How To Get A Letter of Recommendation for Dental School

Any aspiring Dental student will need to develop relationships with professors on a deeper level than just a participant in the classroom.  A letter of recommendation is a crucial part of anyone’s application because it gives the dental school a respected assessment regarding the character of an application.  This different perspective is usually hidden from the eyes of the applicant which provides the Dental school a level of trust in what the professor is advocating.  Many professors understand the need for these letters, and are usually more than happy to offer their voice, although for students they are proud of and believe will succeed in Dental school!  Most dental schools require 2 letters from science professors and 1 from a general dentist.  

How To Get A Letter of Recommendation For Dental School?

As not every student is an extroverted outgoing personality, this part of the Dental school application may be difficult for some, but it is a relieving feeling to know that teachers understand this.  Letters of recommendation are not given for the loudest or most active student in the class, but rather for the students that prove to the professor of their commitment to being the best student they can be through their effort! Not every student can read a chapter and remember it forever, but every student can read that same chapter as many times as they personally need to remember it forever. These professors want to feel confident that the student they are sending to Dental School is a student that they can trust will surpass all adversity that is thrown in front of them.  A great way to get to know your professor on a personal level is to attend office hours and/or frequently email with any questions you may have.  Professors number one goal is to make sure their students are learning the material, and even though those difficult exams may seem like they are there to ruin your dreams, they are really just a checkpoint to make sure students are understanding the material. 

Why Are Letters of Recommendations Important for Dental School?

What is beautiful about Dentistry is that a good dentist is not just the top of their class, but an all-around compassionate human who will put their patients’ needs in front of any financial gain.  A strong letter of recommendation should include characteristics of the student that will make him/her/they an amazing dentist.  The best way to showcase this is to build an intimate relationship with a professor and explain to them your goals of becoming a Dentist and all your life experiences that have brought you to this path.  This will allow the professor to highlight why they believe you would be a successful Dental student, and be able to provide examples on why they believe so! It is not uncommon to provide a professor with a resume, copies of transcripts, and information of extra-curricular activates you participate in.  A professor can only write on what they know about you, so don’t be shy to let them into your life! 

How Important Is Getting Letters of Recommendation for Dental School?

Receiving a letter of Recommendation from a Dentist is just as important, if not more important to an admissions committee.  A student is required to have a minimum amount of shadowing hours from a General dentist, and this is a great time to connect with your Dentist.  A strong recommendation from a Dentist can truly help an applicant’s chances of being admitted to a program because it is coming from the root of what you want to become! 

It is important that a student knows these letters will be confidentially sent from a professor to the Dental school’s you wish to apply to.  The Dental Schools prefer this, but if a student wishes to have an open file, they can request this, but it is important to note that the Dental school will be notified of this decision.  This is why it is important to build a close relationship with whomever professor you wish to highlight your characteristics!

When Should I Ask for a Letter of Recommendation for Dental School?

Students should understand that professors are busy people who not only teach, but participate in various projects and have a life outside of school.  In order to be considerate of their time, a student should approach their professor at g least 2-3 months in advance. 

How to Ask A Professor for A Letter of Recommendation for Dental School?

The best way to ask a professor for a letter of recommendation is to do it in person! If this is not a possibility, a well written email should include the request for a letter, appreciation for the course, and a way for them to contact you with a response.  A student should understand that professors may decline your request, and in this case we recommend thanking them for their time, and move on to a different professor.   

What Do Dental Schools Look For in a Letter of Recommendation?

An evaluation of these letters will be conducted from each Dental School and usually follow a general criteria of the qualities they look for in a prospective student. 

  • Empathy: Understanding those around you may need more help than you do
  • Emotional Intelligence: The ability to stay in control and not allow mood to sway decision’s
  • Interpersonal skills: be able to work with those around you, teamwork
  • Decision Making: Ability to survey all variables to come to good judgements
  • Maturity: Understand situations and be able to cope with adversity 
  • Commitment: Continuously push through obstacles to reach goals 
  • Compassion: Helping those around you, especially in times where this is no personal gain…A good dentist should provide the best oral car for their patients, regardless of personal financial gain
  • Self-Awareness: Understand areas of improvement and be proud of accomplishments