Hello and Happy New Year!!
Here are some helpful links I came across while I was getting ready to apply to dental schools last summer:
Here is the link to the Fee Assistance Program. I applied and received the FAP which covers your first 3 applications to schools. I also contacted each individual school asking if they would waive their supplemental fee (after schools emailed me requesting to pay the fee) since I received the FAP and a few of them did! (Hey, if you can some some money here and there, why not?!!)
Since it is already January, I would highly suggest you start talking to your professors, bosses, and dentists you’ve shadowed to write you a letter of recommendation. I got all my letters early in the year and just had everyone who wrote a letter for me upload it to Interfolio. When it came time to submitting my letters to AADSAS, Interfolio has easy step-by-step instructions to help you and my letters were all uploaded that same day, June 1st.
I would also suggest you start writing your personal statement! I wrote and even finished writing my first draft all in one day at the beginning of January last year. I then left it alone for a week then came back to it and edited it and sent it to some of my friends in med schools. I made some more edits based on their suggestions/revisions and then left it alone again for another couple weeks. I basically repeated this process a bunch of times all the way until June 1st. I would ask people I know (friends and family) in med/dental schools and even some friends who I knew were good writers but not in a science related field to look at it. I think it’s a good idea to set it aside and come back to it every so often so you look at it with “fresh” eyes in a sense. That way you might catch some mistakes you didn’t before or even think of a better way to explain something. Or even think of something new to write about! Don’t be worried if you have a ton of drafts, I had about 10 drafts before I finalized mine.
If you can at least get your letters of recommendation gathered and a solid draft on your personal statement with your ideas on what you want to write about done before the summer starts (or better yet, before Spring Break!), I think you’d be in great shape to be able to submit your application ASAP once it opens on June 1st.