Ask the right questions

Imagine yourself in the school and city. You’ll be there for at least four years. Also, consider the type of experiences you want to have while you are there, along with the cost and how you’ll be paying for it. Here are a few questions to ask the school when narrowing down your choices:

  • What specialty programs are available?
  • What is the student-to-faculty ratio?
  • What is the average class size?
  • What is the grading system? Is it pass/fail or are letter grades issued?
  • Can you outline the expected tuition and expenses?
  • What is the school’s culture like?
  • Are there classes year round?
  • Describe the clinical experiences — when do they begin and what kind of patients do we serve?
  • Is there research funding available?
  • What regional board exams do your students take?
  • Does the school use emerging technology?
  • Will any classes be taken with medical students?
  • What is your policy on participating in outside activities of organizations such as ASDA?

Talk to experienced dentists (and dental students)

Ask friends and family members for contacts who have been practicing for a while. Get in touch with dental students who have been through their first year or two in school for their perspective (if you're a member, you can login to My ASDA and find people through ASDA's membership directory). See what life is really like in their shoes.

  • Conduct phone interviews
  • Set up shadowing experiences at local practices
  • Attend organized dentistry events like ASDA's Annual Session or National Leadership Conference 
  • Volunteer

Know what you are getting into

Dental school is a lot of work. Unlike college, you often spend 40 hours of week in lectures, labs and clinics. Plus, you’ll be studying. All of the commitment pays off, but it will take time to adjust to the lifestyle change.

Become a member and receive a free copy of Getting Into Dental School. This book contains student perspectives based on each year in school, as well as detailed information on every U.S. dental school including tuition, undergrad requirements, degree options and more.

Looking for more information? Check out ASDA's webinar on Choosing the Right Dental School.