Choosing Dental Schools:

How to choose your dental school

There are many dental schools across the United States and choosing the ones that would be best suited for you, your priorities and condition is not easy. Dental schools are very expensive, when you want to decide on which dental school you wish to go to, you should set up some priorities for yourself based on which you can decide which dental schools you would like to choose.

While there are many publications that rank the dental schools, they are often inaccurate, as there is no level playing field to rank one against another since they all offer programmatic and mission-based differences. This is why it is so important to determine what you are looking to get from your dental education and how you want it to be structured.

Here we have a few suggestions for your criteria in choosing dental schools. You should consider

  • geographical location
  • reputation and prestige of a dental school (as well as what students of a dental school say about their experience)
  • curriculum type (also if there are classes all year-round)
  • clinical or research focus
  • the expected tuition and expenses
  • the specialty programs that are available in the school
  • school’s culture
  • class size
  • acceptance of out-of-state students
  • clinical experiences in details like when they begin and what kind of patients they serve
  • available research funding

For each of these factors you must decide what your preferences are and what you can afford financially, mentally, and physically; for example regarding geographical location, some people just can’t live too far from their parents, some can live anywhere that would best serve their educational purpose, some can’t afford to earn enough money to live on their own and study as well with all the expenses of studying and dental school and so on therefor they need some help from their parents or they must choose cheaper dental schools. Geographical location and financial issues are among the most important factors for deciding on dental school.
Consider each factor carefully, do your research and think about your situation and what you can/can’t do or what you want/don’t want.

Talk to experienced dentists and dental students about their experiences in the dental school and the environment of the city in which the dental school is located. Get in touch with dental students who have been through their first or second year in school for their perspective. Search the internet, find forums of dental students and pre-dentals like yourself, see what they have to say about their experiences and their criteria for choosing a dental school.

When you decide on your criteria, you can eliminate the schools based on your criteria and see how many dental schools are left, and then take it from there. Don’t eliminate your dream school due to its high academic standards or cost, you may be able to get there with more research and a bit of luck.

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