Dentistry can be a wise career choice, providing job security and financial independence. It’s no wonder, then, that plenty of aspiring medical students choose dental medicine as their field of choice.
The dental field has long had very little African American representation. According to the American Dental Association, in 2020, just 3.8% of dental professionals were African American. Contrast this with over 70% being White/Caucasian and 18% Asian. Many dental experts have advocated for better African American representation in the field to correct this imbalance.
Thankfully, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have fantastic dentistry doctoral degree programs. Let’s take a look at what you should consider when choosing a place of study for dentistry.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Dental School
To be certain that their dental school of choice fits their needs, potential dental students should consider a number of factors before applying. This is. Questions applicants should ask include:.
Does the school have on-site clinic facilities?
Perhaps the most important aspect of any dental education is practical, hands-on experience—the opportunity to perform dental procedures on live patients in state-of-the-art facilities. Some dental schools lack on-site facilities, sending students to off-site clinics to work and gain experience. This is a serviceable solution, but not ideal.
Students should make sure their target schools have actual on-site clinics for several reasons. Most importantly on-site clinics provide students opportunities to work with their own professors, with whom they already have classes. As such, students’ clinical instructors will know them better and will understand exactly how they’ve been trained. Additionally, students at schools with on-site clinics learn while using the on-site equipment so that they are more comfortable with it.
What does the total education cost?
It’s no secret that medical school is expensive – and dental school is no exception. So, it’s crucial that students learn in advance the cost of their education, as well as what student financial aid programs may be available. Finding dental schools that have a number of scholarships and grant opportunities Can significantly reduce the total cost of a college education. That goes double for medical degrees.
What is student life like?
No one should spend 4+ years of their life somewhere they don’t want to be. While dental school is notoriously tough, it shouldn’t be miserable. So, it’s important to consider student life at any prospective school. How are the living quarters? Are the food options good? What is the student body like??
Making sure that a school is a good fit personally is a major step in determining where to apply. Dental school education can feel arduous for students who don’t personally feel like they belong, so always inquire about the student life from other students. Try to reach out to students who attend these schools on social media, and ask them how they like it.
Which HBCUs Offer The Best Dental Programs?
While there are a multitude of HBCUs that offer doctoral and medical programs, only two – Howard University in Washington D.C. and Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN – offer dental programs. Luckily, both are excellent options.
Both have state-of-the-art clinical facilities, and both offer numerous student financial relief programs, such as grants and scholarships. Both provide the opportunity to study with like-minded students from diverse backgrounds, and both offer affordable dental care to their communities—which is a huge bonus.
So, which of the two should students choose?
At the moment, Howard University’s School of Dentistry appears to be the better option. Their facilities are slightly more modern, and they have a higher-rated program. However, students can’t go wrong with Meharry either. Although only two HBCUs offer dental doctoral programs, both are well-respected schools with cutting-edge facilities.
Some HBCUs have degree programs that don’t result in a Doctor of Dentistry Medicine but do provide bachelor’s degrees, associate’s degrees, or certificates that prepare students to become dental hygienists or dental assistants. HBCUs featuring such programs include:
At HelloCollege, we work toward helping young students find the best fit for their futures as students in higher education. We believe in HBCUs’ mission of offering excellent education to the African American community and to students of all races. That’s why we’re spotlighting these two dental schools offering top-of-the-line dental education.
If you are looking for more advice or information on the college admissions process, search our other blogs for information about university life, admissions, and HBCUs.