Enrichment and recruitment programs at dental schools: impact on enrollment of underrepresented minority students.J Dent Educ. 2004 May; 68(5):542-52.JD
Dental schools have created summer enrichment and recruitment programs to increase enrollment of underrepresented and disadvantaged students. Enrichment programs strengthen students' academic skills in the areas of basic medical sciences, communications, test taking, and other learning strategies. The purpose of this study was to identify program characteristics of summer enrichment and recruitment programs and to determine which characteristics predicted participant enrollment in dental school. Twenty-three schools received a survey, and seventeen responded for a response rate of 74 percent. The majority of program participants were underrepresented minority (URM) students (program median=99 percent). The leading program goals were to increase minority enrollment (47 percent) and URM competitiveness (35 percent). The median program length was seven weeks and forty hours per week. Programs offered the following components: basic sciences (thirty-two median hours). DAT review/preparation (thirty median hours), introduction to dentistry (sixteen median hours), preclinical laboratory activities (sixteen median hours), and learning strategies (nine median hours). The length of program time in existence was a significant predictor of participant enrollment into dental school (R square=.320; p=.035). The overall median percentage for dental school enrollment in the study was 52.3 percent. The directors of six programs who place more than 60 percent of their students in dental school were interviewed. They reported that mentorship, institutional support, program structure, and admission policies were key factors contributing to success. It is concluded that recruitment and enrichment programs are a viable option to increase URM dental school enrollment.