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Discussion in 'Caribbean' started by rama kandra, Nov 30, 2008.
My opinion? Try for US MD first. If that fails, try alternate routes. In the long run, US MD will be worth it.
That one year delay may seem like a lot right now, but in the Big Picture it's really not. Take the time, do your best on the MCAT, and shoot for US MD.
Always US MD until there is no possible chance.
It's a very very very bad idea to go to the Caribbean if you have never even tried to get in to a US school.
Read multiple, multiple threads on here for the pros/cons of US vs. Caribbean schools. Also, do a search and read multiple threads on the "general residency" forum from Caribbean medical school grads (and other international grads) who are having trouble finding residency spots.
You should take a stab at the MCAT for sure. I know waiting a year sounds horrible, but it really isn't. It's not any time at all, in the grand scheme of things. For what it's worth, some Caribbean schools cost a lot of money, and a lot of them don't offer the same quality of education as US medical schools. They aren't accredited by the same folks who inspect/approve the US schools, and many of them accept students with low GPA's (like even below 3.0, etc.) and lower MCAT scores so they tend to be looked upon with suspicion by some residency program directors.
You absolutely will have a very very low chance of being able to match into certain specialties in the US, like dermatology and plastic surgery, if you attend a Caribbean school. There are just not many residency spots at all in some of these specialties, and the residency programs have zero reason to take a Caribbean graduate over someone who went to an accredited US medical school. Even if the Caribbean graduate had good grades and test scores, there are many, many US graduates with equal test scores, good grades and who went to US schools that are known to be very good and demanding/hard, and which have been inspected and accredited according to accepted standards for US medical schools. If you are SURE (and I mean really, really sure) that you would only want to do psychiatry or family practice or internal medicine primary care, you'd likely be able to get a US residency spot coming from the Caribbean, but in some cases you might end up at some residency that doesn't have good teaching and works you really hard at things that don't have a lot of learning value. So attending a Caribbean school puts you kind of behind the 8 ball, in terms of residency training. That doesn't mean you won't get a residency if you go to one of those schools and you do well, but going down there is a risk and likely makes your future life harder.
Also, a lot of US medical schools are increasing enrollment right now, which makes getting in there a bit easier for you now than a few years ago, and will likely make it so there are slightly fewer residency spots open to Caribbean graduates in a few years. Some of those residency spots will be filled up with US graduates of new US medical schools (or ones that now have started taking more students than they used to).
This question is hard to answer w/o a actual MCAT score. A lot of people say they will rock the MCAT and end up rocking a <25 score. In regards to St. George, they are more competitive than some US DO programs. Also, your GPA is not guaranteed. If you wait for US schools, which get harder to get into each year, you may not get in still.
PS: How old are you? I ask because it is easier for someone younger to postpone things 1 more year than someone more experienced.
Step 1: Take MCAT and get a score
Step 2: If MCAT >30, WAIT
Step 3: If MCAT 27-29 & you are URM, WAIT
Step 4: If MCAT 24-26, apply to US DO school next year
Step 5: If MCAT<24, apply to Carib big 4 ASAP or next year if you want to retest MCAT.
PS: If you are >30 yrs old, apply to big 4 CAib schools this year and get things going!
you have to take the mcat to get into the big 3 or 4 or whatever anyway so that's your first step. once you get your mcat score back then you can dicided to wait or to apply straight into carib schools, based on your mcat score. a 3.5 gpa for US schools isn't that great its average or even below average at some schools so you'll need an above average mcat score to make up for that gpa, which would mean 29 or higher, if you get that then wait and apply if you don't then don't waste your time and go to the caribbean.
I know I would start all over in a heart beat if I had the chance to go to a US school, and I am almost done with my 3rd year. Yes you can get a residency coming from a carib school but if you want to do something competitive then unless you're at the top 5 or 10% of your class, good luck, for those same residencies as a US med school grad you can be in the top 20 or 30% of your class and still get them. There's a huge difference in the hoops we have to jump through to get licensed and the extra fees we have to pay as apposed to a US grad. Sure people might not care once you're done with your residency or get into residency but your residency director will definitely care where you went to med school, and if you screw up in med school as a carib grad you can kiss competitive specialty good bye, this is not the case if you went to a US med school. Also the people who you have spoken to that got the residency of their dreams got very luck as well, for every person that matches there are hundreds of not thousands of people who don't match into any residency at all.
I am borderline, 28-29 years old. I know that age is important. I hate to be in limbo for another year.
At first, I was delighted to know about the year-round admission of caribbean school. However, after reading some posts above, I am reluctant because I don't want my choices of residency to be limited to FP or IM. I am afraid I wouldn't be able to get into other specialites like radiology, pathology etc. (I know that I am not into patient interaction). I would rather have a non-MD job like hospital or clinical pharmacist or anestheologist assistant than ending up with less desirable (for me) residency (FP etc).
How competitive are radiology or pathology?
I think I should take MCAT first and see.
My GPA is only 3.6-3.7.
rama kandra, I would definitely wait and retry US med school if I were you. I am older. It's more difficult for me..to wait.. Maybe I can work and save money but I feel like I want to move on from my current job and go back to school.
That's a little odd to hear. But maybe it's more common than I think.
I've never really been a people person throughout high school or undergrad. (Or the time in between the two. I'm 26.)
I wouldn't call myself anti-social, either.
But I enjoy speaking up when I have something to say, especially when it's about something I know a lot about.
The 'Big 4' from I can gather is:
SGU, Ross, AUC...what's the 4th?
Anything that distinguishes the 4?
Also from what I've been reading in this thread...for the medical
profession is it: US med, US DO, caribbean?
Besides the caribbean are there other foreign med schools that are
I'm taking the MCATS Jan 31, 2009.
Science GPA: 4.0
Overall undergrad GPA in mathematics: 3.73, 4.0 within math dept
Grad courses in mathematics GPA: 3.77
Hospital experience: NONE!
Volunteer experience: NONE!
Age: OLD! (34 yrs)
Reason: Career change
Expected MCAT score: High on Phys science, average on bio science, high on verbal
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance!
Saba is the 4th.
Ireland and Austrailia are good options, although most people from there end up writing the Steps so maybe the carib might prepare you better for coming back to US.
UAG in Mexico is really good and there is a new program w/ Uni of Queensland which is fantastic, you do 2 years of med in Aus and then 2 years of clinicals in LA.
thanks for the info!
is that the reason why caribb seems to be the choice for US students...the ease of getting back in the system?
do you have a link to the program at the Uni of Queensland? i've been perusing their website and have not come across doing clinicals back in the states
Also, you asked if there was anything that made SGU/Ross/AUC/Saba "the big 4", it's because they're the only Caribbean schools whose degrees are recognized in all 50 states. Saba just recently got California approval. That's why sometimes people still use "the big 3."
Caribbean is the choice for US students because Caribbean schools are training you to be a US doctor, not a Caribbean doctor. Rotations are all US, among other things.
All (?) other foreign schools, are training you to be physicians in their own countries. Although, it's still up to you in the end where you wish to practice. Just don't go telling them during the interview that you want to take their resources and training and export it to the US when you're done using them.
This is also why Caribbean schools are referred to as "Off-Shore" schools. Off-shore of what? Off-shore of the US, because they expect you to practice in the US.
Here's the link...I would go to Carib over Ireland/Austrailia in the end if you're going for US residency, many would disagree but that's my opinion. Only this program with Queensland is good, I would have applied in a heartbeat but I'm Canadian and the program is only open to Americans. A good forum if you're checking out carib or UAG is www.valuemd.com.
I'd have to disagree with Saga1. I'd go Ireland, Australia, UK, or Israel ahead of the Caribbean in a heart beat. These countries have world-class medical education systems and people recognize this instantly. If you plan to teach at a medical school or get involved in academia, the name of the school will make a difference.
Also, in most of these countries, there is the possibility of staying for residency if you really want to. Some people like this option.
Also, take a look at tuition for schools abroad. There are several medical schools in Israel and Australia that are MUCH cheaper than SGU or Ross (the good Caribbean school). Also, don't forget New Zealand. The New Zealand dollar is very weak compared to the American dollar, so your tuition will likely be ~$25K US per year. The schools there are 5 years, BUT they will likely let you enter 2nd year if you have an undergrad degree. Definitely take these established medical schools ahead of the Caribbean.
I know getting a residency in Ireland and Australia is very difficult if you're a non citizen. If you do get one, it will most likely be rural. The UK looks at British citizens first, then EU citizens and then finally the FMGs who have written PLAB. There is a surplus of doctors in the UK. I don't know much about NZ and Israel.
If you're going into academia then by all means the first world schools are much, much better. In academia name/prestige carries a lot of weight. But many people who go to Austrailia, Ireland, UK and NZ end up writing the steps. And many of them end up back in the US. I'd rather go the carib route, do my two years of US clinical experience, build contacts and go to a school that teaches you on how to succeed at the steps. The ONLY Oz program I would seriously recommend over every other international program is the University of Queensland program, where you spend 2 years in the US and 2 year in Louisiana.
Some schools might be cheaper, but I know some Irish schools cost 65k+. Schools like Saba on the other hand come to around 25k a year. In the end do your research, make your decisions and be content with them.
If you're going to consider the University of Queensland program that has you do your 2 clinical years in the US, first check to make sure it's approved by all of the states in which you may want to practice. The UQ-Oschner clinic program is just starting its first class in January of 2009, and I don't think it's gone through the licensing approval process yet for states like California. I'm sure eventually it will get approval, as the main UQ program is accepted by California, but that approval may or may not be retroactive.
Having just completed my sentence on a Caribbean island, I would personally advise no one to go there unless you must. Because I am not looking to get into a competitive residency, I am not too concerned with the residency issue. But I found living in the Caribbean to be a completely miserable experience. The infrastructure is circa-1900 or earlier which creates problems that are incomprehensible to us "civilized" folk and there are many offensive practices that are accepted in the Caribbean, including blatant animal abuse. Medical school is hard enough without having to deal with the countless shortcomings, inconveniences and frustrations of daily life there.
Which school did you go to dr. f8??
Yeah you're right. The Caribbean is soooo crappy. You should have attended one of the many American med schools that accepted you....wait.... you were rejected by all of the LCME schools....that's why you went to the Carib.
And now you have the gall to complain about a country that allowed you to do your basic sciences even though you are an arrogant foreigner? You were given an opportunity to sit for the step even though you were rejected from US schools and this is your attitude?
How about placing the blame for your path on the only person responsible...YOU!
People like you give Americans a bad name around the world.
Don't think too much about age. It is absolutely of no consequence. MCAT is only the begining. Whether you go US or offshore, would need USMLE, more so if one is IMG. Competetion among IMG's is real tough unless caribbean schools have some inside track ( if someone has experience, can comment). Preparing for MCAT hopefully will make u tougher.
Accept carib school now or wait one year for a U.S. school?
Well, not meaning to be insulting, but this is not rocket science.
You can wait a year and use the time to prepare yourself early or do
some meaningful research or volunteer work to pass the time.
If you go to the carib now, you will FOREVER have the "FMG" stamp on your forehead that will follow you around for life.
Tkae it from someone who had to go to the carib, wait for the U.S. - IF you can get it. But you owe it to yourself to try.
Overall GPA 3.3
Science GPA 3.0
MCAT: 26, 27
Lots of extra curricular activities
Clinical experience at the ER
I have not applied to any US medical schools yet because of my low MCAT scores and low GPA. I graduated in May '07, but after retaking the MCAT with a dismal 27 (P9, V6, B12) I decided not to apply to the US schools. As you can see, my weakness is in verbal. I have been trying to read more in websites such as Economists, WSJ, NYT, etc. Not sure if that'll help me improve my score for Verbal.
My question is should I even wait another year and retake the MCAT in hopes of getting mid 30's to apply to US medical school? Or should I just apply to the BIG 4 schools in the Caribbean now and enter Fall of this year? BTW, I am 23 turning 24 this September if that helps.