Students’ Appetite for Education

Dental students today want to run successful dental practices, and they know that a lifelong approach to professional development and additional training are the two biggest goals in doing just that. This is according to new findings from the 2016 Graduating Dental Student Survey report, presented by the Next Media Group.

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The Graduating Dental Student Survey is conducted annually among graduates using THE NEXTDDS web platform. Participants include a cross-section of graduates by gender, ethnicity, and type of university, with their responses being requested using both email and social media outlets.


When asked about their readiness to practice independently, the majority (64%) of 2016 dental students said that they wouldn’t feel equipped to manage their own practices until three to four years after graduation. Notably, 60% percent of respondents expressed a desire for mentorship in order to further hone their skills, and only 27% were confident enough to perform independently within a practice immediately following dental school. Additionally, more than 60% of respondents ranked finding employment and managing school debt as their top two concerns post-graduation. In similar surveys conducted by the Next Media Group, student users of THE NEXTDDS ranked the need for skills development as the #2 concern, even before managing school debt.

“These data points reflect what we’re hearing from our user community,” said Stephen E. Sweeney, Chairman of the Next Media Group, Inc. “As students ready for that important transition into the profession, they are interested in opportunities to continue developing their chairside skills and their business acumen—particularly through digital education and their mobile devices.”

2016 graduates felt that “digital” was among the most effective methods of preparing for licensure, exchanging information through peer-to-peer communication, and learning new aspects of their future profession. Other notable findings of the eSurvey included:

  • Only 21% of respondents rating their school’s use of eLearning as “good” or “extensive”
  • Over 85% of survey participants agreeing that instructional videos and treatment animations helped in comprehension and/or visualization of clinical concepts and outcomes
  • Associateship in a dental-supported organization (DSO) practice being the career path for 13.6% of all survey respondents

This research is the latest set of eSurvey findings from the Next Media Group. By crowdsourcing dental students and recent graduates’ attitudes and perceptions through THE NEXTDDS platform, Next Media Group has a unique point of access to the future of the profession. Its ability to collect and parse data yields valuable business intelligence for academicians and industry professionals alike.

Dentistry is in the midst of a turning point, impacted by a host of factors that include educational, demographic, and overall healthcare marketplace dynamics. As a result, new trends have emerged, influencing many dental students’ post-education career decisions. The data provided by the 2016 Graduating Dental Student Survey report and the Next Media Group is critical to understanding the choices, requirements, and behaviors of the future practitioner and their entry into the profession.

Steven Aliano


Steven Aliano
Mr. Aliano is an Editorial Assistant for Next Media Group, responsible for content curation and creation for its online communities. He studied Journalism at Rider University before receiving his B.A. in Communications from Ramapo College of New Jersey.

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