1.1 Studentselection and the influenceof their clinical and academic environment on learning

Peter Gaengler, Johann de Vries, Llze Akota, Irena Balciuniene, Peter Berthold, Maria Gajewska, David Johnsen, Ilga Urtâne, Laurence Walsh, Alies Zijlstra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Student selection and recruitment play a vital role in the successful outcome of dental education. To identify key issues and practices in selection and recruitment, the group assessed current processes, philosophies and practices from a range of different educational systems, although it was not possible to gather data from all countries or continents within the timeframe provided. Furthermore, the group explored the effect of the educational learning environment on the successful outcome of teaching dental students. It is clear that a wide variety of practices and philosophies exist and are used in different parts of the world. Measuring the success of any given process used for student selection remains a challenge. In some parts of the world, certain practices have become an integral part of the tertiary educational system, and have been applied in a similar way by many or all of the dental schools in that country. In other countries, methods vary from one dental school to another, often reflecting differences in the structure and philosophy of the educational system. There was great variation in the combinations of selection criteria used and in student recruitment strategies. However, it was clear that there was much to be gained by learning from the experiences of other dental schools in student selection. Lessons learned, best practices and philosophies used and supporting value systems proved to be very helpful for benchmarking the processes used. In the discussion of student selection, a number of important questions were raised which deserve further thought and reflection both in the ongoing debate and as part of the ever-changing world of dental education. Important new matters that require more debate and research include: a) ethical issues, including the nature of funding from the student perspective, and the concern that in some regions dentistry may become a profession only for the elite or wealthy students. b) Health standards of students entering dental school. c) How realistic is the applicant's sense of dentistry as a profession d) How accurate is the students' sense of their career opportunities and the employment market upon graduation Finally, the over-arching question remains, how valid, reliable and predictable are existing selection practices Will it be practical and meaningful to standardize methods used, or will exchanging ideas as part of this global debate assist the thought process of dental leaders to improve selection practices by learning from the experiences of other schools in different parts of the world The processes of open debate, sharing ideas and opinions and identifying sound practices across the globe is a powerful catalyst for developing innovative answers to the complex problems posed by student selection and recruitment. A 'virtual' global process with wide input from as many dental schools as possible should improve the efficacy of student selection, and allow dental educators to identify the 'potential' of prospective students and predict more accurately dental student outcomes. The debate that we have started will certainly contribute to providing a knowledge base which dental educators will be able to draw on when reviewing selection processes in their own schools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-26
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Journal of Dental Education
Issue numberSUPP.3
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Educational environment
  • Ethics values of student selection
  • Selection method
  • Selection procedures
  • Student selection


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