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ECU: I need answers, or at least a good discussion

Discussion in 'School Specific Discussions' started by aofu, Mar 9, 2011.

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  1. aofu

    aofu

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    I'm thinking about applying to ECU next cycle. I've looked into the school quite a bit, I think for now the school will have growing pains so I am a bit hesitant on applying. Numerous friends of mine tell me that going to a brand new school might not be a great idea because you gain so much from upperclassmen. In 5-10 years I'm sure ECU will be a fine school though. Also, the school is going to set up clinics around the state as a part of their curriculum....:eek:. This is great in that it is helping those in need of access to care but does anybody think that it could hinder the clinical education received from the school? I would call the school and ask them but 1) they don't even know how it will succeed or not and 2) they will probably not say anything negative about the school. That is why I started this thread. Is it worth it for me to apply to this school just to become a guinea pig? I admire that they are providing care to those in need but will it be at a cost to the actual education received? Is ECU basing their school's "rotating clinic" model on another dental school which has been successful? NC has its rural parts, but I wouldn't say that dentists are hard to come by. Those who live in rural areas can easily drive 30 minutes to an hour and find a dentist. The problem of access to care in NC, in my opinion is overblown and the statistics are misleading. Access to care in rural NC is not a problem compared to other states and communities (Western US, Native Americans, etc.)
  2. aofu

    aofu

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    PS: I'm not trying to offend anybody that has been accepted at ECU School of Dental Medicine, just throwing in what I feel I'm getting from ECU. I also don't really understand their whole "apple-based" campus crap. I mean technology is good, but how will that help me drill and fill? They seem to be hyping up a bunch of nonsense that has nothing to do with how they will make me a competent clinician. Needless to say, in case you didn't figure it out by now...I'm weary.

    Also wanted to throw in the fact that I'm worried about the NC budget. ECU has secured funds I believe, but when the time comes to get more money will they receive adequate funding? There is already a shortage of dental faculty...who the hell wants to live in Greenville, NC? I don'ot think it is the best time to open a brand new dental school when A) NC is broke and B) we didn't really need one to begin with.
  3. sneil

    sneil

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    I think you're misinformed on a lot of things, or you just don't know what's going on and are guessing from what you have been told from various sources.

    I think once you go through the process and actually talk to people from ECU (at an interview if you get one) you'll understand - i'm not going to break down everything for you. Go ahead apply. You're putting UNC up on a pedestal where I'm not sure it belongs (I like unc too, I go there for undergrad)

    This is just an opinion from someone who went through the process, got to know ECU and chose it... I'm sure others will agree. I just don't think you have enough info to say any of this especially your second comment.
  4. psychoboylol123

    psychoboylol123

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    +1 :hungover:
  5. MrWilson

    MrWilson

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    aofu,
    I think all of your concerns are valid, as I had the same. The best thing to do (if you live in the area) is to schedule an appointment with Dr. Wilson. She is very approachable, and I'm sure she would be very happy to answer all your questions. If you're not in the area, then I would get in contact by phone. You don't have to wait to get an interview until you can ask questions. Best of luck!
  6. JonNCSU08

    JonNCSU08

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    I don't have a lot of answers to your questions, but I can give you some of my thoughts. I was accepted to three dental schools, UCONN (great school, people up north think I am an idiot for not going there), Maryland, and ECU. I have narrowed my choice down to ECU and Maryland, and at this point I am torn but leaning towards ECU.

    My brother is a third year student at Maryland and to some that would be enough reason to go there, but he has given me more input on the realities of dental school. He has listened to, and read about all the facts of ECU and in his opinion feels I will receive a better clinical education there. At most of these schools, it is difficult and almost impossible for some of the students to meet the clinical requirements. This is because of many reasons, such as lack of chairs, enough chairs but lack of faculty, losing procedures to the specialists and residents, and stupid patients that cancel every appointment.

    ECU is a new school, so who knows if there will be enough patients, but it is in a poor area, and I do believe these people will jump at the opportunity of cheap dental care. The small class size will make it easier to land procedures, and the fact that the only specialty at ECU is pediatric dentistry, will benefit our clinical experience. We, as students will see all of these patients and perform procedures that in other schools would be passed on to the residents.

    Sure, I am skeptical like many are about a new school, but the fact that it is a small school, and they have great faculty coming in from around the country, tells me they have a solid plan for the school. Having a small class size will also be a benefit because you will be less likely to fall between the cracks, and will have a better chance to succeed in school.

    This is just my opinion, but I have been tearing my hair out for the past two months trying to decide which school I want to attend, so I figured I would share with you what I have learned about ECU
  7. teethies

    teethies

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    I don't have many answers for you, but I think your concerns are definitely valid. You don't seem misinformed to me, and I'm not sure why sneil thinks you are putting UNC on a pedestal. Your post doesn't even mention UNC. I agree that ECU will probably be a great school several years down the road. But the first class at any new school is always an "experiment," and that is a cause for concern. I don't know anyone who has chosen ECU over UNC... All the people I know attending ECU were rejected by UNC, and ECU is their only in-state option. I would certainly recommend applying to ECU just so you can check it out and form your own opinion. Meeting with Dr. Wilson is also a good idea, even though you have to take what she says with a grain of salt (like you said, it's unlikely that she would malign the school). My major issues with ECU include living in Greenville (ugh), not having any older classmates to learn from, not even having a building for the first couple of years, being the guinea pig class, etc. It also bothers me that no one I know is picking ECU over UNC, and ECU is ending up with people who were not good enough to get in to UNC. That sounds terrible, and I don't mean to offend anyone, but it is something to think about. If someone on here was accepted to both schools and chose ECU over UNC, I would love to hear why (the only possible reason I can think of is people thinking ECU is going to be easier than UNC...) Once again I do not mean to insult anybody, and I agree with Jon that ECU does have its good points and will certainly offer its students a unique experience. Just my two cents.
  8. JonNCSU08

    JonNCSU08

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    I thought that ECU would get the "rejects" from UNC, but that is not the case at all. there are a ton of people that did not get in ECU and were accepted to UNC. I know a few people that didn't even get an interview at ECU and got in to UNC. There is a person I know, not going to go into details, but has extremely low stats in every category, and did not get an interview at ECU, and was accepted to UNC. UNC's acceptances are a crap shoot, and there are plenty of people that do not get in their and get into schools that are more difficult to get into.
  9. teethies

    teethies

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    I agree with you that UNC's acceptances are a crapshoot, but I didn't mean to imply that everyone accepted to UNC is also accepted to ECU... I also know people who were accepted to UNC but never heard a peep from ECU. These people, however, were excellent candidates with great stats, and I always kind of assumed that ECU did not waste its energy interviewing people whom they knew would never choose ECU. Also, some of the people I know who never heard from ECU were not interested in working in rural areas as general dentists... I'm guessing this came across in their applications. And of course there are many people who are not accepted to UNC but are accepted to great OOS schools. I was just talking about the people I know who were accepted to BOTH UNC and ECU (and chose UNC), and the "UNC rejects" I know who are going to ECU.
  10. JonNCSU08

    JonNCSU08

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    That is very stupid to imply that the people that were not accepted or heard from ECU, but got into UNC were "too good" for ECU. Look at UNC's stats in the past, the class gpa and dat averages are ranked about 40 or so out of the 58 dental schools, this is not good if you ask me.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2011
  11. aofu

    aofu

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    I did not mention UNC anywhere in my original post.
  12. JonNCSU08

    JonNCSU08

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    Getting back to the original question, you should apply to whatever schools you like but it is always a good idea to apply to more than you think. So it is worth applying to ECU in my opinion.
  13. sneil

    sneil

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    My b...

    Just talk to Dr. Wilson - she's your #1 resource and very approachable. All i'm saying is that i'm not scared to be the first class and I'm excited to get started.

    One thing you mentioned about the clinics i can discuss - this is from the info that ECU told us. While we're at the clinics we are working with faculty directly and residents so its almost 1 on 1 teaching - and it gives you sooo much experience in the clinics. Its about 30 weeks of experience as opposed to other dental schools which average about 7 weeks. So i think if you're interested in general practice - its a good thing.
  14. Emm266

    Emm266

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    I agree with you Sneil. ECU's clinical based model for learning is a great way to gain hands-on experience in the dental world. What's better than learning by doing? Plus, to me, working in a clinic with actual patients is far more interesting that being buried in books.

    I do understand why you have some concerns, aofu. I think with any new dental school there will be concerns...especially financing. I know ECU has received large private donations to fund the building of Ross Hall. However, the building will not be ready until at least 2012. Until then, classes will take place in Brody School of Medicine. I don't really have a problem with that though. I think that with a new school you have to put a little faith in the faculty and administration, as they have do for you too. It must be hard to pick from hundreds of applicants knowing that the success of the school depends ultimately on the success of its first few classes.

    I'm on the wait list right now at ECU, hopefully a spot will open up...(jonNC hint hint..I bet your brother would love to see you! ;) haha). No, but seriously I know ECU will be successful and really help north carolinians get the care they need.
  15. teethies

    teethies

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    I agree that you can't beat real, hands-on experience, but I do think ECU's clinic model faces several challenges. It's going to be hard to make sure everyone is experiencing different cases at each center (and not just all restorations or all extractions, etc.). I wonder how that will be monitored. And money is always an issue, but ECU seems to be doing fine in that department so far. It's a leap of faith to attend a new school, but there's no harm in applying.
  16. sneil

    sneil

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    there are ways to monitor what we are doing to make sure its well rounded - its hard to explain it to those who doin't know much about the curriculum - its through a program called yammer. Its like a work facebook where all the admin can see what kinda cases we are doing and see if we're struggling in any area and what we are excelling in (in case we wanna specialize). It literally breaks down our strengths and weaknesses in very different, specific areas.
  17. aofu

    aofu

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    The whole 1-on-1 sounds good, as well as the 30 weeks of experience compared to 7 weeks of other schools (though I'm not sure how true those numbers are). However, how much of that time will be spent twiddling your thumbs? I'm sure many patients will jump at the chance for affordable dental care. Also, why on earth would you or any other student want to be stuck in some podunk ass NC town for weeks at a time in your rotations? That's probably the biggest reason I don't want to be at ECU, I don't want to live in the country LOL.
  18. cangb

    cangb

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    Well then, you answered your own question: Do not bother to apply. This seems to be your issue. I recommend that you apply to NYU.
  19. sneil

    sneil

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    we all want to be there because we believe in the mission of ECU dental school (i know that sounds corny but its true) me personally, I want to work in the rural areas of north carolina because there is a need - i don't mind podunk :)

    we're working in the clinics in rotations - we study the rest of the time doing case studies. So i don't know if you would count that as twiddling but i know that my thumbs will not be twiddling.

    and the numbers were what we were told. 30 weeks is accurate for ECU but we were told most fourth years only spend around 7 weeks. So just retelling the info.
  20. teethies

    teethies

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    I just laughed out loud at the phrase "podunk ass NC town." aofu has a good point - even though I think you could probably suck it up in the rural areas for six weeks at a time (or whatever the length of time is for the rotations), I find it hard to believe that all 50 people in the incoming class really, really want to live out in the boonies for good. But of course you're not going to tell your interviewers that. In the words of my dentist - "tell them what they want to hear and then do whatever you want!" Still, if living in hicktown isn't for you, you can probably leave ECU off your list of schools...

    Even with the technology, I think it will be extremely difficult to make sure everyone is getting the same hours of experience, dealing with the same # of cases, same # of restorations/extractions... since you're basically at the mercy of the number of patients coming in and the severity of their problems. But obviously this is what the first class is for - figuring everything out, what works, what doesn't work, etc. It will be a huge learning experience for everybody involved.
  21. dds86

    dds86

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    I wouldn't say greenville is THAT bad of a place to live. It's just like any other college town, lots of bars/clubs and restaurants with a few stores sprinkled in between. And it's not like the town will matter THAT much anyways considering the amount of time you will be spending in class, lab and studying. Plus RTP is an hour away :)
  22. sneil

    sneil

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    I think they are talking about the rural areas in which we will work as 4th years in the different clinics. I think we'll survive 10 weeks though, we'll be preoccupied with learning and seeing as many patients as possible since there is a need there.
  23. aofu

    aofu

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    4th year is usually relaxed for dental students. You won't be in clinic 24/7, and got to find a way to unwind or good places to eat during the evenings and weekends...maybe hit up a bar or club? You aren't going to find too many "good" bars or even restaurants in rural NC. What about living arrangements...eeww.

    I also read this article (http://www.reflector.com/news/budget-option-halting-dental-school-354565), especially considering that the NC budget is a huge concern for myself as well...it is scary, I hope they don't halt the dental school budget. That would seriously be unbelievable for the kids that they just accepted, that is what worries me because the administration seems to me that they are talking out of their asses. They have said that they have already secured funding, but the legislature is debating halting the entire school :eek:. Now, I doubt that will happen, but in the future that is certainly something to consider.

    Sneil I appreciate your enthusiasm and it looks like you're excited to start the curriculum but going based off of what they are telling you...until is starts nobody knows, not you, not them, how efficiently/successfully things will work out at ECU SOD. I will still apply, but I will grill these guys on my interview...your class looks to be in for a roller coaster 4 years of guinea pig probing and prodding. Many kids begin dental school with your same mentality of wanting to give back but it will probably fade fast once you are in dental school and then you become a dentist and the majority (I'm not saying all of them) rarely give up their free time for volunteer work once they are in practice.

    I also agree with the other poster who said that you don't have to practice in rural NC. The ECU med school is as well and there isn't a large % that ends up practicing in underserved, rural areas, the majority practice in urban/suburban areas.

    What if you want to practice in the city? As a dentist, why would you want to earn less and live a worse lifestyle on a farm rather than earning more, being able to spend the good money you earn and having a much larger patient base, growth potential and networking opportunities in the city. ECU is geared towards teaching its students to practice in the rural areas, aka not cities...there are major differences. Most dentists practice in urban areas for a reason, they are making good money so they want to live in a good area...a major reason why many people become dentists. If you are a kid from rural NC, you don't want to go back to the boonies...you are trying to get the heck out!!
  24. MrWilson

    MrWilson

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    Good find. This was the biggest concern I had with ECU when I was applying. I seriously doubt this will occur based on how much money and time has been invested so far (but, you never know). It also makes me wonder about the money that was to go to the UNC dental school for their expansion and renovation. Is that one of the 32 items they're considering as well?
    To save money, they could further increase enrollment at UNC (because it's established and resources are already there) instead of investing in the operating cost of ECU's dental school. This would prevent having to pay two administrations. Just a thought, not necessarily a suggestion.
  25. cangb

    cangb

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    There certainly are a lot of valid concerns. Funding and securing faculty has become a problem with some schools in other states as well.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2011
  26. teethies

    teethies

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    Just read the article... Yikes.
  27. sarah_bellum

    sarah_bellum ^ ban pls.

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    Thanks for the link. It'll be interesting to watch. Anyone who thinks ECU is going to get UNC's scraps is fooling themselves. I doubt you'll be able to see any real separation between the credentials of the two student bodies. The truth is that there are enough qualified NC candidates to fill both classes with strong students.
  28. MrWilson

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  29. cangb

    cangb

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    I also agree. This thread should have nothing to do with the quality of the student body of the two schools. The schools choose a good balance of incoming students that fit into their class and there are plenty of great candidates for both schools to balance them out.
  30. Winter Wind

    Winter Wind

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    ^Agreed. To say that ECU dental students are "UNC rejects" is not accurate. There are plenty of great applicants to choose from and some great applicants still won't be chosen by either school. All of the students are great if they got accepted into dental school. Of course it is right to have some concerns being that it is the school's first year, but it just seems like some of you are trying to demean the students that are going to ECU, which is not very nice of some you.

    From what I've heard about the school it sounds like they are going to do great things. I don't see the problem in moving around as I like seeing new places and faces. Keeps things interesting. "Podunk town" is fine to some people. Not everyone is from a huge city.

    Also, I think it would be good for some of the students to live in rural areas because then perhaps they could better relate to their patients and understand them better. Everyone is different though, and perhaps ECU is not for you. Don't go where you know you won't be happy. By reading your posts I don't think it is really a question of whether you should apply or not. Apply where you want to go so that you can be happy and have no regrets.
  31. teethies

    teethies

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    Anybody worried about the proposed $8 million reduction?
  32. aofu

    aofu

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    I doubt that would hurt the school, they'll raise tuition or increase enrollment to make it up.
  33. Tim Whatley

    Tim Whatley

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    I doubt they'll increase enrollment because I've heard theres already little room to increase each class size. Tuition increase is possible but I know they want and really emphasize having little or no debt after graduation.
  34. teethies

    teethies

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    Right, I don't think they'll be able to drastically increase enrollment any time soon... Although I haven't really gotten the "little or no debt after graduation" vibe from the school either. I imagine that most people have to take out a substantial amount in loans. I doubt the building will be finished in time for the first class to use it... Let's hope they're still renovating that one (window-less) classroom we toured!

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