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Am I being realistic or pessimistic by applying only to the Caribbean?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by soshen77, May 6, 2008.

  1. soshen77


    Apr 14, 2008
    After shadowing a few doctors and observing healthcare abroad, I want to go to medical school and become a primary care physician or pediatrician. This was a decision that I came to after a lot of reflecting and even a little career counseling.

    I don’t know, maybe I need to take a break from reading so many SDN forums but I am not feeling too optimistic about my chances of getting into a US allopathic school.

    Little bit about me:
    In my 20s
    Carolina residency (work in North, live in South)
    Liberal Arts major

    The Good
    *I write to pay the bills (freelance) so I am sure can write a h%ll of a personal statement.
    *I did some international volunteer work in Asia and West Africa (taught English abroad)
    *Great LORs

    The Bad
    *No clinical hours
    *Haven't taken any of my science courses. And since I didn't have to take any science or math as a liberal arts major, I have no idea how I will perform in chem, bio, and physics. But I am willing put it the work!

    The Ugly
    *Undergrad GPA of 2.6
    *My transcript is littered with every grade possible from As to Fs to Ws. I had a serious lack of focus in undergrad. I worked full time at a museum, rarely went to class, did way too much drinking and spring breaking, and was only really there because my parents told me that I had 90 days after HS graduation to get out of the house.

    Good news
    *I am signed up for CNA class and will gain clinical hours doing that.
    *As stated above I have shadowed some doctors in the US and Africa

    Bad news
    *I can't afford to take my sciences at the local university. So I will most likely have to take my pre-reqs at a tech school. I fear that my sucky GPA plus taking the classes at a 2 year school is going to make my application too weak for a US MD program.

    I have a friend down at the American University of the Caribbean who is suggesting that since I have no desire to match in a super competitive residency, I should just knock out my sciences at the tech school and apply to AUC and Ross. What do you all think? Am I creating a pessimistic or a realistic goal by doing this?

    Would getting my MPH before applying help any? I can get financial aid for a grad program (the few that will accept my <3.0 GPA) but I have maxed my undergrad amount.

    Thanks in advance for your responses!!
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  3. nu2004

    nu2004 5+ Year Member

    Mar 7, 2008
    Los Angecagoveland
    tough situation. is there any chance that you could, say, get a job at a regular 4-year college and that they would pay for your classes? what about other jobs that would cover your tuition? it would be ideal if you could do the full set of science pre-reqs again, prove that you can cut it academically, do well on the MCAT, and then apply stateside.

    not saying carib schools are the kiss of death - in fact i think your friend is correct, you could match into a perfectly respectable specialty here (after attending ross or SGU or whichever) if your grades and board scores are decent.
  4. IceMan0824

    IceMan0824 Holy crip, he's a crapple 5+ Year Member

    Dec 7, 2006
    My quick advice: Take it or leave it

    A lot is made here on SDN about US allopathic medical schools. For what your goals are, you do not need to graduate from one although there is no reason not to matriculate if you do get into a allopathic school.

    So, take your med school prereqs at whatever university you want/need. Then apply to allopathic state school in your area (I'm not familiar with Carolina school but there has to be at least one). Apply to osteopathic schools in your area, and also apply for Caribbean allopathic school. Spread your net wide and be happy with whatever school you gain acceptance at because any of the above option will help you accomplish your dreams.

    Apply to 2-3 allopathic schools
    Apply to 2-3 osteopathic schools
    Apply to any/all Caribbean schools you wouldn't mind attending.

    Add more schools if you have the money and time.
  5. soshen77


    Apr 14, 2008
    Thank you for your replies. I have somehow managed to be on SDN for 3 hours and I think I am just a little overwhelmed! I have to pause and remind myself that I haven't even taken my sciences or MCAT yet.

  6. Perrotfish

    Perrotfish Has an MD in Horribleness Physician 10+ Year Member

    May 26, 2007
    My opinion

    You have options:

    1) Do well in your science classes, get up to at least a 2.8 (you&#180;ll probably need a 3.0), do significantly above average on the MCAT, do a special masters program (described in the post bac forum), do well in the SMP program, go to medical school

    2) Do well in your science classes, Retake the Fs, Ds, and Cs until your GPA is at a 3.4, do better than the DO average on the MCAT, apply DO, go DO. The more Fs you have, the better an option this is.

    3) Do well on the MCAT. Go to the Carribean. Be aware that a significant number of Island students either end up failing out or not matching, so you would be incuring a significant debt load (a mortgage without a house) without getting a degree. Also they would be student loans, so you won&#180;t be able to bankrupt your way out of them. Finally your GPA is significantly below the average even for the Carribean (at least at the schools which can lead to you being liscenced in the US) so even that might not be an option right now. Don&#180;t apply to any Carib school that doesn&#180;t lead to a US liscence, it&#180;s much better to be a real CNA than a doctor who can&#180;t practice. Graduates form the legitimate Carribian school that match into real residencies are docotrs just like US MDs and DOs, but lots of Carribian matriulants either don&#180;t graduate or don&#180;t match.

    An MPH, Masters, or PhD won&#180;t help. A 2.8 and an SMP would, but this is going to be at least a 2 year process for you if you don&#180;t want to end up in the Islands. The fact that you&#180;re URM helps this process significantly, especially if you decide to go the DO route.

    I don&#180;t think Tech school thing shouldn&#180;t affect anything, though maybe one of ADCOM members could come on here to confirm this.

    In general, you have a long road, and you need to fix whatever went wrong in the first place. First hurdle is the science courses (hit a 3.6, minimum, from here on out), second hurdle is the MCAT, third hurdle is an SMP, and then you have a chance at medical school admissions. Minimum time to acceptance is two years (IMHO).

    People have done this before, you can do it too if you want it badly enough.
  7. nu2004

    nu2004 5+ Year Member

    Mar 7, 2008
    Los Angecagoveland
    try not to get too caught up in this place. in fact, once you've extracted some useful advice, i would recommend a hiatus that lasts until after you've been accepted :)
  8. mellsworth21

    mellsworth21 2+ Year Member

    Jan 1, 2007
    Wooster, Ohio.
    OP: will help you out. If you havent taken the pre-reqs, take them and make sure you can do well in the sciences. A firm fondation is key.
  9. BlitzSleep

    BlitzSleep Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    I think if you show an upward trend with your science classes that there would be no need in applying to Caribbean schools.

    Also a 28+ MCAT would be very helpful as well
  10. vikingvallhalla

    vikingvallhalla 2+ Year Member

    Mar 21, 2008
    You forgot one huge ''good'', you have the opportunity of looking really good and motivated ahead of you. Make sure that wherever you take your classes, that you get really good grades. Same goes for the MCAT. You're still a ways away from applying, take advantage of that.
  11. thoffen

    thoffen Member 10+ Year Member

    Aug 14, 2006
    You have a long, long time before even thinking of where you might apply.

    I suggest:
    1) Taking your science courses at university level. This will give you the most options when you apply and give you some indication of how you might perform in a rigorous science based curriculum.
    2) Start shadowing/volunteering/otherwise getting clinical exposure. You really need to know if being a doctor is right for you, and this experience is pretty much a prerequisite no matter where you go.

    It might be tough to become competitive for allopathic schools. It's just getting harder and harder. If you can get that GPA above a 3.0 with a solid MCAT & EC's, then you might be in reasonable shape for a DO school. If not, carribbean would be an option. But there are major drawbacks there. It's incurring a lot of debt for a lot of risk. At a US school (allo or DO), there is a massive support system trying to keep you in school, passing the boards, and getting a good match. In the carribbean, you mostly sink or swim on your own.
  12. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers Faculty SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Mar 7, 2005
    Agree with the above. Get a job that will cover the cost of classes (some universities will give tuition assistance as well as some other employers).

    Take Biology, Chemistry, Organic Chem, Physics (one year of each). Do well. Get some clinical exposure at the same time, even if it is only shadowing and volunteering in a free clinic or a similar place. Give yourself plenty of time to prepare rigorously for the MCAT (several hours of daily study, weekly practice tests, etc). Take the MCAT and then figure out where you should apply.

    Some schools will put the biggest emphasis on your science gpa and your MCAT given that you will be a non-trad applicant who didn't become "pre-med' until after college.
  13. Wylde

    Wylde 7+ Year Member

    Sep 23, 2007
    Your URM status definitely gives you a lot of hope.

    That said, you'll definitely need to do a post-bacc (I think they are expensive :() and get straight As in your pre-reqs. The fact that you're getting clinical experience is also great, because it is practically required.

    I'm not sure your economic status, but there are a lot of formal programs for the economically disadvantaged (Drexel DMPS, JAMP in Texas, etc.). If you are applicable for these programs, it'll greatly increase your chances at a US allopathic. There may be programs strictly for URM as well, search around.

    You should also look into DO schools. There are a lot of new DO schools opening (DO >>> FMG) and I know that Touro-Harlem has a MS program that will get you into Touro-Harlem. If you pass the MS program with a certain GPA (3.5 maybe?) you get an auto-acceptance to their DO school. DO schools also have a grade forgiveness policy. If you retake a course, DO schools only accept the higher grade (IE, retake a D and get an A... only the A will count!). This is also expensive, but it is a great opportunity.

    GL, summing it up:

    1) Get straight As in every class you take from now on out (esp. pre-reqs)
    2) Do a ton of clinical volunteering/CNA and some non-clinical
    3) Search around for specific URM or economically disadvantaged post-bacc/SMP programs, most of these give you 100% acceptance chance at their medical school if you graduate with a certain GPA
    4) Look into DO schools, especially programs like the aforementioned MS at Touro.
    5) DO schools also have a retake policy, consider this option for your Fs/Ds.

    I do think it is possible, It might take a couple years though.
  14. BTC

    BTC 7+ Year Member

    Mar 7, 2008
    I'd love to hear which schools these are.
  15. LeLu

    LeLu Cookie Monster 2+ Year Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    It is possible to make up for your party days, plenty have done it. Put everything you can into your science pre-req's. An awesome science GPA could go a long way. Complete an SMP to bring everything up more and get lots of clinical experience. Commit yourself fully to medicine and show UPWARD trends. Apply broadly as well. It can be done!!
  16. adamMD

    adamMD MS-4 7+ Year Member

    Oct 12, 2006
    Every year, medical schools across the nation are increasing their class sizes. I envision the competition for desirable US jobs will steadily rise for students graduating from caribbean schools.

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