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Columbia, STonybrook and Upenn

Discussion in 'Dental' started by jeanniebluebird, Dec 7, 2005.

  1. jeanniebluebird

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    Hi all,
    I am trying to decide between Columbia, Stonybrook and Univ of Pennsylvania and would love any advice. These schools all seem great and its tough for me to decide.

    IN the end do you guys think i should just go to the cheapest school like everyone keeps saying? The difference between upenn and stony is only 44K...

    I've heard stony is supposed to be great both clinically and didactically. Is this true? What does the dental community feel about Stonybrook ( residency and specialty program directors in particular) I dont know if i want to specialize but want to leave the option open.

    Any advice from current students of these schools?
    (sorry this post is so long)
     
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  3. Miss Mammelon

    Miss Mammelon Member
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    Hi- I just posted the following for someone else on the forum. I'm a Columbia student in my last year- and this was my opinion. People tend to say go for the cheapest school & don't get lured into the "ivy", but I don't really agree that cheapest = best choice. Also, I just want to advise that ppl who attend the school are probably your most accurate source of info regarding the schools. Just be wary of other students' not-as-accurate info. For instance, I pay about 700/month for rent. I have my own big room in a 3 bdroom apt that I share w 2 other dental students. If you are married, you can also get couple's housing. People are under the false impression that you have to pay through the nose to live in the city- which is true in most cases, but as a Columbia student you can get "campus housing" in our apartments for much less.

    When I chose a dental school, I was offered a LOOOT of money from a few schools, but selected Columbia- which was a great choice for me. Overall I am very glad that I am here, and would not have done things differently.


    Well- here's my post from b4:
    I'm a 4th year at Columbia, and after reading this thread I think I need to speak up!!! My personal experience at Columbia has been excellent. Yes, any dental school will be A LOT of work. Columbia is no exception. However, we have a lot of benefits. We get a very strong foundation & understanding of dentistry and medicine. We are taught by some amazing faculty. We have some fantastic opportunities for research and student teaching (but are not forced to participate). If you have any inkling of doing a specialty or general residency (which some states like NY are leaning towards making mandatory anyway), we get lots of interviews and do great with matching most students to what they want to pursue at competitive programs.

    Not to mention, we are located right next to the subway, so you can get anywhere in NYC pretty easily! Take advantage of student rush tickets on Braodway (I've gone to a couple shows for cheap!)

    Also- speaking from nearly 4 years of experience as a Columbia dental student, it does impress ppl and patients that we are in an "ivy". I know it is silly, because there are some other fabulous programs, but I'm just telling you what I've seen. Hope that helps! Sounds like you're doing great with the dental school acceptances. Best wishes whatever you decide!
     
  4. jeanniebluebird

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    Thanks for the info!Thats 1 for the ivys. ANy others?
     
  5. StarGirl

    StarGirl .....
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    I vote for columbia too! funny, I just got my housing bill today...and here's what it comes down to... $717.60 a month for my own room w/ my own bathroom AND utilities PAID! (shared kitchen up on the 11th floor).


    I think I've gotten excellent trainning here. I think by the end of April (hopefully I'll be done w/ grad requirements then) I'll be very confident that I have received as much/more or similar clinical requirements as more other schools. We have a very good variety of cases and patients and we're exposed to everything! They encourage to try everything. example: You get to restore implants (some schools don't let predocs....).

    Some people may not like the system, cause we're really overworked a lot (especially first two years when you have all those med and dental classes AND labs). But last two years you schedule your own patients so you have some flexiblity...

    overall, the only thing i would change is that I'll make winters shorter, and spring longer...burr... i feel the snowstorm coming....
     
  6. BigRedDentist

    BigRedDentist Senior Member
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    I am trying to decide between Penn and Columbia too. Any advice?
     
  7. jeanniebluebird

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    Thanks Stargirl!
    How about the money? DO you think its worth 100K more than STonybrook to go to Columbia? I mean in the end will the name Columbia give an advantage over STony?

    I think the workload may be the same since both schools take classes with med students? Am i right? :confused:
     
  8. quickfix

    quickfix dental resident
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    BigRedDentist and jeanniebluebird,

    Trying to decide which dental school to attend is difficult and I wish you both the best of luck with your decision. Currently, I am a 2nd year at Columbia and I can say that overall I am satisfied with my choice. Sure there are days when I wish I would have gone to a less expensive school or one that wasn’t so intellectually demanding, but more often than not I am thankful I am here. As far as UPenn or Stoneybrook, I would think they are excellent programs as well but for various reasons they were just not for me.

    One of the biggest reasons I opted for CU was because my sister had recently moved to NYC after marrying her long time boyfriend (who happens to be a Columbia law school grad) and I wanted to be close enough to visit her whenever I have free time or when I need some family support. This support has worked out nicely for me.

    Another big draw is that I feel the reputation of Columbia is very hard to beat and I really love answering the question “so where do you go to school?”. In medicine and dentistry reputation is important b/c people want high quality healthcare. Often times they don’t know the esoteric nature of the field but they do recognize the name. I do not want to have to be explaining to them yes I went through all this training and had top notch schooling just to gain their trust. Other people might find this is not as important and they may very well be correct, however, to me reputation is important.

    Rent has come up as an issue, but I would not worry about it too much b/c like Miss Mammelon stated campus housing is very reasonable. Looking over my bill as I type this it turns out it to be $19.24/day which is ~ $577/ month for my studio located right across the street from the school. I have my own bathroom and I share a kitchen with another classmate. This is something that would be impossible to find if you were not a student and it fits me nicely.

    If you want to specialize I think that any school will be good. I would not pick a dental school based on my chances of getting into a specialty just as I did not pick a college based on my chances of getting into dental school. I don’t know what the stats are and I am not going to comment on them so I would encourage you to do some research.

    To wrap this up, the biggest advice that I can give you is to concentrate on what school offers you the best chance of success. Spend as much time researching what the school offers as you spend figuring out what you want in a school.
     
  9. jeanniebluebird

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    Thanks everybody! You have given me alot to think about. I just need figure out where ill be happiest and do my best. Forget about the money.
     
  10. Rube

    Rube Member
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    An extra 100k is $733.76 (@8.00 %) per month for the next 30 years. Is paying an extra 733 month for 30 years worth it? I don't know, but you should consider this aspect along with all the other aspects. Congrats on your acceptances.
     
  11. LIer2010

    LIer2010 Senior Member
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    $733.76 per month, in the grand scheme of things, is not that big of a deal. It's equivalent to a simple procedure and a half. I'm sure you can fit it into your schedule in the course of a month. Besides, who says you have to pay the debt over 30 years? If you really strive at it, I'm sure you can pay it off in less than 10 years, with MUCH less total interest amount to pay.
    In other words, don't let 100k be the ultimate deciding factor in choosing a dental school.
     
  12. ncalcate

    ncalcate Senior Member
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    I think this is somewhat of a simplification. Just because a patient is billed $700 for a procedure doesn't mean the dentist walks away with all that. There is overhead in an office to be paid for, and you have to take into account that as a dentist, approximately 1/3 of your income will be consumed by federal and state taxes. So it'll take you a LOT more than 1.5 procedures per month to make up the extra money.

    I ran the numbers (from finaid.org):

    $250,000 loan - 10 year repayment schedule - 8.25%: $3066 per month
    $150,000 loan - 10 year repayment schedule - 8.25%: $1839 per month

    So if you chose Columbia, you would be paying $1227 MORE per month than you would if you chose Stonybrook. If you assume a 33% overall tax rate, then you would need to produce an extra $1840 in pre-tax income to cover the extra costs associated with Columbia.

    An extra $1840 in income for ten years is definitely doable, but it is a good chunk of money. So I would really think it through. Cost should definitely be a factor in your decision. Good luck.
     
  13. LIer2010

    LIer2010 Senior Member
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    I think your figures are a bit exaggerated to favor your point. First of all, overhead costs are constant regardless of how many procedures you do. You definitely don't pay more rent or pay your secretary more because you do a few extra procedures a month. Also, 8.25% seems like a very unfavorable rate, especially these days. I'm quite sure you can do better if you're getting mostly federal loans. Furthermore, where did you get a 33% tax rate? That's a bit too high, especially since if you own a private practice you get a fair amount of tax deductions (unless you're gonna practice in Canada). Remember, taxable income is different from gross or net income. And lastly, let's take your $1830 figure for argument sake: that's equivalent to 4-5 procedures a month. If you were to work, say, 16 days a month (4 days a week), that's equivalent to 0.25 more procedures per day, or one more procedure per week. IMHO, that's not too big of a deal, unless your practice is really suffering, in which case you may start wondering what would've been if you had attended a more illustrious (at least in the eyes of the public) school .
     
  14. Dr.BadVibes

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    its easy for people to say that money shouldnt be a problem when they've lived their entire lives in their parent's basement and havent paid a real bill in their life.
     
  15. LIer2010

    LIer2010 Senior Member
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    Well using your logic, you shouldn't say anything regarding finances of a dentist because you're not a dentist yet. Ad hominem attacks are useless, especially if you don't know facts about your opponent. How would it be possible to assume that EVERYONE who "say that money shouldnt be a problem" also had to have "lived their entire lives in their parent's basement ..."? It's completely baseless, and definitely comes from an unwarrented prejudice.
     
  16. Dr.BadVibes

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    You know what....you're right. From now on Im gonna use your financial logic and see things as just procedures.

    New Ferrari?? psshhh...I can just lease that and pay it off with a few crowns a month....

    I kinda liked that Tiffany dinner set....no problem....a few veneers here and there and its paid for!!!!

    wait...I also liked that 15 diamond Rolex, but its expensive and maybe I should just get a Movado....meh, just get the 15 diamond...I can easily pay off the difference with a couple of root canals....

    Oh I cant wait...my life is gonna be so stacked with stuff now!!! Thanks Lier2010 for showing me the way!!!
     
  17. gryffindor

    Dentist 10+ Year Member

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    Well then take it from a dentist - the above statement is just completely bogus. Patients almost rarely step foot into your office based on what your dental alma mater is. And I'm gonna say that none of the dental schools discussed on this thread teach you nearly enough practice management to go out there and be able to start out doing amazing production from day 1, especially if you are looking to start up in the saturated areas these schools are in - NYC, Philly, Long Island.

    When you get out and start working, it's not just those student loans you have to pay off. Start figuring in your monthly payments for health insurance, malpractice insurance, disability insurance, rent/mortgage, car, practice (if you buy right away) - and all of a sudden every check you write is really taking a huge chunk away from that Rolex & yacht fund you had been dreaming about as a pre-dent.
     
  18. ncalcate

    ncalcate Senior Member
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    You bring up a lot of points here, almost too many to address here. But here goes.

    The 33% tax rate is an approximation of what you would expect to face. Check out:

    http://www.smbiz.com/sbrl001.html#pis05

    The 28% Federal tax rate kicks in at $71,950 per year. The 33% Federal tax rate kicks in at incomes in excess of $150,100 per year. When you factor in state taxes ( http://taxes.yahoo.com/statereport.html ), which can be as high as 8% per year in certain states, you’re looking at an effective tax rate in excess of 33%. So 33% per year in taxes is a very reasonable approximation. Now, you will have some deductions to reduce your gross income (which will give you your taxable income), but those deductions can only go so far before the AMT will kick in. So bottom line, you’ll be taxed around 33% per year.

    Contrary to your assertion, many of your overhead expenses are in fact dependent upon how much you bill. It is true that your rent doesn’t go up when you see more patients, but nearly every other expense will go up. Assistant salaries, Hygienist salaries, lab bills (the more crown preps you do the more lab bills you have), supply costs, employee insurance costs, 401(k) matching expenses, and about 20 other things that neither you nor I have thought of. If you don’t believe me, you can check out dentaltown.com, where most GPs will state that the average overhead is 60%. So for a $1000 procedure, your pre-tax income is $400, with $600 going to overhead. After tax, you’re looking at less than $300. So it will take you a lot longer to pay off the $1830 than you think. You can’t just bill a patient $1,000 and somehow think that you’ll walk away with $1,000. It doesn’t work that way.

    Regarding the 8.25%, that is the number that finaid.org filled in for me. You can get a better rate for some of your loans, but when you go above the maximum (which I believe is around $38,000 per year), the rates will be much higher. And as I am sure you are aware, interest rates have been increased 12 times in the past 16 months (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9884272/). And with Congress just passing a budget bill that will specifically result in higher interest rates for students (http://abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id=1437044), I don’t think 8.25% is unreasonable. If it was, why would finaid.org be using that number?

    At the end of the day, the extra $100K is a lot of money… an extra $1830 of pre-tax income per month that one would need to devote to loans (using the numbers I put forth in my original post). It is not something that can be dismissed as “a couple of extra procedures per month.” Of course, if you have direct, hard data that contradicts what I am saying, I think everyone here would benefit from that. But do include a link so we can see it for ourselves.

    This is the reason why every single dentist I ever talked to told me “Go to the cheapest school that will accept you. In my 20 years of practice, no one has ever asked me where I went to dental school.” And one of those dentists graduated from an Ivy League dental school! The OP would be wise to consider all of this when making his/her decision.
     
  19. Buckyball

    Buckyball Play with my "Buckyballs"
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    Hey.... back to the subject at hand... Columbia ROCKS! Being a 4th year there, I can tell you, I am happy with the decision that I made. You'll get a great base in medicine and dentistry, and yes, it's a little more expensive than your other schools (which are great programs), but at least you get to live in the best city, NYC! How many people can say they've done that. So, you pay for what you get, and you will have a blast here.... but you know that, because you're from Queens, which is only a 7 train away!

    Penn is a great school, and so is Stony Brook, but I can only speak of CU and yes, you'll be put though the ringer, but you'll reap the benefits in the end!

    Bucky
     
  20. I'mFillingFine

    I'mFillingFine Pulptastic
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    Are there any grads and practicing dentists from private schools who can comment on the progress of their loan repayment?
     
  21. pama80

    pama80 Junior Member
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    don't worry about which schools you pick because they are all good schools.

    regarding on columbia, as a student there right now, a person can learn a lot of scientific facts, which mean strong academic programs. (which doesn't mean a lot for me. oh, by the way, when applicants talk to current studnets, you guys talk to those ones who love the school.)
    but in terms of dental practice and techniques, they are same everywhere.

    and the school doesn't improve ones' odds to go to specialties..

    so, pick carefully.
     
  22. LIer2010

    LIer2010 Senior Member
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    I feel like I have to repeat myself a little bit ...
    As I said before, 33% tax rate is aimed at taxable income. I used to work at a private medical office and managed finances so I know how much of the income you would be taxed ... trust me - the taxable income is FAR lower than what you would expect. Regarding overhead costs - yes, I know it's a lot of amount. What I was referring to though was that your INCREASE in overhead costs due to doing ~4-6 extra procedures a month would be minimal/inconsequential. I checked finaid.org website as well ... if you look at the fed interest rate section, it's closer to 6.5%. Let's take $38000 per year max .. that's $152000 in 4 years ... the rest can be covered via other loans, most of which (assuming you have a decent credit) are not likely go to beyond ~8.5%. Of course, like you said, if the govt decides to raise the interest rates for students it would make it more difficult, although by how much it remains to be seen.

    As for patients not caring about dentists' alma mater ... well, it certainly does come into play in certain neighborhoods, although to which extent nobody honestly knows because no scientific study has been done on the topic. However, what I was referring was, you yourself as a dentist may wonder one day about what could have been different if you went to a different school, especially if your practice isn't doing well.
     
  23. r0entgen

    r0entgen Senior Member
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    what do you mean by this? doesn't it say something when a school has a larger percentage of students going into specialty? i mean, they can't all be "top" of their class right?
     
  24. I'mFillingFine

    I'mFillingFine Pulptastic
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    I can see what s/he was saying (speaking from a predent perspective). From talking to other students, the percentages of grads going into practice, into GPRs, and into specialties is quite relative.

    For instance, some schools count ALL residencies as specialties. Others prep their students really well so that they feel ready to go right into practice, but this might come out as a drop in "specialty placement". And maybe others instill certain values in the students, either valueing or shying away from a certain lifestyle...so it's hard to say!

    From what I"ve heard, you can get into the specialty of your dreams from ANY school, if you stick to your goals and stay at the top of your class. Everything's so relative!
     
  25. r0entgen

    r0entgen Senior Member
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    i do realise that some schools count all residencies as specialties, but i'm not really looking at their specialising percentages. i am looking at the breakdown of how many students get into each specialty. i think for the past few years at upenn, about 10 people got into ortho alone. even if these 10 people were at the top of their class, what about the other students who enter other specialty areas? surely not all the students at penn who matched into a specialty were "top of their class."

    what do you all think? everyone is saying the school doesn't matter...but doesn't it seem like more harvard, penn, and columbia students get into specialty areas than other schools?
     
  26. gryffindor

    Dentist 10+ Year Member

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    It doesn't matter if 10 got into ortho, how many applied? More students are getting into specialties from certain schools because more apply from those schools. I have met ortho applicants from all 3 of those schools who did not get in on their first tries and had to reapply, so much for that.
     
  27. r0entgen

    r0entgen Senior Member
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    does it matter what the RATE is? i'm talking about the number itself. people keep saying we need to be top of our class to specialise. but if 10 people from penn got into ortho alone, then that's _not_so_much_ top of the class, right?

    sure, even if all 116 students from penn applied for ortho, and only 10 got in, then the rate isn't that great. but nevertheless, 10 people got into ortho alone...and after including the other students who got into the other specialty areas, it no longer seems true that one needs to be in the top of his class in order to specialise... :confused:
     
  28. ncalcate

    ncalcate Senior Member
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    There is no need to repeat yourself, because I specifically addressed the issue of taxable vs. gross income in my last post. But perhaps I need to elaborate. You seem to be disputing that a dentist wouldn't have a 33% tax rate. Your logic is because his/her gross income would be reduced by many deductions. If this were the case, then the dentist would need to reduce his/her gross income by over $100,000 per year in order to have income that doesn't exceed $71,950 (the threshold for the 28% tax bracket). According to the ADA, the average GP in private practice makes $185,000 per year. So basically, according to you, a dentist would need to have $113,000 in deductions per year. That would make their TAXABLE income exactly $71,950. That would ensure that they were in the 25% federal tax bracket and probably a 5% state tax rate.

    Even if this were true - that a dentist could continually produce $113,000 in deductions per year - the dentist would still be in the 5% state tax bracket and 25% federal tax bracket. So their tax burden would still be high - and because of these taxes alone they would not be able to accomodate the extra loan burden with just a couple of extra procedures per month.

    Regarding your claim that additional procedures would not increase your overhead costs signficantly, I really don't follow your logic. If you were to do a crown prep and issue for a patient, the lab bill alone for that would be probably $100, if not more, especially if it was a gold crown. In addition, for that procedure, you will have to pay your assistant, use expensive impression materials, use temporary crown materials, dental cement, sterilize instruments, pay money to your receptionist, and other bills. So a claim that a couple of extra procedures would not incrementally increase your operating costs doesn't make any sense. As I mentioned in my last post, which has been confirmed by dentists at dentaltown.com, overhead is typically 60%. A simple "extra" procedure would in fact incur the same amount of overhead as any other procedure that you would do during that day. How could this "extra" procedure not be subjected to this 60% overhead while all of the other procedures are?

    If you want to convince yourself and other people that the extra $100,000 required to attend a private school over a public school can be paid back with only "1.5 procedures per month", you can do that. But you and everyone else who listened to you will be in for a big surprise your first year out. At that point, you will be surrounded by colleagues who have comparable clinical skills but who have student loan payments nearly half of yours. And you'll probably start wondering why you chose a private school over a public school, especially, using your logic, "if your practice isn't doing so well."

    At any rate, the private schools listed in this thread are fine institutions, and I wish you and everyone else who chooses to attend these schools the best of luck. All of these schools produce great dentists. If you want to learn more about how dental practices are really run and what it is really like to pay off private-school loans, I suggest you visit the forums at dentaltown.com. You can learn a lot on that site. I know I did. Take care.
     
  29. gryffindor

    Dentist 10+ Year Member

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    Sure the rate matters. Because from the outside looking in, 10 people getting into ortho sounds great! But if 20 applied and 10 got in, then it sucks for the 10 who wanted it and didn't get a spot. Those 10 who got in were not ranked #90 - 100; they are probably somewhere between #1 - 20ish.

    The point of being at the top to the class to specialize is that it will give you the most chances at interviews. Programs like numbers. Ortho isn't like dental school admissions where there are a good mix of students with low scores and high scores applying so obviously the high scorers will get invited first. It's a self selected group of applicants and the MAJORITY who apply have good stats. The person applying from UPenn for ortho at the bottom of the class with a 82 on the boards is not going to have such a great shot at ortho compared to his academic stud classmates also applying.

    Besides, specializing isn't a MUST for dentistry. The default for dental school is GENERAL DENTISTRY. You specialize because you want to limit your practice to one area, not because it's mandatory to have a succesful career.

    Go over to dentaltown and read this thread: "I am broke as an associate" by UPEnn2002. Poor guy has all this Ivy education and is still struggling to make ends meet. :eek:
     
  30. r0entgen

    r0entgen Senior Member
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    i've read that post before...to be honest, he just sounds like an idiot...so i'm not very disturbed by the fact that he's in so much debt.

    i think we are talking on different terms here.

    you seem to be talking about the specialisation rate of a school...and how we can take into consideration our CHANCES of getting into a specialty based on these percentages. i agree with that point. it measn nothing if 10 people got into ortho, and 100 people applied.

    BUT, i'm talking about something else here. people keep insisting that we must be top of our class in order to SPECIALISE. i am assuming top of class means top 10? i don't know.

    but if a school has 30-40 people specialising, a good bunch of those are NOT top of the class. this is the only point i'm trying to make. i'm not trying to make any assumptions about the CHANCES of getting in...hence, i don't need to know anything about the RATE. even if EVERYONE at penn applies to specialty, and only 30-40 get in, my point is proven already. you don't need to be top of your class to specialise if you are at particular schools...because if the 35th person gets into a specialty...well, i don't consider that "top of the class"...

    hope this is clearer :)
     
  31. Dr.BadVibes

    Dr.BadVibes Membership Revoked
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    Just remember that those guys on dentaltown paid a much lower amount for their dental school

    When a dentist tells you that the debt is easy to pay off, keep in mind that this dentist probably went to dental school when it was $5000/year!! If you tell them that dental schools nowadays can cost up to $300K, then they'll probabyl $hit their pants and give you some new advice. Try it!
     

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