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Wharton County Junior College Reviews

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Degree: Dental Hygiene/Hygienist
Graduation Year: 2016

The Dental Hygiene Program at Wharton under prepares its students to successfully achieve all requirements needed to pass. Some instructors are passionate about what they teach while others are set in their ways and it's their way or the highway. You will take four classes based in the classroom and also have clinic. You have to find your own patients and the patient has to meet certain criteria in order for you to be able to test on them. Your patient has to be willing to return to the clinic 2-3 times for 3.5 hours each session, until you complete their treatment. Many people cannot take off this much time, so finding a patient is ALWAYS a challenge. It doesn't matter if you're an A student, sometimes the patients do not show up or if they do, they cannot come back to complete the treatment and you now lost valuable time. You are required to complete treatments on a set number of patients (8 completed patients during my second semester) and 7 competency exams to take on those patients. Many times, you bring in a patient who is willing to return several times but they are too difficult, meaning they have too much calculus for you to remove during your first year, you spent a session or two getting them to the point where the instructor tells you to begin the cleaning, only to find out, they will not let you clean the patient this semester. At this point, you wasted 2-3 sessions, and now you have to go look for someone else to start cleaning. This is only one example of the obstacles you face at this school. The way the instructors grade your clinic competency exams are extremely harsh. Most of the time, you have to be near perfect in order to pass. They have to agree with your diagnosis, probing depths, calculus detection, gingival description just to pass one of the 7 competency exams. Another competency is based on you finding EVERY single restoration (filling, sealant, crown) in the patients mouth. This skill requires experience at looking into people's mouth to find such restorations. Some restorations are so well-done, like a composite where the resin the dentist used matches the tooth color exactly, and you stare and stare and stare and dry the tooth out with air to try to find it and if you don't exactly state what surfaces that restoration encompasses, you fail. This is very time consuming and you spend hours looking at the restorations and if you identify 15 correct restorations but miss one, just one, you will fail. This is what I mean by harsh grading. As a first year student, you don't have the experience to spot these as accurately as the instructors want and most students fail dental charting 3, 4, 5 times. This is even the case during your second year when supposedly you have more experience. Another area where this program lacks teaching is their extra oral/intraoral exam, which is another competency exam that is graded rigorously. During this exam, you must palpations lymph nodes, glands, muscles to check for cancer. We were given a hand out and told to look at a video online for examples during winter break. Two teachers argued that it was the other's teacher responsibility to teach this exam and at the end, no one taught this skill and we were given a vague demonstration on how to perform palpations. Instructors are so specific on how they want you to palpate the different structures that a 5 minute demonstration was not enough to learn all the details. Again, this exam was failed 3, 4, 5 times by many students in my class. My suggestion is that you research many programs and ask their directors what the requirements are. How many patients you have to complete each semester. Usually during your second year, you have to complete more difficult patients. What resources and teaching methods are used during clinic. How do they grade competency exams. I should mention that if you fail a competency exam, you can retake it on another patient until you pass it. The problem lies in the harsh way the instructors grade the exams. You can plan to fail several times before you pass and the teachers seem proud that no one passes at first. By then you're rushing to finish the patients you must complete, while trying to find time to bring in new people just to take exams on them and pass. Many students, didn't know if they were graduating until the last day of clinic. At this school, no one is exempt from probably failing clinic. I was an A, high B student and I didn't know if I was going to pass or fail til the last day of clinic. Think really hard and find as much information as you can fro each program. In 2016, 14 of us graduated out of 28. One year, Wharton only graduate 9 students on time. If you fail during your first year (fall, spring, summer semesters) you have to re-apply and start ALL OVER, from day one. If you fail during your second year, you can continue and just repeat the semester you failed. Last year two people failed their second attempt, so they are out and get no credit for anything at all and cannot re-apply. DH is tough. The programs are tough. It is a rewarding career, but they don't make it easy for anyone. By th way, passing is 75, a C. A B is an 84 and an A is a 93. I'm an A and B student although my high B's were 90, 92 so in other degrees, I would have been an A student.

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