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Pre-dent Pre-dicament!

Discussion in 'Dental' started by Dr. Parm, Dec 6, 2005.

  1. Dr. Parm

    Dr. Parm Senior Member
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    Dear future Dentists and Specialists,

    This issue has been discussed to death on the pre-dental forum and I have not yet found my answer. I have currently been accepted to some dental schools and am left with a decision to make. Particularly, I have to decide between Columbia (Nice IVY league school which boasts of high Boards, and hence specialty placement) vs. UMDNJ (Nice, light on the pocketbook, state school with good clinical training).

    Please let me have your suggestions, as I am torn between the two schools. As a pre-dent, I have an inkling that I might want to specialize, but I am unsure due to the lack of information I have about dentistry to begin with. Is IVY prestige worth the extra $90,000 for dental school? That is basically what it boils down to, as I am sure that if I want to keep the option of specializing open, UMDNJ is not a bad school for it. Thanks in advance for your advice.
     
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  3. Dukie

    Dukie Senior Member
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    In a nutshell, go to the less expensive school. Ivy prestige doesn't really exist in dental schools- that's an undergraduate thing. In fact, most of the best dental schools in the country are not the ivys. I would focus more on what kind of training you want and where you want to be. Columbia has good research and is in NYC (though a pretty crappy part of it). NJ won't be nearly as fun to live in, but far less expensive and likely a better clinical experience. There are pros and cons to either. It really is up to what you are looking for. Hope that was somewhat helpful.
     
  4. Blue Tooth

    Blue Tooth Senior Member
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    Go to UMDNJ. I know people there are their clinical training seems very good and their board scores are pretty good too. Whatever a school tells you about their overall board scores doesn't mean sh!t. How well you do on boards is directly related to how much you're willing to sacrifice and study the month or so beforehand. Plus, many UMDNJ students live in NYC and commute in. You get the social life (when you have time) of living in the city, save a ton of money, get great clinical training, and still have as good an opportunity to specialize if you decide to do so as the rest of us.

    Columbia isn't worth it.
     
  5. Rezdawg

    Rezdawg 1K Member
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    UMDNJ for sure.
     
  6. Dr. Parm

    Dr. Parm Senior Member
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    Thanks for all your inputs. The jury seems to be in favor of UMDNJ, and I am now seeing the light somewhat. So I guess IVY prestige is not an issue if you want to just open up shop and practice. The money saved can definitely put to good use later on. And UMDNJ is not a bad school if you want to keep open the option of specializing in future. Thanks once again for your posts.
     
  7. Miss Mammelon

    Miss Mammelon Member
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    :) 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!
     
  8. Rube

    Rube Member
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  9. Rezdawg

    Rezdawg 1K Member
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    There is no doubt that Columbia gives it's students a great education and places many of its students into residency programs. However, the difference in the price tag is way too much. That is a lot of money we are talking about. If the difference was 20-40K, then its not a big deal. But, when you are reaching that 6 figure sum, then you really have to question why you'd go to the more "prestigious" of the two schools. Bottomline is that its just not worth it. UMDNJ is a fine school, will give you a great education, will provide you with plenty of experience, and will give you the chance to specialize, if thats what you eventually choose to do. Take that savings and put it to use when you are done with school. That will give you a great jump start to your career.
     
  10. Miss Mammelon

    Miss Mammelon Member
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    Isn't BU even more expensive? Looks like that is where you are.

    Anyway- I was just giving my opinion since I do go to school at Columbia. As for rent- there IS plenty of campus housing at the medical center. They even have "couples" apartments for married people. I live very close and only pay like 700 bucks/ month. I have a huge room, a window overlooking the river & 2 dental roommates in a 3 bdroom apt. So- unless u want to live downtown, it isn't necessary to pay 1800/month.
     
  11. jeanniebluebird

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    Hey is this true? On the housing website it states that they DO NOT have enough housing for everyone. It also says if you live in the tri-state area you are automatically on the bottom of the list. Im from queens so i'm pretty concerned about this. :scared:
     
  12. Rezdawg

    Rezdawg 1K Member
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  13. Miss Mammelon

    Miss Mammelon Member
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    I'm from the tri-state area, and I got housing in the apartments 1st year. My friend who lives upstairs is from Queens, and obviously has housing too. The one downfall is that there are 1st years who may get assigned to "Bard Hall", which I never did... Some ppl like Bard (one friend is still there in our 4th year!) Bard Hall is our "dorm-like" building for med/dental,etc. Of course, each person gets a private room, but not all rooms have personal bathrooms. Many have only sinks. My friend has a private bath, but in turn has a slightly smaller room. Win some/lose some.
     
  14. Miss Mammelon

    Miss Mammelon Member
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    If you truly cannot get campus housing, some ppl do live in the other neighboring apartments on the same street- so I haven't heard too much in the way of housing problems. I hope I'm at least somewhat helpful!
     
  15. Rezdawg

    Rezdawg 1K Member
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    I didnt have the option of going to my state school...didnt get accepted.
     
  16. Dr. Parm

    Dr. Parm Senior Member
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    What is the housing senario at Columbia? Is it pretty much a luck-of-the-draw? Because $700 is extremely nice for NYC. Furthermore, it reduces the living expenses quite a bit from the 1800/month estimate. I have also a question about the curriculum. Does it get frustrating to be held responsible for knowing what only the medical students "should" know? And is there a medical student/dental student schism that is apparent at Columbia? It seems like a lot of questions for one post. Please do your best to respond. I appreciate any inputs. Thanks.
     
  17. jeanniebluebird

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    Are students ranked at Columbia? How is this done if its is P/F/H? I figure people get a deans letter, but are there actual numbers to work from? Do you get graded for any exams and then get a final pass or fail or honors at the end of the semester?
     
  18. onetoothleft

    onetoothleft SDN Angel
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    It is P/F/H which takes a lot of stress out of school and makes you focus on learning rather than getting a certain grade. You are never ranked. basically all you have is your board score, unless you are one of the uber geniouses who happen to get enough honors in classes to have that on their transcript.

    Your deans letter is based on those grades, but that is only a difference between "recommend" or "highly recommend" or "strongly recommend".

    You will see and you will know what your grades are on every exam. They are very good about giving you back your test and letting you look over it, etc.
     
  19. onetoothleft

    onetoothleft SDN Angel
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    There is some luck involved, but the housing office will find you a place if you APPLY EARLY and are patient. Many students choose to live off campus so it works out pretty evenly in the end.

    $700 is about what you can expect for a private room in a 3 bedroom apt. Those prices are equal to what you could find on your own in that area if you went in with 2 other friends. Whoever said $1800 a month was clearly exaggerating. If you went to NYU and wanted a 1 Br apartment, you would pay that much at least. (NYU is in a trendier area). If you wanted to live in a nice doorman apt in times square a 1 BR could be up to $3,000+ depending on how nice it is. Location dramatically effects price.

    Columbia is very affordable compared to what you are getting. It is an amazing school and is worth every single penny in every way. It can make you the best dentist you could possibly be.
     
  20. onetoothleft

    onetoothleft SDN Angel
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    The medical students are super nice to the dental students. Whether they really think we are inferior is some way, I am not sure, but they are very nice. Many friendships develop between the two. I am in student goverment and the medical officers are always looking for creative ways to do things together.

    We take most of our core curriculum with the medical students. They often have enrichment excercises (like small group lab/lectures) that we don't participate in since it is a little overkill for us. This gives time to do dental stuff. Our tests are graded on separate curves, and about 80-90% of the questions are the same as theirs. They put a lot of energy in not overworking us in things that we dont need to be doing. On the other hand, we also get enrichment classes that they don't have, like an extra section on cranial anatomy/radiology.

    They dont just throw us in the water with med students, they put a lot of thought in what needs to be integrated equally and what needs to be catered just to us or just to them. Even a pessimist would have to agree on the quality of these medical classes.
     
  21. StarGirl

    StarGirl .....
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    wow, where are you getting your info bud?

    columbia doesn't even require research... (we're not harvard, if you're getting us confused). although, you can do research if you wish to. I did research at Columbia because I did research in undergrad and I enjoyed it...

    i'm getting EXCELLENT clinical trainning here.....

    my bill for housing next semester came today... it works out to be 717.60 a month for my own room and bathroom which includes ALL utilites.
     
  22. Dr. Parm

    Dr. Parm Senior Member
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    What about the bit about how IVY prestige is an undergraduate thing, and does not really apply as much to Dental schools? Any comments? And for you Columbia students, how are you planning to deal with the humongous debts you incur over the 4 years of undergraduate dentistry? I just want to know what venues are available as a 250 grand debt is no small potato.
     
  23. BigRedDentist

    BigRedDentist Senior Member
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    How would you guys compare Columbia to Penn?
     
  24. StarGirl

    StarGirl .....
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    who's to say that the ivy league dental school aren't "prestigious?" I still would rank all 3 ivies as the top 5 schools...and if not top 5, definately top 10...but that's just my opinion since there's no dental school rankings. :D

    Having the name will always help you... the general population will always have that preception that's associated w/ the ivies.

    i am not too worried bout the debts yet... loans will get deferred during residency... and after...then i'll take it one step at a time.... from my understanding, it's really not that hard to pay it off...(but I wouldn't know, not quite at that point yet...) but first things first.... gotta graduate.
     
  25. Dr. Parm

    Dr. Parm Senior Member
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    So at my interview, we were given some stats about what students do after graduation. Roughly 28 out of 75 students went into the sought-out-for specialties, endo, ortho, OMFS, pedo. Are you pretty much guaranteed, provided that you have good board scores, a seat in the specialty of your choice? Or is there a lot of inter-class competition to get into specialty? I know that you guys have High Pass, Pass, or Fail. Is it possible to stand a good chance of getting into whatever you want if you have all Pass, no fail, but no High Passes either? Too many questions, i know...but please try your best to answer them. Thank you.
     
  26. Dr. Parm

    Dr. Parm Senior Member
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  27. Tzips

    Tzips Chocoholic
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    Just have to put in a good word for UMDNJ, after this thread got overrun with Columbia people :p -
    I turned Columbia down because of the price and because of what seemed to be a heavier focus on didactic rather than on clinical (not sure of the veracity of this statement; that is my impression based on scuttlebutt and the interveiw). UMDNJ is excellent in terms of clinical training, and as most people do well on the Boards none of the fourth years seem to have any problems matching into residencies. And the price is much, much better.

    Just my $0.02 :)
     
  28. USAF_Dentman

    USAF_Dentman Go!! Get to da choppa!
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    If its prestigious, how come Columbia has lower GPAs of acceptances?

    I'm not cutting it down or anything..
     
  29. Audio

    Audio Senior Member
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    Columbia likes high DAT scores. I haven't gotten an interview with a 3.71 GPA because my DAT isn't high enough (21/21/20)- at least that is what the speculation is all about. However, I've been accepted to UPenn, a school that weighs GPA heavily (once again, speculation) Also, Columbia is VERY expensive, like Penn, so they may end up with a class that has much lower stats than the class they would have had if everyone accepted the Dec. 1 offers.
     
  30. Dr. Parm

    Dr. Parm Senior Member
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    So I had pretty much made a decision to go to UMDNJ over Columbia, purely for price reasons, up until I came across the griffin post about ortho residency. I am not saying I am hellbent on doing ortho, just that I may want to specialize later on. Anyways, she (griffin) gave us an account of how tough it was for her to get matched inspite of very good stats (93 part I, 10/90 rank). This post brought my decision-making process back to square one. I dont know how many people specialized into the popular fields (endo, perio, pedo, ortho, OMFS) from UMDNJ as they did not present us with any numbers at the interview. However, I do know that 28 out of 75 people went into those fields from Columbia in the previous academic year. As much as I would like to believe that a lot of fourth years from UMDNJ got into their specialties, I have nothing to base it on, other than hearsay. So I wonder, might it be worth it, if you are leaving the option open for specializing, to pay the extra $80-90,000 dollars over 4 years for a better shot at specialty?

    For the columbia people in here: I know that you guys have a P/F/HP system at the school. However, does the dental school secretly rank students, so that the post-grad programs the students apply to know exactly where the applicant stood in the class? If this is the case, then the argument may be made that although 28/75 people matched, it may not be that easy to even get into the top 28 of the class, considering it is Columbia (i do not know this for sure, I am simply hypothesizing).


    I am in a serious dilemma, as I am going back and forth between the two schools. Please feel free to share your opinions so as to aid in my decision process. I appreciate all of your help tremendously.
     
  31. DcS

    DcS damn the red baron
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    To base it off the possible desire to do ortho is crazy, but hey that's just my position. You will have to work equally as hard at both UMDNJ or Columbia if you are prepared to put in the work do be in a position to apply for ortho. You can look at it another way. If you did as well at both programs, your rank would most likely be higher at UMDNJ. On interviews you would be competing more with your own classmates if you went to Columbia, which in many cases can end up hurting you because programs dont like to take too many people from the same program. I'm a 4th year who went to UNC over ivies due to cost, busted my butt and have gotten interviews for specialty programs. I think it was a great decision and haven't looked back.


    As far as ivy schools being more prestigious, I would ask you to define that. Do you know how many patients will ask you where you went to dental school in private practice?? Most practitioners I ask say they can count the number on one hand in 20+ years of practice. Does it make you a better dentist? From my experience I will have to say no at first, no in the end. I strongly believe that no matter where you go to school in 10 years of private practice everyone will be on an even plane as far as dental education. I can say from personal experience that right out of school the ivy student's I have seen (very important phrase people) are clinically behind our program. I feel confident about making that assumption because I have experienced multiple situations w/ multiple graduates. I don't wish to be flamed for that, it could certainly have been the students, etc. I just think the didactic emphasis takes away from clinical experience, regardless of the requirements they do. Time in clinic is time in clinic and cant be taught. So who is it prestigious to, then I ask? I think it is to the people who go there. I think it feels good to them to have a degree hanging on their wall with a name brand on it, and for their family members to brag about. Not to say they shouldn't feel good about the work they put in to go there, but that's just my take on the whole thing.

    Go read the thread about if dental schools matter as far as being a great dentist on dental town, you will see how they feel.
     
  32. Tzips

    Tzips Chocoholic
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    Agreed. :thumbup:

    If you want to match into ortho, you'll have to work hard wherever you are, and AFAIK all that matters is GPA (if you have one) and, more importantly, Board scores. So really the only way your choice of school impacts you is in how well they prep you for the Boards - and I think UMDNJ does a pretty good job. And though you won't be going directly from school to private practise, having great clinical skills can't do anything but help you, no matter what you do (well, unless you want to do something like Oral Path and skip straight to that...) I agree that making your decision based on what you think might have an impact on what you might want to do in four years from now is going out on a bit a limb - as they hammer into our heads, plans change. Mine did, and I'm sure they will again - I'm only a d-1/3 :oops: .
     
  33. r0entgen

    r0entgen Senior Member
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    i guess i don't understand this whole "only class ranks and board scores matter" business. if that's the case, then how come columbia has 28 people specialising? i don't think all 28 of these people were in the top 10 of their class...
     
  34. Dukie

    Dukie Senior Member
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    I would guess that schools like Columbia, which place significant weight on DAT scores, have students who are excellent standardized test takers. Thus, they score very well on the NDBE. I'm told by residency directors here and at other schools/hospitals that they look at scores more than grades anyhow. It is a better way to normalize that schools.
     
  35. Tzips

    Tzips Chocoholic
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    No, but they probably all had excellent Board scores. Also, what were they specialising in? Did they all do OMFS and pedo, or did a whole bunch go for oral path? And were those doing GPR?AEGD's counted towards that number? I know for certain that more than 10% of every graduating class in UMDNJ continues onto a specialty residency; the number's more like 20% or more. I'm guessing that residency programs simply don't limit themselves to only top ten regardless of board scores.
     
  36. DcS

    DcS damn the red baron
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    They let you in to Carolina from dook? [shakes head in disgust] :smuggrin:
     
  37. Dukie

    Dukie Senior Member
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    That they did. And hey, where is the love for your UNC classmates?
     
  38. Miss Mammelon

    Miss Mammelon Member
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    I think I have to clarify some things
    (i'm a 4th yr at columbia who is going on to specialize):
    Almost all of the graduating class will go on to at least some GPR/AEGD or specialty. The number of 28 people therefore means literally those students doing OMFS, Ortho, Endo, Pros, Perio, Pedo. Almost none go onto oral path (not that is isn't a great field, but just not so popular).

    We do very well in terms of getting people into great programs. We have 2 people going to Harvard alone for endo for example.

    However, I really encourage all students to think very very carefully as to which school you would like to attend. Columbia CAN help get you into a great program, but like everyone has pointed out- no matter what you must put in a lot of work!

    As for H/P/F grading system- the main differentiation comes when the Dean writes you a Deans letter when you apply to residency. He will assign you (based on how many Honors, etc you get) a "Highest rec", "High rec", "Rec", etc down the line. The "Highest rec" group of students are generally the top ten percent. The "high rec" are the next top group.

    So, we do not get exact numerical ranking (like 1, 2, 3rd in the class), but we get grouped into a category.

    I hope that I explained that ok- If it was too confusing, I can try to clarify.
    This is all just my 2 cents- hope it helps.
     
  39. Dr.BadVibes

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    Why are people so hooked on this pass/fail system?

    Doesnt everyone realize that:

    H/P/F = A/B/C ????? Isnt that obvious? Whats the difference? How does that take the competition away?

    Also, since the dean writes their dean's letter with "highest rec", "high rec", "rec", etc......isnt this a form of ranking?

    According to the dictionary rank is defined as "A relative position or degree of value in a graded group." Therefore, Columbia's system ranks just as much as any other school's system.
     
  40. SuperTrooper

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    Yeah, you're right, there's still competetion. But at least with Columbia's system you're not freaking out looking at ranking lists. I know that at some schools, even scores on individual tests get a ranking list posted up. Imagine seeing that you're ranked like 103/108 for the year? That would be pretty disheartening for me. Overall, I say it does reduce the competetion a little.
     
  41. Dr.BadVibes

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    Very moot stat. Lemme ask you this, how many people in total applied? 28 people getting accepted sure sounds sweet, but if 70 people applied, then it doesnt sound so sweet cause 42 people got rejected.

    Its like the politician ranting that "40% of unemployed people now have jobs".....in which the reporter responds, "uhhhhh, but doesnt that still mean 60% of unemployed people still DONT have jobs"???

    I bet if 70 people from EVERY school applied for a specialty, at least 28 people would also get accepted. Has nothing to do with the school...it has all to do with the students.
     
  42. quickfix

    quickfix dental resident
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  43. quickfix

    quickfix dental resident
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    Dr. Parm,

    CU is amazing and i love it. i would have regretted going to any other school ,but i have my reasons and they might not be yours. i can't tell you if a few extra dollars is worth going to one school over the other, but i like to think that dental school is an investment in the profession. if you are serious about the profession then the money is definitely worth it. best of luck with your decision and congratulations on your acceptances!
     
  44. Dr.BadVibes

    Dr.BadVibes Membership Revoked
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    I still dont get it...to me its still:

    A = H
    B = P
    F = F

    people know that the high honors for 10% of the class exists and that in order to get a "high rec" from the Dean, they need to get honors in their classes, thus they will compete to get those H's. How is that different than other schools where students are competing for A's. ??? :confused:

    A's....H's.....A's.....H's........I cant tell the difference!!!!!!!!
     
  45. lnn2

    lnn2 Oral Fixation
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    HELL NO!

    If you're thinking about post-doc then study your butt off from day one. High class rank, board scores and certain extra cirriculums will get you in anywhere, well, most of the time...NOT IVY prestige bs.
     
  46. quickfix

    quickfix dental resident
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    dr. bv.

    read this carefully... i think you are a very smart person and that you can understand that the HPF system is not something so radical and new that we have to try to contemplate its inner workings. it is a grading system. simple as that. i feel that it can cut down on some of the competition b/c the norm is a pass and therefor helping others is easier since basically everyone is going to get a pass. I rarely hear people say i'm gunning for the H this class, it is more about learning how to be the best dr. you can be. i'm guessing that if you were in an HPF school you do what it takes to score that H.

    over the past years i have read some of your posts on sdn and i think you come up with some interesting opinions. you also seem to be very active and outspoken on which makes me believe that you will reach a lot of patients. those are good qualities to have as a future dentist. Something I dont think is good to have is a grudge. Grudges are unhealthy and they can eat you alive especially when they fester long enough. forgiving and forgetting is key.
     
  47. toofache32

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    Because Columbia doesn't rank.

    In the dental world, the only people who care about "Ivy" schools are people who go there.
     
  48. Miss Mammelon

    Miss Mammelon Member
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    In terms of the H/P/F system- It is very new to Columbia, and is monitored continuously to determine the system's success. My first year here, we were still using the ABCDF grading system- so I have had the unusual experience of having had both systems. Personally, at first I did not like the change. However, we have run some focus groups and it appears as though most students do like the new system of grading. It isn't anything that exciting- It is simply a grading system. There are good points and bad points to both systems.

    There is still competition, of course. Those students trying to get the H's are probably the most stressed. However, the rest of the students who fall into the P category may find themselves with less competition because there are not categories such as B+, B, B-....

    In terms of students getting placed into residency programs, you'll find that the majority of the class is interested in doing a GPR, so most people will apply to those. There are usually about 10 or so students interested in oral surgery, and about a dozen interested in ortho (this year only about 9 applied). Then, smaller numbers for the other specialties such as endo, pros, perio, pedo. So, it definitely isn't like 70 of us applying to specialties. It isn't that bad!!!
     
  49. Dr.BadVibes

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    I just want to say that I have nothing personal against Columbia and hold no such grudge. The reason I comment on Columbia, BU, Temple, Tufts is because those were the schools I interviewed at and got accepted to. And From my extensive research of these schools, I have formed my opinions on them. I dont comment on any other schools cause I dont know anything about them.

    Remember.....if there were a predent on here that was contemplating going to a school like Columbia and they wanted to get into research or academia.....then I would tell them that going to Columbia would be a GREAT choice.
     
  50. Rezdawg

    Rezdawg 1K Member
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    My take on the H/P/F system. In my opinion, there is just as much competition within this system as there is in the A/B/C system, at least at my school. Everyone would want to strive for the best score, that being an "H" at Columbia and an "A" at another school.

    As it stands, there is barely even any competition within my class for an A. I have yet to come across any one of my classmates that wouldnt be willing to help me achieve the highest grade I could achieve. Now, I may be completely blind to the fact that there is competition for the A. Yes, people strive to get A's, but that has no bearing on the fact that they are willing to help a classmate out. Anyways, lets say there is competition to get an A. Lets assume that its similar to Columbia students striving for the H.

    Now, lets discuss getting the B. There sure as hell is no competition for a B. I could tell you right now that the amount of competition to get any grade lower than an A is equal to the competition at Columbia to get a P.

    In other words, I dont think the H/P/F system does anything to reduce competition or stress amongst its students. Now, if we were talking about a straight up P/F system, then thats another story. However, the H/P/F is very similar to the A/B/C system.
     
  51. nnjh

    nnjh Senior Member
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    I can tell you for certain that myself and quite a large group of us don't give a hooplah about a H as long as we get by with a big fat "P". I love the H/P/F system. In fact thats why I am posting this instead of studying for my test scheduled for tomorrow. And 70 students out of 75 wanting to specialize...where the hell did you get that number? I'd say about 30ish looks more like it. As for the school name getting you into the coveted top specialties I don't really know. It can open more doors but that can be said for other schools too. Look at badvibes for example. I hear at temple D school they can get a dual degree with a MPH for FREE. Those extra alphabets sure must mean more than a school name. I wish columbia did that too so I could get a free mba to go along with my dds. I have no interest in business but it'll look cool on my business card and chicks might dig it.
     

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