Akshat

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hey guys i am currtently a junior at Penn State University. I will be applying to medical this summer. I made a list of medical schools both American and Caribbean.

I have heard mixed things about attending Caribbean medical and how you are looked at as an International applicant. Does that hurt you when you are applying for residencies? I know their standards are lower compared to US medical schools, but are you given an equal chance when you are applying for residencies?

If anyone knows could you please give me some input, I have heard so many different things I don't know who to believe. Thanks once again.
 

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Akshat said:
hey guys i am currtently a junior at Penn State University. I will be applying to medical this summer. I made a list of medical schools both American and Caribbean.

I have heard mixed things about attending Caribbean medical and how you are looked at as an International applicant. Does that hurt you when you are applying for residencies? I know their standards are lower compared to US medical schools, but are you given an equal chance when you are applying for residencies?

If anyone knows could you please give me some input, I have heard so many different things I don't know who to believe. Thanks once again.
Do a search on this topic.
 

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I wouldn't apply to a carribbean school unless it is your last hope. Have you taken your MCAT yet? If so, how do your scores look and what about your gpa?

It all depends on the situation.

As per residency, it is probably better to stay here if you are trying to get a competitive residency.
 
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Akshat

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I am taking the MCAT's this April. I am mostly concerned about my GPA. Its a little lacking. Will a good MCAT score overlook a less than perfect GPA?
 

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The Carribean should only be used as a vacation destination, IMHO. :laugh:
 

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Akshat said:
I am taking the MCAT's this April. I am mostly concerned about my GPA. Its a little lacking. Will a good MCAT score overlook a less than perfect GPA?
That depends on your gpa and where you are applying. I would need to know how good or bad it is. The thing is if you get a good MCAT, and have at least a 3.1 or so, an option to consider is doing the Georgetown Special Master's program or any of the other known SMP programs because they allow you to take first year med school classes and compete with the med students to prove your worth.

Most people that I have talked to on this board, that have done this, have gotten several interviews after completing the program. Look on the postbac forum for more info.
 
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Akshat

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Most likely when i apply this summer my GPA will be mostly around 3.0 :mad: . But i am also taking three classes over the summer so that should help it also. But most likely 3.0.

What exactly are these Special Master Programs? I have never heard of them?
 

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ooh yes tell me about this special masters program too...i've heard about it but am not quite sure what it entails.

edit: well ill look on the postbac forum haha
 

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Turkeyman said:
ooh yes tell me about this special masters program too...i've heard about it but am not quite sure what it entails.

If you go to the post bac forum on this board there are all sorts of posts up and down there about the various SMP programs and posts from those whom are either currently in the program or whom have done it in the past, such as a guy names Exmike that has both a master's in Public Health and did the program, now a med student at CWRU.
 

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Akshat said:
Most likely when i apply this summer my GPA will be mostly around 3.0 :mad: . But i am also taking three classes over the summer so that should help it also. But most likely 3.0.

What exactly are these Special Master Programs? I have never heard of them?

SMP programs are one year master's programs that you can do in some med schools. The most well known one is the one at Georgetown known as the Georgetown Special Master's Program in Physiology.

The idea behind the program is that if accepted, you will compete with the first year med students while taking some but not all of their classes. You won't have to do a thesis for this master's, but other smp programs may require one of you like the one at BU.

Anyhow, you are graded on the same curve the med students are and if you do extremely well you gain a very high chance of acceptance into a med school the next year.

Many people who do the program generally get several interviews if they have done well in the program. I think it is well worth it to do this route because you are taking med school classes and will be able to show them that you can handle it.

The minimum to get in the program at Gtown is 27 MCAT and 3.0 gpa. However, the averages are generally around 3.3 gpa and 27-30 for MCAT.

My friend just got accepted into the program this past month. I think its definitely worth the shot. I plan on applying to it before I apply to med school, and then apply to med school while in the program.
 

gujuDoc

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As I stated before though, go to the postbac forum if you want more info about these sort of things. They will be more helpful in answering questions about SMP.
 
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Akshat

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Thanks alot GujuDoc you have been real helpful. One last thing. In the forums they also talked about doing an IMS program but didn't really state what is it. Do you know anything about it?
 

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Akshat said:
Thanks alot GujuDoc you have been real helpful. One last thing. In the forums they also talked about doing an IMS program but didn't really state what is it. Do you know anything about it?
That's at Drexel University College of Medicine. Here's a link.
 

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Akshat said:
I have heard mixed things about attending Caribbean medical and how you are looked at as an International applicant. Does that hurt you when you are applying for residencies? I know their standards are lower compared to US medical schools, but are you given an equal chance when you are applying for residencies?
No. Any reasonable recent graduate or current student in the Caribbean will agree (with the exception of students at the LCME-accredited schools in Puerto Rico because these ARE considered as US medical schools). My best friend is in the Caribbean right now (and doing very well), but all of them down there know that they're at a disadvantage. There are some amazing residency matches coming from the Caribbean, but these are people with published research, ridiculous USMLE Step I and II test scores, great clinical grades, top-notch letters from big-wigs, etc.

Drexel IMS is similar to Georgetown's SMP--you take classes with the med students. Drexel's program is only a certificate if you stay for a year (as opposed to G-town's which awards an MS). For an additional year, you can get a MMS (Master of Medical Sciences) degree from Drexel. Also, with Drexel's program you have the lectures telecast to you in a building completely separate from the med school. The advantage of Drexel's IMS over G-town's SMP is that Drexel is a lot cheaper. I guess you pay for what you get. Nevertheless, these are two of the most popular postbac/masters programs that allow you to take classes with the med students. An excellent performance will prove that you can handle the rigors of med school.
 

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Don't go Caribbean, you're only going to hurt your future. US med schools WANT you to pass & will do whatever they can to get you prepared for the USMLE and a good residency... ppl I've talked to about Caribbean schools say they don't have the same support for their students.

On top of that, IMG's (international medical graduates) are VERY disadvantaged for the USMLEs - typically only about 60% of IMGs pass the USMLE Step 1 on their first try (and opposed to 90% of US MD students and about 75% DO students - and part of the reason DO students don't do as well as MD students is that they have to take (and study for) the COMLEX in addition to the USMLE). You have to do very well on your USMLEs in order to compete with US students for residencies, and Caribbean schools historically have not been known to prepare you as well as you need.

Of course search this site and others for info, but if you want to keep your options open for the future you should improve your study habits for the MCAT/ future undergrad courses, explore the DO philosophy and talk to osteopathic docs (DO schools tend to be more understanding of how your gpa is part of *your whole picture* as an applicant, and not just one of 2 numbers used to weed you out of the pool...and by and large DO students are accepted to residencies, even allopathic residents, over IMGs), and don't discount your strengths. :luck:
 
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Akshat

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I heard from other surgeons that if you become a DO you are limited as to what specialty you can do. I would ultimately like to go into Cardio Thoracic but i heard specialties such as these are given preference to MD's over DO's.

Is it true if you become a DO you will be limited on your choices of what you can and can't do?
 

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Since the first two years of medical school are mostly self-study and since Carribean medical students take and pass the same Step tests as American medical students and do most of their rotations in American hospitals, there is no functional difference between the quality of an American medical school graduate and a Carribeans graduate.

That's the reality.

However, I know a guy who is a graduate of a Carribean school who applied to 47 Emergency Medicine programs and got zero interviews despite above average board scores and excellent clinical grades. He is doing a preliminary year and is going through the match again this year where he applied to 30 Emergency medicine programs and got only four interviews.

This guy is an excellent intern, a real leader, very intelligent, and runs circles around most of the other interns. Additionally, he is as American as anybody and is not a foreign looking or foreign sounding guy. (Don't flame me. You know what I mean.)

Obviously there is some bias agianst IMGs when it comes to residency selection. You can always get some Familiy Practice residency in Nowhere, Louisiana as an IMG but if you are thinking of something competative you might want to think long and hard about going the Carribean route. Maybe sit out a year or two and do some post-graduate work to help you get admittted to an American medical school.
 

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Panda Bear said:
Since the first two years of medical school are mostly self-study and since Carribean medical students take and pass the same Step tests as American medical students and do most of their rotations in American hospitals, there is no functional difference between the quality of an American medical school graduate and a Carribeans graduate.

That's the reality.

However, I know a guy who is a graduate of a Carribean school who applied to 47 Emergency Medicine programs and got zero interviews despite above average board scores and excellent clinical grades. He is doing a preliminary year and is going through the match again this year where he applied to 30 Emergency medicine programs and got only four interviews.

This guy is an excellent intern, a real leader, very intelligent, and runs circles around most of the other interns. Additionally, he is as American as anybody and is not a foreign looking or foreign sounding guy. (Don't flame me. You know what I mean.)

Obviously there is some bias agianst IMGs when it comes to residency selection. You can always get some Familiy Practice residency in Nowhere, Louisiana as an IMG but if you are thinking of something competative you might want to think long and hard about going the Carribean route. Maybe sit out a year or two and do some post-graduate work to help you get admittted to an American medical school.
Just to add:

Residency programs have to take US Medical Graduate students FIRST. They can take foreign graduates for remaining seats only.
 

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premedgeek said:
Just to add:

Residency programs have to take US Medical Graduate students FIRST. They can take foreign graduates for remaining seats only.
I'd agree that US allo and osteo have an advantage over FMGs (99+ percent of the time ;) ) for residencies.

Have to? I don't understand this either. In practice US med students tend to have dibs, but I'm not aware of a requirement. :confused: There's some uber-competitive matches from FMGs...I'd find it hard to believe that programs like Brown's ortho or LSU ophthalmology, Yale IM, etc. aren't filling their programs up with US students (point being that there are some FMGs that obtain residencies like these).

However, the OP mentions an interest in cardiothoracic, which is a fellowship--not a residency. He'd have to do GS first. I have no idea how DOs and FMGs compare when it comes to surgical fellowships. I think the OP will probably get a more accurate response in the surgical forum than in pre-allo.
 

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I have never heard of this requirement before, is there a link to this info? Thanks!
Sorry, I don't have any link. But I heard this from a foreign graduate who took USMLE and applied to US Residencies (5 years ago).
 

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Phil Anthropist said:
I'd agree that US allo and osteo have an advantage over FMGs (99+ percent of the time ;) ) for residencies.

Have to? I don't understand this either. In practice US med students tend to have dibs, but I'm not aware of a requirement. :confused: There's some uber-competitive matches from FMGs...I'd find it hard to believe that programs like Brown's ortho or LSU ophthalmology, Yale IM, etc. aren't filling their programs up with US students (point being that there are some FMGs that obtain residencies like these).

However, the OP mentions an interest in cardiothoracic, which is a fellowship--not a residency. He'd have to do GS first. I have no idea how DOs and FMGs compare when it comes to surgical fellowships. I think the OP will probably get a more accurate response in the surgical forum than in pre-allo.
I could be wrong. I will double check the info.

May be there were some other factors, like VISA status or something.
 

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Panda Bear said:
Additionally, he is as American as anybody and is not a foreign looking or foreign sounding guy. (Don't flame me. You know what I mean.)
No, what do you mean? What is American? You don't sound very bright.
 

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Phil Anthropist said:
Have to? I don't understand this either. In practice US med students tend to have dibs, but I'm not aware of a requirement. :confused: There's some uber-competitive matches from FMGs...I'd find it hard to believe that programs like Brown's ortho or LSU ophthalmology, Yale IM, etc. aren't filling their programs up with US students (point being that there are some FMGs that obtain residencies like these).
If there is such a requirement, that might explain why some programs have only part of their total number of residency spots open to the match, while reserving a few to offer IMG's.
 

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GuyLaroche said:
No, what do you mean? What is American? You don't sound very bright.
Not a foreigner. That is, not from Outer Eulopotamia. Speaks english perfectly (idiomatic American, that is), born and bred in the good ol' USA. What did you think I meant?

Sorry. A guy from Banglasdesh here on a visa, while no better or worse than any other fellow in the world, is not an American. All other things being equal, if I were a residency director I'd always give preference to one of my fellow citizens. I'm sure I'd drop to the bottom of the list if I were applying for a residency slot in Paris for the same reason.

Don't be so sensitive.
 
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Akshat

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I was reading up in the forums and read that as a DO you don't take the USMLE's you have to take the COMPLEX? Does that mean after taking the COMPLEX you can still apply to only DO's residencies or can you also apply to MD's residencies as well? Some say you can apply to both MD and DO residencies, giving you a wider range of selection.




Akshat
 

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Akshat said:
I was reading up in the forums and read that as a DO you don't take the USMLE's you have to take the COMPLEX? Does that mean after taking the COMPLEX you can still apply to only DO's residencies or can you also apply to MD's residencies as well? Some say you can apply to both MD and DO residencies, giving you a wider range of selection.




Akshat

Every DO student I interviewed with for residency at MD programs had also taken the USMLE Step tests. I don't know if it is written policy or not but at most MD residencies USMLE scores are a de facto requirement.

I've got nothing against DOs and know they are physicans like MDs in every sense of the word. However, you are fooling yourself if you think you have any advantage as a DO student when it comes to residencies.
 
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Akshat

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so as a DO if you wanted to get into an MD residency you would have to take the USMLE's and the COMPLEX?
 

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http://www.studentdoctor.net/do/comlex.asp

DO students that want a MD residency take both the USMLE and the COMLEX. Technically, MD residency programs are supposed to take the COMLEX too but it involves extra work to convert those scores to a comparable USMLE score or something like that so they don't really like doing that. So a lot of DO students just suck it up and take both.
 
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Akshat

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Well that kind of blows. Not only do you have to take the COMPLEX but you also have to take the USMLE's wow, that is pretty insane.

Going off topic a little, does anybody have a site where I can search SMP programs. They has a site in the postbacc. forum but it doesn't seem to be working. and when it was working it only gave me like 6 schools, there has to be more than just 6 schools that are offereing SMP programs. So if anybody has the address where I can do like a national search forr SMP programs that don't require a thesis that would be great. Thanks.



Akshat
 
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Akshat

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I was thinking of applying to both MD and DO schools. Is this a smart thing to do? I know MD schools won't care, but I don't want the DO schools to think that i am using them as a back up.

So is it smart to apply to both MD and DO schools?




Akshat
 

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If you know about osteopathic medicine, then applying to both should be fine (tons of people do this), but if you don't bother to know what osteopathic medicine is all about, you'll come across poorly in any DO interviews. Before you go asking, there are quite a few posts around here mentioning good books to read about the history of osteopathic medicine. I recommend a search. :)


BTW: the DO board exam is the COMLEX, not COMPLEX. Also, you can choose to take the USMLE but you don't have to (except at one DO school that requires it). Depending on what you want to go into and where in the country, there may or may not be a good reason for you to take it.