To all predents who are applying. I have read with great interest regarding all the postings about dental school rankings. Frankly I am very amused by all the discussion regarding which dental school is ranked higher than the other. Why am I amused by all this talk? Because rankings don't matter. Do you people actually see any dental school rankings in any published journal or periodical? Most likely not and there is a reason why. Dental schools were once ranked by US New and World Report but that was some time ago. ADA recognized the ridiculousness of the ranking and requested all dental schools to not answer any survey pertaining to dental school ranking. Sure there are schools that have been traditionally regarded as top tier dental schools and these are: U. of N carolina, U Michgan, Baylor, U. of Washington. But after these almost all dental schools are the same. For those interested in pursuing a specialty after dental school, the dental school that you attend does matter to some degree and you people should explore which dental school has historically place a lot of their graduates in specialty programs. Case in point. Harvard dental school has almost at least 80% of their class going on to specialty programs but is not traditionally regarded as strong clinically in training general dentist (This is the opinion of not only me but of countless others that I did talk to). Now that's not to say that Harvard is not an excellent dental school because it is but it's depends on what the applicant is looking for. Dental school is dental school. They all prepare you for clinical practice. It's just a matter of degree. So besides a select few dentals schools that I have mentioned above, all the dental schools are basically the same. Here are the factors that DO matter when selecting which dental school is best for you? (assume you are interested in general dentistry) 1. What is their patient pool and whether the school have problems securing patients. A poor patient pool in dental school means insufficient clinical training in the dental procedures that you are taught in pre-clinical. Once you graduate from dental school you better feel comfortable and knowledge in doing all aspects of general dentistry and again this goes back to the amount of patient that you treated while in dental school. For those pursuing GPR, then you have one more year to perfect your skills. 2. What percentage of the class that matriculated graduates ON TIME? Dental school can be expensive so you don't need to spend extra money if you don't have to. If the students don't graduate on time, then ask for the reason why? The school not preparing the schools or the beauracracy getting in the way. 3. What is the national boards and state licensure passage rate for that school? Not passing any of the above or on-time means no/delayed license. You want to pass these the first time because so much effort goes into studying, preparing, emotional stress. 4. How much pre-clinical laboratory training do you get at that school? Dentistry involves knowing how to evaluate what you get back from dental labs while you're out in practice. If you don't know what goes into it, then you don't know what you are getting or whether the lab is doing shotty work. But make sure that it doesn't overkill on the lab portion since a lot of it you'll never use in private practice. 5. Ask what the graduation requirements for that school is? Ask the students whether it's reasonable to achieve them or not. If they feel it's unreasonable then you are spending more money to stay in school longer. 6. Ask how happy are the students in their school and whether there is anything that they would change. Remember to ask people who are also not Tour-guides. This way you'll really get to gage how happy the students really are at their respective schools.