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undergrad school rep important?

Discussion in 'Pre-Dental' started by dragonj, Sep 29, 2002.

  1. dragonj

    dragonj Human rights activist
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    does anybody know if the reputation of the undergrad school you went to will be important at all to the admissions people?

    has anybody who went to a top25 school found they got lots of interviews even tho their gpa was average?

    also, will it be important to admissions people which dental school you went to when applying to specialty programs?

    dragonj
     
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  3. gryffindor

    Dentist 10+ Year Member

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    Ah yes, the ever popular "I went to a brand-name school, so what favors can I expect for graduate school admissions" question. One of my faves.

    At my dental school and at other med and dental schools, the admissions committee uses a formula to generate a score for every candidate. Heavily weighted factors in this score include GPA and DAT score. Which undergrad you attended plays a small role. On a scale of 1 - 6, your undergrad is assigned a number, that number is multiplied by 2 and added to your score. This is how they adjust for the "difficulty/name" of the undergrad. For example, Harvard and Boston College are each worth a 6, while my undergrad, the local private college down the street, is a 4. So, dragonJ, your school would probably be a 6, so you would get 6 x 2 = 12 points on your score, whereas I would only get 4 x 2 = 8 on mine, thus putting you 4 points ahead based solely on where you went to undergrad. However, if my GPA and DAT are better than yours, I would still come out ahead since those factors are weighed much more heavily than which undergrad you attended.

    Dental schools are no longer ranked like US News ranks med schools. When applying to specialties, a number of factors come into play. These include GPA, class rank, Part I board scores, letters of rec, clinical experience, your interest in the specialty, research experience and involvement/leadership in activities. IMO, if all of these factors are strong in your application, the only place where the name of your dental school might play a role is in this scenario. There are two candidates applying to endo, equally qualified in every aspect except for which dental school each one attended. Student #1 went to Columbia, Student #2 went to Oregon. The director of the endo program is a graduate of Oregon's dental school, so he picks the Oregon student because that's where he was trained and he knows they train their students well. Or, the director attended neither school (he is a UCSF grad), but remembers having an Oregon graduate in his program 2 years ago who was an absolute nightmare to deal with, so he picks the Columbia grad. So the name of your school is a very political factor, not really a substantial one.

    I wouldn't worry too much about the name of your dental school. Wherever you go, concentrate on doing your best. If you want to specialize, keep on top of things so you can have the option to do so when it comes time to apply. Having an 80 on the Part I Boards isn't going to help you when applying to something like ortho, even if you attend the dental school that had the highest average on the part I boards. It's up to you and what you make of it. In this profession, patients only want you to take good care of them, they could care less where you went to dental school as long as you are caring and competent.
     
  4. GTchick

    GTchick Senior Member
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    A lot of schools don't care at all where you went to school. I know that MCG considers Georgia Perimeter College and Georgia Tech the same although one is a community college and the other a top engineering school. It is kind of frustrating but I guess they just want you to have your science classes any way you can get them.
     
  5. dragonj

    dragonj Human rights activist
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    thank you guys for replying.

    i wanted to add that i could have worded the question differently....

    "does anyone know if admissions looks at a student's undergrad school or do they disregard the difficulty of one school's curriculum over another?"

    if harvard gets a 6 in your school's scaling system, then i think Boston university probably gets a 5 cause boston college and boston university definately are not as hard as harvard.

    griffin04, what school is this that you go to?

    right now i'm doing a post bac at georgia state university so my high gpa there probably won't count as much at your school.

    so i definately can see both sides of the scaling problem. on one side Student A worked harder for the A in physics at a top engineering school, but Student B might have gotten an A no matter what school that person went to so shouldn't they get the same rewards as student A, especially because student B didn't think it would matter what school they went to?

    also, .....i went to some old posts from this forum and there was a student in the UConn dental school who said all the graduates of his class who applied for a specialty program got their first choice and that it has been consistant for four years. so i think i'd like to go there since it seems that i'd get the kind of education one needs if they want to get into a specialty.
    j
     
  6. gryffindor

    Dentist 10+ Year Member

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    dragonj - My research advisor has been on the admissions committee for many years here at SUNY Buffalo This topic of categorizing difficult/prestigious undergrads for grad school admissions only came up b/c her son had been kinda upset about turning down an Ivy League school (Dartmouth, I think) to attend Boston College. Although he wants to attend law school, she was saying that Boston College is looked at in the same level as Harvard, and that when she explained the whole 1 through 6 scaling system they use here. Boston College is a prestigious Jesuit school (as is Georgetown) so I think it has a high caliber of students that attend there for undergrad. My apologies if you attended Harvard and BC, but I don't think without attending either one could you say that BC is not as hard as Harvard. Boston University is a completely different private school, and I don't know what it would get on the scale, although my guess would be a 5 as well.

    Anyways, like I said, which undergrad you attended makes a very little dent on your overall admissions package. All things equal, it might give you a small edge. But if you are doing post-grad work and have tremendously raised your GPA and have strong letters of reccomendation from there, then I think that would count for a lot more than what college you decided to attend as a high school senior. My advisor did say that GPA is a much more heavilty weighted factor in this formula and is very important.

    UConn's dental classes are very small, about 35 or so in each class. They are the state school of Connecticut, so keep in mind that they favor Connecticut residents first, then they hold a certain number of spots for New England residents (since there is no other state dental school in New England) and then they have some spots for other students. Students from other states do get in, but you should have some pretty impressive stats to be considered there.

    Here is something I have only come to realize after being a dental student, so I'll share it with you. UConn consistently ranks very well on the Part I of the National Dental Board Exam. Their average is usually #1 or #2 in the nation. Harvard, whose dental classes also have about 35 students, is another dental school who usually ranks fairly well too. My school, SUNY Buffalo, was either 6th or 7th in the nation this year as well, although we have 90+ students in my class. Do you know what these three schools have in common? It's the "kind of education one needs to if they want to specialize" that you refer to. Their students take the medical school versions of the courses tested on the board exams (Gross, Histo, Physio, Micro, Path, and Biochem). The med school versions are often much more detailed and rigorous than is necessary for the Dental Boards, so the students are well prepared when it comes time for the boards and therefore score well. UConn, I believe, teaches its basic sciences through the organ-based system many med schools use. They are P/F, but they still keep track of their student's rank for post-grad application purposes, although they won't tell you the rank.

    That doesn't mean that just because you attend UConn/Buffalo/Harvard, you can expect to score awesome on your Part I Boards. It's just more likely that you will have received more than adequate training - if you put the effor it - to be in a position to do so. But, you can still attend a dental school that maybe doesn't rank as high on Part I and still ace the Part I boards b/c you studied hard with the intention of wanting to do well. For specializing, it is up to you and the effort you put into it. Dental schools will not spoon feed you. When you apply to a specialty right out of dental school, the program often only sees your part I Board score (b/c you haven't taken Part II at the time of application), so that number can become important in establishing cutoffs for competitive programs. That's why there is an emphasis on scoring well on Part I for specializing. But like I said, it is not just about your Part I score, other factors come into play including your rank, GPA, letters of rec, experiences, extracurricular involvement, etc.

    Does any of this make sense?
     
  7. thedentist555

    thedentist555 Member
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    So your undergrad is not weighed too heavily in admissions...

    But how about my scenario... although I have a very high GPA from one of the top 5 engineering colleges in the nation, I am now fulfilling all my science pre-reqs at a 2-year junior college. Now, comparing a state school to Harvard is one thing, but comparing community college is another... I honestly feel like my community college is more equivalent to a high school!

    How bad will the community college experience look? On the 1-6 scale, will I be given a 1?
     
  8. jojo2280

    jojo2280 Member
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    I really don't think junior colleges are looked down upon. My girlfriend and I both went to a jc and were both accepted at dental schools. They look at your gpa regardless of what school(s) you got it from. An A is and A is an A. period.
    jojo
     
  9. Pebbs

    Pebbs Member
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    dentist555,

    don't worry about not being competitive when you apply. i was pretty much in the same situation...i graduated from ucla with majors in math and econ and went back to do my dental prereqs at a local community college.

    i got interviews at all the schools i applied to and none of them even cared that i did all my science prereqs at a jc. they only care that you do well, like jojo said. make sure you get a's.

    now i'm deciding between my two top choices, ucla and ucsf. you'll be fine.
     

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