Falling ranks of in-state dental students is sad trend

An editorial from The Journal

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Just a few years ago, in 2010, about 80 percent of the incoming class at West Virginia University’s School of Dentistry was Mountain State residents.

But the number of West Virginians entering the school this year is just 27, or about 45 percent of the total.

What happened? Why are fewer West Virginians apparently interested in dentistry? The career can be reasonably lucrative, and with it goes the same kind of job satisfaction many other health care professionals enjoy.

According to a published report, the problem at WVU is that fewer in-state residents are applying at the School of Dentistry. Meanwhile, nearly 1,100 out-of-state applications were received last year.

Obviously, there is little the School of Dentistry can do to get additional in-state applicants. But in both K-12 schools and institutions of higher learning, more ought to be done to interest young West Virginians in dentistry as a career – both so they can enjoy promising careers and for the good of other Mountain State residents.

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