I never realized how expensive applying to dental school actually was. In reality, there are quite a few expenses that people normally don’t account for when budgeting for the application cycle. Here is a quick breakdown of everything you should consider when applying to dental school. If you are applying while completing your 4-year university education, I highly recommend budgeting the following expenses into your student loans.
DAT – $385
- The exam is required to apply to any US dental school
- Expect to pay for prep materials (not included in calculation)
Opening an AADSAS application – $244 for first school
- Applying to dental school in the US requires AADSAS with the exception of Texas schools. See miscellaneous section below.
- First school fee can be waved via the Fee Assistance Program (FAP)
- This takes a few weeks to process and is offered on a first-come-first-serve policy. Apply as soon as AADSAS opens.
AADSAS fee for each school – $90 for each school after first
- This fee is required for AADSAS to mail your application to each school.
- Fee table
Secondary Fees – $60-100 for each school
- Most schools have secondary fees
- These fees may be bundled with a secondary application
- Review the secondary application requirements for each school.
- Use the list above for a quick reference.
- Confirm the information independently with each school.
Interviews ~$400+ per interview
- Interviews can be expensive since they are often offered at such short notices.
- Expect the following expenses:
- Round-trip plane tickets
- Although flying in the same day as your interview saves money, I always recommend that interviewees fly in the night before. There is too much unpredictability when flying in the same day. I have seen people miss interviews due to unexpected circumstances such as the LAX shooting in 2013.
- Personally, one of my flights the night before was nearly cancelled (ended up being delayed for 3 hours). The flight after mine was cancelled altogether. This experience was highly stressful, but provided me with enough time to plan for alternate transportation if the flight was cancelled.
- Hotel stay
- Along with flying in the night before, a hotel room will put you at an ease of mind.
- Use websites like www.priceline.com to “bid” for a hotel if you are trying to save money.
- Public transportation/taxi/rental
- Taxi drivers have been known to take longer routes to destinations for people unfamiliar with the area. This is called “long-hauling”. Use a mapping application to know when you are being scammed.
- These expenses can easily equal $400+ dollars per interview
Deposit to Reserve a Seat – $1,000+
- Deposits range from $1,000 and can reach upwards of $3,000 dollars.
- Ask if the deposits are partially or fully refundable. I was able to recover $2,000.
- People forfeit December deposits for an offer in spring. Leave yourself a bit of cash for this situation!
Example Expenses for Applying to 15 Schools
+$90 x 14 = $1260 (14 Additional Schools)
+$70 x 10 = $700 (10 Secondary Application Fees)
+$400 x 6 = $2,400 (6 Interviews Attended)
+$1,000 (1 Deposit)
*That example above is using very conservative numbers. Actual expenses could be significantly more (or less) depending on the number of schools applied to and location of interviews attended.
- Expenses very per institution. Attending multiple schools will multiply your expenses (Community College, 4-year university, different university for summer school, etc.)
- I mailed my transcript 4 times (5th in June)
- 3 regular mail @ $17 (lost AADSAS transcript, AADSAS academic update, school specific update)
- 1 express @ $37 (after my initial AADSAS transcript was lost)
TMDSAS (Texas Dental School Application System) – $140
- Required if you plan to apply to Texas Dental Schools
- One fee covers all 3 schools
- No fee wavers
Certiphi Background Check ~$100
- DO NOT pre-authorize the background check through AADSAS! Only half the schools mandate Certiphi (so far) and pre-authorizing it will not affect/improve your application in any way. This will not be reviewed until after a student accepts an offer.
- An updated list of schools requiring Certiphi can be found here.
- Background checks can cost up to $200 dollars depending on the number of counties you have lived in and your history.
CSS / Financial Aid PROFILE (CollegeBoard) – $25+
- “FAFSA 2.0” mandated by some schools
Deposit on Housing – $1,000+
- You may have to place a deposit on housing well before you receive your dental school financial aid.
- Request your credit score in preparation.
I hope this helps put into perspective the expected costs while applying to dental school. Please plan ahead for these expenses and leave yourself a cushion for unexpected circumstances like switching programs.
If I neglected to mention any expenses you may have endued during this process let me know through Ask Elias and I would be more than happy to include them.