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Patience Pays Off: Overcoming Dental School Rejections on Decision Day


Dental student with mask

Hello everyone! My name is Kylie and I am a dental student in the class of 2025 at the OHSU School of Dentistry in Oregon. I received my undergraduate degree from Grand Canyon University back in 2021 so I just went through the dental school application process not too long ago!


What is Dental Decision Day?

Decision day is a big deal. Students across the world wait anxiously to see if they receive an email or call from ANY dental school. When getting the call/email, they jump up for joy regardless if it’s their top choice because at the end of the day, they’re going to dental school.


Such a great day right?


In reality, it’s not such an amazing day for thousands of students. These students may have gotten rejection or waitlist emails, or no information at all.


If this is you, DO NOT WORRY. I promise, there is light at the end of the tunnel.


Patience

You didn’t get an acceptance on decision day. Now what?


Be patient.


It isn’t the end of the world. Remember, dental school applications are rolling admissions meaning that you can get acceptance notifications well after decision day!


I personally received interview invitations and letters of acceptance months after decision day, way later in April. It’s important to be patient and remember to believe in yourself.


Your time will come whether it’s this application cycle or the next. You’re a great candidate and an even better person. You laid it all out on the table and now you just need to learn how to sit back and wait for the schools to do the work on their end.


Taking Action after Silence on Dental School Decision Day

If it’s around March or April and you’re tired of waiting around or are thinking of re-applying, here are some things you can do if you still haven’t gotten an acceptance letter.


Prepare your application for re-applying

Predental advice coaching session ad

This application cycle didn’t end up the way you wanted it to. That’s okay, dental school will always be there. Take your gap year and work on your application for the next cycle.


Try pointing out the weak spots in your application and find ways to improve them. Do more research on schools and talk to the students who attend these institutions.


Ask about their application experience and what they think made them stand out. Find a mentor to help proofread the components of your application.


Use this application cycle as a learning experience and come back stronger and better!


Letter of Interest

Writing a letter of interest is a way that students can let a school know that they are committed to that institution. In this letter, you would share your interest and commitment to the program and add some updates from your last application. I personally do not know how effective these letters are, but I do know that there are students out there who have done this!


Reflect

Give yourself a pat on the back. Applying to dental school is not easy, but you

were brave and did it! Now is a great time to reflect on the experience and to take care of yourself.


Take an extra year off to gain experience, relax, travel, and have fun. If you don’t want to apply again, don’t. I know it can be hard to give up something like this, but there are so many other opportunities out there.


As I said, dental school will always be here. You can work as an assistant, go back to school, or pursue other interests, and if your path brings you back to dental school, you can always re-apply.


You Got This

Smiling dental student

Don’t be too hard on yourself. Yes, this experience was stressful and time-consuming. You may have shed a few tears, had a few breakdowns, and spent a lot of money, but it’s fine, everything happens for a reason.


Who knows, maybe this just wasn’t the right time. I promise, there are even better days ahead. You’re smart, you’re strong, you’re amazing, and there is no reason for you to think otherwise. So stand right back on your feet, and KEEP GOING. You got this, I believe in you!


~Kylie @kyliecargz

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