
  • Register for and take the ADAT if a program you are interested in requires this examination. The ADAT is a new examination which is different and distinct from the NBDE examinations and is a required component for some programs.
  • Start to identify faculty that you would like to write your evaluations for your application. The ADEA Pass application requires two different types of evaluations:
    • Institution Evaluation Form (IEF) – this will be completed by the dean of your dental school and reflects your success as a dental student in academics and extracurricular activities.
    • Professional Evaluation Form (PEF) – this is similar to a traditional letter of recommendation; the author comments on 10 attributes for each applicant in additional to providing a brief personal narrative statement.

Fourth year of dental school

  • Finalize your application essay. Be sure to talk about your unique experiences in dental school and your aspirations for the future.
  • Put final touches on your CV highlighting your activities and involvement throughout dental school.
  • Follow up with your dean’s office and individual faculty to make sure your IEF and PEFs are submitted.
  • Submit your ADEA PASS application before the earliest program deadline.
  • Register for the MATCH through the ADEA PASS/Match registration portal. The deadline is commonly in October prior to your anticipated start year (i.e. the 2018 Match registration deadline is October 1, 2017).
  • Interviews for residency will generally be held in throughout the fall and early winter. Make sure to keep a list of your likes and dislikes after each interview. Reach out to residents in the programs if you have specific questions that were not answered during your interview.
  • Submit your rank list for the MATCH.
    • The Phase I (orthodontics, Canadian GPR, periodontics, prosthodontics and dental anesthesia) deadline is generally mid-November of the year prior to when you are anticipated to start residency.
    • The Phase II (US GPR, AEGD, oral surgery, pediatrics) deadline is generally early January of the year when you are anticipated to start residency.
  • After matching in late November for Phase I applications and late January for Phase II applicants, enjoy the rest of your time in dental school and look forward to graduation.

After graduation

  • Celebrate those three prized letters—DDS or DMD!
  • Residency start date is generally July 1, but keep in mind that orientation activities may start a few days/weeks earlier.
  • Check out ASDA’s tips for preparing for your residency.

This content was developed in cooperation with Dr. Sarah Khan, MPH, Stony Brook ’16, GPR resident at New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell.