4 Things To Consider When Choosing A Dental School

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Being a dentist can be a rewarding career if you love helping people and positively impacting society. In this field, you’ll get to use various technologies and techniques to examine, diagnose, and treat teeth, gums, and the mouth. Besides that, you’ll also promote excellent oral care and hygiene. Doing so will change patients’ lives by restoring their smiles and making them feel more confident.

Being a good dentist starts with studying in a good school. However, you’ll find several accredited institutions, and deciding which one to consider may be challenging. It’s essential to do proper research before settling on any. Here are Medicalaid’s rankings to help you out. Besides these, you can check out different institutions’ websites or randomly visit some schools and interact with the students to learn more about the institution. 

After researching, you may have a list of schools you like. But before picking any institution, here are some factors to consider:

1. Location

A critical factor when choosing a dental school is location. Since you’ll be there for at least four years, you should pick a place that suits you best. For instance, is the institution near your family? Is the weather favorable for you? Do you prefer a rural or urban area? If you’re looking to commute, will transport be affordable for you?

Besides, you also have to consider what the school’s location could offer your learning experience. For example, what percentage of the population needs oral care? Are there volunteer opportunities for you to offer dental services to the community? 

An area that allows you to practice what you study is more suitable. You’ll interact with different people and educate them on the importance of oral care for kids, adults, and seniors. Also, you’ll develop excellent patient communication skills and get exposed to many dental cases that can help you expand your knowledge. Moreover, you could meet other professionals. This way, you’ll have a chance to network and learn more approaches to various dental cases.

2. Curriculum

A school’s curriculum is also an essential aspect to consider. This may vary depending on the school. For instance: 

  • Problem-Based Learning 

Problem-based learning is a teaching approach considered evidence-based. Students study a subject with other groups by developing a problem related to a topic.  

  • Enquiry-Based Learning

Enquiry-based learning presents problems, scenarios, and questions that students must research and study. This way, they can gain the intended knowledge on a topic, idea, or subject.

  • Case-Based Learning 

In case-based learning, students gain skills and knowledge in a subject by working with real-life or hypothetical scenarios.

There are various other teaching methods used in dental schools. To find out what different institutions apply, check out their websites. Alternatively, visit the schools and enquire about that. Most institutions will give you their prospectuses, which you can carry home for further reviewing. 

3. Available Support 

While studying, you may face various challenges. Some students in dental school may struggle with mental issues like anxiety, stress, or depression. This could be due to parental pressure, an overwhelming workload, difficulties in social life, or being away from loved ones. Health and financial challenges may also cause some dental students to struggle in school. 

It’s, therefore, essential for institutions to have the best support system that can ensure the success of students. You should check if a dental school has psychological and academic counselling, a health care facility, and well-structured study groups. Mentorship and career development programs are also essential. 

You should also check if they have entertainment spaces or sessions. These help you unwind, reduce stress, and improve your energy and productivity levels. 

4. Student-To-Faculty Ratio

Before choosing a dental school, you must consider its student-to-faculty ratio. In some institutions, you’ll find that classes have an overwhelming number of students compared to lecturers. This makes it difficult for personalized attention, one-on-one mentorship, detailed follow-ups, or interaction with lecturers.

So, when choosing a dental school, it’s essential to consider those with a lower student-to-faculty ratio. You may have a better learning experience there.  

Final Thoughts

You must choose a good dental school if you’re passionate about improving people’s lives by offering the best oral services. If there are many institutions around you and it’s challenging to pick one, this article can help. 

As you’ve learned, before picking any dental school, you should first check its location and the available curriculum. It would also be best to pick an institution with efficient support programs and a lower student-to-teacher ratio. If you encounter challenges selecting a school, seek help from someone. This may be a parent, a friend already studying, your mentor, or a certified dental professional.

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