IntroductionGetting into the field ofdentistry, whether it is as adentist or a hygienist, requiresa great deal of training andeducation. Once the decisionhas been made that you wantto get into this industry, it’stime to start thinking ofschools to apply to.
Introduction cont…The ‘right’ dental school won’t be the same for everyone, butthere are some steps you can take to help narrow down yourideal candidates.Follow these tips to help you find the right dental school andstart your career off on the right foot.
Ask QuestionsWhether you’re thinking of being a dentist or ahygienist, asking the right questions is one of the keys tofinding the right school. Some important questionsinclude: What is the average class size? Are there any specialty programs available? What is the ratio of students to faculty? Is the grading system based on a pass/fail or standardletter grading? Do classes continue through the summer months?
Questions cont… What is the tuition range and any extra projected expenses? Can you describe the school’s overall culture? When do clinical experiences start? Which exams must students take? What are your general policies and regulations? Does the school train students with emerging technology?
Talk to Former StudentsThere’s no better way to really get a feel for how a dentalschool operates and treats its students than by speakingto former students.By speaking to students who have already completed theprogram, you can get honest opinions about theinstructors, the workload and placement once schoolingis complete. If you’re lucky enough to speak to a formerstudent, ask any question that comes to mind that youfeel will help.
Find Out What You’re Getting IntoFinding success at dental school requires a lot of work inlectures, clinics and labs as well as studying. In alllikelihood, your lifestyle is going to change quite a bitand it’s important that you have a sense of what you’regetting into.Speaking to former students will help, as will getting in-depth information about the courses and expectationsfrom the school itself.
LocationAll other aspects being equal, the location of a dentalschool may go a long way to determining if it is the‘right’ one for you.If you can find a school in a city you’re fond of, or ifthere’s one close to home, that’s often enough to seal thedeal for many students.
Reputation & HistoryThe reputation that a dental school has within theindustry is another factor to consider when decidingwhere to go. It’s always wise to learn as much as youcan for yourself, but a school with a great reputation is astep in the right direction.Along the same line, a school with a rich history ofproducing top quality dentists and hygienists is also asign that the school has a lot to offer.
Cost and Living ExpensesThe price of the program you want to take and the livingexpenses at the school are usually a factor with mostprospective students.The cost is more of a factor for some than for others, butit’s still something to look at regardless of how you comeinto the situation financially.
Student to Instructor RatioSimply put, a dental school that has smaller classes anda small student to teacher ratio will benefit the students. Smaller classes mean more direct attention frominstructors, and a more personal feel overall.Hands on, one-on-oneinstruction helps studentslearn practical skills faster andunderstand the concepts andtheories faster.
Placement Track RecordAll of the training and education of any dental school isbasically for nothing if there isn’t work waiting when it’sall over. Make sure you find out about the school’splacement track record, so you can get a sense of howseriously graduates are taken out in the real world.If your school has a high placement percentage, youknow that all of your hard work is taking you towardyour ultimate goal.
Referenceshttp://www.hpplc.indiana.edu/pdf/dental/Predental%20ApplicaIndiana University Bloomingtonhttp://www.asdanet.org/choosing-a-dental-school.aspxAmerican Student Dental Association