Entrance Exams: Accommodations

  • Feb 27, 2017

Hello Spartans!!!

It has been a long time coming, but this is the last week before Spring Break!! (I didn't think I would make it) Take this time to spoil and treat-yo-self for all of the hard work you have completed thus far during the semester. Read a good book, plan a girl's day with your friends, and sleep in! If you are traveling somewhere over break, have fun and be safe!

I wanted to quickly jump on here and talk about something that is usually not mentioned very often: accommodations for your professional school entrance exams! I know that it can feel disheartening, and like you may have just taken a blow to your ego but I promise it isn't viewed that way. I have an inflammatory bowel disease which in periods of high stress, tends to flare up. I would consider taking the DAT a very stressful time, and even the time to prepare beforehand as a stressful. Due to this, I worked with my Gastroenterologist to set up accommodations for the Dental Admissions Test I will be taking in June. I am not exactly sure how this process works for the MCAT, GRE, OAT, etc, but this was my experience working with the American Dental Association for accommodations for the DAT:

  • So first, I knew I wanted to take the DAT in June before I begin my study abroad in Australia during the month July. I know it seems like a while away, but especially when asking for accommodations, these plans need to be worked out well in advance.
  • Next, I printed and completed the simple accommodations request that ADA provides on their website. This basically is the who/what/where/when/why that ADA needs to know about your accommodation.
  • Be sure to pay very close attention to what ADA requires from your healthcare professional. They have guidelines as to what they will and will not accept and the current evaluation report as they call it, needs to be written and formatted in a professional manner. So I screenshotted the guideline page, and sent it to my doctor, along with appropriate accommodations I am asking for. I had asked him previously if he would mind helping me with this process to make sure I wasn't suddenly springing this on him. Allow your doctor time to write this and get it back to you, so plan for this to take a few weeks.
  • When I had received and read over the report my doctor had sent to me, I checked to make sure all necessary info was provided and in the correct format to avoid any hassles with ADA. I attached my request that I had filled out previously (bullet #1) and the letter from my doctor, and sent it to testingaccommodations@ada.org as a single attachment. I received a response only a few days later (I thought it would take weeks) saying my accommodations had been approved.
  • The following day, I received an email allowing me to sign up to take the DAT. Unfortunately, I had to call Prometric to schedule instead of doing it online because of the accommodations but this was not an issue. I was able to sign up at my preferred location on the date I wanted with my accommodations, without any issues.

I did research beforehand to make sure this wouldn't affect my chances of being accepted into dental school, by asking both the Human Biology Advisor, Janae Currington, and the Preprofessional Advisor, Mo Gerhardt. Asking for accommodations will not put you at a disadvantage. If you have an appropriate medical condition (to see what qualifies, check the request form here) you may make a request, however ADA ultimately decides what accommodations they will allow during your exam. Knowing that I have these accommodations has already left me feeling less stressed about the experience. Just because you have a medical condition that makes you a little different from everyone else doesn't mean that it needs to get in the way of your professional school dreams. I am prepared for dental school interviewers to ask me about my accommodations, but I am not worried since my condition is legit, and I have my doctor standing behind me. The only reason to be nervous is if you are trying to get accommodations for the wrong reasons, but by this point I'm sure ADA can tell who really needs them. Just know that there are other people your age, dealing with the same things you are. If you need someone to talk to about it or help you figure out how to request accommodations for your professional school program, feel free to make an appointment with me anytime.

By: Samantha