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Dwight_Schrute

Accepted to US school, not Canadian competitive, is the profession worth it anymore?

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Hi all, in a bit of a dilemma here:

This is my third year applying to both Canadian and US schools. I was accepted to 2 US schools last year and this 1 so far this year, but I decided to try again for Canadian schools one more time last year because of the financial impact of studying in the US. I did not interview at any Canadian schools last year, and am losing hope for this year day by day as I am likely not competitive (transferred between 2 undergrads and took 6 years to complete).

Anyways, I interviewed at 4 US schools in December and have been accepted to 1 so far. I am tired of putting my life on hold, and have decided to make up my mind this year. Problem is, the 4 years will cost OVER $430 000 based on current cost of attendance, projected tuition increases, and the abysmal exchange rate. Is it even worth going into dentistry with that much debt? I am most likely not interested in specializing, but am willing to practice in rural and underserved areas (would prefer it even, I hate the extremely competitive and borderline fraudulent nature of dental practice in urban areas). However, realistically, I would still be making under $200K for the majority of my career, probably closer to $120K maximum after tax. With interest, I would be likely be paying off my debt for over 18-20 years if I choose to live comfortably, and I don't even know what I would do for retirement. 

I am only having second thoughts about this issue because one of my ECs has been with the local RCMP detachment where I've been volunteering as an auxiliary officer. I have excellent connections and references from the force, and I would have an excellent chance of getting hired as a constable. I know several who make $100K+ with overtime before taxes, and the pension is a massive bonus. I'm genuinely conflicted about both careers. I'm South Asian, so my parents and family are strongly pressuring me to go with dentistry, saying that I can easily pay the loans back in a few years (LOL) and that I am greatly overqualified for policing. They are extremely stubborn and I cannot make them understand how long I'll be slaving away to pay my debt while living like a student. I love dentistry and working with my hands, but I just don't know what the future holds, especially with the number of dentists passing the equivalency test from Asian and African countries and working for pennies over here and the attitude the government/insurance companies and the public have towards dental professionals. I also want to maintain a positive relationship with my family, and I don't think that would be possible if I gave up the opportunity to go to dental school to be a cop.

What would you do?

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Hey OP! you're in tight spot there, I totally get it! I just wanted to let you that many pre-dents are in your shoes, like me for instance. 

My parents are also "pressuring" me to go to the US while I'm freaking scared of the prospect of having to pay that huge amount of debt for the next few decades! But I have decided that If I don't get in this year in Canada, I'll try one more time next year and if still I can't get in, I'll go to the US. reason for this is: u have to think if dentistry is really what you want to do because if you're doubting yourself then u won't be happy with ur decision and will be miserable when trying to pay off ur debts. I still think dentistry is a good career where one can make a lot of money. And since I can't see myself do anything else besides dentistry and I like u,I don't wanna just sit and wait for years hoping to get into a Canadian school, I prefer to go to a US school and finally be a dentist, my dream job.

So in short, unless ur really sure that dentistry is for u,I think u should go to the States. If you're doubting yourself and think you'll be just as happy being in the forces as an officer, then I suggest you go that route instead. I guess it depends on how strongly u feel for each profession.

Feel free to PM if u need to talk and please let us know what ull end up doing, good luck!!

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1 hour ago, Dwight_Schrute said:

I am only having second thoughts about this issue because one of my ECs has been with the local RCMP detachment where I've been volunteering as an auxiliary officer. I have excellent connections and references from the force, and I would have an excellent chance of getting hired as a constable. I know several who make $100K+ with overtime before taxes, and the pension is a massive bonus. I'm genuinely conflicted about both careers. I'm East Asian, so my parents and family are strongly pressuring me to go with dentistry, saying that I can easily pay the loans back in a few years (LOL) and that I am greatly overqualified for policing. They are extremely stubborn and I cannot make them understand how long I'll be slaving away to pay my debt while living like a student. I love dentistry and working with my hands, but I just don't know what the future holds, especially with the number of dentists passing the equivalency test from Asian and African countries and working for pennies over here and the attitude the government/insurance companies and the public have towards dental professionals. I also want to maintain a positive relationship with my family, and I don't think that would be possible if I gave up the opportunity to go to dental school to be a cop.

What would you do?

I can't speak to being a dentist or not because I am also in the application stages. However I have grown up in a household with a parent in the RCMP. Going to be honest with you, it wasn't easy. You will be working shifts and will be transferred around. I know it was hard on my mother because she has has to work in 5 different provinces and sacrifice her own job and pension. I went to a couple different elementary schools but by the time I reached highschool my parents decided to stay in one place for a few different reasons. Due to this my Dad wasn't moving as quickly up in the ranks anymore because the RCMP has rules over being promoted in the same detachment.

So if you're a person who isn't concerned about settling down in your early life and is a little more adventurous, then I think the RCMP would be good for you. As soon as you get a wife or husband and/or children it can be a lot harder to move around. I know some people don't want the family life, which would work with being an RCMP officer. Let me tell you that while those guys/gals may make 'lots' of money overtime with taxes, they may be giving up things in their life that you can't see.

I don't want to dissuade you from joining the RCMP, because that is awesome. But it is something important to think about when you consider where you want to be 5, 10, 15 years down the road.

pm me if you have any questions, I'd be glad to help.

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I can't speak for the RCMP, but I do think that policing in general is a great career with good earning potential.  In Ontario at least, most officers make >$100,000 within only a few year and that's without overtime. 

I wouldn't say it's an easy or stress-free job, but financially it will be a lot less stressful than taking on all that debt.

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While naturally you need to follow your gut in terms of which of the two careers will ultimately make you happy and fulfilled (only you can answer that) - but in terms of your description re dentistry earning potential - I think you need to additionally factor in the greater ability than what you quoted to pay off debt if you are in fact comfortable working in the more remote areas (definitely more lucrative than the numbers you quoted if you can find the right practice), and the likelihood that you one day invest at least partially in a practice rather than being 100% associate all your career. Profit return when you are making more than the 30-40% cut of an associate will also render salaries higher than you quoted (ie and therefore more aggressive debt-repayment potential). Best of luck in your decision-making!

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If dentistry is really for you, go for it. I'm not saying the debt will be easy to pay back because we all know US school debt is a bitch but if you'd really rather do dentistry than be a cop you should do what makes you happy (obviously easier said than done). You don't want to be regretting your job decision 15-20 years from now because of just money. We make out money to be a huge thing and although it is, being happy and in a profession you truly love I think is a lot more important. You can disregard what I say if you think it's all BS because after all I'm not in your situation but for a time I did think I was going to have to go to the US. I probably would've done it too because I wanted to be a dentist more than I was scared of debt. 

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