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Educational Research and Analysis — June 2013

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The 2013 ADEA Survey of Dental School Seniors will soon come to a close, and the Educational Research and Analysis (ERA) portfolio will look at current dental school graduating seniors’ future plans. Last year’s survey revealed some interesting findings about the Class of 2012.

In 2012, 5,199 graduated and 38% decided to become a dentist before entering college, while 14% decided to become a dentist after earning their bachelor’s degree. The top three very important reasons cited by the Class of 2012 for choosing dentistry are control of time (61%), service to others (58%), and self-employment (51%).

The Class of 2012 has an interest in assisting the underserved. Twenty-three percent said it was very important to provide service to vulnerable and low income populations and another 53% said it was important to provide service to vulnerable and low income populations (total of 76%). We can see this in the fact that 11% plan to work in underserved areas and 39% said they probably plan to work in an underserved area.

Those decisions about where to practice are not likely affected by their student debt. Forty-nine percent said that Influence of educational debt on their primary activity choice upon graduation was “not at all.” Only 23% said, “completely” or “very much.”

More data from ADEA surveys of dental school seniors is available on the ADEA website.