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Caribbean Medical Schools

Quebola

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May 19, 2019
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    I wanted to know if anyone knew the average class profiles for SABA, American University of Antigua, ROSS, St. Matthew's and American University of the Caribbean. I currently have a 3.0 g.p.a. and a little over 250 community service hours and I have yet to take the MCAT. I wanted to see how my application would compare for these schools.
     

    candbgirl

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      I wanted to know if anyone knew the average class profiles for SABA, American University of Antigua, ROSS, St. Matthew's and American University of the Caribbean. I currently have a 3.0 g.p.a. and a little over 250 community service hours and I have yet to take the MCAT. I wanted to see how my application would compare for these schools.

      Don’t go to the Caribbean. But if you want that info go to the Caribbean forum.

      Do you have clinical experience and shadowing?
       
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      Sun1103

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      Jul 8, 2019
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        Don’t go to the Caribbean. But if you want that info go to the Caribbean forum.

        Do you have clinical experience and shadowing?

        I echo this. I'm at one of the above schools listed and I HIGHLY recommend improving your US application. PLEASE SAVE YOURSELF NOW!!! It is worth taking the extra year to improve your GPA, MCAT, clinical experience, or what ever. Heck, it's worth the extra 2 or 3 years. Trust me.
         
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        BaskingTurtle

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        Jul 17, 2019
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          I have experience with Saba and to be honest I don't think they turn anyone down that meets the criteria, however that's not to say they will let you graduate. The point of a Caribbean medical school is to take your money and to end up with a great pass rate for Step 1 to put on their web site. Saba will gladly take your money because they have room for a lot more people now than they currently have, but there is a very good reason for that. In fact last I heard one of their semesters has less than ten people in it, although they have the capacity for 120 or so at least. Yes, they will take your money, yes they will keep it, no, they will not let you write Step 1. You will likely either never write it, or they will make you pay for extra semesters until you have studied enough on your own without their help to be able to write it. That's how they get their money. They tell you you are not ready yet, they fail you in the last semester on the Exit, and tell you to go home and study. By this time you are so fed up with the Caribbean and the whole mess that you go home and study on your own. That's when you will learn everything (and when you will learn that the lecturers at Saba didn't exactly know what they were talking about), and with luck you will eventually pass exit with a high enough grade that they will let you move on to writing Step 1.

          It's not all about who lets you in, it's whether you get taught the material.

          But having said all that, 80% of students who leave Saba early aren't leaving because the teaching is bad or because they are failing out. They leave because you are trapped on an island there with no courts and are at the mercy of corrupt landlord practices. If you are independently wealthy, can pay extortion fees to organized crime, and can memorize first aid without having to know what is going on, Saba is for you. If suddenly being charged $3000 by a landlord that says "pay me this money or you will be kicked out of the university" isn't something you are financially able to deal with, chose a different school, because the school WILL kick you out if you don't pay any illegal amount the landlords comes up with. It has happened to many students.
           
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          BaskingTurtle

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          Jul 17, 2019
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            The first time failure rate on the Exit exam at SUSOM, by the way, is approximately 50%, give or take. I think in recent years it has been as high as 60%. The Exit exam is what you need to be able to write Step 1. That is to say, when SUSOM finishes teaching its students, a minority can pass the Exit exam and move onto writing Step 1. They then let you study completely on your own at home for another semester, ie literally allow you to go home to wherever you came from. You then get to learn everything on your own and come back to write the Exit again. You will have a better chance under those conditions. If you then pass Exit the second or third or fourth time, you can go on to write Step 1. They never disclose how many people who the "let in" to SUSOM in semester 1 eventually go on to pass Step 1. I wouldn't even want to speculate about what that number is, but in recent semesters not even 50% have moved onto semester 3 from semester 1 so you get the point. Most people don't get that far.

            ...but those that do taught themselves.
             
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            BaskingTurtle

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            Jul 17, 2019
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              I want to make one more comment about AUC and Ross, because I know something about living on those islands. They DO have court systems, they DO have lawyers, and they DO have police that aren't in the back pocket of the criminals. As a result you can't get away with the same amount of corruption on a larger island like St Maarten and Barbados. These places will not be as "advanced" as some North Americans are used to, but they have a justice system that at least exists.

              You need to be wary about islands that don't have a court system. I am not exaggerating the extent of the extortion and other forms of corruption that exists on these very small islands like Saba (St Eustatius was another well-known problem island but their university had to move). When an island doesn't have a court system, you can accomplish anything as a criminal, and the administration at SUSOM is complicit in what's going on. It's very expensive and almost impossible to legally fight someone when a court system doesn't exist on the island, so people just leave. In the end, the university will tell you they don't need a reason to kick you out, or they will make something up about you. It's a horrible situation to get yourself into. Don't take the risk.
               
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              DocPryor

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              Oct 9, 2019
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                So I have to echo what most people said about the Caribbean. It is easy to get into a program there. And you do have to be self motivated. I graduated from an Eastern European program, and have had the pleasure to working with several Caribbean residents. The ones I have worked with include Ross, SGU, SABA, AUA, St. James, Avalon, and Spartan. Interestingly, in my program I see a lot of residents from St. James as well as many students rotating in our hospital. This is not to say that St. James is any different, but the students and residents I have met are good. In fact in most years, my program takes about 70 to 80 percent IMGs in general, out of which about 90% are from the Caribbean.

                But one thing I have to add is that most people here are complainers. Saba is defintely one of the better Caribbean schools. Please call the school, ask for current student information, like the no. of an existing student (the student might get paid if you join, so take that info with a pinch of salt) and talk. Do your own research.
                American residency slots apparently have not gone up in decades despite an acute shortage of doctors.
                Even if there were enough residency slots, US does not produce enough doctors to fill all those slots. Caribbean schools and other IMGs fill that gap
                In fact the match rates for Caribbean schools have been on the up and up the last few years and in fact for US students its going down (not significantly). But this trend shows that IMGs are getting more competitive as time goes by.

                For all the complaining and dissing of Caribbean schools and IMGs the reality is they (we) are an essential part of the healthcare system in America. IMGs and Carib schools are here to stay and with time they are getting more and more legitimate.

                So my advice is...........try your level best to get in to a US or Canadian school. If you cant, its not the end of the world.....the Caribbean is not the best choice, but if you believe in yourself and you are a hard worker it is a viable choice. But certainly it should not be a first choice.
                 
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                emergentmd

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                Jul 6, 2008
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                  This thread is very interesting. When I applied to med school almost 30 yrs ago, I had some friends that also applied to carribean schools. I always thought how great it must be to do med school where the beach is in the back yard. Like taking a 4 yr vacation while doing med school.

                  As I got older and traveled more, I realize that the resorts are nice while the rest of most islands are 3rd world.
                   

                  Thebestofus

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                  Feb 21, 2013
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                    I have experience with Saba and to be honest I don't think they turn anyone down that meets the criteria, however that's not to say they will let you graduate. The point of a Caribbean medical school is to take your money and to end up with a great pass rate for Step 1 to put on their web site. Saba will gladly take your money because they have room for a lot more people now than they currently have, but there is a very good reason for that. In fact last I heard one of their semesters has less than ten people in it, although they have the capacity for 120 or so at least. Yes, they will take your money, yes they will keep it, no, they will not let you write Step 1. You will likely either never write it, or they will make you pay for extra semesters until you have studied enough on your own without their help to be able to write it. That's how they get their money. They tell you you are not ready yet, they fail you in the last semester on the Exit, and tell you to go home and study. By this time you are so fed up with the Caribbean and the whole mess that you go home and study on your own. That's when you will learn everything (and when you will learn that the lecturers at Saba didn't exactly know what they were talking about), and with luck you will eventually pass exit with a high enough grade that they will let you move on to writing Step 1.

                    It's not all about who lets you in, it's whether you get taught the material.

                    But having said all that, 80% of students who leave Saba early aren't leaving because the teaching is bad or because they are failing out. They leave because you are trapped on an island there with no courts and are at the mercy of corrupt landlord practices. If you are independently wealthy, can pay extortion fees to organized crime, and can memorize first aid without having to know what is going on, Saba is for you. If suddenly being charged $3000 by a landlord that says "pay me this money or you will be kicked out of the university" isn't something you are financially able to deal with, chose a different school, because the school WILL kick you out if you don't pay any illegal amount the landlords comes up with. It has happened to many students.


                    As someone who went to SABA, pretty much everything you said applies to only the weakest of students. You must literally be at the bottom of your class that failed the exit exam which you neglected to mention is an NBME exam that US med students also have to take. If you failed that then yes you are not ready for the step exam. Caribbean schools only have their reputation to go by and they will not take a chance on you, let you take a step exam they know you have a high chance of failing, never matching as a result and thus decreasing their match rate.

                    Maybe instead of blaming the school for that you should ask yourself why you failed an NBME exam? In my class only one person out of 50 failed it, maybe you're that person?

                    TL;DR If you're not a smart person you will not make it through a mainland med school and definitely not through a Caribbean school.
                     
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                    Thebestofus

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                      They never disclose how many people who the "let in" to SUSOM in semester 1 eventually go on to pass Step 1. I wouldn't even want to speculate about what that number is, but in recent semesters not even 50% have moved onto semester 3 from semester 1 so you get the point. Most people don't get that far.

                      ...but those that do taught themselves.

                      Even though I heavily disagreed with your other post and it's clear you made most of it up to make yourself feel better, I can confirm that this is actually pretty accurate.

                      My class started with 130 and we only had 50 left by the end. Not everyone leaves for academic reasons (many do) , some people have a family member who dies, or they get married to some wealthy person, or they decide they don't want to be a doctor THAT badly.

                      The ones that make it all the way through do it out of sheer willpower. They give 110%. And as I've said before, it's not the school who brings you to success, it is you who brings yourself to success. In that regard, the Saba grads tend to be bright, tough, and very well equipped to handle anything else that comes after.
                       
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                      SassieCassie

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                      Jan 2, 2020
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                        Even though I heavily disagreed with your other post and it's clear you made most of it up to make yourself feel better, I can confirm that this is actually pretty accurate.

                        My class started with 130 and we only had 50 left by the end. Not everyone leaves for academic reasons (many do) , some people have a family member who dies, or they get married to some wealthy person, or they decide they don't want to be a doctor THAT badly.

                        The ones that make it all the way through do it out of sheer willpower. They give 110%. And as I've said before, it's not the school who brings you to success, it is you who brings yourself to success. In that regard, the Saba grads tend to be bright, tough, and very well equipped to handle anything else that comes after.

                        When did you graduate from Saba? How is your experience after?
                         

                        Thebestofus

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                        Feb 21, 2013
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                          When did you graduate from Saba? How is your experience after?


                          Its been a few years now. I'm a GI attending in private practice. Once you leave the island you are basically equal to any other FMG when applying to residency and fellowship. After training-you are on equal footing with "Ivy league" doctors (even if they are narcissistic enough to not think so).

                          It all depends on the person though. I was always hard working, so when it came time for fellowship application, I had more on my profile to offer than most american grads which is why I beat out my own "Ivy league" colleagues out of GI spots.
                           
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                          Kertay44

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                          Mar 25, 2021
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                            As someone who went to SABA, pretty much everything you said applies to only the weakest of students. You must literally be at the bottom of your class that failed the exit exam which you neglected to mention is an NBME exam that US med students also have to take. If you failed that then yes you are not ready for the step exam. Caribbean schools only have their reputation to go by and they will not take a chance on you, let you take a step exam they know you have a high chance of failing, never matching as a result and thus decreasing their match rate.

                            Maybe instead of blaming the school for that you should ask yourself why you failed an NBME exam? In my class only one person out of 50 failed it, maybe you're that person?

                            TL;DR If you're not a smart person you will not make it through a mainland med school and definitely not through a Caribbean school.
                            I am so glad to see your post I was accepted and start Saba in January. I've heard equally great and bad things, but try to focus only on the great things. From my opinion Saba has rigorously high standards, which is why I chose Saba. I want to be challenged as much as possible. Seeing your comment gives me great comfort. Thank you!
                             

                            Gambino.

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                              From my opinion Saba has rigorously high standards, which is why I chose Saba. I want to be challenged as much as possible. Seeing your comment gives me great comfort.
                              You've already done the interview bro, you can stop. Also, you want to be challenged more on top of what is already going to be a very challenging four years of medical education? 🧢
                               
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