The competitive spirit

Being a student is a very expensive business. It seems hardly a week goes by without new figures being published charting the rise and rise of student debt.

However, universities around the UK are continuing to expand despite the ever-present debt cloud and vocational degrees such as dentistry are particularly popular. Perhaps this is because dental students are increasingly confident that the debt they acquire at university will just melt away once they get into the real world.

Whilst, in many cases it is true that in your lifetime you will be more than able to pay off your debts and lead a comfortable life to boot, it is still wise to keep a watch on financial matters while living out your student days.

Thankfully there are many ways to rein in your spending and to generate extra income while you are a dental student. From professional loans and bursaries to support funds and awards, there are myriad choices to ensure you stay on the straight and narrow.

In this article we take a look at the different student awards on offer. Of course there are many different awards and prizes available to dental students and this is not meant to be an exhaustive list, merely a starting point to help you take advantage of some much-needed cash or travel opportunities that are just waiting to be snapped up in return for a little bit of hard work.

• BDA/Dentsply Student Clinician Programme

This was founded in 1978 to encourage research by undergraduate dental students worldwide and demonstrate successful collaboration between the dental industry and the profession. The overall winner is usually handed an all-expenses paid trip to the American Dental Association Conference and the second prize is a cheque for £500. For more information, please speak to your local student clinician representative, or look out for posters and flyers in your school.

• Wrigley Student Award

Every year Wrigley Oral Healthcare in Action (OHA) gives all dental students the chance to win £1,000 for creating a patient information resource to promote a better daily oral routine. The key oral health messages need to be included, such as brushing, regular check-ups and chewing sugar-free gum such as Orbit Complete. The winning student will not only receive the £1,000 cash prize but will also be invited to the British Dental Association (BDA) Conference where they will be awarded with a certificate. Students need to ask their tutor for an entry form or request one via email at

• The Association of British Academic Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons prize

The association has recently announced a new undergraduate prize to be awarded to the best essay with the title of: ‘Discuss the future of surgical endodontics in the light of predictable osseointegrated dental implants.’ It is open to all undergraduate dental students and the essay should be up to 3,500 words long, typed and double-spaced. It should be submitted electronically to the honorary secretary of the association, Dr Richard Oliver, at The closing date is 30 September 2007.

• Dental Protection Elective Award

Dental Protection offer the largest elective award in the UK with £1,200 up for grabs. To enter the competition students must fill in an application and provide details of their plans and preparations for their elective. The closing date for the award is the 1 May. Visit for further information.

• The DDU Elective Competition

This competition gives you the opportunity to win up to £1,000 towards your elective or special study module. To enter simply visit by 31 August 2007 and go to the elective section, where you will have to answer a couple of questions to be eligible for the prize.

• BDA/STA Travel Photography Competition

The BDA, in conjunction with STA Travel, offers BDA student members the chance to win fantastic prizes through the BDA/STA Travel Photography Competition. Among the prizes on offer is a fantastic trip abroad (this year’s winner is going to New York), two pairs of return Eurostar tickets and a Kodak digital camera. To enter, all you have to do is send the BDA a photograph with an image that you feel would make a fantastic postcard, together with an official entry form. Each year forms are available to collect from your local branch of STA Travel, your dental school or can be downloaded from

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