The Pros and Cons of living On or Off Campus

School probably begins in a couple months for you and you're still trying to decide whether to live on or off campus. Whichever way you choose, make sure it fits your lifestyle. Ensure that it is affordable and within your means and budget.

On Campus; the Pros and Cons.
Pros: Living on campus allows for fellowship of school and classmates. It's where a lot of socializing occurs and it's a place where you meet life long friends.  It allows for close proximity to school, which is a big plus! as you don't have to worry about commuting or getting a car. The residence halls are usually also very well secure; you usually do not have to worry about your safety.You sometimes do not have to worry about cleaning and cooking.
Cons: For the adult individual, living in the residence halls can prove to be a bit restrictive. Often times there are curfews. Spaces are small and privacy is very limited. In dental school, you will be studying most of the time and quiet is essential - residence halls get very noisy at times. Living on campus can also be an expensive option.

Off Campus; the Pros and Cons
Pros: Living off campus allows for freedom, versatility, privacy and space. Sometimes, living off campus can be less expensive than living on campus (just a little hunting will do the trick). Private apartments are usually quieter, and have fewer distractions and so provides an atmosphere more conducive to studying than on campus. You do not have to share amenities (bathroom, kitchen, etc). In the end, having a rental history is good for future apartment renting or buying.
Cons: If you do not do your research right, living off campus may be expensive. Usually you have to pay 1 month's security deposit and 1 month's rent upfront. You may need to pay utilities and furnish the apartment (the trick is to try to get all in one so that the rent covers everything). You have to find time for grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning and basic maintenance of the apartment. Living off campus means you have to commute to school. This often means that you have to get a car; with a car comes monthly insurance bills, gas, etc.

All in all, living on or off campus comes with it's advantages and disadvantages. Choosing one or the other is completely dependent on you; your personality, your personal preference and your budget.

How to Fund Your Dental School Career

Dental School is very expensive to attend. However, you shouldn't let the cost defer you from your dream of becoming a dental professional. It is true that some schools may cost well over $300,000 over four years! It is scary figure, but, it is a worthwhile investment, as the average dental professional makes well over $100,000 per annum. So how exactly can one go about paying all that money? There are several ways:

1. Scholarships - There are very few scholarships out there. However, it is important to search for scholarships to help to defer the cost of dental school. You may check the ADA website for some scholarships. Also, check your designated schools for scholarship listings.
i. Health Professions Scholarship Program - These are scholarships offered through the Navy, Army and Air Force where full tuition coverage plus a monthly stipend is awarded, in addition to summer military training. In return, you owe the respective branch 1 year for each year the scholarship was granted. Example: If you got the scholarship for the whole four years of dental school, then you owe the respective branch four years of service.
ii. National Health Service Corps - This organization offers scholarships for those who are eligible. They offer up to the full cost of attendance plus a monthly stipend. In return the awardee is required to serve an underprivileged neighborhood/area (example: federal prison) 1 year for each year the scholarship is awarded.

2. Federal Student Aid -  All dental students will be considered for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. Free Applications are usually given to students from their designated schools. The FAFsa information is used to calculate the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). From this, the Cost of Attendance (COA) will be subtracted to determine financial need.

3. Loans  
i. Federal Stafford loans: Students are automatically considered for Stafford loans as a result of filing FAFSA. There are two types of Stafford loans, Subsidized and unsubsidized. Subsidized means the federal government pays the interest on the loan until you graduate, and for a grace period of several months after graduation. Unsubsidized means that you are responsible for paying the interests immediately upon taking out the loan; however, you may opt to defer payment of the interest until after you graduate, in which case the interest is simply added to your principal. The interest on these loans are low, currently fixed at 6.80%.
ii. Health Professions Student Loan (HPSL) - The HPSL is another option available to dental students. It has a fixed interest rate of 5% and the interests are subsidized. repayment of this loan begins 12 months after graduation with a maximum of 10 years to repay. The award is based on parental income.
iii. The Perkins Loan - This loan is need-based and has a fixed interest rate of 5%. Interests are subsidizedand repayment usually begins 9 months after graduation.
iv.  Graduate PLUS loan - This loan does not have a limit on how much one may borrow - you may borrow uo to the full cost of attendance, Interest rates are 7.90%
 v. Other Loans - The Educational Resource Institute (TERI)is a non profit group that provides up to $225,000 in loans to dental school students. There are some banks, including Citibank, who offer similar loans. Citibank will loan a dental student up to $220,000 for school itself, and up to $12,000 additional toward a residency after graduation. Many state governments, too, offer dental school student loans. Check with your state Department of Education or the dental school.

 4. Loan Forgiveness - There are several programs that offer forgiveness of your loans. Some, like the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program (NHSC-LRP) pay health care professionals funds in additional to salary in exchange for work in designated need areas.

So, don't let the cost of attending dental school hold you back from pursuing your dream and/or goal of becoming a dental professional. There are many funding options that one can take advantage of.

Snagged an Interview? Be ready for the Qs

The key to getting through the interview is to be confident and answer questions intelligibly. Typically, interviews are conducted one-on-one. It is also typical to have two interviewers. In some instances, although very rare, you may have a group interview. This only happens when interview sessions have been overbooked. In this case it is important to bring your A game and shine!

Ten (10) Common Interview Questions:

1. Why a career in Dentistry?
2. Why have you chosen our school to pursue your career
3. Tell us about yourself, include your strengths and weaknesses
4. What personal challenge has given you motivation to succeed and how did you overcome that challenge?
5. What have you done to prepare yourself for the rigors of dental school?
6. Describe your study habits
7. What have you done to develop manual dexterity?
8. How do you feel about cheating? If you knew someone was cheating in your class, what would you do?
9. Of all the other qualified candidates, why should we choose you?
10. What will you do if you are not accepted to Dental School?

Use these questions to quiz yourself. Answer the questions truthfully and with confidence. Good Luck!

Snagged an Interview? Look the part

Getting invited for an interview is really exciting! However, amidst that excitement, there can be a lot of anxiety, nervousness and uncertainty. Hopefully this will help you to relax.
All interviews, whether it is for a job or  placement in a school, has essentially the same aim - to see who is the best fit for the position. Your goal is to prove that you are!
In doing so, there are set guidelines that should be followed; dress code is one of those important guidelines.

Dress Code
Ever heard the phrase, "first impressions last"?  It's true, and you should be ready to impress and look the part. Remember though, that you have applied for a position as a professional student and should look as such.

Keep it simple. Wear a nice suit, whether a skirt or a pant suit. Go for conservative colors like blacks, grays, navy blues and browns. If you need to wear jewelry, wear a simple watch, knobs - keep accessories to a minimum. If you must wear make-up, keep this light as well. Wear comfortable shoes and keep your hair neat and tidy.

Again, keep it simple. A two-piece matched suit is always the best choice. Don't mix and match jackets and pants. Wear conservative colors like blacks, navy blues and grays. If you must wear a tie, keep it simple. do not opt for fancy. A nice watch can be worn. Wear a belt that will compliment your outfit and ensure that your shoes are well polished. Also, keep you hair neat and tidy and your face properly groomed. 

You might like to go with these looks:

You've got Mail!

So it's a couple months after you've applied and you're on edge because, of course, you want to get accepted to your top school. Suddenly everyone around you is getting letters in the mail. Some good, some not so good; accepted - Yesss!!!, waitlisted - crapp!!, rejected - SHIT!!! and then you get really nervous because you don't know where you stand. So everyday you check your mailbox in hopes of getting a letter from someone, anyone. A couple weeks go by and still, nothing. What is going on?? So your next step is to phone the schools and ask them what's up with your application only for them to tell you to be patient as it is still under review. So you wait. Until one day, you've finally got a letter. You're excited, nervous. It's from your top school, did I get in? You slowly and cautiously open the seal of the envelope, close your eyes and cross your fingers. Count to five and slowly open one eye, then the other...
Different schools have different ways of how they phrase your..."fate." So you browse the page and look for those fateful words. It sucks how some schools take you on a high before slamming you to the ground! so you finally get to the line, and it reads, " We are pleased to have had so may qualified applicants this cycle" your heart starts to pound, could it be, could it be, oh my god, ..."there were many strong points noted on your application" Holy crap I think I'm in! "...However," Uh oh ..."due to the high volume of applicants and the low number of seats available at our institution" oh, please please please don't say no... "we regret that you were not awarded a spot in our school this cycle" !!!
You take a moment for it all to sink in. You put the letter away and try to cheer yourself up because hey, this is only ONE of the quadrillion schools you've applied to. So over the next couple weeks the letters keep rolling in. A few more "Craps!!"
What should you do if none of the schools that you've applied to accepts you? This is the dilemma that no student wants to be in. The reality is only a small percentage actually get in each year. However, if your goal of becoming a dentist is really your first love, do not hesitate to reapply.Do not allow your rejections to overwhelm you for too long. Remember, every drawback is a set-up for a comeback (author unknown).
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