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Success of new early admission program at Idaho State University could soon spread

January 11, 2017

Two dental Hygiene students working on a patient at a clinic.
ISU dental hygiene students working on a patient at a clinic.

POCATELLO – Officials say a new pilot program for early admission to Idaho State University’s Department of Dental Hygiene is showing signs of success.

Normally, students looking to become dental hygienists would have to wait until their second  year in college to apply to the ISU program. Under early admission, four high school students from Idaho and one from Montana were accepted before they started classes at ISU this past fall.

Those students’ seats in the program are secured as long as they successfully complete the required prerequisite coursework with at least a 2.8 GPA. Combined with ISU’s tuition lock program, eligible Idaho students will be able to complete the entire program at ISU without facing tuition increases, department officials say.

“Our faculty and staff are delighted to offer this new program to the best and brightest freshman honors students interested in obtaining a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene from ISU,” said Jacqueline Freudenthal, who chairs the dental hygiene department.

“The early admissions program allows the faculty and students an opportunity to get to know each other and assist with questions or concerns,” she added.

Two of the students accepted into the pilot program also served as paid interns this year through ISU’s Career Path Internship Program, giving them additional opportunities to learn about clinic reception duties, dental management software and instrument sterilization processes.

Another goal of the new early admission program is to increase the number of Idaho students who pursue further education after high school, Freudenthal said.

As the inaugural group of dental hygiene students continue their education, ISU officials say it’s possible other academic programs within the Kasiska Division of Health Sciences may offer similar early admission programs.

“Early admission programs are designed to give outstanding high school students the opportunity to lock in to their health science program of choice,” said Rex Force, ISU vice president of health sciences.

“It’s a win-win: students have one less thing to worry about provided they keep their grades up, and our degree programs know they have a pipeline of great students,” he said.

Students interesting in the dental hygiene early admissions program can contact Jennifer Sterbentz at kentjen3@isu.edu or (208) 282-3796.

About the Kasiska Division of Health Sciences

The Kasiska Division of Health Sciences is the destination for health professions education in Idaho. The KDHS is the largest academic unit at Idaho State University and its students make up one third of the student body population. With 22 health professions programs available, the KDHS gives students a greater opportunity for interprofessional education in classrooms and its 15 clinics in Pocatello and Meridian. The KDHS houses the College of Pharmacy, School of Nursing, School of Health Professions, School of Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences and Office of Medical and Oral Health. The KDHS is named after the Kasiska family to recognize the generosity of the Kasiska Family Foundation, which has given over $17 million to ISU and over 4,000 health professions students since 1987.