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Why go to Harvard?

Discussion in 'Pre-Dental' started by ToothManDDS, Apr 15, 2007.

  1. ToothManDDS

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    I know the majority of people here bash the Ivy League schools, but what does everyone have against HSDM? I know there are no formal rankings, but HSDM has the highest average DAT and one of the highest average GPAs. It obviously attracts great students, so why the hate?

    Pros:
    Intense program leading to the highest NDBE Part I Average
    Amazing specialty placement
    Great opportunities for research, community service, international rotations
    Externships
    Name recognition
    Great area of Boston
    Small class size (35)
    Access to HMS (medical), HSPH (public health) and their resources

    Cons:
    No clinical exposure until the end of D2
    Not the best clinical preparation if you want to do GP right after school

    Why else would you recommend going or not going to HSDM?
     
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  3. jackbauer!

    jackbauer! Guest

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    just because people don't cream their pants when they think of HSDM doesn't mean they hate the school.

    this thread is about as common as "what are my chances?", "tufts vs. bu", and "why did you choose dentistry"... :sleep:

    jb!:)

    ps- harvard is a great school, as is just about every other dental school
     
  4. armorshell

    armorshell One Man Freak Show
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    Don't these seem like they might be related? You can't really credit the program too much with the success of the students. Show me a program with low entering gpas and DATS and high board scores and placement, and I'll start believing :D

    I certainly don't have a beef with Harvard though, it seems like a great school, but at the same time it's definitely not an "automatic" decision.
     
  5. bruinpredent

    bruinpredent UCLA School of Dentistry
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    you might want to talk to IHD about this one
     
  6. dentstd

    dentstd Fena Gonzales
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    This school's entering DAT average is over 2 AA points higher than that of the second highest school. It may be the school, but it's more likely its students.
     
  7. wizziefiend

    wizziefiend Guest

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    No one ever talks about the partnership programs with MIT and Harvard business school. That was one of the only reasons I was pursuing the school.

    Plus, I said this before...but Harvard is one of the most successful brand names. Pepsi or coke would pay billions for the positive recognition associated with Harvard name. I saw an ad for a "Harvard Trained Dentist" and you can bet that worked in his/her benefit in recruiting patients.
     
  8. CTDent

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    I guess it all depends on what YOU want to do over the next 4 years and beyond. Personally I'd prefer an extra year (maybe 2 at some schools during D1+2) of clinical experience because that is exactly what attracts me to the field. However if your interested in dental research, or perhaps are 100% sure that you will be specializing (and therefore have more time for clinical training later on), then Harvard is probably aligned with that mindset.

    No one can honestly say a certain school is "good" or "bad" for another person. It all comes down to your own interests, and finding the best fit for yourself.

    I agree, though, that these high percentiles don't really prove an "amazing" or "best" curriculum, because of the starting point of the majority of the students they accept. What would be amazing is if their accepted DAT & GPA scores were average, yet still had "the highest NDBE Part I Average" or "Amazing specialty placement". That scenario would shed more light...
     
  9. 1992Corolla

    1992Corolla CheerioKing
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    Go to Harvard if you want, less competition when I get out of school.:smuggrin:

    :D
     
  10. CTDent

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    I tend to doubt that patients actually research what it means to be a "Harvard Trained Dentist" though. The average person would see "Harvard" and stop there, assuming that the credit that the Medical school, Law School, etc. gives the brand name also carries over to the dental training. However, if said patient really wants a well trained clinician after 4 years, which would be better: Clinical experience from D1 through D4 at school A or Research experience for D1/D2 and clinical experience for D3/D4 at school B?
     
  11. ToothManDDS

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    I agree with the brand name factor. I was watching TV and there was an ad for some skin product. They showed 3 MD dermatologists promoting the product. One of the docs it said "Harvard Trained Dermatologist" and the other two just said "Dermatologist." I looked up online where the other 2 went to school and one of them went to Yale for Derm. I guess the Harvard name is that big.

    1992Corolla: I don't understand your post. Less competition b/c the HSDM grad will be a specialist and not have to compete with you as a GP?

    CTDent: The amount of clinical work done before D3 is fairly minimal. I don't know any dental schools (minus Pacific) that gets you doing procedures before your D3 year. You may be in the clinic during your D1 year, but I at best you would be taking an X-ray. I believe that D2 year you could do dental cleanings and basic patient entry. The real meat of it comes at the D3 year. Also, you do research during the summer between D1 and D2 at HSDM.

    As for the correlation, I don't think that high DAT = high NDBE Part I. Yes, they are both standardized tests, but it stops there. The DAT tests basic knowledge of undergrad science courses. If you got a good foundation in science at your undergrad, you will do well on your DAT. The same holds true for the NDBE. This exam tests the knowledge you gain in dental school. I think it is a direct correlation between the program and their NDBE Part I averages. If a program has a very solid didactic program, their students will do well on the boards. If the program does not have a good didactic progam, their students won't do as well. I don't understand how anyone can say that a school's curriculum does not affect NDBE scores.
     
  12. lgwdnbdgr

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    Why would a patient limit himself to freshly minted dentists?
     
  13. CTDent

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    There are a good number that do in fact...but that's why I said earlier, that none of that matters as a whole, because ultimately each applicant has his/her own ambitions, interests, etc..
     
  14. armorshell

    armorshell One Man Freak Show
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    One could also assert that students that attain high DAT scores (Through careful study, and excellent test taking skills) will summarily be able to do the same in a different subject. Good students in undergrad are still good students in dental school, and theres a lot of data (Most of it coming from, you guessed it, Harvard: http://iadr.confex.com/iadr/2004Hawaii/techprogram/abstract_46159.htm, http://iadr.confex.com/iadr/2006Orld/techprogram/abstract_73023.htm, http://www.jdentaled.org/cgi/content/full/70/3/258) showing that pre-dental credentials (GPA and DAT) are incredibly strong predictors of NBDE performance.

    I don't really see how you can seperate the curriculum from the students to actually test your assertion. It seems like common sense, but as you should know common sense is often wrong. All the schools that have stellar records of NBDE performance (Harvard, Columbia, UCSF/LA, UConn) also have the most stringent admissions standards, and an excellent student will excel even under an ineffective curriculum. I'm not asserting that Harvard's program is ineffective by any stretch, but similarly you can't claim it is superior without any real proof.

    I suppose it might be probative to look at the average NBDE scores of all the schools, and correct them for the average entering GPA/DAT of the school to form an index rating of "how good" a curriculum is.
     
  15. ToothManDDS

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    I just read the first article and it seems to agree with what I said earlier, that a good DAT does not correlate to a good NDBE Part I score.

    "Conclusions: Predental GPAs are the strongest predictors of performance on NBDE 1. DAT scores have little to no influence on NBDE 1 scores."
     
  16. armorshell

    armorshell One Man Freak Show
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    It's a crazy conclusion if you look at the data. "The DAT General Chemistry section score was statistically significantly associated with the Microbiology and Pathology Section score (r = 0.89, p = 0.02). Either there's something with that article that I'm missing, or somebody writing the article has an agenda :laugh:

    Anyway, even assuming that article didn't agree with me on the DAT, the other ones do, and the first article also includes data on science GPA, which is highly correlated with NBDE performance: "Overall GPA was statistically significantly correlated with the NBDE 1 average score (r = 0.95, p < 0.01) and the Dental Anatomy and Occlusion section score (r = 0.90, p = 0.02). Science GPA was associated with the NBDE 1 average score (r = 0.83, p = 0.04) and the Microbiology and Pathology section score (r = 0.86, p = 0.03)."

    I wasn't talking strictly about DAT, I was talking about pre-dental predictors.
     
  17. 1992Corolla

    1992Corolla CheerioKing
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    So everyone from Harvard specializes? I'll let you figure out what I really meant, you are after all going to Harvard right?

    :D
     
  18. H2OPOLODENT

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    Unfortunately, its no longer online, but the DAT usermanual that was being passed around a few months ago concluded that the DAT (not predental GPA) is the strongest statistical indicator of both 1st year GPA and NDBE part 1 scores.
     
  19. 1992Corolla

    1992Corolla CheerioKing
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    How strong though? It could very well be the strongest and I don't contest it, but how credible is it?
     
  20. armorshell

    armorshell One Man Freak Show
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    I think that study took into account all of the students in the US, not just a small subset like the studies I posted, which is what at least one of the studies I posted indicated as a weakness in their method (Too small of a sample size)
     
  21. DDSY

    DDSY Bright Lights at Night
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    There are two serious flaws with this study. First, it's done only with Harvard students. The study is not generalizable to other dental schools. Second, the study design is a retrospective cohort study, which is not exactly the most reliable design for a study.

     
  22. 1992Corolla

    1992Corolla CheerioKing
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    I don't think all of the dental schools release all of thier GPA's, but I do know all the DAT scores are available. How can this study even be verified besides word of mouth and a couple of Harvard studies which seem like they are biased.
     
  23. lnsip9reg

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    I think part of the animosity from the dental forums against "brand-names" like Harvard, Columbia and Penn is that people who become dentists care more about tangible reality than hype.

    I love the fact that dental schools stood up to USNews and refused to be ranked. That the bogus categories that publication uses to determine which school provides a "better" education is just that, bull. With dentistry you can't bullsh__ the quality of work you do, you can't ride on the backs of others. It comes down to real merit and NOT credentialism. It's what you can do with your own two hands and what's between your ears.

    That being said the Ivy Dentals do nonetheless provide excellent education, just not the same level of mystique the undergrads do. Being an HYP graduate myself, it does make life easier :oops:, but it ain't no biggie. I'm going into dentistry to remove myself from all that, as best I can.
     

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