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Dental School Questions

Discussion in 'Dental' started by Rastaman190e, Apr 20, 2004.

  1. Rastaman190e

    Rastaman190e New Member

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    Hello all:

    Newbie here. I have been lurking in the dark for some time reading posts to get a sense of the general level of thought and the extent of sharing between members that occurs here. it is all good and is a nice thing to see (?)/read?

    I am a former environementalist/network engineer/wanna-be-professional soccer player who is making the switch to dentistry -time to grow up and get a real job, you might say :) .

    As I shadow my dentist and explore the many dental programs and their respective focus, I find that I am having a hard time formulating questions that go beyond the general questions. I already know that their mean gpa is and how much it is going to cost me to go to dental school but I know there is so much more to each dental program than the statistics they throw at you.

    What I want to ask are the probing questions that get to the true culture of a school's environment and how happy their students are etc, etc. So the impetus behind this long intro is to ask you to think about some questions whose answers to, knowing what you know now, would have helped you greatly in figuring out if a particular program is right for you or if the school is equipped to help you be the best dentist you want to be.

    i know this might be a whole bit to ask for and most of you will have to stop scanning for a bit but please take the time to respond. I will appreciate it greatly.

    Thanks.
     
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  3. Westside22

    Westside22 Senior Member
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    what a loaded question, I can write a book...

    but I do like questions like these... so let's see...

    Keep in mind that it won't be a smooth ride. There will be days or weeks when you will get bombarded with things at school. Exams, clinics, this appointment and that appointment, this deadline and that deadline. But there are weeks when things slow down. Also try to keep other non-academic things in balance, don't let boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wifes, etc and any related issues affect school, know how to handle things before they get out of hand in the realm of personal matters. I see some of my classmates go crazy because they can't handle a bf or gf and they use that as an excuse for not doing well in school. Granted that we need bfs and gfs and some luvin, it shouldn't affect school because truth be told you can't say my bf dumped me so can I retake the exam, ya know?

    Do know that in a class of 80 to 140 something students, everyone is different. Some are married, some are single, some are young in their early 20s, some are in their late 20s and early 30s. Just learn to ignore the things that bother you, and try to focus on what you personally want out of the program. Alot of times I hear many of my classmates complain. My personal policy is, if there is something that you can do about it, then do it and change it, if not, then get with the program, get through it,and move on, and be thankful that you are in school, etc. Don't think that the school that you almost got into across the country is somehow better, you dont know, if you made the wrong decision to be at the wrong school, well, too bad, get with it, and get through it, or transfer if you cant.

    I just get sick of hearing people complain. So my advice is, schools are always improving. Not every program is perfect. Be ready to adapt, change, and try to stay positive. Don't fall into the trap of sitting around complaining about things that are not important at the end of the day or in the long run.

    LEARN who your friends are, who you can count on and who you cannot count on. KNOW who will take your notes and not return them before an exams, KNOW who will or will not return your calls if you need help the night before an exam, etc. Sooner or later, people's true self kinda show, so just be careful, dont step on any toes, but be cautious too.

    Okay i will stop here.
     
  4. critterbug

    critterbug I like big buttz. No Lie!
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  5. Mo007

    Mo007 Gifted Hands
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    I am from Boston too... and this city is a very popular Dental-School city. I don't think you can find a city in the nation which has 3 Dental Schools, and all 3 of them have their own different settings. I think you should check them out, and use their differences to get an idea of the kind of scenes all dental schools have. You should get in touch with the adcoms, they will be happy to show you around, and you will have an oppertunity to meet students who can tell you their personal experiences (pros and cons).

    Again, Harvard, BU and Tufts have distinct qualities in many aspects.
     
  6. HBomb

    HBomb Senior Member
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    Nice post Westside. I'm gonna take your advice and run with it myself.
     
  7. Jone

    Jone Senior Member
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    rastaman,

    you should really look into the clinical experience the school offers. enough patients? variety of cases? reasonable graduation requirements? do a lot of students end up staying the summer after D4 to finish clinical requirements, or do most graduate on time. do they give you decent clinical exposure to all the specialties so you can make a determination if you want to pursue post-doc training?

    how do the professors treat you? at some schools, they have a chip on their shoulders. at others, they actually care.

    if you're interested in research, does the school have ongoing projects that interest you?

    how is the curriculum structured? do they give you enough weeks of break to study for NBDE1? do they give you 12 exams in one week every month, or 3 exams every week of every month? summers off, or summer school?

    also it's important to know what the student culture is, but be warned, that is somewhat independent of the school. what i mean is, if all the students at ABC University are laid back and cooperative, that does not mean that your entering class will not by chance be a bunch of cutthroats. at every school there are good years and bad years -- it's luck of the draw.
     
  8. jaxx

    jaxx Junior Member
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    As stated previously, choosing a Dental School is far from easy and in many respects, very personal. Questions you should ask when visiting include: what is the patient supply like? some schools have little problem getting patients while in others students troll the shopping malls handing out their cards to intice patients to come in. Do you want to do research? be a good clinician? Have fun while in dental school? Ask students at the school you are visiting. Is the faculty there to teach or do they have other agendas? Actually, you will not find one school where they are one way or the other, Just try to find one that is generally more helpful. Are they current (often diffucult for prospective students to find out - ask students) Other good questions, would you come here again if you knew then what you know now. Other important things to keep in mind - does the school generally teach students in the manner you like to learn?
     
  9. cnn

    cnn Junior Member
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    Hello Dental students!

    I have a question that is also relatively loaded, but on behalf of a good friend. I'm a medical student, but I have a friend who is strongly considering applying to Dental school ASAP. I guess you could say he is a non-traditional applicant. Since I know that this forum is a great place to get advice, info, etc.. I thought I would ask the professionals (you all) a question or two, for anyone patient enough to take a look: Here are his issues:

    -He graduated with a joing undergrad degree in computer information systems and finance in 2001. He's been working in IT since then and doing relatively well, but is now looking to possibly go back to school, i.e. dental school..
    -Being in the application situation myself, I tried the best I could to give him some info, but my knowledge is more suited to med school rather than dental, so the details are a bit different. He's shooting for matriculation in fall of 2005 (next year)..
    -Here are the concerns: He has taken the full year of college general chemistry, but still needs to take o-chem and physics. He has AP credit in Biology (does that count anywhere?).
    -In terms of timing, etc.. does anyone have any idea as to the plausibility of the following scenario: He would finish his physics and ochem in two summer sessions at a univeristy this summer, put in the application to dental schools around August, and prepare to take the DAT in October or November... That was the plan I offered him, although I know it will be tough, but is it possible?

    Any ideas relating to this and also to the whole concept of switching from the workforce back to school.. sorry about the long post, and I would really appreciate any feedback.
    :)
     
  10. Midoc

    Midoc Senior Member
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    cnn, I would think it would be extremely difficult to finish two normal semesters worth of O-chem during one summer semester. The timing would probably have to be o-chem 1 in the summer and o-chem 2 in the fall. He can send his application in early but it won't get considered very much if they don't have his results from the DAT yet. I would suggest he take the DAT in October at the latest. Even if he has to study o-chem material that they haven't covered in class yet it would be best it to take it as soon as possible.
     
  11. HBomb

    HBomb Senior Member
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    cnn,

    Here are my thoughts:

    Similar to Midoc, I think what your friend is trying to do is VERY difficult. I'm already assuming your friend is not planning on working this summer because it would be practically impossible with a full-time job. I think your friend better be a very motivated individual and one that is an effective self-learner. As Midoc said, take the DAT in October at the latest. Sooner if possible, but I doubt that it is.

    If your friend still intends to continue this path, I think he/she should do OChem and Bio this summer, instead of Physics. Physics is not on the DAT, though it is a requirement to a lot of schools. Your friend can take physics later during the fall and winter. I don't think AP Bio will count towards fulfilling the dental school requirement, though it will appear on the AADSAS application. Your friend will still need to complete a year of Bio plus biochemistry for some schools.

    Finally, if I were to make a recommendation (though I hardly know anything about your friend), I'd say that 2006 is more realistic of a goal. I just think your friend would be setting himself/herself up for failure if he/she tries for 2005. To me, I think the 2005 path is a bit more unrealistic than ambitious. Of course, that's just what I think. Perhaps you or your friend would disagree, and that's okay by me.

    Good luck always.
     
  12. Mo007

    Mo007 Gifted Hands
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    cnn: your friend can look for a school that offers intensive science courses this summer. He maybe able to take Ochem series if he finds a school and just focuses.

    I took all my Organic series in 8 weeks summer session at a 4yrs school in Columbus, Ohio (Capital U.). They still offer that summer intensive course (www.capital.edu) along with other science courses like; all your maths series (including calcs) in 8 weeks, your general chems, bio, physics, biochemistry series in 8 weeks... But BOY! - it was just - drink organic, eat organic and sleep organic, for 8 straight weeks.

    I think the class started with ~ 100 students (3 different groups), and 30% dropped out half-way. We covered 1-2 chapters each day, and had midterms every Monday and Friday. Classes were during the morning (9-12pm), labs in the afternoon (1-5pm). 90% of the class were pre-meds, 5% pre-dents, and the rest were other science majors. I ended up with B+, and my average was 91%. There were no "A-", and "A" started at 93%. I had this major argument with the professor about that, but he told me other schools will look my "B+" as "A" due to the intensity of the program.

    I enjoyed it.
     
  13. ToothMonkey

    ToothMonkey Senior Member
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    I also took summer Orgo (a 9-week session). It wasn't exactly the most fun I've ever had in my life, but I got through it. Ironically I ended up with a better grade in it than I did taking Gen Chem over the course of an entire year.

    I would think that anyone who plans on getting through dental school should be able to make it through summer Orgo in one piece. Honestly, if cnn's friend can't handle nine weeks worth of a heavy courseload then how can he expect to survive four *years* of dental curriculum?

    Then again, I didn't take physics at the same time. That might be pushing it...dunno...
     
  14. grettlin2

    grettlin2 Senior Member
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    I partly agree about ToothMonkey. Everyone who is interested in dental scholl should have the ability to pass through it. However, if you don't get accepted into dental school, it does not mean anything. My opinion is, as usual, to get as high GPA as possible. If you think you can get A in regular semester instead of summer, then you should just wait until Fall.
    Remember, the keys to dental school are good GPA and DAT scores. As my advisor said, you should use smart strategy to get high GPA instead of rush. That is my opinion.
     
  15. UNLV OMS GUNNABE

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    I think he should go for it and get things done as fast as possible. I would say he could even take the DAT earlier than planned. I took the DAT with only 1 month of o-chem under my belt. Granted I didn't do so hot in that section (17) my other sections made up for it. If he is a pretty smart guy he should take some o-chem and bio, take the DAT in the summer and apply ASAP. The earlier the better. He will definately be stoked if he can get in a year early.
     
  16. cnn

    cnn Junior Member
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    Thanks so much for all the responses... I will forward your comments to him.. Its good to see that so many people are willing to offer a word of advice.. As for me, I agree with all of the comments to lesser or greater extent.. I myself took ochem in the summer, and personally did better than i did during the semester.. But i didn't take it with any other science course.. so who knows.. As for my friend, he definately has the ability to do well.. I think he had an undergrad GPA somewhere in the ball park of 3.8 or more..

    Can anyone comment on the the joys/and/or difficulties of being in Dental school and how it is to support oneself financially... i.e. aid, working? etc..

    thanks again :)
     
  17. HBomb

    HBomb Senior Member
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    cnn,

    I have a few questions. Does your friend plan on working full time in the summer and fall? Also, which dental schools would your friend want to attend. What I'm asking is if your friend is picky or will almost any dental school do?

    Quite frankly, I'm surprised that so many people paint such a bright picture for 2005. I don't mean to paint such a negative one. In fact, I say go for it too, but also, I'm just saying if at some point during the process, if it doesn't seem doable, then 2006 is an option. Certainly, if you can get into school one year earlier, then you have to go for it...though I still think in this case 2006 is more realistic.

    I think it would be extremely difficult if your friend is working full time. Also, with only high school bio (I'm assuming that), it's not enough bio background. I'm not doubting your friend has the ability to do well, but time to learn the material plays a major factor...like the time it will take to learn the Perceptual section, the time to recall and practice GChem, the time to memorize all the stuff for OChem and Bio. I'm also assuming that a candidate carrrying a 3.8 GPA will not be satisfied with going to any dental school, so getting a competitive DAT score is even more important...though the 3.8 GPA is just awesome for dental school admission.

    In regards to supporting oneself financially, I doubt a dental student will find time to work. In some states, I've heard that you can do dental hygiene on weekends in your third and fourth years. I have heard of cases where individuals work other part-time jobs during the school year, but I believe that's rare. For me, I know I will be taking out student loans.
     
  18. ItsGavinC

    Dentist Moderator Emeritus 15+ Year Member

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    I also think the plan is quite doable. Many others have done organic chemistry during the summer.

    Organic chemistry isn't the most difficult subject, and while there are many who struggle with it, there are also many who don't struggle with it and really enjoy it.
     

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