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How do I Choose the Best Dental School?

Tricia Christensen
Updated: Feb 20, 2024

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.

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.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By Ocelot60 — On May 08, 2014

Though many college-bound students want to stay as close to home as possible, this should not be the deciding factor when choosing the best dental school. A student should compare programs and costs, and pick the best one for his or her needs even if it is a long distance from home. Though the move may be difficult at first, in could mean saving money and achieving success in the future.

By Raynbow — On May 07, 2014

Any high school student who is planning to go to dental school should get a head start by talking to his or her guidance counselor. This strategy will give the student valuable advice when it comes to choosing a dental school.

The most important reason that consulting with high school guidance counselors is that they have a lot of inside details about all types of schools. They can help students weed out the best schools to match specific goals and needs.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
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