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UOP & UCLA Students Speak Up Please

Discussion in 'Pre-Dental' started by torobcheh21, 03.09.13.


  1. Thanks to Crack the DAT
  1. torobcheh21

    torobcheh21

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    What up everyone,

    It must be an act of God but both of these schools have gotten back to me and now I have a decision to make. I have until this Wednesday to make the final call. I'm a CA resident btw and I live in norcal.

    I've heard from some alumni students from UOP but I haven't heard from many UCLA grads...for those that are at UCLA now, can you please chime in on how you like it? From what I've heard about UOP students...they're great clinicians, flat out. UOP doesn't have specialty programs so the DDS students get exposure to the complex cases. What do people say about UCLA?

    And I know the UC schools are heavily based on research but I'm not too big on research, I want to become an excellent dentist. Does UCLA produce good clinicians? I keep hearing that the complex cases at ucla go to the specialty students so the DDS students don't get that much exposure and in turn do an extra year in GPR. Is that true?

    Is anyone else going through a similar thought process on which school to choose?

    I would greatly appreciate some advice/ people's experiences.

    Thank you
    Last edited: 03.09.13
  2. iamgosu

    iamgosu

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    The biggest difference between the 2 is price right? UCLA's a state school, so much cheaper than UoP?
    I'm guessing if they cost the same you would pick UoP without a second thought.
  3. tigerteeth22

    tigerteeth22

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    Personally not a fan of UCLA. I volunteered in their general clinic program my junior year of college and basically followed around the students all day once a week. I was with different ones every time and none of them said they were very happy with their decision of UCLA. Also from experience it's pretty unorganized over there at least in the side I was dealing with. The facilities are kind of ehh too compared to other schools I visited. Not to offend any UCLA students because I know it's a great program but that's my own experience at the school.
  4. autoclavemonkey

    autoclavemonkey

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    volunteer with a dentist who just graduated from UCLA (c/o 2011). She said the school is cheap, prepares you well for didactics, has good residency matching rate, and is very competitive among students(though this may vary every year, some classes tend help each other out more than others). She also said the facilities at UCLA are ancient. However, I think UCLA is one of the cheaper dental school in the nation. I think the cheapest in CA if I'm not mistaken.
  5. Shunwei

    Shunwei

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    Cheap? Not really. Only perhaps by CA standards. The tuituion went up every year I was there and the average debt is $250k now. You'll still be living in the very expensive LA area so no matter what if you are financing your own education you can't get much below that.
  6. aznboi89x

    aznboi89x

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    Cali schools are nowhere cheap especially for instate... Texas have one of the cheapest tuition in the nation...
  7. doc toothache

    doc toothache

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  8. lnngu

    lnngu Team Doc Toothache

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    UCLA is a fine program that produces good dentists. And they have surfer babes and blond cheerleaders... That said, we have naked fat guys racing bikes (hopefully, those aren't rentals.) Honestly, who could resist that? Come to UOP.. We love you long time. http://sf.funcheap.com/world-naked-bike-ride-san-francisco/
  9. tjung789

    tjung789

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    UCLA costs 213K with all the tuition increases included (I have calculated this with the exact tuition increases). If you need Health insurance thru them, then add another 8K to the total cost, which brings it to 221K.

    The above numbers are NOT with housing included. Housing here is expensive. If you want a decent apartment by yourself, expect to pay $1200/month. If you share, its about $700/month. Also keep in mind living expenses are very high. Total you will be paying is about $250K (with tuition,housing, and minimal food expenses).

    UCLA has a lot of gunners. They suck big time clinically, but compared to other research schools they aren't that bad. You will have to do a GPR.

    UOP is very expensive though.

    If you don't mind putting up with debt and living very frugally for 5 years or so, then pick UOP. Otherwise, UCLA. Good luck.
  10. Shunwei

    Shunwei

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    I didn't do a gpr and I am doing just fine. There are serious problems with the clinical curriculum and I don't hold most of my classmates in high regard when it comes to clinical work.
  11. peerless218

    peerless218

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    UOP, everything for you is provided in clinic, you get to perform molar endos (8 minimum on paper), brand new clinic WAITING for you in the very near future when you're a 3rd year.


    UCLA: Have fun buying your own burs and other stuff you need in the clinic, cast 1 or 2 of your own pt's crown, and do 3 anterior teeth endo and you qualify to graduate.

    Personally, go to UOP if you only wanna do GP.
  12. torobcheh21

    torobcheh21

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    Thank you everyone for the feedback! Exactly the type of stuff I was hoping for.

    So say I don't know whether or not I want to specialize yet and later while I'm in school I decide I want to...would there be any cons of going to UOP then?
  13. abate21

    abate21 alb

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    If you're even considering specializing, I would choose UCLA, not that you can't at UOP, but UCLA has more opportunities for research, and has a stronger reputation for sending people to speciality programs...
  14. UCSFx2017

    UCSFx2017 username is misleading

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    Both "armorshell" and "MichaelScarn" specialized in OMFS after UoP.

    I'd rather go to a UC. I prefer H/P/F, heavy research, high specialization reputation, and I'd probably would do GPR/AEGD if I wanted to be a GP, regardless of what school I went to.
  15. ATG20

    ATG20

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    If that isn't enough to sell you on UCLA...

    ...there's this stuff.
  16. ddslove789

    ddslove789

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    I was faced with this same dilemma last year, ended up choosing UOP, and am SO thankful that I did! I went to UCLA for undergrad and spent a lot of time researching and volunteering in the dental school, so I got a good idea of what student life was like... Highly competitive, heavily didactic, and difficult clincially in terms of getting enough experience and enough patients. Additionally, multiple UCLA students told me that I wouldn't be missing out on anything if I decided not to go to UCLA, which was a HUGE turn off to me. When I interviewed at Pacific, I LOVED my experience because of the friendly, welcoming atmosphere, the heavy clinical focus, and the personal and intimate nature of the program -- faculty and students are genuinely very supportive and have a vested interest in student success and providing excellent patient care. Now after having nearly completed my first year, there is no doubt in my mind about choosing UOP over UCLA -- while both are great schools, I personally believe that UOP provides a more positive and practical learning environment and I feel that we are truly well-prepared to be great clinicians. As it is now, we have spent hundreds of hours of scheduled class time practicing our clinical skills starting from week 1 (and that's not counting the hundreds of hours outside of class spent practicing). With regards to specializing, I personally want to be a GP (part of the reason I chose Pacific because I wanted to get the best clinical education possible), but I know that there are still plenty of people who specialize and get matched to their top choices of programs each year and I have heard that specialty programs really like Pacific grads because they are so well prepared for clinical situations that they advance quickly in their specialty. I hope this is helpful! PM me if you have more questions.
  17. classof201X

    classof201X

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    OP you already know my thoughts on the subject but I have to say, this is excellently written. It's actually pumping me up to start D1 at UOP this July:D

  18. ddslove789

    ddslove789

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    Can't wait to have you here! Honestly, choosing Pacific was probably one of the best decisions that I ever made! :D

  19. Shunwei

    Shunwei

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    If I had a choice again I would have chosen UoP as well. If the main purpose of going to UCLA is to specialize, I think that advantage is largely negated now by the Boards going P/F and the curriculum going P/F/H, which really is no different in my mind than having an actual #. As Armorshell has said before and shown, you can specialize from UoP just as well. And if your goal is to become a GP, then there is even more reason to go to UoP as UCLA's clinicals are very weak and antiquated. And being the only school left with a 3-yr curriculum doesn't hurt either.

    My only concern with UoP is the high tuition and cost. 340k is nothing to sneeze at and even at 20 or 30 yr repayment plans is a heavy burden. It'd be wise to have a sound plan post-grad to figure out the financials to best benefit from it.
  20. torobcheh21

    torobcheh21

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    Thank you all! Once again the sdn community doesn't disappoint. Much appreciated
  21. JAWSSS

    JAWSSS

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    You have heard from 99% UOP people and 1% UCLA... I don't know how accurately this could have answered your initial questions.
  22. nikond600

    nikond600

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    .
    Last edited: 06.07.13
  23. torobcheh21

    torobcheh21

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    I agree good point...any UCLA people out there??

    And for those that talk about the cost difference...have you factored in the additional cost of living in LA an extra year? And the probable $115k you'll make as a dentist working your first year (granted you work)?

    Adding in those factors brings the costs for both schools within a couple grand.
    Last edited: 03.12.13
  24. UCLAzy

    UCLAzy

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    its finals at ucla so i doubt it
  25. torobcheh21

    torobcheh21

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    you really got me thinking...
  26. JAWSSS

    JAWSSS

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    Well... I might have a bias toward UCLA because it is my dream school and if I were to get into every dental school, I would choose to go to UCLA. So, I was naturally ecstatic when I heard the good news.

    I like the quiet confidence I felt at UCLA. The school might be old, but, clearly it is not holding back any of the students.

    There are people that enjoy both schools. They both have a lot to offer.

    You seem to really like UOP, and you have a good reason to. If you felt like it was more of a fit, you should definitely attend.

    As others have said, UCLA is very didactic and stressful... And you should expect it to be. UCLA has a one of the highest average GPAs and DATs, you are going to be surrounded by very capable people. However, having those specialty placement numbers is not an accident. You are more likely to get into the specialty program of your choice if you attend UCLA.

    And the price/weather/sports/area/beach/research only helps, haha! :laugh:

    :luck: Good luck with your choice! Either way, you'll have a great dental education.
  27. ATG20

    ATG20

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    :thumbup:

    Spot on. I'm an incoming freshman, and I was admitted to UOP and UCLA (in-state). Before I'm lambasted, I just want to say the following is just my opinion, and my own reasoning for picking one school over the other.


    UOP gave me a scholarship, and I still couldn't handle the outrageous cost. If you're a CA resident and you got into UCLA, there's a lot of wiggle room for you to cut the budget down to something more affordable (<250). Affordable apartments aren't far from Westwood, and parking permits aren't very expensive either, allowing for commutes, or biking if you're into that. When I was apartment hunting in SF, it seemed as if living choices were slim. Almost all immediate housing was far more expensive from something comparable in LA, and driving/parking in SF can be a headache so good luck living somewhere more affordable.

    I'm not sure how many pre-dents have done the math on the avg cost at UOP (Associate Dean Yarborough himself said most students spend between 350-370k in my interview), but your monthly repayment will be drastically different. I enjoyed UOP. It had nice clinics, friendly staff, and a warm feel among the student body. With that said, I just can't justify the cost difference. School is school. All the extras are just perks, and every dentist I've spoken to said no school will truly prepare you 100%, but everyone ends up where they need to be after a couple years of practice. I'll settle for "ancient" clinics at UCLA and find some other way to spend the ~$1600-1800 or so I save each month for 10 years after graduation.

    The whole "but you get out a year earlier!" is pure marketing. Whether you want to struggle from age 27-37, or age 26-36 is the only real thing to think about. Repaying $4000+ per month for 10 years will feel the same at any age.

    These are things I carefully considered and consulted with working dentists on, and I made my own decision based off these. I'm not knocking anyone's choice for attending UOP, but I feel these are things that should be expressed as openly as the excitement about fancy clinics and "great clinical experiences." If you feel one school may not clinically offer as much but is much cheaper, be a go-getter with faculty and try to go above the minimum clinic requirements. If that's not possible take some quality CE with the money you'll save and get some real experience in a practice. Neither school will make you a rockstar dentist right out of the gate.

    *Note: IBR and 30-year repayment terms are options, yes, but I feel those have best been discussed in other threads, so I'm simply comparing 10-year costs.
  28. Toofly01

    Toofly01

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    ATG I just pm'd you! Same wavelength...

    Thanks for the post, it's good to get an alternate perspective.
  29. torobcheh21

    torobcheh21

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    Does anyone know if this site has any merit? http://dental-schools.findthebest.com/ A dentist at my office said she based her decision on the rankings when she was choosing...but whose to say the UC system didn't put this website up?
  30. UCLAzy

    UCLAzy

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    That list means nothing. Dental schools are not officially ranked. Period.
  31. JAWSSS

    JAWSSS

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    I don't know how much merit there is in dental school rankings... Because each school if so different.

    BUT, Those rankings agree pretty closely with how I personally rank the schools.
  32. torobcheh21

    torobcheh21

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    Haha yea that's what I figured^

    Is there a stat sheet out there with percentages showing how well graduates from these schools match into their desired residency programs?
  33. poki

    poki

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    way too much is made of this allegedly superior "clinical training"...dentistry is not rocket science, any dental school be it a "clinical" school or "specialty" school or whatever will give you the necessary base to learn how to be an effective GP...so what if a UOP student did 8 molar endos and a UCLA student did 2...guess what? you're going to be practicing dentistry for the next 20-30 years and you're going to do so many endo cases that this initial difference is neglible...ask any dentist who's been practicing for 10+ years if theyre using the methods that they learned in dental school in their private practice, likely the materials/techniques they learned in dental school aren't being used anymore or are being used in different way...most of your learning and clinical skill takes place after dental school through CE and seeing patients in private practice...

    there of tons of amazing GPs coming out of UCLA, just because an internet message board says a school "sucks clinically" doesn't mean you can't train well as a GP at UCLA...and no, P/F boards does not mean that P/F schools lose their advantages when it comes to specialty programs...you still need to get a high class rank at a school w class ranking to specialize whereas at UCLA you can simply pass all your classes and focus on extracurriculars/research/exams (GRE for ortho, NBME for OMFS)...that being said if you are able to score near the top of your class at UOP, you'll still be able to specialize easily...

    becoming a good GP or getting into a residency is more about the student and if they're willing to learn than what dental school they attend...
    104036373 likes this.
  34. Shunwei

    Shunwei

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    Calm down bro. When someone tells you that a school is clinically insufficient and it rubs you the wrong way, it doesn't mean that they are wrong. I was a graduate of that school and I don't think highly of it from a clinical perspective, and maybe not even from a didactic perspective as well since it reformed its didactic curriculum.

    UCLA is located in the affluent Westwood area. A lot of our patients come from the neighboring areas that are less well-to-do but our overall patient pool is not that great. On top of that (and perhaps because of it), clinical requirements are abysmally poor in some respects. For example, in my year our operative requirement was 20 combined amalgam and composite restorations, and probably no more than 9-10 fixed units. Many people couldn't even get a bridge and graduated by doing a simulated one on a typodont. Some people also couldn't get a molar endo in time and did an anterior or premolar as a substitute. The only clinical requirement that the school focuses heavily on is the removable pros which is probably an antiquated vestige leftover from the legacies of decades ago. We probably have one of the highest, if not the most, removable pros requirements in the country, and we had to do everything from start to end. Being in practice now for just about a year, I think this removable emphasis is grossly misdirected. Oh, and also the restorative chairman's obsession with gold work which, in my mind, is asinine and obsolete. I can go on and on about many others including didactically but I think you get the point.

    And don't overrate the value of the P/F/H system. Because of the H option, many people will still gun for how many of these H's they can get on their transcript and a mention of that in their letter of recommendation from the dean. To me, that really is no different than a grading system. You are still gunning for the H, you still get a class rank of sorts (UCLA definitely kept a top 10% list even when the H wasn't around, and now that it is it might go in tiers like Columbia), so what's the difference? You might as well go to a graded school, do well and get a good number, and go with that. Traditionally, UCLA's value as a specialization school rests in its ability to have its students do well on NBDE I. Now that it's P/F and no longer a number, it largely negates whatever advantage it might have had in that department.

    And yes, I do think UoP graduates are sounder clinically than ours at least at the point of graduation--i.e. their starting point is better. I have done good work so far in my practice but I do not attribute that to what UCLA did for me, but rather my own maturity as a non-trad student and my current job which basically forces me to do everything.
    Last edited: 03.15.13
  35. JAWSSS

    JAWSSS

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    Whoa, calm down bro... When someone says that a school is doing fine and is not clinically insufficient and it rubs you the wrong way, it doesn't mean that they are wrong.
  36. Shunwei

    Shunwei

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    You are considering opinions from people who have never been in the school versus someone who was there everyday for four years. I am just one opinion but at least I have earned the right to make a statement about it and kindly giving my time for you guys. If you are so set on UCLA, go and find out for yourself.:thumbup:
  37. lnngu

    lnngu Team Doc Toothache

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    Hehe, if I'm not mistaken, doc, Poki is a current UCLA student, which is probably why you hit a nerve. Anyhoo thank you for the insights. I'm sure it's well appreciated by the op and other predents (who, btw, should completely come to UoP, rawrrr)
  38. JAWSSS

    JAWSSS

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    :thumbup:
  39. poki

    poki

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    My whole point of the whole clinically superior thing is that until they publish stats saying "clinical" schools have a greater percentage of students passing the WREBs than "didactic" schools like UCLA, no one can know for sure that one school is superior to another clinically...

    I'll concede that UCLA's clinic or patient pool are not the greatest, but it is impossible to compare schools or students' clinical abilities unless the same person went to both schools and experienced both curriculums firsthand...

    All I'm saying is all schools have graduating students that are good clinically and bad clinically, in the long run if someone is motivated to be a good GP it really doesn't matter where they go to school...the same can be said for specializing

    The best school is usually the one that is the cheapest and where you will be happiest spending the next 4 years (or 3). Since both schools are in great locations, the OP will have to decide if the extra year at UOP is worth the extra $100,000 + interest...
  40. ushaseos

    ushaseos -Classified Information-

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    I don't need to speak for Shunwei, but I think his point was mainly to highlight the deficiencies in UCLA's clinical requirements. He wanted to just paint a neutral picture for those of us not yet there and give objective feedback about UCLA's program. His more salient point was that it's less about institution and more about the student's ability (as his own case highlights). I think he's on the money in this ssertion. A bad student is not going to do particularly well even in the best of circumstances. Similarly, a good student will manage even in the worst of circumstances.

    I'm with ya 100% though when you say we should take this whole "clinical readiness" thing with a grain of salt. Nobody has done comparisons and a lot of it is conjecture and statements like "in general UoP is clinically better". I'm also with you on the price issue, though for me it'd end up being 150K + difference.

    Fortunately for the OP, he can't really go wrong with either choice!
  41. John Durian

    John Durian Durio zibethinus

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    I remember reading more in-depth threads comparing the schools, but I'm too lazy to search for them (but I recommend that you do if you want more info). For some reason, it always seems like SDN is flooded by UOP d-students and hopefuls in comparison to other schools. Anyways, the pros and cons

    UCLA Pros
    -P/F: Less stressful if you just wanna pass. This is not to say passing is easy.
    -Decent specialization rates: Class of 2011 had 10 OS, 12 ortho, 14 pedo, 4 perio, 1 prosth. Will change due to boards being P/F? Who knows.
    -Reputation: Name recognition across the country if you're into that
    -Research: Google "David Wong UCLA"
    -Location: West LA is cool. Weather is unbelievable year round (like 80s), 5 miles from a real beach (not like the muddy SF ones)
    -Changing mentality?: I'm not sure if this is legit, but it seems like the majority of professors of old (ie, the ones that destroy you mentally) have been ousted. And the other day, I noticed on the intercom that they no longer just say our 3-digit student number but they actually said "Student-DOCTOR your-name 123, your patient has arrived," which to us at UCLA is like :whoa:

    UCLA Cons
    -Pre-clinic and clinic: Old (endo, perio clinic are brand spankin' new though). Despite rumors, we do have digital radiographs, microscopes in endo clinic, etc. Preclinic professors are unbelievably chill imo
    -Patients: Depends on your luck
    -Expensive for a state school: $287k for 4 years (including cost of living)
    -Honors: it's no longer a true P/F school

    UOP Pros
    -Strong clinical education: It rocks from what I hear
    -Location: I'm biased. SF > LA

    UOP Neutral
    -3 years: You will be done one year early. However, due to rising tuition cost (plus living in SF and interest accumulation), you'll break even if lucky but most likely be in the red (again, search for that one old UCLA vs UOP where some strong accounting/number folks broke it down). Economy is still pretty bad out there.

    UOP Cons
    -Actual grades: You'll be competing against some bright folks. So if you're not top 10-20, IMO, it'll be harder to specialize. Not impossible, but harder.
    -Cost: I heard it costs an arm-n-leg ($350k w cost of living)
  42. John Durian

    John Durian Durio zibethinus

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    Honestly though, in retrospect, I would personally base my decision on proximity to family and friends. If you're from Nor-cal, choose UOP. If you're from So-Cal, choose UCLA. It'll make your life easier (less stressful, more fun).

    Plus I miss my dogs.
    Last edited: 03.16.13
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  43. Member902507

    Member902507

    Joined:
    04.24.12
    Messages:
    467
    Status:
    Pre-Dental
    +1.

    Nice job UCLA students on backing it up!

    As Shunwei, Poki and JD have all said, which goes for any school, your experience is what you make of it. No one will hand feed you anything. Shunwei said he did well at UCLA due to the time and effort he put in, and not because it was handed to him. And I'd say that's the case for every school.
  44. Toofly01

    Toofly01

    Joined:
    05.15.12
    Messages:
    481
    Status:
    Dental Student
    :thumbup:

    One of my mentors told me, "It's not the school that makes the student, but rather the student that makes the school." Something to keep in mind.
  45. torobcheh21

    torobcheh21

    Joined:
    02.09.12
    Messages:
    103
    Status:
    Pre-Dental
    Thank you everyone who helped me out! I can't tell you how appreciate I am. Many of you went above and beyond with your PMs and I'm grateful for that.

    As of now I'm set on UOP. My whole life I've been money conscious and I finally decided solely on which school I think is better. Regardless of the schools we pick, dental school is an investment and should be treated as such. So I asked myself which school I wanted to go to if price wasn't the primary factor...

    Thank you once again everyone and I look forward to what the future holds.
  46. UCSFx2017

    UCSFx2017 username is misleading

    Joined:
    10.11.07
    Messages:
    1,103
    Location:
    MCV/VCU
    Status:
    Dental Student
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    What a coincidence because I think I've finally made my decision to attend my state school. *yawn* I'm tired. It's 4:50 a.m.

    I hope you made a 20-year post-graduate plan by calculating the total cost-of-attendance beginning and after full payback, monthly repayment, duration of repayment, timeliness of opening your own practice, likely age of when you'll be debt free from dental school so that you can take on another form of debt from buying your practice, when you'll likely get married/have kids/buy house, cost of saving for kid's college, save for retirement, etc.

    I only calculated the first half of that list and I didn't like where I was heading...

    Remember you're a dentist meaning you're both a clinician and a small business owner. I don't think it's reasonable to be "money conscious", more specifically high-interest debt conscious, from ages 1-to-21, but skip ages 22-26 for dental school, and then revert back to being money conscious again from age >27 onward.

    If we were to consider only the population of dental students attending dental school and not the entire U.S. population at-large, the cost of attending dental school is not an investment but rather an accounting liability that increases your indebtedness with time and does not increase in value like a normal investment should since you have the same earning potential as every other dentist. Even though the tuition rates increase every year, is the market getting any better?
    I wish we could go back a decade when the cost of dental schools could differ by $100K but their full cost-of-attendance never exceeded an amount sizeable enough (>$200K) that cost would be an overarching factor in school selection.
    Last edited: 03.22.13
  47. John Durian

    John Durian Durio zibethinus

    Joined:
    08.20.08
    Messages:
    541
    Status:
    Dental Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    OP can always go the NHSC or military route
  48. JAWSSS

    JAWSSS

    Joined:
    07.21.12
    Messages:
    686
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Status:
    Dental Student
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    Congrats on your choice to attend UOP! Enjoy San Fran, its awesome!

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