May 20, 2019
6
2
Status
  1. Medical Student
Hey Yall

I just wanted to thank the people on these forums as your posts are really informative and objective, and i wanted to thank you for all the information that you provide on these forums.
With that being said I want to describe my current situation to you and want your advice to the best of your knowledge.

Im an Irish citizen that did his undergrad in biology and graduate degree in kinesiology in the US. I applied to irish medical schools via the atlantic bridge and got accepted to University College Dublin 4 year program. However, being irish they withdrew my acceptance last second and told me to reapply the following year via the irish system and take the GAMSAT (I have taken the MCAT). I want to practice in the US after im done med school. After getting the reply I looked over at some Caribbean schools and applied to SABA and got accepted but they told me that they werent used to having non-US/Canadian citizens applying and that they were worried i wouldnt be able to secure a visa for my clinical clerkships, so they sent me over to their sister school MUA to talk to their program director that was willing to help assure me that they could help me with my visa when coming back to do my clerkships. I have a 10 year B1/B2 visa that allows me to enter the US for 6 months at a time. With that in mind do you think that i should go ahead and start september 2019 in MUA or should i wait till next year to take the GAMSAT and reapply to irish medical schools? I cannot choose other Caribbean medical schools like ROSS, SGU or AUC because i will be paying out of pocket and simply cannot afford it.
Please help guide me in the right direction, thank you soooo much for your help!
 
Jul 17, 2019
20
6
Status
  1. Non-Student
Im an Irish citizen that did his undergrad in biology and graduate degree in kinesiology in the US. I applied to irish medical schools via the atlantic bridge and got accepted to University College Dublin 4 year program. However, being irish they withdrew my acceptance last second and told me to reapply the following year via the irish system and take the GAMSAT (I have taken the MCAT). I want to practice in the US after im done med school. After getting the reply I looked over at some Caribbean schools and applied to SABA and got accepted but they told me that they werent used to having non-US/Canadian citizens applying and that they were worried i wouldnt be able to secure a visa for my clinical clerkships, so they sent me over to their sister school MUA to talk to their program director that was willing to help assure me that they could help me with my visa when coming back to do my clerkships. I have a 10 year B1/B2 visa that allows me to enter the US for 6 months at a time. With that in mind do you think that i should go ahead and start september 2019 in MUA or should i wait till next year to take the GAMSAT and reapply to irish medical schools? I cannot choose other Caribbean medical schools like ROSS, SGU or AUC because i will be paying out of pocket and simply cannot afford it.
Please help guide me in the right direction, thank you soooo much for your help!

it depends how old you are and how much it would bother you to wait a year. It certainly will make a difference in getting a residency if you degree is Irish vs Caribbean, which means the Irish degree will 'allow' you to score that much lower on Step and still get a good match. What I mean by that is you will have more wiggle room, if you see what I mean. Plus the Irish degree will likely enable you to score that much higher on Steps because you will know more. I'm not sure the Caribbean system is trustworthy as a place for you to learn the material well. People make it through, but it's not optimal and it's extremely variable.Not saying it's not possible.

Reasons for that is that faculty turnover is high in the Caribbean. Faculty in some places get jobs there because they need experience before moving on to better things, or because they have committed an infraction in the US and can't work there any more. It's pretty common in some places to not know who will be teaching the course next week let alone next semester. I know how SABA is run and the same people run MUA so I don't expect it to be different. Expect a lot of turnover. Also they will change student expectations constantly.

With an established European university you have a curriculum which is worked out, content is polished, you know that what will be presented to you is the material you need to know. Assessment will be based on what you were taught (because the proffs are likely to be more competent). There is less variability and it's more likely you will learn the right things. Remember, that it's not just about passing either - it's best you know this stuff and understand it. At a Caribbean school it's forced down your throat in such a way that you need to memorize it but the proffs might not even understand it so they will have a hard time explaining it. Granted I didn't to MUA but I do know how the administration in MA runs their schools, having experience with Saba.

Lastly, It's a risk expecting to do rotations in the US as a foreigner with the political climate the way it is, because things could suddenly change. Or they may not.
 
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May 20, 2019
6
2
Status
  1. Medical Student
@BaskingTurtle Thank you so much for your honesty. I graduated this January and have been 6 months out of school and wanted to get back in. It was unfortunate in the way things turned out in the end but what can i do. if i decide to wait i have to take the GAMSAT which is like the MCAT but has its differences too. I believe i can only test one time during march and the results of that exam solely dictates whether im accepted or not into an irish medical school.
My final option is to apply to a physical therapy school here in the US, any thoughts on this?
 
Jul 17, 2019
20
6
Status
  1. Non-Student
@BaskingTurtle Thank you so much for your honesty. I graduated this January and have been 6 months out of school and wanted to get back in. It was unfortunate in the way things turned out in the end but what can i do. if i decide to wait i have to take the GAMSAT which is like the MCAT but has its differences too. I believe i can only test one time during march and the results of that exam solely dictates whether im accepted or not into an irish medical school.
My final option is to apply to a physical therapy school here in the US, any thoughts on this?

I didn't get why MUA was a cheaper option for you than AUC or Ross. Is it because you couldn't get financial assistance to the other schools? Because imho AUC and Ross are less of a risk. Ross is a little bit in a transition phase right now, and AUC has suffered some setbacks that they have now gotten past, but both places are run by better owners/administrators than Saba or MUA, and they are on bigger islands where there is less risk of sudden strange unexpected local problems. (Except hurricanes are a sudden strange local risk on St Maarten, sorry St Maarten)

Physical therapy is a completely different option and i don't really see the point. if you already have a degree it would be better to do graduate school than another undergraduate degree. However maybe it doesn't suit your interests. If you are interested in medicine, then don't give up, do it if that is what you want. There are lots of options. It's just that when you compare Europe to the Caribbean, Europe is clearly the better option, ...not taking the impact of the delay into account. Maybe the impact of the delay is too much for you, idk. You could always use the free time to read and learn Guyton or Principles of Neurology...
 

mcat_taker

5+ Year Member
May 31, 2014
841
502
Status
  1. Medical Student
Hey Yall

I just wanted to thank the people on these forums as your posts are really informative and objective, and i wanted to thank you for all the information that you provide on these forums.
With that being said I want to describe my current situation to you and want your advice to the best of your knowledge.

Im an Irish citizen that did his undergrad in biology and graduate degree in kinesiology in the US. I applied to irish medical schools via the atlantic bridge and got accepted to University College Dublin 4 year program. However, being irish they withdrew my acceptance last second and told me to reapply the following year via the irish system and take the GAMSAT (I have taken the MCAT). I want to practice in the US after im done med school. After getting the reply I looked over at some Caribbean schools and applied to SABA and got accepted but they told me that they werent used to having non-US/Canadian citizens applying and that they were worried i wouldnt be able to secure a visa for my clinical clerkships, so they sent me over to their sister school MUA to talk to their program director that was willing to help assure me that they could help me with my visa when coming back to do my clerkships. I have a 10 year B1/B2 visa that allows me to enter the US for 6 months at a time. With that in mind do you think that i should go ahead and start september 2019 in MUA or should i wait till next year to take the GAMSAT and reapply to irish medical schools? I cannot choose other Caribbean medical schools like ROSS, SGU or AUC because i will be paying out of pocket and simply cannot afford it.
Please help guide me in the right direction, thank you soooo much for your help!

I would do everything in my power to get back into UCD next year. It's a fantastic school much better than MUA/SABA. I don't think you will have problems with the GAMSAT after taking the MCAT but try to do as well as you possibly can on it. You will also be in a better position to apply for residency in the EU if the US doesn't work out. If you just graduated undergrad you have plenty of time. Good luck.
 
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May 20, 2019
6
2
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@BaskingTurtle I would not mind going to SGU or ROSS or even AUC but theyre priced at around 250,000 for 10 semesters (5 basic and 5 clinicals) whereas SABA and MUA are around 170,000 for 10 semesters. If it wasnt a financial issue then i would go to SGU as its been around the longest, but because im an international student then i need to pay this money out of pocket as the irish government doesnt allow abroad student loans.
 
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May 20, 2019
6
2
Status
  1. Medical Student
@mcat_taker maybe youre right ive done well on the mcat and scored enough to gain admission to US schools but unfortunately cannot apply there. My main concern is age, im almost 26 and have not started medical school yet and my patience has dropped substantially. At the same time I dont want to make a hasty decision I would later regret. Youre right in that Irish schools have been around for a long time now, but to go through the process again and study for another medical entrance exam I know nothing about, seems far fetched. I have talked to some students at SABA that recommended the school and others like yourself that have told me to steer away. Honestly at this point I dont know what to decide. Thank you so much for your response.
 

bedevilled ben

Kleinian in the streets, Freudian in the sheets
7+ Year Member
Aug 28, 2012
466
580
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You would be much better positioned overall having gone to an Irish school rather than a Caribbean one. Being an Irish citizen, I presume your total cost of attendance at UCD would be very low. Additionally, the cheaper Caribbean schools do not maximize your chances of securing a residency in the US which makes the prospects of spending tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars even more risky for you if you don't Match. Finally, Caribbean schools will essentially lock you out of certain specialties within medicine such as specialty surgery or derm, which may not seem like an important detail to you now, but when the time comes you may find your options significantly limited.

26 years old is not that late to be starting medical school. I didn't start until I was 29 and have found that being a few years older has actually been to my benefit more often than not.
 
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Jul 17, 2019
20
6
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You would be much better positioned overall having gone to an Irish school rather than a Caribbean one.

26 years old is not that late to be starting medical school. I didn't start until I was 29 and have found that being a few years older has actually been to my benefit more often than not.

I agree with Ben, 26-yr-olds think they are old, but you aren't. Many people start med school late. it's late on average for Europe, but honestly it's not late in the grand scheme of things and school you attended follows you forever.

I honestly don't think Saba will be a school in a year's time. MUA maybe but MUA isn't even as good as Saba. And if Saba fails on them I can see the sister schools collapsing.
 
May 20, 2019
6
2
Status
  1. Medical Student
I want to sincerely thank yall for the honest advice and have decided to wait another year, study for the gamsat and reapply to Irish medical schools. I guess in this field patience is key and those that wait a little longer obtain a greater reward. God bless you all.
 
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mcat_taker

5+ Year Member
May 31, 2014
841
502
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I want to sincerely thank yall for the honest advice and have decided to wait another year, study for the gamsat and reapply to Irish medical schools. I guess in this field patience is key and those that wait a little longer obtain a greater reward. God bless you all.

Australian schools would be a good back for you next year if Ireland doesn't work out. Clearly you have a good MCAT if you got into UCD and in general Irish schools are harder to get into than Australian ones because of fewer spots so you did well. If you are set on medicine you can apply as an international student to Australian universities as a back up. They have a good reputation and will train you well, and they accept the MCAT. Just will be more expensive for you. Good luck.
 
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