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Factors for choosing dental schools

Discussion in 'Pre-Dental' started by squishee, Aug 8, 2006.

  1. squishee

    squishee New Member

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    Hey all,

    For those of you who've already applied or already gotten in, what were the biggest factors in your decision to go to your dental school of choice? I've been hearing that prestige isn't so much a factor as location and the amount of debt that you'll be coming out with. I'm deciding whether or not I want to go to a state school because I don't want to accumulate massive debt, but I do want a decent shot at specializing. I know if you're intent on oral surgery, then Columbia is the way to go, but I'm not sure 3X the tuition plus living in NYC is really worth the cost.

    Any advice?

    Thanks a ton!
     
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  3. WVUdental

    WVUdental Membership Revoked
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    I choose WVU over my home state college (UNC) because WVU has a well known clinical program and for several years has had a 100% board passing rate. Also, the school just put millions of dollars into their completely new labs and classrooms.

    can't beat that!
     
  4. L8DYV

    L8DYV refreshing
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    Staying in state mostly because of familiarity, good curriculum, freindly administrators, location near the ocean and shopping retailers especially!!
     
  5. dat_student

    dat_student Junior Member
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    #1) success of current & past students
    #2) professors
    #3) tuition & scholarship
     
  6. squishee

    squishee New Member

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    How do you gauge the success of current and past students? Is all the info on the schools' websites (quality of professors, etc)?
     
  7. dat_student

    dat_student Junior Member
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    school's web site, internet, publications, journals, friends, professors, deans of admissions, etc. I give a few examples:

    http://uclasod.dent.ucla.edu/NewsEvents/main.asp?id=618
    "
    Recent Endodontics Meeting Highlights UCLA's Impact on the Specialty

    The news from Hawai'i is clear: the UCLA School of Dentistry is educating the current and future leaders in endodontic clinical practice and research. UCLA students and alumni made a very strong showing at the recent American Association of Endodontics meeting in Honolulu . Eight recent UCLA D.D.S. graduates, currently enrolled in endodontic specialty programs around the country, presented. Additionally, four graduates of UCLA specialty residency programs presented. And UCLA was the only school in the world to have three current dental students presenting.
    "

    http://uclasod.dent.ucla.edu/newsevents/main.asp?id=612
    "
    Congratulations are due to Dr. Marcela Romero, the First-Place Winner in the Post-doctoral Category at the AADR/Pfizer Hatton Awards Competition.
    "

    http://uclasod.dent.ucla.edu/NewsEvents/main.asp?id=514
    "
    I am ending this message on a very high note. The July 2004 Performance Summary of the Part I, National Board Dental Examinations, ranks our School as number 2 in the nation. The difference between our average score and that of the first ranked school is an infinitesimal 0.8 while the difference between our average score and the third ranked school is now greater by 2.8. This is wonderful news and I am proud of our students who did so well.
    "

    I hear match rate is quite high too. For example, last year, 23 UCLA students applied to ortho and 21 got in.

    For me, location was also an important factor. I like the area around UCLA: Westwood village/Beverly Hills/Bell Air/etc
     
  8. djeffreyt

    djeffreyt Senior Member
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    1) School that I will enjoy. (ask students there if they like it. some schools have professors who are hard-asses and mean. Some schools treat you like crap and don't listen to you at all) A major factor for me was being somewhere I would be happy to get up and go to each morning for 4 years.

    2) location - near family is better

    3) clinic - up to date equipment, clean, spacious
     
  9. gryffindor

    Dentist 10+ Year Member

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    1) Choose the school that will leave you with the least debt. You'll be thanking yourself when you actually get out in the real world and monthly loan repayments become reality.

    2) Score above 90 on your boards, rank in the top 10, and you will have a good shot at specializing in any field. Attending a certain dental school is NEVER a guarantee that you will get the specialty of your choice right away.

    Anything else is pointless, except maybe having your family close by if they will support you when you need it. Nice chairs, windows, digital x-rays, being happy in the morning - all meaningless because every dental school will give you grief in some category at some point and then you will start counting down the years/months/days till you get out.

    I've been out for 2 years, have been repaying my loans for a while, and am back in a specialty program (where I will accumulate more debt). When I look back at all of it, I am so thankful I was steered toward the path of less debt - it's really the only thing that matters out in the real world of dentistry.
     
  10. djeffreyt

    djeffreyt Senior Member
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    I'll admit that I've heard every dental school will give you problems at some point or another...that any school is hard and there will be days you will hate, but I've also heard from enough dentists about schools to realize there is a difference.

    At some schools, it seems like every person walking out the door now a says is saying "**** this school, I'm never ever coming back here or thinking about it or talking to anyone from it again."

    Then there are schools where the dentsits graduate and say "yeah, it was hard and tough, but I loved it."

    I'd rather go to the second school...maybe that's just how I am.
     
  11. squishee

    squishee New Member

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    I've been thinking a lot about this, and while ideally I'd like to go to school in Cali, my parents have been urging me to go in-state because of the tuition. Their advice is definitely practical and the most economically smart, but I went to undergrad in-state and I absolutely hated it my first few years (it's in a fairly rural area). I've gotten used to it by now, going into my 4th year, but I'm just afraid it'll be the same deal for grad school--thus the torn decision. Is going in-state going to impact my chances of practicing in a city? I've heard that dental schools are pretty much broken down by regions and that if you attend VCU for example, then you're pretty much confined to that general area of practice. Do grads find this to be true?
     
  12. SirShagaLot

    SirShagaLot Move Maker Extraordinaire
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    good question, unfortunately i can't answer it.
     
  13. gryffindor

    Dentist 10+ Year Member

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    I went to school in Buffalo. I worked in NYC for 2 years after graduation from dental school mainly because I craved the "city" experience I had heard so much about. As a dentist with a paycheck, I could afford a decent lifestyle there. There is no way I could have lived comfortably in NYC as a student without running loans up like crazy.

    During the first 2 years of dental school, I was too busy studying to really notice what was going on in the city where I lived. The lack of temptation was probably good in this case. It kept me focused on studying b/c I was aiming to specialize in ortho. My parents were also closeby to help me out if I needed it. Most dental schools are unlike undergrad. In undergrad, you take 2 hard clases balanced with 2 or 3 easy classes and have loads of free time. In dental school, you get thrown 10 classes at once - time management becomes much more difficult. Finals week in undergrad meant 4 finals spread over 5 days with each exam counting for 25 - 30% of the grade. Contrast that to finals week in dental school where we had 7 - 10 finals over those same 5 days, and this time each final counted from 50 - 100% (ouch!) of the grade. My dental school friends & I had fun too, but this was more in third & fourth year when we had more time to do stuff other than study & labwork.

    My classmates have ended up all over the country. Those who were from California & other states/countries mostly went home while others have gone to Philadelphia, Miami, Dallas, Boston, Atlanta etc. No one was "stuck" in Buffalo if they didn't want to be. Those who stayed in Buffalo did so because 1) they never wanted to leave or 2) they married someone from there who didn't want to leave. After you take any regional licensing exam your senior year (example = NERB, WREB, SRTA), you are free to move to any state that will accept the exam results & apply for a license. I took the NERB my senior year and currently hold licenses to practice in New York, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee - that covers a huge range of places I can work! I am elible for licenses in a bunch more states. Pretty much all that is required is to fill out some paperwork and fork over a check.

    Keep in mind that if you go on to specialize, it can often mean additional loans because not all dental residencies are paid positions.
     
  14. tinman831

    tinman831 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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  15. WVUdental

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    just choose the one that will let you in.

    not everyone has the luxury of choosing. (like I did!) :)
     

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