Your letters of recommendation (LOR’s) are just one part of the equation with regard to getting yourself accepted to a dental program.
The Associated American Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS) requests that you download their letter of recommendation matching form and have your individual letters or pre-professional committee’s letter sent to AADSAS. With a growing number of applicants in the candidate pool each year, having your application completed and ready to be forwarded to your designated schools from the AADSAS centralized service is an increasing concern.
A lot of people will complain about AADSAS. It can be sometimes confusing, it may not always be perfectly compatible with your transcript for recording your academic progress, and they can seem to be uninterested and uncaring when you contact them with your problems. So why not take one of the variables out of the hands of AADSAS?
What do I mean? Well, it’s simple. AADSAS will forward your file to your designated schools, even if you have not sent your letters of recommendation (or letter if from a committee) and they do nat have them on file. When you do send your letters to them (with the LOR matching forms) it can take days, even weeks to get those forwarded to the schools you are applying to, and that is time that can’t be wasted. First offers for interviews, and subsequently first offers of admissions, are definitely related to the timeliness of your application.
You should also consider sending your letters directly to the school. Most schools have no problem accepting the letters directly from their respective authors. In fact, I never had any letters sent from my professors to AADSAS. They all sent their letters directly to the schools to which I was applying.
When I made my requests to each of the people who were kind enough to write a letter of recommendation for my potential to be a good dental student, I included a stamped and pre-addressed envelope to each of the schools. They simply printed the number of copies they needed and sent them to the school’s admissions office.
The cost is negligible when compared to the cost of waiting an additional year because your application was in a little later than “the other guy”. For example, if you were applying to 11 schools, the cost for postage would be $12.87 (a first class stamp is currently 39 cents), and a box of business sized envelopes should not cost more than a couple of dollars. A small price to pay for a little security.
You should also be aware of when you are sending your letters of recommendation. You should asking for letters of recommendation for dental school before the application cycle begins, however do not have authors send their letters of recommendation to AADSAS before May 15th (generally the beginning of the new cycle). If they are received by AADSAS before May 15th they may be considered a part of the previous cycle and never make it to your designated schools.