heroesque

2+ Year Member
May 27, 2017
35
12
Status
Pre-Dental
UCSF (IS)
pros:
  • smaller class size
  • safer living area, next to golden gate park
  • P/NP

cons:
  • I hear a lot of horror stories about how difficult it is to get more complex cases given that UCSF has all the specialty residency programs
  • most UCSF students I know had to go to GP residency programs after because they did not feel ready to practice upon graduation (1 more year of not earning a full dentist salary...)
  • many private dentists I know are reluctant to hire fresh UCSF grads

UOP
pros:
  • next to BART station, I can visit family/friends way more easily
  • more faculty support
  • warmer "community" among students ("Dugoni family")
  • most UOP students I know graduate ready and able to work, fewer feel the need for residency programs
  • many dentists I have talked to are more willing to hire fresh UOP grads, and they have a strong alumni network so it may be easier to find work upon graduation
  • 3 year program

cons:
  • more dangerous area
  • obviously, much higher price point: UOP will cost about $110k more than UCSF, with living costs accounted for

I really liked the environment and supportive community of UOP when I went in for an interview, I was very much drawn to the vibe there. The faculty was truly caring and so compassionate, whereas the people I met at UCSF were more stoic and less friendly. UCSF kept emphasizing their research/residency match rates, which I don't care about since I don't want to do research or specialize. I'm not sure whether the UOP people were acting it up during interview days, but I was much more drawn to the personalities and community of UOP.

However, it is difficult to come to terms with the $110k price tag difference. Do you guys think that the 3 year program and perks of UOP would make it worth $110k more out of pocket? Or is UCSF the no-brainer choice, and I should be able to become just as clinically strong at both schools?

I know this has been posted before, but in the other posts, the main concern was student loans. And while in-state tuition is amazing, my family will is helping me pay for my dental school education (in its entirety, I'm pretty sure) so loans/interest is not a concern, just the cost at face value.

Any thoughts are welcome, I'm incredibly torn right now -- thank you!
 
Oct 21, 2019
6
5
Status
Dental Student
I can gauge where you're leaning towards, and I think what you picked up on is pretty accurate description of each program. In terms of the price, I read a post by a D1 at UoP and what he tells people who are stuck between UoP and another program because of price. He makes good points of an extra year of "peak salary", and the strength of UoP setting you up to be a productive dentist first year out of school while others may need to do a residency, and even after take a year or 2 more to catch up. (since as an associate you will also be paid by production). There really is no wrong choice here, though. Go where you'll be happy :)
 
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sssppp

7+ Year Member
Jun 6, 2011
27
11
Status
Pre-Dental
Congrats on getting into both schools! There is no wrong choice :)
If you are 100% on doing GP and don’t want to do research, I’d say go with UOP.
 
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heroesque

2+ Year Member
May 27, 2017
35
12
Status
Pre-Dental
UOP then, easy
It's difficult to justify to myself why I should go to a school that will cost about $480k when I can get the same degree for about $380k :( Is UOP worth an extra $100k if interest isn't involved?

Also I don't know if I misspoke, but I'm borrowing the money from family members so I will be paying them back without interest. So I won't have to factor in interest in the cost difference.
 
Last edited:

heroesque

2+ Year Member
May 27, 2017
35
12
Status
Pre-Dental
I can gauge where you're leaning towards, and I think what you picked up on is pretty accurate description of each program. In terms of the price, I read a post by a D1 at UoP and what he tells people who are stuck between UoP and another program because of price. He makes good points of an extra year of "peak salary", and the strength of UoP setting you up to be a productive dentist first year out of school while others may need to do a residency, and even after take a year or 2 more to catch up. (since as an associate you will also be paid by production). There really is no wrong choice here, though. Go where you'll be happy :)
Haha yeah I'd be lying if I didn't have a preference! Thank you for your input. I'm going to try to contact people from both schools to get a better idea of each!
 
Feb 11, 2020
21
23
Status
Pre-Dental
Where did you end up choosing and what factors did it come down to? I am in the same predicament :(
 
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heroesque

2+ Year Member
May 27, 2017
35
12
Status
Pre-Dental
Where did you end up choosing and what factors did it come down to? I am in the same predicament :(
I chose UCSF!!

I was leaning towards UOP when I wrote this post because I had gone to their interview much more recently, but if you wanna know the sort of nitpicky details of how I chose UCSF:
  • UOP costs a lot more money in a much quicker, more condensed timeline. My financial situation is different from a lot of other applicants -- I know that for other people it's more beneficial to take out the large chunk of money in loans and pay it back with 1 fewer year of interest. But for me, my family is lending me the money (without interest) to pay for school and it would be too much stress on all of us to scrounge up that much money in such a short amount of time.
  • I know a lot of students from UOP and most of them are fairly wealthy, and most of the students I talked to had family money to help with the tuition and costs. This became a struggle when I chatted with people about finding a place to live, since my rent budget of $1500/month was somehow way below everyone else's and a lot of roommate (and friend) issues can arise from such a big budget/money gap.
  • The more I thought about it, a lot of the things that UOP advertised seemed very subjective. Their main things are that they train confident clinicians, and that they have super supportive faculty -- but most UCSF students have told me they were perfectly able to get the experience they needed, and that they had supportive faculty as well. Confidence doesn't always equal competency either, and I think that having a more academic approach to dentistry can be beneficial as well. It seems to me that, like most other things in life, dental school is what you make of it and if you reach out for help at UCSF, you will also be able to get it. So this sort of main difference between the schools really didn't end up meaning a $110k difference to me.
  • I became more comfortable with taking a longer time to finish my training. I talked to someone else who was between UOP and UCSF who said she was going to do a year of residency no matter which school she chooses, because she 'wants to be the best she can be'. This inspired me, and I realized that I don't mind if my dental training goes beyond those mandatory 3 or 4 years. Implants, digital dentistry, more complex surgeries and procedures are likely to become the future of dentistry, and I'd need to do a residency program either way to get proper experience with stuff like that. And suddenly the time difference between the two schools didn't seem so big anymore!
  • Another minor thing is that I really like the area around the UCSF! I felt much safer there, and I really don't like the area around UOP. Finding affordable housing is impossible and I can barely locate any grocery stores in the area other than Whole Foods. For $1500/month I can either rent a 1br apartment with 3 other people in SoMa (and have to share the living room with someone) or I can have my own spacious bedroom overlooking all of the city in the Sunset neighborhood. Sure, I'll probably spend most of my time in school or studying, but I think where you live is really important for your mental and physical health when you're going to be there for 4 whole years. There's no green space around UOP whereas UCSF is right next to the gorgeous Golden Gate Park. There's a more diverse campus at UCSF and there's a gym, there's a cafeteria with cheap options. This is something that other people might not care about but I'd really like a nice room in a nice area the next 4 years and live somewhere where lunches don't have to cost me $15.

Sorry if that was too many minor details -- this was a decision that tortured me for weeks, and I've considered all the major and minor differences between the schools. A lot of stuff end up canceling each other out so it really is all about what's important to you!

Let me know where you decide on!! It is a super tough choice, good luck :) I also know about 4 other people who had to make the same choice so let me know if you wanna get in touch with me or anyone else to pick their brain.
 
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Feb 11, 2020
21
23
Status
Pre-Dental
I chose UCSF!!

I was leaning towards UOP when I wrote this post because I had gone to their interview much more recently, but if you wanna know the sort of nitpicky details of how I chose UCSF:
  • UOP costs a lot more money in a much quicker, more condensed timeline. My financial situation is different from a lot of other applicants -- I know that for other people it's more beneficial to take out the large chunk of money in loans and pay it back with 1 fewer year of interest. But for me, my family is lending me the money (without interest) to pay for school and it would be too much stress on all of us to scrounge up that much money in such a short amount of time.
  • I know a lot of students from UOP and most of them are fairly wealthy, and most of the students I talked to had family money to help with the tuition and costs. This became a struggle when I chatted with people about finding a place to live, since my rent budget of $1500/month was somehow way below everyone else's and a lot of roommate (and friend) issues can arise from such a big budget/money gap.
  • The more I thought about it, a lot of the things that UOP advertised seemed very subjective. Their main things are that they train confident clinicians, and that they have super supportive faculty -- but most UCSF students have told me they were perfectly able to get the experience they needed, and that they had supportive faculty as well. Confidence doesn't always equal competency either, and I think that having a more academic approach to dentistry can be beneficial as well. It seems to me that, like most other things in life, dental school is what you make of it and if you reach out for help at UCSF, you will also be able to get it. So this sort of main difference between the schools really didn't end up meaning a $110k difference to me.
  • I became more comfortable with taking a longer time to finish my training. I talked to someone else who was between UOP and UCSF who said she was going to do a year of residency no matter which school she chooses, because she 'wants to be the best she can be'. This inspired me, and I realized that I don't mind if my dental training goes beyond those mandatory 3 or 4 years. Implants, digital dentistry, more complex surgeries and procedures are likely to become the future of dentistry, and I'd need to do a residency program either way to get proper experience with stuff like that. And suddenly the time difference between the two schools didn't seem so big anymore!
  • Another minor thing is that I really like the area around the UCSF! I felt much safer there, and I really don't like the area around UOP. Finding affordable housing is impossible and I can barely locate any grocery stores in the area other than Whole Foods. For $1500/month I can either rent a 1br apartment with 3 other people in SoMa (and have to share the living room with someone) or I can have my own spacious bedroom overlooking all of the city in the Sunset neighborhood. Sure, I'll probably spend most of my time in school or studying, but I think where you live is really important for your mental and physical health when you're going to be there for 4 whole years. There's no green space around UOP whereas UCSF is right next to the gorgeous Golden Gate Park. There's a more diverse campus at UCSF and there's a gym, there's a cafeteria with cheap options. This is something that other people might not care about but I'd really like a nice room in a nice area the next 4 years and live somewhere where lunches don't have to cost me $15.

Sorry if that was too many minor details -- this was a decision that tortured me for weeks, and I've considered all the major and minor differences between the schools. A lot of stuff end up canceling each other out so it really is all about what's important to you!

Let me know where you decide on!! It is a super tough choice, good luck :) I also know about 4 other people who had to make the same choice so let me know if you wanna get in touch with me or anyone else to pick their brain.
Holy moly this is such a detailed analysis, thank you so much for taking the time to do this! Do you mind if you PM me with a way to reach you? I tried to PM you directly, but the site won't let me :( I have a week to decide and this decision has been eating me alive!
 

heroesque

2+ Year Member
May 27, 2017
35
12
Status
Pre-Dental
Holy moly this is such a detailed analysis, thank you so much for taking the time to do this! Do you mind if you PM me with a way to reach you? I tried to PM you directly, but the site won't let me :( I have a week to decide and this decision has been eating me alive!
Sure, I just messaged you on here!
 
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