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Financial aspect of attending Australian vs Canadian school


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Hi, so recently I heard from the dentist that I shadow that it may be better for me to attend Australian dental school and start working early rather than completing my bachelor in Canada and then attending Canadian dental school, since completing university + dental school costs money. I am in my second year so if I do go to Australian dental school the following year, I would save 2 years during which I could work and start earning money. If I do get to attend Canadian dental school (whenever that may be), however, I would pay about half the tuition price compared to that of Australian schools. I am still unsure which option would save more money as of now. This is one of the factors to consider.

Another is my chance of getting into dental school in Canada. So, if I do not have much chance at Canadian dental school, sooner or later - I will go to Australian dental school (and the faster that is, the more money I would save.)  But I honestly am not sure about my chances. I currently finished my 2nd year, have ~3.92/4.0 GPA, completed all the pre-reqs, have DAT scores as follows - Carving: 15, PAT: 22, reading: 19 (First time taking DAT). What are my chances in getting into canadian dental school? The only school I believe I have chance would be U of A, as other schools use percentage for GPA and the conversion would bring my GPA down. 

Last factor is that I received a scholarship that covers a great, but not full, amount of my tuition for 4 years of my degree. Considering this and the chance that I may receive additional scholarships (so that I essentially pay very little for my undergraduate education), would it be better to just hope for the best while staying in Canada and continue to try applying for dental schools here rather than attending Australian dental school earlier on? 

I know myself very well and I know I want to become a dentist regardless of which path I take to get there but I am exploring on ways that would help me to save money while debating what my chances are to pursue dentistry. What are you guys' thoughts? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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3 hours ago, Chaxon said:

You have a high gpa. Get serious about the Dat, get a high score and get in at UofA.

Australia is only a decent option if you go straight out of high school into those 5 year bachelor of dental health science and master of dentistry programs. Or if you have low stats and have no chance in Canada.

I agree. If you go to Australia, you're going to be paying some serious loans versus staying in Canada. You also limit yourself from specializing and might limit yourself to only practicing in Canada since you won't be able to practice in the US unless you do a extra 2 years of dental school. 

You have a high GPA, get serious about the DAT and get a high score. If you do well on the DAT, you'll save $200k+ and can be closer to home.

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1 hour ago, Prolene said:

I agree. If you go to Australia, you're going to be paying some serious loans versus staying in Canada. You also limit yourself from specializing and might limit yourself to only practicing in Canada since you won't be able to practice in the US unless you do a extra 2 years of dental school. 

You have a high GPA, get serious about the DAT and get a high score. If you do well on the DAT, you'll save $200k+ and can be closer to home.

Thanks for your input. I will set my mind for Canada for now. But still just curious, can international students in Australia receive loans? Or is it somehow transferable from Canada?

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Start an excel spreadsheet and start doing the math. Consider the tuition costs at the different Australian dental schools, the exchange rate, the tuition at the Canadian schools you think you have a shot at, the cost of living in the different cities and scholarship money. Also take into account the length of the programs, some will be 4 years and some will be 5. Try to think of different factors/scenarios as well i.e. the potentially missed income as a dentist if it takes you 2 cycles to get into a Canadian school. There's a lot of different scenarios possible and at a certain point you may find it worth it to go to Australia.

Also remember you won't be able to 100% accurately estimate all these numbers, try to underestimate your potential income and overestimate the expenses just in case. 

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21 hours ago, r=vd said:

Thanks for your input. I will set my mind for Canada for now. But still just curious, can international students in Australia receive loans? Or is it somehow transferable from Canada?

You can as long as your school is accredited. Certain provinces get higher loans than others though (Ontario is 10k, Alberta is 50k, and BC is 17k each year).

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I am currently shadowing a general dentist in the GTA area. He graduated from the University of Melbourne. He told me that finding a job is very competitive in the GTA area. His principle dentists mentioned that they get around 100-150 applications for an associate position posted online. In addition, there are ups and downs in income from month to month. He only expects to earn around 120K each year. He ends with 400K debt from the Melbourne. After payment of debt and tax, his payment is only around 30K(essentially minimum wage) each year and will be doing so for the next 7-8 years.

Given the fact that saturation of dentists become worse and worse in Canada each year, he said that I should always try my best to get into Canadian dental schools. If I cannot get into Canadian schools, try to apply to US dental schools and leave AUS/Ireland/NZ as the last choice. 

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2 minutes ago, Kevinwargremon said:

I am currently shadowing a general dentist in the GTA area. He graduated from the University of Melbourne. He told me that finding a job is very competitive in the GTA area. His principle dentists mentioned that they get around 100-150 applications for an associate position posted online. In addition, there are ups and downs in income from month to month. He only expects to earn around 120K each year. He ends with 400K debt from the Melbourne. After payment of debt and tax, his payment is only around 30K(essentially minimum wage) each year and will be doing so for the next 7-8 years.

Given the fact that saturation of dentists become worse and worse in Canada each year, he said that I should always try my best to get into Canadian dental schools. If I cannot get into Canadian schools, try to apply to US dental schools and leave AUS/Ireland/NZ as the last choice. 

... except US dental school is almost as expensive as going to AUS if not more

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On 4/28/2019 at 11:40 PM, r=vd said:

Thanks for your input. I will set my mind for Canada for now. But still just curious, can international students in Australia receive loans? Or is it somehow transferable from Canada?

I heard they can but it depends on the school. Apparently it's through your province's loan system.

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On 4/30/2019 at 8:40 PM, Chaxon said:

Idk, but I heard dental unemployment’s the highest in aus which is why they got all those empty seats for Canadians 

Those seats are reserved for international students, whose tuition covers the fees for local Australian students.

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1 minute ago, McMarauder said:

Those seats are reserved for international students, whose tuition covers the fees for local Australian students.

Idk man. Reserved for international students or just a money making scheme on the Australia universities behalf? Why have so many seat if you can’t even fill them. 

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18 minutes ago, Chaxon said:

Idk man. Reserved for international students or just a money making scheme on the Australia universities behalf? Why have so many seat if you can’t even fill them. 

It's a money making scheme.  Australian universities make A LOT of money off international students

~1/3 of the student population at the university of melbourne is international, mainly from Asia.

Eg. at melbourne dental school, the local students fell into 2 categories - commonwealth supported places (CSP), and full fee paying spaces (FFP).  CSP students' tuition was about 9K a year.  FFP  students' tuition was 7K less than the international student fee.  My class was ~75 people:  ~25 canadians, 10 were CSP, and the remaining were full fee paying students.  Having international students made tuition less for the local students, but it still gives the university profit. It's not that they can't fill the seats with local students.. they just want to fill the seats with people who are willing to pay more for them (Canadians).

From speaking to Sydney dental grads, their classes were closer to 50% canadian.

Edited to include some stats

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2 hours ago, McMarauder said:

It's a money making scheme.  Australian universities make A LOT of money off international students

~1/3 of the student population at the university of melbourne is international, mainly from Asia.

Eg. at melbourne dental school, the local students fell into 2 categories - commonwealth supported places (CSP), and full fee paying spaces (FFP).  CSP students' tuition was about 9K a year.  FFP  students' tuition was 7K less than the international student fee.  My class was ~75 people:  ~25 canadians, 10 were CSP, and the remaining were full fee paying students.  Having international students made tuition less for the local students, but it still gives the university profit. It's not that they can't fill the seats with local students.. they just want to fill the seats with people who are willing to pay more for them (Canadians).

From speaking to Sydney dental grads, their classes were closer to 50% canadian.

Edited to include some stats

Damn. Why would CDA sign the equivalency when so many dentists are around already. Maybe the market was different when they signed it?? Someone has to be looking at the supply and demand end of things for sure.

Canada  should’ve invested money in our existing med/dental schools. Not only to increase seats for us Canadians, but also to make money through international students imo.

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43 minutes ago, Chaxon said:

Damn. Why would CDA sign the equivalency when so many dentists are around already. Maybe the market was different when they signed it?? Someone has to be looking at the supply and demand end of things for sure.

Canada  should’ve invested money in our existing med/dental schools. Not only to increase seats for us Canadians, but also to make money through international students imo.

Answer: corporate dentistry.  and Money.  This may sound like a conspiracy theory, but it all made sense after my last boss mentioned it to me and after I reflected on my own experience working in a corporate dental office.

Dental corporations may be influencing institutions to create a surplus of dentists, who will graduate with big debts and be desperate to take any job.  These graduates end up taking positions with corporate practices.  Ultimately the corporate practices (and the people on top) benefit from having so many dentists who will do as they are told to maximize profits.  Dentists working for corporates are led to believe that they are lucky to have a guaranteed base salary.  People in 400k+ debt want to know that they'll be able to make the monthly payments on their loans.  This is a huge thing in the states, and it's a growing issue in Australia.  I worked for large corporate practice in Sydney and it was the worst job I ever had - short appointments and being pushed by people above me to treat.

The biggest dental corporation in Canada, DentalCorp, was started in Australia and made it's way to Canada in September 2011, which was just over a year after the AUS-CAN reciprocal agreement.  This is not a coincidence.  The reciprocal agreements are giving the corporations what they need - desperate dentists who need to pay off their loans.  It's all about greed and money - not what patients need.

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Hmm... now I’m starting to understand the business side of this. A lot of power moves being made in the dental industry.

More for profit schools, high tuitions, a shit ton of dentists with loads of debt. Next you have to compete to open a clinic yourself vs. corporate clinics with millions backing them across the street.

Realistically when corporations are involved the patients gunna get a lower quality of treatment and the dentists gunna be more stressed to hit quotas. 

On the other hand maybe it’ll start to lower costs and make care more financially accessible for patients.

You seem to know a lot about this, what do you think should happen? No dental corporations? 

Persoanlly I’d rather live in the middle of no where and have my own clinic then work my but off for a corporation. 

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31 minutes ago, Chaxon said:

Hmm... now I’m starting to understand the business side of this. A lot of power moves being made in the dental industry.

More for profit schools, high tuitions, a shit ton of dentists with loads of debt. Next you have to compete to open a clinic yourself vs. corporate clinics with millions backing them across the street.

Realistically when corporations are involved the patients gunna get a lower quality of treatment and the dentists gunna be more stressed to hit quotas. 

On the other hand maybe it’ll start to lower costs and make care more financially accessible for patients.

You seem to know a lot about this, what do you think should happen? No dental corporations? 

Persoanlly I’d rather live in the middle of no where and have my own clinic then work my but off for a corporation. 

And let's not forget the big banks that shell out these massive lines of credits to dental students.  Just wait until you're a dentist - the banks will throw even more loans at you.  Just their way of making you spend and pay interest.

I have the same mind set as you. I worked in rural australia for 1.5 years.  I worked 1.5 hours outside of toronto for about a year.  And now i'm in Saskatchewan.  Go where you are needed.

You've pointed out the pros and cons of corporations, but from personal experience, it's just been bad.  Mostly because they have a lot of non-dentists working for them, analyzing which procedures are most profitable over time.  Australia has many different corporate clinics.  I've heard that some give the dentist a lot of autonomy, so it runs like a regular private practice.  The one I was at was like a factory.  One good thing about the place I worked at was there was regular audits, to ensure that we all saw xrays the same way and that we treatment planned the same way... but it was a very high stress environment.

I'd be okay with corporates if there was the following:

  • no quotas or pressure to treat/produce
  • autonomy
  • renumeration that is standard for the industry
  • they stopped influencing institutions to pump out more dentists - (Dental students get screwed over with debt, and patients don't really benefit)
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Thanks for the insight, as a pre dent this gave me a lot of info on the industry and where it could end up in the future.

I think it’d be a good idea for pre dents and dental students to be more involved in the politics of the industry. Usually we’re more focused on getting into dental school, mmi, gpas, etc. This reminds us that this profession is still just a trade like others. Job security and employment opportunities are serious considerations.

No more naive get into dental school graduate and relax mentality hahaha

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