Health Sciences Advising Letter Service Application Cycle For Pre-Dental Students

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1 Health Sciences Advising Letter Service Application Cycle For Pre-Dental Students THIS PACKET CONTAINS THE INFORMATION AND LINKS NEEDED FOR A LETTER OF EVALUATION FROM THE HEALTH SCIENCES ADVISING (HSA) LETTER SERVICE FOR STUDENTS PLANNING TO APPLY TO DENTAL SCHOOL IN SUMMER 2015 IN ORDER TO ENTER DENTAL SCHOOL IN SUMMER The Health Sciences Advising (HSA) Letter is a cover letter representing the advising team s evaluation of your preparation followed by copies of the individual letters of evaluation submitted to Interfolio on your behalf. The entire package the cover letter and all individual letters is considered one letter by dental schools even though they know that multiple letters are included. Requirements for utilizing the HSA Letter service are intended to help you be better prepared for your application cycle and are necessary to provide us with the information necessary to write an insightful HSA Letter to your dental schools. We will begin accepting HSA materials when AADSAS begins accepting applications in June. Applicants must wait to submit their HSA materials until after submitting their AADSAS applications. In this packet, you will find information on: Minimum Eligibility Requirements List of Required Materials Collecting Letters of Recommendation for the Health Sciences Advising Letter Process Instructions for Required Materials o Health Sciences Advising Letter Request for Preparation & Waiver Form o List of Letters of Evaluation o GPA form o Information regarding your preparation for dental school After submission of your materials Important tips for your application cycle

2 Minimum Eligibility Requirements To utilize the Committee Letter service, you must meet each of the requirements listed below: 1. You must have completed at least 30 credits of science/math at PSU by the end of Spring term Collect at least three academic letters. Two of these academic letters must be from PSU faculty. o Exception: Postbaccalaureate students who did not earn their Bachelor s degree at PSU can collect at least two academic letters, with at least one being from PSU. However, we still recommended that you have two letters from PSU faculty. 3. Collect at least one non-academic letter. Note: Most students collect more than one non-academic letter. See recommendations on the following pages for more detail. 4. Attend a Self-Evaluation Workshop (dates & times are sent to the listserv and posted each term in the CLAS Advising Center). Re-applicants who have utilized the previous HSAC letter will need to complete an online Self- Evaluation Workshop for Re-Applicants, which will become available on May 1 st. Please contact your pre-dental adviser for the link to access at that time. 5. See your pre-dental adviser in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (CLAS) Advising Center for at least two pre-dental advising appointments (drop-in advising does not count), with at least one of those appointments occurring after 9/30/14. Note: It is recommended that you see your pre-dental adviser regularly, especially in the application year. 6. Submit all materials on the List of Required Materials included in this packet in a single to AFTER submitting your application to AADSAS. Materials will not be accepted prior to submission of your AADSAS application. Note: this address is to be used ONLY for submission of materials. Please contact your pre-dental adviser directly for any questions you might have. Deadline: There is not a set deadline for submitting materials this year. Instead, after submitting your AADSAS application, you will submit your HSA materials. All eligibility requirements and materials (including letters of evaluation) must be complete at that time.

3 List of Required Materials All documents detailed in the following pages will be submitted as attachments (PDF or Word document) in a single to Materials can be submitted after you have submitted your AADSAS application. 1. Academic Records: Unofficial or official transcripts from ALL colleges or universities attended (including PSU), submit in.pdf or.doc format. You can also choose to submit DAT scores if available. 2. Please include the information below in a single Word document or PDF. Instructions for each are included later in this packet. Please title the file in the following format: LastnameFirst- HSA A recent photograph of yourself- this is NOT OPTIONAL. The photo is used to help identify you. You can copy/paste the photo onto the 1 st page of your document. HSA GPA grid (Word document- rename file as: LastnameFirstInitial- gpa) Information on your activities and preparation for dental school, such as a Work & Activities list and Personal Statement. Additional details are contained in the packet. List of Letters of Evaluation 3. Submit Health Sciences Advising Letter Request for Preparation and Waiver Form (available to submit online after June 1 at: Note: Your HSA Letter is only for submission to dental school programs.

4 Collecting Letters of Recommendation for the Health Sciences Advising Letter Process Dental schools expect letters of evaluation from both academic and non-academic evaluators, and both types of letters will be included in your Health Sciences Advising Letter package. Non-academic evaluators are individuals such as work, volunteering, and research supervisors; physicians you have shadowed; and extracurricular and/or leadership activity advisers. Character references (letters from family friends, etc. with whom you have not worked, volunteered, or shadowed) will not be accepted. Academic evaluators are instructors from whom you have taken a class. You may collect letters from other postsecondary institutions you have attended, but at least two of your academic letters must be from PSU faculty. The only exception is for postbaccalaureate pre-dental students who did not earn their bachelor s degree at PSU; these students can collect at least two academic letters, with at least one being from PSU (it is still ideal, however, for postbac students to have two letters from PSU faculty and one letter from their undergraduate institution). Use the following as a framework for collecting letters: Two letters from science faculty One to two letters from non-science faculty Three letters from non-academic evaluators Evaluators submit their letters electronically to the CLAS Advising Center via the Interfolio system linked to our office. You must register for Interfolio using the link below before you begin to request letters. Note that this Health Sciences Advising-affiliated Interfolio account is available for any PSU pre-dental student, regardless of whether you will be utilizing the HSA letter service. Using Interfolio to collect letters of evaluation for pre-health students Interfolio is a convenient way to begin collecting letters of evaluation in advance for your future applications to dental schools. You can also use your PSU-affiliated Interfolio account for utilizing the Pre-Health Advising Letter Service as part of your application to dental school. Create a PSU-affiliated Interfolio account: To create an Interfolio account that will be linked with PSU Pre-Health Advising, please use the following link: https://account.interfolio.com/dossier/signup?selected_institution=22955 Interfolio is a pay-to-use service with an account fee of $19 for 1 year or $39.90 for 3 years. As a result, our Request to Forward fee that students previously paid to PSU will be reduced from $36 to an estimated $12. Within the Personal Information section of the account settings, please add your PSU ID# and your AADSAS ID# (once you have obtained it). Note: If you would like to link your previously created Interfolio account to PSU s Pre-Health Advising, please Melissa Yates at and include the address used to create your account.

5 Requesting Letters of evaluation: Be sure to ask references if they are willing to write you a letter of evaluation prior to entering their information into Interfolio. After they have agreed to write the letter, let them know to look for an from Interfolio, which will include instructions for submitting the letter of evaluation. To generate the letter request in Interfolio, you will need to sign into your Interfolio account and click Request Recommendation under the Dossier section. Fill in the required information with their professional contact information. Choose a document tile (such as Recommendation from J. Smith for dental school) and be sure to click the option to indicate This letter must be signed. We also recommend that you select This request is for a confidential letter or evaluation (which waives your right to view the letter) since professional schools prefer confidential letters of evaluation. After continuing to the next page, select for your request method. You have the option to attach additional documents for your letter writer to utilize in writing the letter. We recommend that you discuss with your letter writer in advance whether they would find additional documents helpful (ex. resume, transcripts, personal statement). You can also provide the reminders for letter writers found on our website at When you click Send Request Interfolio will send an to your letter writer with instructions on how to submit the letter of evaluation. You can track receipt of your letters within your Dossier. You will see the date of receipt next to the letter listed in your Dossier but you will not be able to view the confidential letter. If you have already collected letters of evaluation in vecollect: Create an Interfolio account using the link and instructions above. Sign in to your Interfolio account and click Request Recommendation under the Dossier section. You will need to complete a request for each letter of evaluation that you want transferred from vecollect to Interfolio. Fill in the required information with the professional contact information for your letter writer. Choose a document tile (such as Recommendation from J. Smith for dental school) and select This request is for a confidential letter or evaluation. After continuing to the next page, select Printed form for your request method and complete the request. Please be sure that you include the letter writer s name in the document title. After completing a request for each letter you want transferred, please contact your pre-health adviser with the address you have used to create your Interfolio account. Your prehealth adviser will complete the transfer and you will be able to see the date your letters were uploaded to Interfolio next to the letter listed in your Dossier. You will not be able to view the confidential letters.

6 INSTRUCTIONS REGARDING REQUIRED DOCUMENTS As part of the HSA requirements, you will need to submit both an online Health Sciences Advising Letter Request for Preparation and Waiver Form and a set of documents. All documents detailed in the following pages will be submitted as a single Word document or PDF to Materials can be submitted AFTER you have submitted your completed AADSAS application. Health Sciences Advising Letter Request for Preparation and Waiver Form This form can be found at The form will become available on June 1, 2015 for submission. We ask that you do not submit the form until AFTER you have submitted your AADSAS application and are also ready to submit by your completed HSA documents. The form will cover your basic information (name, major, undergraduate/post-baccalaureate student, address, PSU ID number, numbers of credits completed as PSU, and date of self-evaluation workshop attended). The form will also ask whether you are willing to waive your right to review the evaluation information. Please read this section of the form carefully. We recommend that you choose I waive my right to review the evaluation information on file for me in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Advising Center, as confidential letters of evaluation tend to carry more weight in the professional school admission process than letters that are not confidential. List of Letters of Evaluation At the end of your Word document or PDF, please include a list of the evaluators submitting letters on your behalf. Be sure to specify the information listed below: Academic Letters (Sciences): Instructor name Course Title/number School and year taken Academic Letters (Non-Sciences): Instructor name Course Title/number School and year taken Non-Academic Letters: First & Last Name Organization Job Title Remember: We recommended aiming for 2 Science, 1 to 2 non-science, & 3 non-academic letters of evaluation.

7 GPA form The grid below is based in part on the parameters used by AADSAS for calculating GPA. To complete the grid below, use the GPA Calculator (Excel doc, provided at to obtain the data required to fill out the grid below. A Word document of this grid can also be found at for use in submitting your HSA materials. When filling in the GPA calculation grid below, consider the following: 1. Give GPA to two decimal places, for example, If a course is repeated, compute both grades into the GPA. 3. BCP = all courses in biology, chemistry, and physics, Science = all BCP courses plus math and other science courses 4. Non-Science = all courses not classified as science, Total = all courses A Word document of this grid can also be found at for use in submitting your HSA Letter Service materials. Academic Status BCP GPA BCP Hours Science GPA Science Hours Non-Science GPA Non-Science Hours Total GPA Total Hours College coursework taken in high school Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior Postbaccalaureate Undergraduate Cumulative Undergraduate (total GPA for each category to date BCP, Science, Non-Sci, Total. Do not leave blank!) Graduate Do NOT include credits for courses in which your grade was a P, NP, X, W, or I, as these grades have no effect on your GPA. Also, don t include foreign coursework; simply submit unofficial foreign transcripts or copies of foreign transcripts Academic Status High School College-level course work taken Quarter to Semester Conversion AADSAS Grade Conversion Table (HS) while in high school Grade Wt. Grade Wt. Grade Wt. Freshman (FR) Sophomore (SO) Junior (JR) Senior (SR) Postbaccalaureate Undergraduate (PB) Graduate (GR) 0-32 semester hours semester hours semester hours 91 or more semester hours Undergraduate course work attempted after the first Bachelor s degree has been earned Grad-level coursework not applied to undergraduate degree Quarter Semester A B D A 4.0 BC 2.5 D 1.0 A C D AB 3.5 C 2.0 DE 0.5 B C F B 3.0 CD 1.5 F 0 PSU does not give A+, F+, or half-step grades (e.g. AB). These grades appear as part of the AADSAS table & are useful for students who have attended institutions that use such grades.

8 Information regarding your preparation for dental school Information provided for the HSA Letter service is intended to provide your advising team with the information necessary to provide an insightful HSA Letter to your dental schools. You can provide any information you wish, but it is recommended that at the least you provide a list of your work and activities as well as your personal statement, which is similar to what you will submit to AADSAS. You can also choose to share any additional information that you feel might provide the advising team with insight into your background, challenges you ve faced, particular achievements you wish to highlight, or any inconsistencies in your academic record. WORK & ACTIVITIES The details below will help you to prepare a Work & Activities list which meets the AADSAS guidelines. You will be asked to submit a resume-style format descriptions of the following: Dentistry experience (may be work, volunteering, and/or shadowing experience) Community service experience outside of the dentistry field Work experience (non-dentistry related) Research experience Extracurricular & leadership activities (e.g. sing in a choir, play on a sports team, chemistry or physics workshop leader, officer in student organization, team captain, etc.) Honors and scholarships received For each experience, provide a brief title for the activity and a description that is somewhat more detailed than what you would include in a resume, yet still succinct. For example, detail in concise language what you did (including skills and abilities developed), observed, and learned from the experience. Please note that there are no character limits for the materials you submit for the HSA letter service, despite the character limits for AADSAS. More detailed descriptions of your experience is preferred for your HSA materials in order to clarify the details of your involvement. In addition, you will provide the name of your supervisory contact for the activity (if you had one). Provide start and end dates for the activity, hours invested, and frequency of participation in the activity (e.g. June September 2009, 4 hours a week, for a total of 240 hours). When listing dates, be sure to include the month and the year (not just the year). Note: Capstone classes should only be listed if they held special significance to you, and you must reveal that the experience was a Capstone class in both your HSA materials and in your dental school application; it is misleading to represent a class as volunteer work.

9 PERSONAL STATEMENT The details below will help you to prepare a personal statement which meets AADSAS requirements. Your personal statement should be no more than 4,500 characters, including spaces. This is equivalent to a little over one page single-spaced. The personal statement is your first opportunity to introduce yourself to the dental schools on a personal level. It is important that you illustrate clearly your motivation for and understanding of dentistry as well as your personal characteristics. In doing so, focus on showing (illustrating) more than on telling the reader about your characteristics. For example, avoid statements such as, I m empathetic and caring, or I m good at multitasking. Instead discuss your experiences and motivations as a way of illustrating these qualities. Be sure to avoid vague statements (e.g. I learned a lot about what a dentist does and the qualities they must possess to be effective ) and instead provide specifics and examples (e.g. I learned that dentists do X, Y, and Z and must possess qualities such as X and Y in order to effectively accomplish X, Y, and Z. ). You may want to address the following: Why you are interested in becoming a dentist. What is unique and interesting about you. What information about you indicates that you understand the field of dentistry and are highly motivated to pursue a career as a dentist. Future goals (e.g. what qualities do you want to demonstrate as a dentist, what goals to you hope to achieve as a dentist, etc.) Discuss the meaning behind your experiences: What have you learned/realized from your relevant experiences? How have your experiences informed your perspective on life, dentistry, and what it is to be a dentist? How do these lessons relate to your values, characteristics, and goals? How have they helped to drive your passion for serving in this profession? You should have some key ideas in mind that you want to communicate in your personal statement and the discussion and examples within your statement should serve to support and illustrate these ideas. While it is common (and encouraged/expected) to reference experiences or lessons learned from work and volunteering activities in the personal statement, it is not necessary to list and provide descriptions of all relevant activities in the personal statement. There is a separate work and activities section of the HAS materials (as well as the AADSAS application) specifically designed to give you an opportunity to list and describe these activities. In other words, avoid writing a personal statement that is essentially a prose version of your résumé. Remember, the focus is less on providing a list of accomplishments and more on your path to dentistry who are you, what have you learned/realized through experiences on your journey, and how has this impacted your passion for the field and your related goals. You may wish to review the guidance on the personal statement provided by the American Dental Education Association at the following link: In addition, the University of Michigan has developed a useful tip sheet regarding the personal statement. If you are interested in this tip sheet, please your pre-dental adviser to request it. Many resources are available to provide you with feedback on your personal statement. These include the Writing Center (188F Cramer Hall), the Career Center (402 University Service Building), and your pre-dental adviser in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Advising Center (M305 Smith Student Union).

10 Important Tips: Choose the Electronic Letter of Evaluation (eloe) option in the AADSAS application and designate that a Committee Letter will be submitted on your behalf by Melissa Yates. Do not list the names of all of your evaluators. List only Melissa Yates, Coordinator- Health Sciences Advising, (NOT Phone: See your pre-dental adviser regularly to discuss your progress toward application. Plan ahead and be proactive in scheduling your advising appointments. Advisers book out far in advance due to the volume of pre-health students at PSU. Make sure you meet or will have met all admission requirements for the dental schools to which you are applying by your expected dental school start date. Take the DAT (Dental Admission Test) as early in the application cycle as possible, ideally by June 2015 and no later than August 2015 (you could technically take it in September for most schools but this is late in the cycle and not typically recommended). Taking the DAT by June is recommended only if you are adequately prepared. If you are not sure when to take the DAT, please discuss it with your predental adviser. DAT registration information is available at You should register approximately 60 days in advance of when you want to take the exam to have the best chance of reserving a seat on your preferred test day. Portland State students commonly study for the DAT using one or more of the following test prep programs: DAT Achiever, DAT Destroyer, Chad s Videos, Crack the DAT (or PAT), Topscore (Scholarware), and Kaplan. Apply early in the application cycle. The AADSAS (Associated American Dental Schools Application Service) application becomes available at https://portal.aadsasweb.org/ in June and you can submit the application as early as the first week of June. Although the application deadlines for most dental schools do not hit until the fall, it is a good idea to submit your application early in the application process (ideally in June after spring term grades have posted), as it can take up to 6-8 weeks for AADSAS to process your application and because many dental schools use rolling admissions. In other words, they review applications and move forward with filling interview slots and then slots in the incoming class as they receive applications. Early application also allows time to resolve any issues that may arise during the application verification process. NOTE: It is okay to submit your application before you have taken the DAT but there are some risks involved with this approach; discuss what might work best for you with your pre-dental adviser. Request that institutions send your official transcripts to AADSAS as early as possible. When completing the AADSAS application, you must request that every postsecondary institution you have ever attended send transcripts to AADSAS (using a Transcript Matching Form that is available within the AADSAS application). AADSAS begins to accept transcripts when the application opens. You can start to request that transcripts be sent before you have even submitted your AADSAS application. Don t request that your PSU transcript be sent or submit your AADSAS application until all grades you wish to be included as part of your AADSAS GPA have posted. You will have one chance during the application cycle to update your grades but it is not until the November February timeframe so many students wait until spring term grades have posted to submit their AADSAS application and have PSU transcripts sent to AADSAS.

11 After submitting your HSA Letter Service Materials: It can take up to 3 weeks for your HSA Letter to be completed and submitted. This does not delay the processing of your AADSAS application. Complete supplemental applications in a timely fashion. Some dental schools require that you complete a supplemental application (in addition to the AADSAS application). This is typically a brief application that includes an additional fee and may feature a request for more background information, transcripts, answers to essay questions, etc. Prepare for interviews. After you submit supplemental applications, you will hopefully begin to receive requests to interview at various institutions. Practice discussing your experiences, goals, and motivations. One of the best ways to do so is to attend an interviewing workshop and schedule a mock interview in the PSU Career Center (402 University Services Building; ). Schedule your mock interview even if you haven t yet been invited to interview at a dental school yet. If you wait to contact the Career Center until after you have been invited to interview at a dental school, it is likely that you will not be able to take advantage of the Career Center resources prior to your interview, as they will be booked out. Also note that some dental school administer a short writing test at the interview. You may wish to practice writing brief essays under time constraints (e.g. 15 minutes) to prepare for this portion of the interview.

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