In an effort to improve the experience of prospective students, the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Dentistry is taking steps to make its competitive annual admissions process a fun and friendly affair.
For the past three admissions cycles, the faculty has made changes to the format of its admissions interview weekend to make it as welcoming and inclusive as possible for candidates and their families.
Of course, some nerves are to be expected – only about 180 applicants are invited to interview each winter and, of those, just 96 students will be selected for admission into U of T’s first-year Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) class.
“For me, the most stressful part of dental school was getting in,” says fourth-year DDS student Greg Pigeon, a student ambassador who volunteered for this year’s admissions weekend.
But while the admissions process is necessarily rigorous, it can also be warm, says Jim Lai, the faculty’s vice-dean, education.
For Lai, who also instituted changes to the interview format for the faculty’s admissions, setting the right tone for the day is crucial.
“We want to ensure that all the candidates who walk out of their interview had the most positive experience possible,” Lai says. “We really want to reinforce how great our school is.”
“We are working to make our faculty more responsive to the needs of students,” says Daniel Haas, dean of the Faculty of Dentistry. “Being present for the students, being there for them from day one, is an important part of that overall approach.”