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Hello all, 

I know this thread has been initiated before and i have looked at those threads already but wanted to create a more recent thread to see your thoughts. Here are my pros and cons for each:

McGill 

+ Cheap Tuition (97k)
+ High Specialization Rate (30% of grads)
+ Pass/fail curriculum
+Montreal is a great place to live
+/- Small class size
- Proficiency in french by clinical year
- combined curriculum with med first 1.5 years 

UofT
+ Great place to live + amazing clinical experience from year 1 
+ Renowned faculty and alumni networks
+ International reputation if you want to go to US for specialty program
+/- Large class size
- Tuition ( about 200K)
- Cost of Living in Toronto
-GPA system makes it fairly competitive atmosphere

UWO
+ Best Clinical experience of the 3 programs (from what i have heard- could be wrong)
+ Great outreach programs
+ Low cost of living in London
+ medium class size
- London ... 
-Tuition (about 180k)
- GPA system may make it fairly competitive if you want to specialize

I did my undergrad in London so I may be biased in the sense that i don't want to be in London for another 4 years. I have been accepted to McGill and UofT and have interviewed at UWO. Just looking for some honest feedback on each program from both alumni, current students, as well as current applicants. Hope this updated thread will be helpful for future applicants. Thanks everyone ! :)


 

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100% chose McGill. Clinical experience is the best of the three (even though you may have thought otherwise). There are few specialty programs affiliated with McGill so you get all the cases first before anyone else and you are allowed to do more work because of this. Few dental faculties in North America have the exposure to Orthodontics (brackets and Invisalign), perio (periodontal surgeries, bone and soft tissue grafting), and endo (number of cases, molar endo) that McGill has. Medical curriculum is a bonus especially if you want to specialize (and gives the proper perspective when addressing patient needs and understanding their medical histories as a GP). Clinical instructors and faculty is top-notch and well-respected. Small classes mean you have close contact with instructors which is likely why the rate of residency and specialization is very high. Ultimate specialization rate is more like 50% and over 90% either specialize or do residency. The only downside is how intense the program may be due to the addition of medicine, but if you got in, its a no brainer in my opinion since its not easy to do so. Also the cost of attendance is not really accurate since you are not including ancillary fees and cost of living. U of T grads max out their LOC at 350k and Western U grads get to more like 300k after living costs included. Mcgill with all costs included you'll pay probably 120-130k. Also new facilities is huge.

I did my DMD at Mcgill, so i may be biased, but what i have written is from my experience of meeting many grads from programs all over Canada and USA. I got into U of T, Western, and McGill. I had a great experience and would 100% chose it again over the other schools.

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54 minutes ago, member_225 said:

I heard mgcill also has a very high rate of graduates failing the board exams..nice to lookout for that 

not sure where you heard that but it is definitely not true. board passage rates are generally very high across the board at most dental schools. ~90% pass both parts. The people who tend to fail are the Americans and foreign trained dentists. Bottom line is that it comes down to the person. If you study, you will pass. If you don't study you will likely not. 

 

also FYI to the OP french is not a requirement for clinics (you can specifically ask to see only English speaking patients, so the choice is really yours if you want to improve on your french or not) and most patients speak English anyways. It's Montreal.

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12 hours ago, member_225 said:

I heard mgcill also has a very high rate of graduates failing the board exams..nice to lookout for that 

Has nothing to do with McGill ! Depends on you as a person. McGill is great imo, especially with the FMD component in place, you get to be far ahead of dental students else where. Not to mention the MUCH LOWER tuition and the great quality of life in Montreal. 

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University of Toronto has one of the best opportunities for clinical experiences hands down. The network you are capable of building + opportunities you can make for yourself is really what drew me into Toronto. If you are a go-getter and you are focused on developing a career I look forward to meeting you all :). Plus, I want to work in a city environment. Western would be my next choice, low-key I when I finished undergraduate where I had to split my attention between courses that were important and courses I had to take "just-cause", having to split my focus like that was such a sidebar to my education. So learning medicine +french + dentistry would be rough, plus the fact that you are semi-isolated (due to culture and language) limits your ability to go explore opportunities. The network that you build would be focused to Quebec which may not be as helpful if you decide to leave the province. Your mileage might vary depending on your values. I just want to congratulate everyone who has even gotten to this phase and hope to see you all next year :)

 

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also FYI to the OP french is not a requirement for clinics (you can specifically ask to see only English speaking patients, so the choice is really yours if you want to improve on your french or not) and most patients speak English anyways. It's Montreal.

Though many people speak english you will also get patients from the surrounding areas... there are those who only speak french and you can not reject patients based on language. Other students may request to also only have english speaking patients and the office will try to accommodate if you are in your lower years. However in year 4, you are expected to be able to communicate with patients in french. True, you don't need to know conversational french, but you will have to be able to have a patient who only speaks french and be able to handle them. You won't be tested on it, but it's assumed that if you have to do it, you can. But I do agree, montreal quality of life is pretty sick. 

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Hello 3rd year student at UofT. 

If you can get a similar clinical and didactic experience for almost half the cost and live in an amazing city like montreal then I feel like that's a pretty good choice. I went to UofT mainly because my family and friends were in Toronto, but I think I would have went to McGill back then if I knew how cheap it was... 

Didactic wise: I feel like dental school is pretty heavy didactically anywhere you go but a pass/fail would have been amazing because one of the largest sources of stress for me in school was the letter grade system. Being in a competitive place like UofT, everyone, whether you want to specialize or not, can't help but feel stressed out unnecessarily when one of your friends ask you how you did or you see on your transcript that you are like 2 -3letter grades below the class avg. However, there are some benefits though. I felt more motivated to study harder so that I won't get shit on in class. I doubt I would have been motivated to study as hard if it was just pass/fail. At some point (around 3rd year) I stopped caring too much about grades anyways ... too much anxiety for me.

Clinically: This is just a luck of the draw. At uoft, from what I see, most people can get the minimum credits required to graduate on time but its gonna be way harder for some than others depending on what kind of patients you get. Our pediatric clinics this year has been pretty dead - most people in my session only saw 1-2 kids and when we do we have to share them. Imagine as a kid having 4 students take turn putting 1 sealant on each of your molars - luckily the kid was pretty chill. Maybe other students from other schools can comment but they say this is mainly due to the fact that private dentists are now offering healthy smiles program to their pediatric patients so their services are covered. I don't blame the parents for choosing to go to private dentists tbh but it really does cut into our pediatric clinical experience (other students on other days saw way more kids though). Instructor quality varies a lot too and this is luck of the draw as well. Some instructors i avoided like the plague.. and others are amazing at what they do and they will teach you a lot. One of huge benefits of being at UofT is that if you get a really complex patient then there will be grad programs to help you out or take care of your patient. 

 

Overall, UofT is a mixed bag of happiness (mainly from the amazing friends I met), tears, some blood (a lot of times not yours hopefully), and at the end of the day I feel like most students will come out of any dental school saying the same thing. However, what is NOT the same is the amount of debt you will will come out of so if being in a lot of debt scares you then I would just go to Mcgill (of course assuming you are okay with moving away from fam, and you like the city itself) if you are offered admissions there since didactic and clinical is pretty similar wherever you go and you have to be lucky a lot of times in dental school. Also you do most of your learning outside of dental school anyways, just need to get that foundation in school first. 

 

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Thanks everyone for the advice so far. It seems as though UWO would currently be my last choice, if I am lucky enough to receive an acceptance there. Are there any schulich students or alumni that can speak to what UWO has to offer ? 

 

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I'd go with McGill. It's the most cost effective. It's also located in an amazing city - especially the summer months with all the festivals is a great time. 

The first 1.5 years to be honest is quite a waste of time. The amount of information you learn, unless you plan to do OMFS, is overkill. Because of the reduction in preclinical training, the preclinical phase of second year is intense. Classes start at 8am and end at 5pm then most people stay behind to do additional preclinic work. People end up leaving around 9-10pm. Oh and you definitely end up coming in the weekends too. This lasts for 6-7 months in second year. 

Third year and fourth year is much better. French isn't a problem: you'll get English patients. But to be honest it's not hard to say open, close, turn left/right in french. You'll pick up some words and get by if you want to. 

The amount of exposure as a previous poster had said in ortho, perio, endo is much higher than a lot of other school. I actually don't know of any other school that does perio surgeries...we also need to do  a minimum of 12 canals, most of which are on molar teeth. This is after doing many canals on extracted teeth and passing competencies. 

Regarding pediatric clinic, you see kids from different school and there's no fighting for kids. you also get rotations in a pediatric hospital where you'll do pulptomies, stainless steel crowns, extractions. 

Overall, I'd say McGill is the way to go. I got accepted at UofT + Western as well but ultimately chose McGill. 

Regardless of your choice - I wish you luck!

 

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22 minutes ago, Thistimenextyear said:

I'd go with McGill. It's the most cost effective. It's also located in an amazing city - especially the summer months with all the festivals is a great time. 

The first 1.5 years to be honest is quite a waste of time. The amount of information you learn, unless you plan to do OMFS, is overkill. Because of the reduction in preclinical training, the preclinical phase of second year is intense. Classes start at 8am and end at 5pm then most people stay behind to do additional preclinic work. People end up leaving around 9-10pm. Oh and you definitely end up coming in the weekends too. This lasts for 6-7 months in second year. 

Third year and fourth year is much better. French isn't a problem: you'll get English patients. But to be honest it's not hard to say open, close, turn left/right in french. You'll pick up some words and get by if you want to. 

The amount of exposure as a previous poster had said in ortho, perio, endo is much higher than a lot of other school. I actually don't know of any other school that does perio surgeries...we also need to do  a minimum of 12 canals, most of which are on molar teeth. This is after doing many canals on extracted teeth and passing competencies. 

Regarding pediatric clinic, you see kids from different school and there's no fighting for kids. you also get rotations in a pediatric hospital where you'll do pulptomies, stainless steel crowns, extractions. 

Overall, I'd say McGill is the way to go. I got accepted at UofT + Western as well but ultimately chose McGill. 

Regardless of your choice - I wish you luck!

 

dam minimum 12 root canals.. UofT minimum is 5 teeth (only one of them has to be a molar) and even then people have a hard time finishing our endo credits. 

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4 hours ago, WeeWooWee said:

Though many people speak english you will also get patients from the surrounding areas... there are those who only speak french and you can not reject patients based on language. Other students may request to also only have english speaking patients and the office will try to accommodate if you are in your lower years. However in year 4, you are expected to be able to communicate with patients in french. True, you don't need to know conversational french, but you will have to be able to have a patient who only speaks french and be able to handle them. You won't be tested on it, but it's assumed that if you have to do it, you can. But I do agree, montreal quality of life is pretty sick. 

This is simply not true. I'm not sure what source you have for this information, but yes you can chose to see English speaking patients only. There's a system in place that allows for this to happen. Also if what you were saying was true, the people from Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, and other parts of Canada would not come if they were required to see French patients regardless.

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2 hours ago, topomax said:

dam minimum 12 root canals.. UofT minimum is 5 teeth (only one of them has to be a molar) and even then people have a hard time finishing our endo credits. 

5 teeth isn't too little though. If you do 1 upper molar and the rest is premolars/anteriors you'd still end up with 8-10 canals... some schools in the states have much less plus the technique matters too. Not everyone does warm vertical.

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16 minutes ago, Thistimenextyear said:

5 teeth isn't too little though. If you do 1 upper molar and the rest is premolars/anteriors you'd still end up with 8-10 canals... some schools in the states have much less plus the technique matters too. Not everyone does warm vertical.

Ohh i thought you meant you have to do 12 root canal treatments (like 12 teeth) as a minimum haha. ya 12 canals sounds more reasonable. 

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Many people in this thread are saying to choose the cheapest school, I don't agree with that. I think you should choose the school that will give you the most amount of clinical experience that prepares you for independent practice. In my opinion, it's better to think long term when it comes to professional school.I also heard that Western offers the best clinical experience of the three because you start working in the clinic in your first year. The first two years at McGill are completely useless because you have classes with med students and learn nothing related to dentistry. Yes, having that med knowledge may come in handy on a few occasions but like someone said in previous threads... it's overkill. McGill doesn't have the funds to have separate curriculums. When I spoke to dental students from McGill, they felt so overwhelmed and rushed during the two last years, literally killing themselves to learn as much as possible in pre clinic before working with actual patients. This is why most students end up doing a residency after they graduate because they feel unprepared. 

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On 4/16/2020 at 2:52 PM, dloo2 said:

Many people in this thread are saying to choose the cheapest school, I don't agree with that. I think you should choose the school that will give you the most amount of clinical experience that prepares you for independent practice. In my opinion, it's better to think long term when it comes to professional school.I also heard that Western offers the best clinical experience of the three because you start working in the clinic in your first year. The first two years at McGill are completely useless because you have classes with med students and learn nothing related to dentistry. Yes, having that med knowledge may come in handy on a few occasions but like someone said in previous threads... it's overkill. McGill doesn't have the funds to have separate curriculums. When I spoke to dental students from McGill, they felt so overwhelmed and rushed during the two last years, literally killing themselves to learn as much as possible in pre clinic before working with actual patients. This is why most students end up doing a residency after they graduate because they feel unprepared. 

I agree that you shouldn't choose the school just based on money and most of us were not just thinking about debt or tuition when recommending McGill to OP. If McGill only offered half the clinical experience compared to uoft or Western for half the price then I wouldn't really recommend McGill as strongly but from what I am learning about McGill from these senior students it seems that they get the same if not more clincal exp in some areas than UofT for 1/2 the price ... and I was talking to a Western friend and it seems like their clinical exp is pretty similar to UofT.  

I asked one of my Western friend and he said that in 1st year, all you are doing is assisting the upper years which is something you do in UofT as well. While it is a great experience to see the upper years do dental work and assist them, in the grand scheme of things you get most of your clinical skills from your own patients and the pre-clinical mannequin practice you do. At Western and UofT in 2nd year, you get to have your own patients (~4-6) the whole year and you do some scaling and probing. I guess this may be some sort of head start to clinic compared to McGill but do those 4-6 scaling patients make UofT and Western students much better than McGill students - not really and is that worth the extra money you spend at Western and UofT - not really imo. You can easily get that exp later as its only scaling. 

The last two years of clinic for any dental school is going to feel rushed because that's when you have to finish all your credits to graduate and the transition into 3rd year clinic is not that pretty in any school I imagine - it wasn't for UofT. Can't speak for how rough it is in McGill though, but it seems from previous posts from actual Mcgill students they are getting really good clinical experience. The clinical experience that you get in 3rd and 4th years are what really matters not what you start in 1st or 2nd year - they aren't missing out on much. 

Also, the fact that they accept a lot of McGill students to do residency is amazing - I would love to do residency to get more experience after school but it's so competitive in toronto that i'm forced to apply to the states as well. 

 

 

 

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14 hours ago, topomax said:

I agree that you shouldn't choose the school just based on money and most of us were not just thinking about debt or tuition when recommending McGill to OP. If McGill only offered half the clinical experience compared to uoft or Western for half the price then I wouldn't really recommend McGill as strongly but from what I am learning about McGill from these senior students it seems that they get the same if not more clincal exp in some areas than UofT for 1/2 the price ... and I was talking to a Western friend and it seems like their clinical exp is pretty similar to UofT.  

I asked one of my Western friend and he said that in 1st year, all you are doing is assisting the upper years which is something you do in UofT as well. While it is a great experience to see the upper years do dental work and assist them, in the grand scheme of things you get most of your clinical skills from your own patients and the pre-clinical mannequin practice you do. At Western and UofT in 2nd year, you get to have your own patients (~4-6) the whole year and you do some scaling and probing. I guess this may be some sort of head start to clinic compared to McGill but do those 4-6 scaling patients make UofT and Western students much better than McGill students - not really and is that worth the extra money you spend at Western and UofT - not really imo. You can easily get that exp later as its only scaling. 

The last two years of clinic for any dental school is going to feel rushed because that's when you have to finish all your credits to graduate and the transition into 3rd year clinic is not that pretty in any school I imagine - it wasn't for UofT. Can't speak for how rough it is in McGill though, but it seems from previous posts from actual Mcgill students they are getting really good clinical experience. The clinical experience that you get in 3rd and 4th years are what really matters not what you start in 1st or 2nd year - they aren't missing out on much. 

Also, the fact that they accept a lot of McGill students to do residency is amazing - I would love to do residency to get more experience after school but it's so competitive in toronto that i'm forced to apply to the states as well. 

 

 

 

 

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14 hours ago, topomax said:

I agree that you shouldn't choose the school just based on money and most of us were not just thinking about debt or tuition when recommending McGill to OP. If McGill only offered half the clinical experience compared to uoft or Western for half the price then I wouldn't really recommend McGill as strongly but from what I am learning about McGill from these senior students it seems that they get the same if not more clincal exp in some areas than UofT for 1/2 the price ... and I was talking to a Western friend and it seems like their clinical exp is pretty similar to UofT.  

I asked one of my Western friend and he said that in 1st year, all you are doing is assisting the upper years which is something you do in UofT as well. While it is a great experience to see the upper years do dental work and assist them, in the grand scheme of things you get most of your clinical skills from your own patients and the pre-clinical mannequin practice you do. At Western and UofT in 2nd year, you get to have your own patients (~4-6) the whole year and you do some scaling and probing. I guess this may be some sort of head start to clinic compared to McGill but do those 4-6 scaling patients make UofT and Western students much better than McGill students - not really and is that worth the extra money you spend at Western and UofT - not really imo. You can easily get that exp later as its only scaling. 

The last two years of clinic for any dental school is going to feel rushed because that's when you have to finish all your credits to graduate and the transition into 3rd year clinic is not that pretty in any school I imagine - it wasn't for UofT. Can't speak for how rough it is in McGill though, but it seems from previous posts from actual Mcgill students they are getting really good clinical experience. The clinical experience that you get in 3rd and 4th years are what really matters not what you start in 1st or 2nd year - they aren't missing out on much. 

Also, the fact that they accept a lot of McGill students to do residency is amazing - I would love to do residency to get more experience after school but it's so competitive in toronto that i'm forced to apply to the states as well. 

 

 

 

Can’t agree more. Also be wary of the ppl who are on the waitlist and would say all sorts of things to discourage others to go to “their” school of choice. Just food for thought. 
 

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If you have a choice you should pick based on cost, preferred location, and curriculum.

On forums you will see a lot of self aggrandizement and people trying to convince you about which school is the best, but for the wrong reasons. There are certainly differences between every school but the reality is the requirements at each one are generally the same and they all have their own unique problems. Everyone thinks that what is unique about their school, whether positive or negative, makes them the best/worst. However, it doesn't really matter much because you won't be a significantly better dentist by choosing one Canadian school over another, where you get to do 20 more surfaces or an extra endo. Rather, graduates from all schools probably feel equally unprepared for their first job. Only if you extend the discussion to American schools will the topic of clinical experience carry any meaning.

Something that is also grossly inaccurate is picking a school for reputation and networking. Dental school is not akin to business school where the name of your institution determines who has access to and obtains the best jobs and specialties. It is fairly easy to network regardless of the school considering the number of events that are held and that a lot of it can be done online on more dedicated platforms such as Linkedin. Giving a lot of weight to schools where "x% of the class goes on to specialize" is also flawed because they vary year to year and the numbers are not enough to be significant (same for board exam stats). You should also think about why that x% went on to specialize; maybe they are all doing GPRs because their clinical training was insufficient. Lastly, matching to specialty programs, regardless of where, can be done and has been done irrespective of the dental school. Frankly, if you are so sure you want to specialize so badly, you will be able to do it. You may not get into the best school, but there are enough programs in the states that if you didn't completely tune out all four years of school that you will match to either immediately or eventually.

Speak to upper years at the school and think twice about a random stranger's friend's tried-and-true account of a superior clinical experience at one school because they are a first year who "worked" in the clinic holding the suction for a fourth year watching a procedure they haven't yet learned about.

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10 minutes ago, cleanup said:

There are big clinical education changes coming to U of T in the coming years (the way upper year students see patients will be greatly altered; patient distribution may be addressed too). So it's a bit of a question mark there.

Might be a dumb question, but is this something that you know of that has been in the works for a while?  
I am also curious as to how dental school clinics across the country may have to adjust in the next couple years due to covid. At U of T, and I'm sure most other schools, the student clinics are dental chair next to dental chair. Definitely a lot of aerosols generated.

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3 hours ago, Fred VanVleet's Tooth said:

Might be a dumb question, but is this something that you know of that has been in the works for a while?  
I am also curious as to how dental school clinics across the country may have to adjust in the next couple years due to covid. At U of T, and I'm sure most other schools, the student clinics are dental chair next to dental chair. Definitely a lot of aerosols generated.

COVID was the impetus for it. I don't know nitty gritty details yet, it's preliminary, but the pandemic is a catalyst for changes that have been ripe for test driving.

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On 4/18/2020 at 7:46 PM, cleanup said:

There are big clinical education changes coming to U of T in the coming years (the way upper year students see patients will be greatly altered; patient distribution may be addressed too). So it's a bit of a question mark there.

Are these changes for the better or do you see it being a potential detriment to student learning?

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