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Mcgill Vs. Toronto Vs. Western


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Aside from cost, location, and personal/family reasons, I'm wondering what some of your pros and cons are for each school (resources, faculty treatment, curriculum, social life, clinical aspects, preparation for solo practice, etc.)

 

Which would be your top choice and why?

 

I understand not every school is perfect and each one has its downsides, but I'd love to hear some thoughts and opinions.

 

Also I would LOVE to hear feedback from current students from each school, in particular.

 

I know we get a chance to ask questions during interviews but I find I've always been able to learn a lot more through these forums cause no one dares to say anything remotely bad about their program during interviews ;)

 

I know there have been similar threads in the past but they're quite old and I believe the dynamic of each school has changed enough to call for a new thread :)

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I know you said aside from cost, but McGill is half the cost of the other two (for OOP, even with that moronic $20,000 new building fee).

 

I can assure you that there is no difference between the schools that justifies $80,000. That much money will buy you a ton of excellent CE after graduation, as well as a well-equipped BMW!

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Amen to that..  I even contemplated moving to Gatineau just to qualify as in-province.

 

Unfortunately McGill didn't recognize my physics (it was too old, their prerequisites expire after 8 years or more)  Otherwise it likely would've been one of my top choices.

 

The OP did mention that he didn't want us to discuss costs but it has to be said!

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I know you said aside from cost, but McGill is half the cost of the other two (for OOP, even with that moronic $20,000 new building fee).

 

I can assure you that there is no difference between the schools that justifies $80,000. That much money will buy you a ton of excellent CE after graduation, as well as a well-equipped BMW!

What's CE? 

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Yeah, continuing education.

 

Unless you know someone who did 4 years at each school - how can you get a fair comparison? I hated UofT when I was there 2008-2012. I feel like most of my classmates were also unhappy. That said, I don't regret going there as it got me to where I am now.

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Yeah, continuing education.

 

Unless you know someone who did 4 years at each school - how can you get a fair comparison? I hated UofT when I was there 2008-2012. I feel like most of my classmates were also unhappy. That said, I don't regret going there as it got me to where I am now.

Why did you and your classmates hate it? 

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Yeah, continuing education.

 

Unless you know someone who did 4 years at each school - how can you get a fair comparison? I hated UofT when I was there 2008-2012. I feel like most of my classmates were also unhappy. That said, I don't regret going there as it got me to where I am now.

 

Oh I'm definitely not expecting a fair comparison. Just trying to bring out the collective agreement on what some of the worst/best aspects of each school are from different people.

 

I know I've read your posts in the past about UofT and I've hinted at some of your concerns to a current student I know. They simply said that it's those who let the bad stuff get to them that turn bitter. But then again... how could you not let it get to you? For the most part though, they said the Toronto program is enjoyable if you're okay with someone not constantly holding your hand and can go about things very independently. They also mentioned that class sizes continue to increase since they entered the program and I brought up a potential lack of space in clinics but they said that there is still more than enough room :S

 

This is definitely different from the vibe I got at McGill where the faculty seemed to really care about students and cater to their concerns. However, being the small class size they are, I also felt like they get overshadowed by the med students, especially in the first 2 years.

 

Also it's my understanding that Toronto and Western expose you to some clinical practice in 1st year but this isn't the case at McGill where you only start clinical stuff in your 3rd year!?

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Oh I'm definitely not expecting a fair comparison. Just trying to bring out the collective agreement on what some of the worst/best aspects of each school are from different people.

 

I know I've read your posts in the past about UofT and I've hinted at some of your concerns to a current student I know. They simply said that it's those who let the bad stuff get to them that turn bitter. But then again... how could you not let it get to you? For the most part though, they said the Toronto program is enjoyable if you're okay with someone not constantly holding your hand and can go about things very independently. They also mentioned that class sizes continue to increase since they entered the program and I brought up a potential lack of space in clinics but they said that there is still more than enough room :S

 

This is definitely different from the vibe I got at McGill where the faculty seemed to really care about students and cater to their concerns. However, being the small class size they are, I also felt like they get overshadowed by the med students, especially in the first 2 years.

 

Also it's my understanding that Toronto and Western expose you to some clinical practice in 1st year but this isn't the case at McGill where you only start clinical stuff in your 3rd year!?

 

although only (almost) 1 year has gone by, if i were to do it all over again i would still have chosen western (if i got into all the schools in canada). its far from perfect, but I'm happy. we do get exposure with shadowing and assisting in procedures as well some small prep procedures (scaling and rubber dams) done on each other. unless som1 really dislikes their school, they will most likely vouch for it!

 

maybe a more suitable question would be... what do you dislike about your school most....

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although only (almost) 1 year has gone by, if i were to do it all over again i would still have chosen western (if i got into all the schools in canada). its far from perfect, but I'm happy. we do get exposure with shadowing and assisting in procedures as well some small prep procedures (scaling and rubber dams) done on each other. unless som1 really dislikes their school, they will most likely vouch for it!

 

maybe a more suitable question would be... what do you dislike about your school most....

So, thewintersoldier, what do you dislike most about your school so far? :P

 

I'm actually very curious because it's quite difficult to find much student input about uwo's program on these forums haha

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LOL @ McGill "caring" about it's students. :lol:

 

A thick skin will serve you well at McGill, and the med portion of the program is a huge waste of time and energy. It leaves so little time to cram in a whole dental education, and I think that's part of the problem with the treatment of the students. There's so little time that it feels like the faculty is constantly scrambling to cram as much in as possible in a tiny amount of time so they feel they need to bear down on the students to "motivate them" to catch up, because really, you're starting WAY behind by the time you first see a patient in clinic.

 

I missed nearly 2 months due to emergency surgery in 3rd year and was subjected to a special intense version of their "motivational" tactics.

I have a thick skin though, and was pretty good at not taking it personally.

I could go on and on about the bullying and dehumanizing that happened daily, but I won't because it makes me cranky.

 

That said, although I hated nearly every second that I was there, I don't regret going there.

The class size is a huge advantage, not only for the one on one teaching opportunities, but also for the patient supply. McGill has a tiny number of students and a massive supply of patients even though there are 2 dental schools in the city. I was able to do a lot of things that many other dental students don't get to do: a bridge, anterior crowns, a few molar endos, multiple implants, several surgical exos, perio surgeries, and a full ortho case from start to finish, not to mention free Invisalign certification!

 

There are a lot of opportunities at McGill, and in retrospect, I actually highly recommend my school, but don't fall for the warm fuzzy act they put on, it's a total bait and switch.

It is like a family there, but a totally messed up and dysfunctional one.

amen

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Appreciate all the input so far guys, thanks!

 

Where are all the folks who bleed purple!! Someone dish on Western!

 

I'm only in first year, but so far my Western experience has been positive overall. The amount of relevant material we've learned so far is truly mind-blowing. We are finished most of our didactic courses, and are now doing a lot of fun stuff. We spend most of our time in the simulation clinic (doing procedures on mannequins) and in the main clinic assisting the upper years with patients. However, like any other program, there are some negatives. Sometimes things can be quite disorganized. For example, there were a few times where our classes were scheduled in the wrong rooms and we had to move at the last minute. I personally think that we are taught by way too many profs, and this often creates confusion (some of our exams had material on it that shouldn't have been there). Also, I believe that there should be video demos for our procedures. We basically learn it in class, and then we go to the simulation clinic and do it. If you have a good row instructor, you're golden. But if you don't, you're basically learning it on your own. There's lots of self-learning in dental school already, and I'm sure it'll be like that for all four years of school and even in private practice (I'm sure some of the upper years/dentists on this forum can attest to this). 

 

The bottom line: I do not regret going to Western, and I believe I'll be ready to enter private practice after I graduate (hopefully :P)

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I think DDS_hopeful really hit the main points there. I agree with it all. I'm really enjoying Western so far. One more thing to add that I like about Western is the smaller class size. I cannot imagine having a class double the size. That must be a total zoo, especially during sim clinic. I feel like we have a good instructor:student ratio in the sim clinic and if you have a question, there is usually an instructor standing near whom you can ask for help. I would imagine that with a larger class size you would get less attention. 

The schedule can be found online publically, actually. Google search Schulich dent schedules and click on the first hit that says something like One45 public calendar. You can see the schedules for all of the years. Sometimes we go through stretches of 8:30-5:30 which can be tiring and other times it's lighter, especially around exam time. We also have quite a few late starts during the week which is awesome! Right now we're doing lots of clinical stuff and most of the lecture hours are explaining the clinical procedures we're going to be learning. 

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Thanks DdS_Hopeful. What is your average day like? Ie how many hours of class from Monday to Friday and how late into the evening?

No problem! Our first term was heavily didactic. We had classes/labs from around 8:30-5:30 Monday to Friday, although this varied. Sometimes we had less, and sometimes we got extra hours in the wax lab.

 

From March to May, our schedule looks a lot more relaxed. We've already finished most of our didactic courses and are now doing mostly practical stuff. We are no longer on campus all day for 5 days/week, which is really nice.

 

Dental school is definitely a grind at times, but overall I'm really liking it! It can be frustrating, but it can also be rewarding. At the end of the day, it's important to check yourself and realize that many people would kill to be in this position. If you keep a positive attitude, you will enjoy yourself much more :P

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I think DDS_hopeful...

 

No problem!...

In regards to Western, I know from poking around on the forums that years ago students had mentioned another negative side to it was that there was sort of an "old boys' club" mentality and if the instructors didn't like you, you were screwed and had to work that much harder.

 

Does this still exist at Western? I believe those posts were from like 2009 from upper years.

 

Actually I managed to find them so I'll leave them here:

 

"1-UWO has a pretty good combination of didactic and patient care. I heard a lot of complaints about sick instructors which can be bad."

 

"There is, however, a bit of an "old boys" club among some of the instructors. Whenever I went out with my gf's friends, they would inevitably complain about certain clinical instructors. Consensus is that these instructors favour certain students over others. If you're on their good side you can do no wrong, but if they don't like you they won't sign off on your work for seemingly ridiculous and arbitrary reasons, causing you to spend hours re-doing your work. I have heard enough corroboration from people outside my gf's social circle to believe the things they told me."

------------------------------

Can you guys comment on this?

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I completely agree with Malkynn on the medschool portion of McGill Dentistry which I neither enjoyed nor found it very useful (ie. how does studying all the pathology of lung disease make me become a better dentist?).

 

I enjoyed the preclinical stage a lot; and for the clinical stage, there is good time and (once in  while) not so good time  :) . In general, I am really happy to be at McGill Dent

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LOL @ McGill "caring" about it's students. :lol:

 

A thick skin will serve you well at McGill, and the med portion of the program is a huge waste of time and energy. It leaves so little time to cram in a whole dental education, and I think that's part of the problem with the treatment of the students. There's so little time that it feels like the faculty is constantly scrambling to cram as much in as possible in a tiny amount of time so they feel they need to bear down on the students to "motivate them" to catch up, because really, you're starting WAY behind by the time you first see a patient in clinic.

 

I missed nearly 2 months due to emergency surgery in 3rd year and was subjected to a special intense version of their "motivational" tactics.

I have a thick skin though, and was pretty good at not taking it personally.

I could go on and on about the bullying and dehumanizing that happened daily, but I won't because it makes me cranky.

 

That said, although I hated nearly every second that I was there, I don't regret going there.

The class size is a huge advantage, not only for the one on one teaching opportunities, but also for the patient supply. McGill has a tiny number of students and a massive supply of patients even though there are 2 dental schools in the city. I was able to do a lot of things that many other dental students don't get to do: a bridge, anterior crowns, a few molar endos, multiple implants, several surgical exos, perio surgeries, and a full ortho case from start to finish, not to mention free Invisalign certification!

 

There are a lot of opportunities at McGill, and in retrospect, I actually highly recommend my school, but don't fall for the warm fuzzy act they put on, it's a total bait and switch.

It is like a family there, but a totally messed up and dysfunctional one.

 

First year McGill student here!

 

I will say this:

 

A thick skin will serve you well regardless of where you go. Any dental program is going to be intensive, based on how much you're expected to learn (theory and practical) in four years. This faculty does not baby you; definitely no warm fuzzies. But I have met some fantastic faculty members, and they treat you as colleagues, which I honestly really appreciate. They have extremely high expectations, and sometimes it can get overwhelming. But I don't think anyone is in a position to compare this, because likely none of us have been to two or more dental schools personally.

 

The first year med/dent curriculum has been entirely overhauled in the last two years. Our class is technically "guinea pig 2.0" and there are still changes to be made, but it is far more organized than what it used to be, and they do take feedback about the lecture content and course structure very much to heart. I may not care what lung diseases my patient has in my daily practice, but it sure as hell is good to learn if you plan on writing the US board exam in summer of your 2nd year (if you plan on doing residency/specializing there). We also have Oral Medicine lectures relating to each body system, and it integrates what we learn with the med students with the dental management strategies of patients with diseases which may be affected by various aspects of dental procedures. 

(TL;DR, the med part is honestly not that useless and pretty cool. As are the med classmates. Awesome people.)

I'll also add in that the 2nd year preclinical curriculum has been modified as well; the current DMD-IIs say it's long hours and hard work but they're ultimately enjoying what they're learning, and a lot has been shifted to give more theory in 2nd year (ie to endo and perio I believe) to give a stronger background for when you start in the clinic in 3rd year. Not at all saying that what malkynn is saying is not valid information, but changes have been made to the DMD curriculum based on feedback from past years.

 

The $20,000 fee is kind of a pain in the butt, but even as OOP I'm paying less to go to McGill and live in Montreal than I would as IP and living/going to UofT. The new clinic is honestly amazing, you don't need to hike all the way up to the MGH for your clinical practice in upper years, and by the time we (and you!) start working there all the kinks of the big move and the logistics will have been worked out and it'll be running well. We already do dental wax-up labs, physical examination practice, shadowing, and dental lectures there. All in first year, which is way more than any previous years have gotten to do. You also get to work at the Outreach mobile clinic assisting 3rd year students in hygiene appointments, which is a great first exposure to clinic and honestly a very rewarding experience.

 

Also, small class size is a huuuuge plus. When we do wax-up labs, there is time and resources enough for every single student to get one-on-one help from a prof. You get to know your whole class really well. You never feel neglected or forgotten. And I'm sure it really does help with fulfilling your clinic quotas and such once you're in upper years, because there definitely is an adequate patient supply.

 

Every school will have its ups and downs, but I can honestly say I'm overall happy at McGill so far. I'm in my first year, so I haven't gotten the same amount of exposure as some others, but so far I'm still optimistic. :)

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In regards to Western, I know from poking around on the forums that years ago students had mentioned another negative side to it was that there was sort of an "old boys' club" mentality and if the instructors didn't like you, you were screwed and had to work that much harder.

 

Does this still exist at Western? I believe those posts were from like 2009 from upper years.

 

Actually I managed to find them so I'll leave them here:

 

"1-UWO has a pretty good combination of didactic and patient care. I heard a lot of complaints about sick instructors which can be bad."

 

"There is, however, a bit of an "old boys" club among some of the instructors. Whenever I went out with my gf's friends, they would inevitably complain about certain clinical instructors. Consensus is that these instructors favour certain students over others. If you're on their good side you can do no wrong, but if they don't like you they won't sign off on your work for seemingly ridiculous and arbitrary reasons, causing you to spend hours re-doing your work. I have heard enough corroboration from people outside my gf's social circle to believe the things they told me."

------------------------------

Can you guys comment on this?

 I have not experienced this at all. 

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Hey guys,

 

I guess I will add my two cents about U of T. Despite what everyone thinks, my class of 95 is actually pretty close knit- even upper years with smaller class sizes have commented on this. We all help each other out. I think this is largely dependent on the people though.

 

In first term we start assisting upper years in clinics and start doing basic perio probing, calculus detection, extra oral examination, sealants, and fluoride trt on each other. Like Western, it is also very heavily didactic. 

 

In second term, the didactic portion lightens. Time is now filled with restorative (practice drilling on dentiforms) and labs (prostho/biomat/gross anatomy). Demos for restorative can be hit and miss. A demo is assigned for every 8 students. Although restorative is not like a zoo, sometimes biomat can be since there are limited machines and sometimes you spend a lot of time waiting in line to access one. 

 

We will start seeing patients towards the end of first term of second year I believe. 

 

U of T tends to get a lot of smack, however things have changed significantly over the last 4 years. Like every school we do have our share of crappy profs and learn seemingly irrelevant material. However, the school has put their best foot forward in trying to improve the student experience and listen to our concerns. 

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