Managing delayed applications due to Covid-19 in 2020-2021!

While the world is grappling with the pandemic COVID 19, there lies another world of dental students facing nerve-racking challenges to even apply to US dental schools. The delay in the CAAPID applications has inevitable reasons, which could serve as a blessing in disguise when introspected carefully.

Did you know who got benefited?

The schools did consider the lags in student visas (F1) and offered deferrals to their accepted candidates for the upcoming year. What could be better than having a family nearby during this catastrophe, that too with a secured acceptance? We have spoken to dental graduates, dental practitioners, volunteers, and the US school faculty and all agreed that it is our home and family that keeps us safe. 

What happened to the seats for that specific year?

The schools called the waitlisted applicants, and those who were physically present in the US with a valid visa filled those positions at the last moment. 

Nevertheless, one thing is common to all the accepted students here; they made it through the waitlist of the schools. Are you there? 

Yes, or No, use this blog as your reference to fit right, this last piece of the puzzle.

How to cross the obstacles?

1. Holistic review of profiles and notches in the experience:

One of the fears in our world is the gaps in their professional experiences due to immobilization caused by the calamitous coronavirus. The bright side is that since then, the admission committee has been pursuing an extra-holistic approach to consider whether applicants can take tests behind schedule or drop out on shadowing experiences, or cannot travel for an in-person interview and bench tests along with the extracurriculars, clinical experiences, research, shadowing, personal statement, TOEFL scores, and GPA. Like you, school administrators are troubleshooting how to graduate their current students on time, given delays in licensing exams and externships. So, does that mean you should exploit it? NO. 

Tips for bridging those CV gaps: 

2. Closure of Prometric test centers:

You either make excuses or make progress; it depends on what you choose. What matters is to make even as small as a 1% improvement daily. 

iNBDE: – Try to take iNBDE as soon as possible. Many candidates are waiting to re-book the earliest slot available, be quick. Be confident with your preparation until you get the date, and consider it a shot you cannot afford to lose. Take multiple practice tests, question banks, and do not stress about things that are not in your control. 

TOEFL: – Take home TOEFL as most of the schools are accepting those credentials for this cycle. 

As per records, the dental schools have offered admissions to deserving applicants with NBDE part 1 and marginal TOEFL scores. Do your research about the school criteria religiously and apply right away, even if you fit in tight.

3. Travel bans and visa delays

If you cannot travel to the US due to travel bans, utilize the leisure in upskilling yourself, networking with people, creating awareness for mental health, reading advanced dental books, and volunteering for health organizations. The 2021 cycle will be the most competitive ever, as a few contestants got tied back in their country due to travel bans and others moved to the US at the right time, assessing those travel bans. Both will be applying with all vigor this time. Fortunately, you can drain your procrastination for this challenge, as most schools will be conducting virtual interviews and bench examinations this year too. The International Admissions in dental schools will again offer deferrals to their accepted students in case of visa setbacks. For that reason, it is vital to keep moving as planned, and then, none of these factors will be held against you while reviewing applications. 

4. Make your hurdles known to the Admission Committee 

Use the box ‘Disadvantaged Status’ on your CAAPID application to inform schools about missed shadowing experiences or personal struggles related to taking care of a sick family member with COVID-19. You are not alone; the entire 2021 application pool is in the same boat. Therefore, any alterations to your application timeline are not uniquely placing you at a disadvantage.

Once you complete and submit the application, update even the tiniest work experience to the admissions through an email. Dental schools are looking for passionate candidates who align with their missions and goals, and the pandemic cannot change that facet. Again, dental schools have reduced the number of required shadow hours and have begun contemplating virtual experiences.

Do you see a pattern here?

The dental schools have ubiquitously addressed your concerns, and you need to get-go. Keep up with your footprint, prepare for the interview skills, and begin your bench test exercises in as much as this shot is not worth losing!


Dr. Leena Garg, Caapid Simplified