UoP vs. USC??

Discussion in 'School Specific Discussions' started by SayCheese123, Jan 16, 2012.

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USC or UOP dental school?

  1. USC

  2. UOP

  1. SayCheese123


    Jan 16, 2012
    Hey all! Thanks for taking the time out to add your opinions, and help me to sort out mine!

    I'm currently choosing between USC and UoP dental schools (and feeling super lucky to have a choice!).

    Pros for USC (in my mind)
    - Loved the PBL thing; the interview demo was fun and engaging. Plus, I figure I'll spend less time falling asleep in lecture, which is always good. Anyone who's been through it, or is currently in PBL, I'd love your opinions on it.
    - A more loose schedule. USC's students expressed having lifestyles that were more balanced than UoP's students did. I have a soon-to-be spouse, so this is an important factor to me, and possibly worth the extra 8 months of school.
    - The perks of being on an undergrad campus: gym access, sports, endless clubs, etc.

    Cons for USC (again, my impressions)
    - Less complex and extensive clinical experience, as the bigger cases get assigned to dentists in specialty programs.
    - LA. It is really hard to figure out where to live due to the location of the school.
    - Essentially the same cost as UoP, but UoP gets out an working 8 months earlier.

    Pros for UoP
    - 3 years
    - I live in the Bay Area, and intend to practice here. Plus, the campus is in an awesome neighborhood.
    - Fewer specialty programs (2: Oral Surgery and Perio) means more clinical experience for DDS students.
    - InvisAlign certified at time of graduation. No additional CE courses required.
    - Comes highly recommended by dentists that graduated from the program. (I'm sure this is also true of USC, I have just had fewer encounters with them as a Bay Area resident).

    Cons for UoP
    - Lack of enthusiasm I saw among students at my interview. I was so surprised. I was expecting all kinds of Tiger pride based on conversations I've had with alumni, but all anyone had to say when I asked how they liked the programs was, "eh?" with a shrug. Maybe this is due to the rigorous accelerated program, maybe because a lot of attention is being focused in on the new campus (which may or may not open in time for my last year there, if I choose to attend), or something else?
    - 3 year program hard on spouses? Thoughts?
    - During my campus tour, I was told by the third year student doing the tour (who only really got excited about the snack bar) that the 3rd year class is great, very cooperative, friendly, helps each other, etc; however, the first and second year classes are more competitive, cheat, are gunners in the worst kind of way.... shocking to hear during a tour, and I'm hoping that the perception of this individual is skewed.
    - CURRENT STUDENTS: do you have any insight on how the construction of the new campus is altering your experience on the current one? A lot of students didn't seem to believe that the new campus would be finished in time for my last year, as the school is optimistically projecting.

    Help correct any of my misguided opinions!!! Thank you!
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  3. Double Bonded

    Double Bonded 5+ Year Member

    Sep 6, 2010
    Based on what you wrote, I think you'd like USC better. If you're excited about PBL vs UOP's curriculum...go for it.

    Good luck!
  4. hifive


    Dec 5, 2011
    You might want to double check on how the PBL is run, I have heard it can be quite frustrating.
  5. Machiavelliansm


    Feb 4, 2011
    UOP is severely overrated on this forum. how would i know? i don't. just my opinion.
    Cal Dental likes this.
  6. SayCheese123


    Jan 16, 2012
    What have you heard that the frustrations are? Feeling that there is a lack of guidance? Admittedly the PBL thing is much different than anything I've ever done, and I'm sure there's a learning curve. Have you heard anything about the board preparedness and how students feel going into the tests?
  7. Vigilante

    Vigilante 2+ Year Member

    Jul 21, 2011
    I'm a current student and I agree PBL was frustrating. The most frustrating part was using it to learn clinically-based subjects and that is what my class complained the most about. After all our whining, it seems the faculty responded and they have now replaced all clinical cases with lab/lectures and only use PBL for the basic sciences, meeting 6 hours/week. I didn't really like PBL, but I do think it worked for the basics and I had no problems passing my Part 1s. I'm pretty sure our passing rate was around 85-90%, but that's only from word of mouth seeing as they don't release that info, and that seems about on par with other traditional programs. If you have any other questions, you can send me a message.
  8. Berkguy

    Berkguy 5+ Year Member

    Jan 22, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    What is your opinion based on? (just wondering)
  9. Berkguy

    Berkguy 5+ Year Member

    Jan 22, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    Also - I think it'd be a great idea to post this same thread in the Dental forum, and see if any current students can chime in. I'd be very interested to hear their responses!
  10. SayCheese123


    Jan 16, 2012
    I thought this was on the dental thread... How do I repost? Thanks!!
  11. SayCheese123


    Jan 16, 2012
    Thanks for the continued input, guys. Any current UoP students have any insight into the strangeness of my interview and/or how they feel impacted by the new campus building project?
  12. CougarDental

    CougarDental 5+ Year Member

    Jan 27, 2011
    I have heard that USC is probably the worst school to gain clinical experience at. Lack of chair time and PBL have been sited as the reasons by USC grads themselves. UoP on the other hand provides a great clinical training.
  13. ginaych


    Sep 6, 2011
    lack of chair time is hardly a problem anymore and these are words from multiple current USC students, not my imagination. PBL is each to one's own.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2012
  14. beachmascboy

    beachmascboy 2+ Year Member

    Feb 15, 2011
    Actually, I am a current student at USC as well. I think USC has the BEST clinical experience out there. On the first day, we were handed with a hand piece to drill. USC focuses MOSTLY on clinical experience and they will for sure prepare you for the future. If you want to do well clinically, go to USC.
  15. aelliott


    Mar 5, 2012
    I got into both as well, but am going with USC! What did you decide?
  16. Darce101


    Jan 26, 2011
    Keep in mind that several members of this thread are waitlisted at UOP.

    In my opinion, based on tours and visits, UOP is an amazing school.
  17. RJF8INOC

    RJF8INOC 5+ Year Member

    Mar 25, 2009
    I am currently a second year at USCSD and I can state without question that it is among the top 10% of clinical schools in the country. We were handed our dental handpieces on the first day, completed amalgam, composite, and single unit fixed prosthodontics within the first year. Thus far in second year, we have completed multiple unit fixed posterior prosthodontics, endodontics, orthodontics, removable prosthodontics, anterior fixed prosthodontics, anesthesia, and periodontics. Furthermore, we have had CAD CAM and Dental Implant didactic and clinical training. Throughout my first two years, we have spent anywhere from 60 to 80% of our time in school in the sim lab. We saw our first patients (for perio) during the first year and are on the clinic floor seeing patients at full capacity at the end of our second year. I haven't heard of another school in the US that is doing more.

    How is this all possible? Problem-Based Learning. Unsure of this methodology? This approach is used quite often in Medical schools and is currently being used at Harvard School of Dental Medicine. http://www.hsdm.harvard.edu/index.php/academics/dmd/
  18. FutureDentist00

    FutureDentist00 2+ Year Member

    Aug 13, 2009
    I am currently a 1st year dental student at USC and I truly do not understand why USC gets all this hate here on SDN. I promise you guys all these negative posts are far from reality.

    I applied to 10 schools last cycle with a nearly perfect GPA from a great UC school and a decent DAT score. Harvard was my first choice, but I didn't have any luck there. I got into 6 schools (including USC. UCSF, UOP in California). I decided to attend USC because I knew a lot of students here at the school and I learned a lot about the school and what to expect before coming here. I felt that USC was the best fit for me. Also, the dentist I shadowed since high school was a second generation USC dentist and was the best dentist I know (I shadowed/assisted many different dentists). His work ethic and interactions with patients truly kept me motivated through out my pre-dental journey. Also, needless to say you can not top sunny southern California!! My experience at USC has been incredible and I definitely do not regret picking USC at all. The price tag is definitely a tough pill to swallow but with the new IBR program, it will be feasible to handle the loans, and still have a good life style.

    Here is my honest opinion about USC:

    Clinical: It truly is EXCELLENT clinically. I have friends that attend different dental schools and we are always updating each other about what we are doing. As a first year, I have definitely worked a lot more on my manual dexterity and working with the hand piece than my friends at other schools. We were working with the hand piece on the first day of school, and started working on the maxillary quadrants (with a mirror) a few days later. Our professors so far have been outstanding, and the faculty and TAs have been extremely helpful and approachable. Most (if not all) of my class says that our amalgam professor was the most passionate and dedicated professor we have ever had. As far as all the rumors about not having enough patients go, they are simply not true. USC is in downtown, there are more than enough patients. From the recent graduating class only one student did not graduate on time, and it was because of a personal matter. Keep in mind there is 144 of us in each class!! According to a survey from the academic affairs office 98% of the graduating students said during there last year that they would recommend USC to their close relatives/friends that are pursuing dentistry. If all the negative rumors on SDN were true, that percentage would be drastically lower.

    PBL: Although it is not for everyone, PBL is the best learning method for me. All our cases are real medical cases that are extremely interesting and stimulating. I have had about 8 cases so far and I truly have learned a whole lot about the basic medical sciences from those cases. PBL is actually one of the main reasons why I picked SC and it has been a great experience. Being in lectures all day just sounds so boring and torturous to me. The PBL pedagogy keeps us engaged in the case and makes remembering things so much easier (for me). The only problem I see with PBL is that it is extremely time consuming (we have to do a lot of research on our own to decipher the case and understand what is going on) and is just not for everyone. If you feel that you need lectures to feed you all the information, and do not like the challenge of dissecting a medical case to understand all the aspects of it, pbl is just not for you. USC, for the most part, has been pretty good with accepting the right people for PBL. A lot of people in my class have their MS degrees, we even have an MD in our class. It would be perfect if USC moves towards a hybrid between both PBL and traditional lectures. I think that that would be the ideal teaching method for everyone.

    I really do not understand where all the hate is coming from. My time at USC has been amazing so far, and although there are a couple of complainers (like at every other school) everyone in my class seems to be really enjoying their dental journey so far. All of us on here are pursuing one of the very best professions out there, and no matter what school we go to we are working extremely hard to accomplish our goals.

    I picked USC over UOP because it was a better fit for me. UOP is an excellent school, but the students I met during my interview didnt seem too happy to be there. One the other hand everyone I met at USC seems to love it. Also, I do not see how you can squeeze 4 years worth of work in a 3 year program? I feel like you wouldn't get as much out of your dental education as you would at a 4 year school (no offense to UOP students). However, UOP might be a better fit for you!

    My advice to you and all the predents, is that do your research, and talk to students at the schools that your interested in. Do not believe everything that you read on SDN. Although a lot of the people on here are really helpful and are genuinely here to help, there are some that spread rumors for no reason. I really hope this was helpful and I am sorry if I bored you to death guys!!!
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2012
    Cal Dental likes this.
  19. PostBak

    PostBak 5+ Year Member

    Mar 19, 2011
    Thanks for that informative post.

    I am a pre dent and I am currently on USC's waitlist. This is my own opinions on USC:

    As for PBL, I think it is awesome. As I was studying for my DAT, I found the best learning for me was when I made my own PBL type of setups.

    As for getting patients, the tour guide said you have to put in a bit of leg work. But when I was there the clinic was packed! They were running out of chairs in the waiting at only 9 in the morning. But that is just one day and the tour guide is a full time student there.

    So again, that's just me and only based on the interview there.
  20. Milc25


    May 13, 2011
  21. bluesprite13


    Jul 17, 2012
    Hi, if you are worried about finding a place to live near USC, there are plenty of affordable and nice suburbs that are ~15-20 min away from USC. Also, you can use the metro system. They have a USC shuttle that picks you up from LA Union Station and will take you to campus.
  22. SayCheese123


    Jan 16, 2012
  23. mostprecious

    mostprecious 2+ Year Member

    Aug 28, 2012
    I have worked as an office manager for 1 and a half years at a crown/bridges dental laboratory in Orange County (a neighbor county of Los Angeles County where USC is). And my top-skilled technician/boss told me the best dentists she has been working with for the past 20 years are all USC graduates. She certainly seemed to give a lot of credit on them. (And recommended that I study dentistry there as well!) No comments on UoP dentists, since she knew none.
  24. RJF8INOC

    RJF8INOC 5+ Year Member

    Mar 25, 2009
    That video of a Class I amalgam prep was hilarious! Really, that was for a 4th year USC student, really?? Maybe that prep would be enough to pass Amalgam at UOP, but you would have remediated preclinical at USC. I would not be showing that one off buddy.
  25. ddslove789

    ddslove789 5+ Year Member

    Jul 21, 2010
    I'm currently a D1 at UOP and I absolutely LOVE it!! I'm so sorry that your experience was less than welcoming, because that's definitely not how it usually is around here. One of the main reasons why I came to Pacific was because of the amazing people and awesome support network we have here. The third year student you spoke with definitely was not correct about the first year class being competitive -- everyone is SO helpful and collaborative. The so-called "gunners" are definitely not great representations of the word because they are often the most helpful in our class -- posting their notes/study guides, helping with answers to practice problems for exams, and always giving a helping hand in lab classes. That's not just restricted to the people at the top though, everyone in my class is genuine and caring, and we all just want everyone to succeed. Even though our curriculum is pretty rigorous, it is definitely manageable because of this supportive network! It's not just limited to my class either... A vast majority of the second year class has activity taken part in helping us as well by holding study sessions and review sessions before exams, coming into lab on weekends and evenings before practical exams to help us with our preps, etc. I would argue that Pacific has probably one of the most helpful and supportive student bodies out of most (if not all) dental schools in the country.

    In addition to that, our students are very well prepared academically and clinically -- from what I've seen, heard from D2s and D3s, and heard from dental professionals not associated with Pacific. More than 90% of our students pass boards on their first attempt and the vast majority of those who want to specialize get matched to their top picks. With regards to clinical experience, Pacific's 3 year program doesn't take away from that at all. We started preclinical courses in the sim lab week one and will have more than 500 hours of preclin lab class time (essentially operative and fixed) by the end of year one, and that's not counting the hours spent practicing outside of class. First years also get early clinical exposure within the first few weeks of year one by assisting the D2/D3s in clinic and practicing on on each other in our clinic blocks each week. After first year, second years spend about 50% of their time treating patients, and third years spend nearly 100% of their time doing so. All of the upperclassmen I've spoken with have told me that they felt completely prepared for clinic, and dental professionals that I have spoke with outside of Pacific (general practitioners, specialists, and residency program directors) have all been thoroughly impressed with the clinical treatment, diagnostic, and handskill abilities that Pacific grads have.

    As far as the construction goes, we really have not been impacted at all by the new building. All of the funds are coming from donors and fundraising -- not from our tuition -- so we really haven't had any negative impact in that way. From what I have heard, we are ahead of schedule on the project and plans are to transition to the new school during the summer break before 2014-2015. Virtually nothing from the current building is being transported to the new building, so all of the equipment will be state of the art and is scheduled be finished and installed a few months prior to the move date. We actually just had a meeting with the dean about the building and he said that they are currently on track for the building to be finished by Jan 2014. While nothing is ever certain when it comes to construction, I really do believe that if any dental school can get it done and the move accomplished by the deadline, it would be Pacific.

    Sorry for the long message, but I just wanted to give you an inside perspective about what it is actually like here! I hope that it helps, and feel free to ask me any questions! Pacific is a wonderful place and I am so happy to be here! good luck with your decision!
  26. Toofly01

    Toofly01 2+ Year Member

    May 15, 2012
    ddslove789, I want to thank you for taking the time to write this informative post! :)
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013

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