Applying to a GPR or AEGD Program? Here’s Some Advice

By: Savannah Craig

Applying for dental residency programs is similar to applying to dental school in many ways.

First, you need to narrow down your list of programs. Then, you need to begin your application on a centralized portal (ADEA-PASS) and collect your application materials. Finally, you’ll interview at various programs before making a decision on where to attend.

However, residency program experiences and their application timelines are not as standardized as dental school applications which can make applying to a dental residency more confusing without someone to help you through it.


Dental residencies for general dentists are designated as either General Practice Residency (GPR) or Advance Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) programs.

Generally, GPR programs have a focus on medical management of patients and are typically associated with a hospital. Whereas, AEGD programs have a focus on clinical dentistry and can be associated with academic institutions.

During my research for my own residency application, however, I found the line between GPR and AEGD designation to be blurry. Personally, I would not recommend choosing a program simply based on this title.

The best way to determine which programs you’d like to apply to are to reach out the programs and get specific details from their current residents. This is especially important if you are looking to gain specific experience from a residency.

Finding a GPR or AEGD Program

If you are just beginning your research on residency programs and do not know where to start, it can be overwhelming.

I started by using the ADEA website to find a complete list of postgraduate programs.

I narrowed my search by locations that I would be willing to move to for a one-year program. I talked to upperclassmen and tried to narrow down a list of programs that offered experiences or opportunities I was most interested in. Then, I reached out to program directors via email and expressed my interest in their programs, listing specifics about their programs that excited me, and asked to contact their current residents.

Luckily for you, IgniteDDS has done some of that leg work for you with their Free Residency guide!

It is a great resource to get you thinking about what you want from a program and has compiled information on over 70+ programs to save you from having to reach out!

The ADEA PASS Application Process

Once you know where you are applying, it’s time to begin your PASS application

It is very similar to your Dental School application. You’ll list extracurricular activities you’ve participated in, and leadership positions you’ve held, and submit a personal statement.

Personal Statement

It may be tempting to re-use your personal statement from your dental school applications, but I would advise against it. You have grown, changed, and learned a whole new set of skills these past 4 years. It is time to show these programs what makes you stand out from other dental students applying.

It’s important that you highlight why you’ve chosen these programs, but it is also important to show them why they want you on their team. Writing a good personal statement can take time, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to write and revise it before your application due dates!

Letters of Recommendation

Your application will also need to include letters of recommendation. I tried to find recommenders who knew me in various settings and could help show the programs a well-rounded picture of who I am.

Brainstorm individuals who know you well and would be willing to write you a recommendation. Be sure to give them plenty of notice, so that they are not rushed to submit it before your due dates. Once your recommendations are submitted, be sure to send a thank-you note to your recommenders and keep them updated throughout your application process!

Interviewing for a Residency Program

The interview process for residency programs is unique depending on if you’ve chosen to apply to MATCH or non-MATCH programs. Non-MATCH programs work on more of a rolling admissions process. It is not uncommon to interview at a program and be offered a position before you’ve interviewed at your other programs.

It is important to have an idea of ​​which programs are your top picks and think through different scenarios based on how interviews are offered. Be honest with yourself and the programs you’re interviewing with. Don’t be afraid to ask for more time on a decision if you need it, but don’t hold on to a position that could be offered to someone else if you don’t plan on accepting.

Up Next: Why You Might Consider a General Dentistry Residency Program

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

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