bmxbobby2004

5+ Year Member
Jul 12, 2009
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Pre-Dental
Hi Everyone,

As the title says, I have been accepted to both UOP and Penn dental and I am a bit confused as to which one to attend. I loved my experience at both and I was wondering if people on here could give me some insight as to which school is better. I am applying to the military HPSP so hopefully i will get that and my schooling will be paid for. If i don't, then both schools are about the same cost (UOP-405K/ Penn - 420K).

Penn- philly, have a lot of family in the city, 1 test a week (less stressful?), Ivy league,
prestige, older facilities,

UOP - 3 year program (stressful?), only owe army 3 years, great clinical, SF, have some family in the city, brand new building

thanks for the help!
 
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bmxbobby2004

5+ Year Member
Jul 12, 2009
59
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Pre-Dental
Sorry i forgot to mention, that I am not sure if i want to specialize. I don' think i do, but who knows, i may change my mind during school
 

UCSFx2017

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Oct 11, 2007
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I'd rather go to UPenn. Some other people might prefer saving two years by going to UoP (HPSP).
UPenn is one of the most well-rounded schools (excellent didactics, research, clinicals, volunteering, and reputation). It has everything for someone looking for more than a DMD.
 

Member902507

5+ Year Member
Apr 25, 2012
466
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Pre-Dental
UOP's $363k according to Doc's excel chart. I don't know why I had always assumed UOP was $320k...hmph.

Provided you get the scholarship, I'd probably pick Penn, just because overall it seems better. Though UOP is phenomenal on its own, at Penn, you would have the option to specialize if you decided, too. It's definitely possible at UOP, too, but because the curriculum is compacted into 3 yrs, I would think it's much harder to have some free time and look into different specialities, but that's just my opinion.

My main determining criteria are: cost, location, and proximity to family. Good luck, they're both excellent choices so you can't go wrong! :)
 

aznboi89x

7+ Year Member
Dec 19, 2010
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i heard clinical experience at upenn is hit or miss since it primarily focuses on academia.

UOP for clinic
Upenn for academia or specializing
 
Jan 13, 2011
534
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Dental Student
Since you do graduate a year earlier at UoP, thats 100k you could be making.
 

Epictetus21

10+ Year Member
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May 1, 2008
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i heard clinical experience at upenn is hit or miss since it primarily focuses on academia.

UOP for clinic
Upenn for academia or specializing
I agree.

If you want to be a general dentist then UOP will give you a better foundation in clinical dentistry. What a lot of predents don't understand is that schools with more specialty programs (ie. UPenn), refer all of the difficult cases to their post-grad residents. So for the most part, you won't be doing complicated endo, surgical extractions, multi-unit pros, or perio surgeries at a place with Endo, OS, Pros, and Perio residents. UOP only has Ortho and a few OS residents, so the predoc students HAVE to take the tough endo, a lot of the difficult extractions, and do their own perio surgeries. There's not another option. I know a few UOP grads and they hardly refer anything out, because they had tons of experience and repetition in dental school.

On the other hand, if you are leaning toward specializing, a big name school really does carry some weight, as bad as that sounds. The big name professors that you are going to ask to write letters of recommendation for you when you apply to specialty programs can definitely help you out in the application process. You may not have the stellar clinical training to be a super GP, but you may be more likely to get into a specialty program.

That's not to say that people from UOP don't specialize, or that UPenn grads aren't good GPs, but these are trends to consider when choosing your school. Good luck.
 
Jan 25, 2013
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I've heard great things about Penn's program. Apparently they are very state-of-the-art and up to date with the latest in the field. Penn is a really great community that's close to NYC and will be overall a really great campus life. Also, on a more shallow note, the Penn name recognition is something to consider. Obviously it doesn't matter in terms of your skill set, but patients do see it and recognize its prestige.

So yea, I'd say Penn. Especially since you aren't paying for it, you might as well get the most.
 

aznboi89x

7+ Year Member
Dec 19, 2010
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I've heard great things about Penn's program. Apparently they are very state-of-the-art and up to date with the latest in the field. Penn is a really great community that's close to NYC and will be overall a really great campus life. Also, on a more shallow note, the Penn name recognition is something to consider. Obviously it doesn't matter in terms of your skill set, but patients do see it and recognize its prestige.

So yea, I'd say Penn. Especially since you aren't paying for it, you might as well get the most.
people say that patients will never know or even ask where you go for dental school. I heard Upenn has a "dungeon feel".
 
Nov 30, 2012
62
13
Status
Dental Student
I agree.

If you want to be a general dentist then UOP will give you a better foundation in clinical dentistry. What a lot of predents don't understand is that schools with more specialty programs (ie. UPenn), refer all of the difficult cases to their post-grad residents. So for the most part, you won't be doing complicated endo, surgical extractions, multi-unit pros, or perio surgeries at a place with Endo, OS, Pros, and Perio residents. UOP only has Ortho and a few OS residents, so the predoc students HAVE to take the tough endo, a lot of the difficult extractions, and do their own perio surgeries. There's not another option. I know a few UOP grads and they hardly refer anything out, because they had tons of experience and repetition in dental school.

On the other hand, if you are leaning toward specializing, a big name school really does carry some weight, as bad as that sounds. The big name professors that you are going to ask to write letters of recommendation for you when you apply to specialty programs can definitely help you out in the application process. You may not have the stellar clinical training to be a super GP, but you may be more likely to get into a specialty program.

That's not to say that people from UOP don't specialize, or that UPenn grads aren't good GPs, but these are trends to consider when choosing your school. Good luck.
I agree and disagree with some of your points. The cases that get shuttled to the post-grads - at least here -- are the cases that a pre-doctoral student would not be able to handle or would want to attempt, anyway. You're not getting straight-forward RCTs and Exos taken away. Penn's curriculum prepares you for specialties, yes, but from what I've seen so far, you can come out with solid skills for GP work. You do spend a lot of time doing rotations in the specialty clinics, but I'd assume you can say that's helping you build skills as a GP. Instead of referring tough(er) cases out in the future, you might be more comfortable doing some of them yourself. GP work is what you make of it; it is more than just basic drilling and filling.

All dental schools have to teach you the standard way to do procedures to become proficient enough to certify (Penn students tend to score very well on the NERB). Regardless of where you go, you're going to be an inexperienced practitioner and will need time to hone your skills and learn the shortcuts and techniques that you're allowed to do in the real GP world, but not in dental school.
 
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503224

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Oct 30, 2012
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OP, first of all congrats on your acceptances! I haven't applied yet, so I don't have any vested interest in telling you what I think, but if I were choosing based on the information I personally have, I would go to UoP because then you would save a year and also owe less time to the military service. In effect, this you can come back and practice as a civilian two years earlier if you go to UoP. Unless your goal is to make a career in the military, this sounds like the most solid plan to me.

I suggest you talk to people at Penn and UoP to get a better idea of what it's like. lnngu has been very helpful in answering some of my questions about his program (he goes to UoP) and I think dantemac goes to Penn (but I haven't talked to him personally).

Provided you get the scholarship, I'd probably pick Penn, just because overall it seems better. Though UOP is phenomenal on its own, at Penn, you would have the option to specialize if you decided, too. It's definitely possible at UOP, too, but because the curriculum is compacted into 3 yrs, I would think it's much harder to have some free time and look into different specialities, but that's just my opinion.
You have the ability to specialize coming out of every school, and I'm sure that UoP gives its students the foundation to figure out what specialty might interest them.
 

ushaseos

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Jan 17, 2011
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Since you do graduate a year earlier at UoP, thats 100k you could be making.
Well with interest it's more like 120-150K which is about what you'll make in your first few years as a general dentist. UoP is a great school and is perfect if you want to do General. You can definitely specialize from UoP too but with 3 years it might be harder to find the time to do all the extra curricular things you need to.

Penn is a solid choice no matter what you choose to do. Yeah the facilities are old and their grading system is more stressful, but it is a pretty well rounded school and has practically everything you want.

If I were you, I'd choose UoP because SF > Philly. If you get a Dean's Scholarship or anything to Penn then I'd choose that since it would be cheaper!
 

503224

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Oct 30, 2012
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Well with interest it's more like 120-150K which is about what you'll make in your first few years as a general dentist. UoP is a great school and is perfect if you want to do General. You can definitely specialize from UoP too but with 3 years it might be harder to find the time to do all the extra curricular things you need to.
Isn't he trying to do HPSP? So if he gets that his tuition is free and he'd save two years because UoP = 3 year program and he'd have to pay back one year less to the military, right?
 
Jul 11, 2011
192
2
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Dental Student
UoP - opportunity cost of spending an extra year in school seems disproportionately high to marginal benefit of attending penn.
 
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bmxbobby2004

5+ Year Member
Jul 12, 2009
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Thanks for the replies everyone. I forgot to mention one thing...During my undergrad, i always did best when I had my midterms/finals spaced out. I found myself struggling to keep on-top of all my stuff when they all occurred within a day or two of each other.

Should i consider this when deciding between these 2 schools? I have talked to students at both schools, and both say don't worry about getting through(everyone does).

Thanks!
 

drill-and-fill

7+ Year Member
Jun 3, 2011
596
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I was in similar situation as well.. got accepted to UoP first and then Penn. But I chose Penn and for me it was pretty much no brainer because both army and navy recruiters told me that 3 yr scholarships for UoP isn't available. You really can't go wrong with either one, they both have strong clinical and didactic education IMHO.
 
Nov 30, 2012
62
13
Status
Dental Student
Thanks for the replies everyone. I forgot to mention one thing...During my undergrad, i always did best when I had my midterms/finals spaced out. I found myself struggling to keep on-top of all my stuff when they all occurred within a day or two of each other.

Should i consider this when deciding between these 2 schools? I have talked to students at both schools, and both say don't worry about getting through(everyone does).

Thanks!
At Penn, you take about 1 exam per week. Tests are a big part of dental school and should definitely play a factor in your decision: do you prefer to study all the time and have a constant stress level (UPenn), or do you prefer to have all your exams lumped together during midterm and finals week (I don't know how UoP does it)
 

UltimateHombre

Doc Holliday D.D.S.
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May 10, 2010
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I think one thing that we are all overlooking, is that the OP is taking the HPSP. They will not be able to specialize right out of dental school anyways. Even if they wanted to afterward, i don't think that UOP will be any hindrance at all. UOP may not be an Ivy, but it is very well respected on the west coast and most everywhere in the U.S. Arthur Dugoni, whom the school is named after, was a visionary in his time and is widely considered the father of modern dental education.

I think going to UOP will be much more financially beneficial as well. Mainly because school and HPSP repayment will only be 6 years as opposed to 8 years.

Lets break it down of what could be in 8 years:

Penn- 4 years of dental school = no debt
4 years in military at 85K per year = 340K

UOP - 3 years of dental school = no debt
3 years in military at 85K per year = 255K
2 years in private practice at 140K per year = 280K
Total = 535K

So this is a 200K+ decision... Of course, there is much more that goes into this. And those additional 2 years of establishment in private practice will lead to more earnings toward the end of your career. But I don't see any scenario where you don't come out ahead financially when you go to UOP.
 
OP
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bmxbobby2004

5+ Year Member
Jul 12, 2009
59
0
Status
Pre-Dental
I think one thing that we are all overlooking, is that the OP is taking the HPSP. They will not be able to specialize right out of dental school anyways. Even if they wanted to afterward, i don't think that UOP will be any hindrance at all. UOP may not be an Ivy, but it is very well respected on the west coast and most everywhere in the U.S. Arthur Dugoni, whom the school is named after, was a visionary in his time and is widely considered the father of modern dental education.

I think going to UOP will be much more financially beneficial as well. Mainly because school and HPSP repayment will only be 6 years as opposed to 8 years.

Lets break it down of what could be in 8 years:

Penn- 4 years of dental school = no debt
4 years in military at 85K per year = 340K

UOP - 3 years of dental school = no debt
3 years in military at 85K per year = 255K
2 years in private practice at 140K per year = 280K
Total = 535K

So this is a 200K+ decision... Of course, there is much more that goes into this. And those additional 2 years of establishment in private practice will lead to more earnings toward the end of your career. But I don't see any scenario where you don't come out ahead financially when you go to UOP.

So I have an update for all you helpful people. I just got into contact with my army recruiter and they just said they will not be able to offer me a 3 year HPSP scholarship. So I have to do a 4 year HPSP if I choose to take it. Why does the military have to keep changing their mind about UOP scholarships:/
 

sleeplessinsf

10+ Year Member
Jan 26, 2009
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San Francisco, CA
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Dentist
I think both schools are great and seem to produce very clinically competent dentists. UOP is definitely a very strong clinical program but UPenn might be better if you want to specialize. Financially UOP will probably make more sense since you can start making money a year early.

My 3rd quarter of first year at UOP, we had 13 finals in finals week. It was insane. We constantly have exams and practicals and test cases. That's why UOP likes people who test well (good DAT) because they think it's an indication someone can handle the heavy load. It is easy to get by at UOP but if you want high class ranking you have to work pretty hard.. There are lots of smart people with great hand skills.
 
Dec 5, 2012
9
0
Status
Dental Student
First of all, congratulations on getting accepted to both! I completely understand how frustrating it is to be torn. Based on what you say, I would recommend UPenn. UOP is wonderful and they can produce some great clinicians who end up specializing, but if you're interested in specializing you will have a much better chance of doing so if you go to UPenn. UOP seems very difficult to get to the top 10% and the 3 year program will probably make it difficult to find the time for the extra work specialties might require. Good luck! :)
 
Dec 20, 2011
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Congratulations on the acceptances at both schools! While both are good schools to attend, I would recommend UPenn over UoP. While UoP does offer a 3 year program, it is very intensive and it is challenging to find time for extracurricular activities. If you want to specialize this is extremely important and if you are unsure, it does make it difficult for you to change your mind later. UPenn has an excellent program that is very well recognized and for 1 extra year of study I would take it over UoP.
 

LogOff

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Nov 6, 2012
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Dentist
Ya be careful of taking advice here guys, a lot of people have an interest in convincing you not to go to a particular school because they want the spot themselves.

Make sure you are making a decision because of YOUR reasons at the end of the day and not because of some anonymous pre-dent online :rolleyes:
 

aznboi89x

7+ Year Member
Dec 19, 2010
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Ya be careful of taking advice here guys, a lot of people have an interest in convincing you not to go to a particular school because they want the spot themselves.

Make sure you are making a decision because of YOUR reasons at the end of the day and not because of some anonymous pre-dent online :rolleyes:
true that
 

dantemac

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Jan 16, 2011
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Don't put up with an extra year of BS (that is what dental school is). go to UOP. You are adding an extra year to your life, career, retirement, what have you.
 

503224

Guest
Oct 30, 2012
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I think one thing that we are all overlooking, is that the OP is taking the HPSP. They will not be able to specialize right out of dental school anyways. Even if they wanted to afterward, i don't think that UOP will be any hindrance at all. UOP may not be an Ivy, but it is very well respected on the west coast and most everywhere in the U.S. Arthur Dugoni, whom the school is named after, was a visionary in his time and is widely considered the father of modern dental education.

I think going to UOP will be much more financially beneficial as well. Mainly because school and HPSP repayment will only be 6 years as opposed to 8 years.

Lets break it down of what could be in 8 years:

Penn- 4 years of dental school = no debt
4 years in military at 85K per year = 340K

UOP - 3 years of dental school = no debt
3 years in military at 85K per year = 255K
2 years in private practice at 140K per year = 280K
Total = 535K

So this is a 200K+ decision... Of course, there is much more that goes into this. And those additional 2 years of establishment in private practice will lead to more earnings toward the end of your career. But I don't see any scenario where you don't come out ahead financially when you go to UOP.
This was exactly what I was trying to get at.

So I have an update for all you helpful people. I just got into contact with my army recruiter and they just said they will not be able to offer me a 3 year HPSP scholarship. So I have to do a 4 year HPSP if I choose to take it. Why does the military have to keep changing their mind about UOP scholarships:/
That's unfortunate. :( If you're already set on HPSP, I'd say go to UPenn in that case.
 

pmanning19

7+ Year Member
Nov 5, 2011
325
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Dental Student
Well with interest it's more like 120-150K which is about what you'll make in your first few years as a general dentist. UoP is a great school and is perfect if you want to do General. You can definitely specialize from UoP too but with 3 years it might be harder to find the time to do all the extra curricular things you need to.

Penn is a solid choice no matter what you choose to do. Yeah the facilities are old and their grading system is more stressful, but it is a pretty well rounded school and has practically everything you want.

If I were you, I'd choose UoP because SF > Philly. If you get a Dean's Scholarship or anything to Penn then I'd choose that since it would be cheaper!
You would not be losing out on $100,000 or $120,000-$150,000 in salary. You are losing out on an extra year of your maximum salary (in theory, the final year you practice). Basically, you're most likely losing out on more than $200,000-$250,000. (obviously that figure changes depending on all sorts of variables... it's meant as a general example).

For a more accurate number, factor in the difference in COA between the schools (and the interest).
 

agent2362

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Sep 5, 2009
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I had the same dilemma 3 years ago and now I will be graduating UoP in 4 months and heading off for my three year army payback for the HPSP program. You can check out all the posts I wrote 3 years ago about this..... here are my two cents

UoP and UPenn are both great schools, however there are still plenty of people that go to UoP and still kinda suck at dentistry and dont have great hand skills. Dental is school is ultimately what you make of it. I think you could go to the worst school and work hard and do your best everyday and come out a very good dentist. Going to one versus the other is NOT going to make you a better dentist...

In the end I decided that I would go to the school + HPSP that would most quickly get me out of debt. UoP's 3 yrs of school + 3 yrs payback clearly wins. HOWEVER, if you had an interest in say.... ORAL SURGERY, I would not highly recommend UoP. The curriculum is too crammed and too busy to accommodate studying for the new oral surgery exam (NBME CBSE). I tried my best to study for this test and it took a terrible toll on my academics at UoP and I could not properly study for the test either in the end. U Penn, UCSF, Columbia, Harvard, U Conn, UCLA ect would all be better feeder schools for OMFS than UoP (all those schools have approx. same averages for incoming classes).

UoP has not generally put more than 10-15% of its graduating class into actual specialties (e.g. NOT AEGD or GPR) which is not alot. U Penn, UCLA, UCSF, Columbia and Harvard all do much better as far as being feeder schools to specialties. UoP does have KILLER endo faculty tho, so I think it would be a good choice to come here if you were interested in endo. As far as UoP and a new building...I definitely prefer the current location of the school in Pac Heights to where it will be in the downtown area. The new location will attract more patient pools (which the school desperately needs in a bad California economy) however it will not be that easy to commute there (unless you use a scooter or motorcycle) or live close enough to walk (not a desirable area to live in the new school.) The new school will not have more chairs (unfortunately) but new equipment will probably make it enjoyable... New equipment doesnt necessarily produce better dentists...
 
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