When it comes to dental school applications, how do predental students decide on where to apply and ultimately, which school they should attend after receiving acceptance letters?
I spoke with several predental students via email and in person at Pittsburgh’s Dental Science Club drill & fill to find out.
Location was a major factor to where students applied. Some students, like Ann Lin, said that climate of the school’s location was important. She mentioned that the chilly Pittsburgh winters were not her favorite climate. This attracted her to schools in the south and California. John Foster explained that he hoped to be closer to his close-knit Midwest family during dental school. He applied to Marquette and Minnesota, among others. Brian Wialeck wanted to attend Maryland to take advantage of the in-state tuition, and Jamie Kaufer, who is a Pennsylvania Resident, will be attending Pittsburgh in the fall, said the culture of the city was very important to her decision and that Pittsburgh has everything she could ask for culturally.
The reputation of the school was also a key factor in application choices, but the meaning of “reputation” differed for each student. Because of their close relationship with the dental school through the Dental Science Club, most students applied to Pittsburgh. Travis Wagner mentioned that he was attracted to various schools based on the strength of their specialty departments, like Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, and Anesthesia. Because of his desire to work for the National Health Services Corps after graduation, Foster was very interested in different dental schools’ outreach programs to underserved rural areas. Kaufer was interested in DMD programs along with unique departments at Pittsburgh, like the Department of Anesthesia and the Center for Patients with Special Needs. Loren Genetti, the passionate and driven president of the Dental Science Club, was most interested in the strength of the clinical experience at the dental schools she applied to, because of her desire to own her own private practice. The extensive ASDA involvement, and general passion of the dental students where Genetti interviewed also inspired her decision to attend Temple.
Regardless of where they would be attending in the fall, the predental students I interviewed were all thrilled to (finally) join the dental profession. They were grateful to the Pitt Dental Science Club and ASDA for making their admissions experience straightforward and successful, turning a maze into a checklist.
Tell us how you chose a dental school (or intend to choose one) in the comments below!
~Tamar Shrikian, Pittsburgh, ’15