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How Do I Choose the Best Dental School?

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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 19 April 2014
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When people look for the best dental school, they typically will make highly individualized choices based on availability, grades, where they want to live, and what kind of program they want to pursue. There are many dental schools worldwide, and they may each have somewhat different requirements for admission. The main thing people should first look for is that schools are accredited by whatever regional board is necessary. Attending a dental school without accreditation may mean it is impossible to get a license and practice dentistry.

There are lists of supposed best dental schools, and these are often based on reputation, choices in instruction and opportunities for practice. Top ten lists, especially in places like the US won’t be the best schools for everyone. A dental school with an extremely good reputation can pick and choose among the most eligible candidates, which leaves quite a few students out of the running if they don’t have impeccable grades or test scores or if they haven’t attended a four-year university that is well-known.

While it might bother some people if they can’t make it into a top ten school, there are plenty of excellent dental school placements that aren’t as renowned. Some people are advised to send only one application to a school that is probably too far out of reach academically.

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Choosing within reasonable expectation of acceptance then involves several factors that can be considered. Students can take into account location and they may want to study near home, or they might enjoy living in another part of the country, or in another country. Those studying outside of their home country should make sure than any program attended will be accepted when it comes to getting a license.

It also helps to know what types of programs a school offers. Those interested in performing specialized dentistry or more complex procedures will want to find schools where practice in these areas is assured. Some people look to teaching dentistry in the future instead of simply practicing it on patients, and they should find programs that would support this ambition. Obviously those who would like extra training in fields like endodontistry, pediatric dentistry, cosmetic dentistry or others, will need to find schools that could offer these specializations.

Another thing to think about is cost. Programs may vary in price, and choosing the most or least expensive isn’t always wise. Prospective students should contemplate the amount of loans dental school might incur and compare different programs to see which ones are the most eligible or which offer reasonable means to repay loans. Schools that have ample scholarship programs could be considered too, since avoiding some or all loan debt is an enviable goal.

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