Caribean Med School Clarification

Discussion in 'General International Discussion' started by EdwardMD77, Aug 26, 2002.

  1. EdwardMD77

    EdwardMD77 New Member

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    I couldnt help but post a response to some of the crap i have been reading regarding caribean medical students. I happen to be one, and i would like to clarify some of the misconceptions that appear (at least to me) to be running rampant among medical students and premeds in general

    Before i begin my rant... i would like to point out that I am just beginning my 3rd year at St Georges university, and that my first hand knowledge of going to med school in the islands only applies to St Georges

    1) The medical students at St Georges are NOT inferior on the average academically, intellectually, or personally on the average. The average MCAT scores, GPA, and USMLE scores are just as high, and sometimes higher than US med schools. I dont know what kind of limited life experience all of you have had... but there are dumb people everywhere, and there are brilliant people everywhere. Nowadays with med school admissions being what it is in the US, it is... not everyone that is qualified to attend a US medical is afforded that opportunity. US med schools have such overwhelmingly numerous applications, that they could fill all of their seats with 4.0 GPA's, and over 95th percentile MCATs and still turn people away with 4.0's and 95th percentile MCATs. Its a numbers game, in which deserving college students get the shaft. Just to illustrate my point... I did my undergrad at an Ivy league school, had a 3.0, my MCATs were in the 97% percentile, i was a firefighter, EMT, did original research in public health and basic science research with some VERY reputable people who wrote me fantastic recomendations, and still could only get on a waiting list in my home state (which only had 1 med school). I also happened to be a white guy from suburbia. A african american female who had been in most of my classes throughout college had a lower GPA, lower scores, and not as many activities obtained admission to 3 schools, no problem. There are many many thousands of fully qualified people in college that are not extended acceptance into US schools simply because the numbers do not permit it. St Georges has a class of 250 each term... and still rejects 8 out of 9 people. (sorry i went on for so long on that point)

    2. Island life does suck... it is fun for the first month, and then it gets really really really old... fast. (i actually have spotten kevin bacon) Most people despise being on the island and work their butts off the majority of the time. When they are not working... they partake in some well deserved partyers. The demographic is very similar to that of US schools, you have your partyers, you have your studiers, you have your in-betweens. Just like a US school, it would be wrong to make a genralization about people in foreign med schools, because you would be wrong MOST of the time. If anything... US students that go abroad because they couldnt get into a US school are MORE motivated. These people leave their entire lives, friends, families to go someplace that they have never been and only have seen in the brochures for 2 years. Thats dedication.

    I do aggree that there are some major slackers in carribean schools, however... they either smarten up fast, or are sent packing. But do not make generalizations... the motivated medical student that will spend endless hours studying at St Georges is the RULE rather than the expection

    3. The education is just like that of a american medical school... some classes are run well, and some are not. I have many friends at US med schools are without exception, each school has at least 1 or 2 classes that are taught horribly, and some that are taught wonderfully... same at St Georges. We use the same books as the US schools, and learn the same material. The curriculum is actually modeled after the US med school framework, because 99% of the students are from the US and are expecting it.

    In case you were wondering about the boards... i did not take any prep class (kaplan, etc etc) and all i did was look through the BRS, and more importantly... my class notes from my 2 years at SGU. I got a 238 after only a month of studying. My school's USMLE pass rate is 94%, the national average is 93%.

    Also... i wouldnt worry about getting a residency in the US from St Georges (i can only speak for St georges) EVERY PERSON THAT GRADUATES FROM SGU THAT WANTS A RESIDENCY IN THE US... GETS ONE!!!!! You need competitive scores to get surgery, opthalmology, etc, and you need to work your butt off. But it is definately doable. Actually... there are currently more US residency spots in genral surgery, internal medicine, and pediatrics than there are graduating doctors to fill them.

    One word of caution though...St Georges treats their students like excrement. They dont care about them at all. They provide a service of education for a price. They want your bussiness, and they provide a good product... because the better you do, the higher your scores, the better they look... and the better the applicant pool gets, and the more MONEY they make!!! The administration is terrible, and they really dont care. Dont expect for someone from the school to hold your hand. Once you plunk down $$$ for the tuition, they know they have you and that you have more invested in them than they have in you.

    It is a good school... and it will get you where you wanna go, but dont expect to be nostalgic about the wonderful way the carribean and SGU treats you, because it wont happen


    I think thats about all i want to say, i hope i havent forgotten anything. I hope i have been informative
     
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  3. ApacheIndian

    ApacheIndian philomath
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    Good post. I've always held the opinion that SGU is the clear first choice if one has to go the Caribbean route. I've gotten very good impressions from every SGU student I've met so far... I unfortunately can't say the same about students from the other schools.

    I hope you didn't take any personal offense from my original post... that wasn't at all my intention. You sound like you're on the path to success... good luck to you :).
     
  4. Arunski

    Arunski Member
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    Edward, are you serious? SGU only accepts 1 out of 8 applicants?

    Also, why did you decide to go to SGU when you had great MCATs....did you just not want to wait around by doing a post bacc or somethign? (I'm in the same boat, great mcat but awful grades)

    Arun
     
  5. BellKicker

    BellKicker Twisted Miler
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    Holy crap!

    Does that mean that 95% of all MCAT takers don't get to go to med school?? So if you met a totally average pre-med, he would have less than 5% chance of losing the pre? Well, the totally average would have no chance in hell, but a given pre-med from the general population of pre-meds....?!?

    Is that true?


    Hey, welcome to the forum. That was an impressive first post
    ;)

    Later.
     
  6. stephew

    stephew SDN Super Moderator
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    Let me add and amend the info re: sgu.

    I am a graduate and sgu did very well by me. I interview students and no of no one that regets going.

    Actually sgu has 8 or 9 applicants for every seat. please note...that doesnt mean they reject the 7 or 8 that dont take a seat in enrollment. They may accept some of them and they go elsewhere. I think its only fair that we make these claims clear

    The usmle rate is accurate; I will note that over the last decade about 10% dont make it to the USMLE WITH their incoming class; most decel and ultimately do; the rest fail/drop out. This is key. Why? Because many off shore schools boast pass rates of over 90%. what they dont tell you is that 60% or so dont make it to the usmle WITH their class. Think of it; if half your class doesnt make it to the usmle in a timely way, that's not so hot. SGU is calculating current stats to keep themselves honest.

    Its important for folks going off shore to be aware of the above. Also be aware, sgu has excellent residency placement and are honest about the placement; i always tell folks to check to see if that plament at Yale's internal med program is yale University At New Haven or or the Yale community hospital at Norwalk (an excellent site but not "Yale proper"). Places can mislead you with lying if they dont post these subtlies. And even if places are honest most students dont know the difference.

    Hope this helps and all the best,
    Steph
     
  7. Thewonderer

    Thewonderer Senior Member
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    I have no doubt that SGU is the best of the Carribean med schools by far.

    How many graduates of SGU actually get competitive residencies if they want them badly enough (i.e. derm, radiation oncology, diagnostic radiology, ophthalmology, neurosurgery, emergency medicine, etc.)?? The impression I have so far is that the residencies are mostly limited to primary care based fields such as medicine, peds and FP. And are they mostly in community-based programs or university-based programs? Lastly, is it true that many graduates just sign contracts with the hospitals they do clerkships with and thereby not enter the match in the first place?
     
  8. stephew

    stephew SDN Super Moderator
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    A few points.

    No longer will people be able to sign outside the match. In the past about 40-60% of sgu students did after being offered contracts either at places they interviewed or rotated at. This will be the new NRMP policy. Does it matter much? Probably not. Why? Simply since the reason a program director will offer you a spot outside the match is that they like youa nd dont feel they would do "better" through the match. So they can't offer you a spot this way now. Nevertheless, come match time, you've both expressed interest in each other, so the PD will have the same feelings and rank you highly.

    Another point. SGU's match list actually manages to underrepresent the specialities people go into. They compile it by asking where students are going "next year". Some students just mention their speciality but most mention where they are going just the first year, which is internship. For specialities then, they will only be listed by their prelim year. Im a good example of that. SGU has me down as in internal medicine at syracuse. Actually, I did my intership there and am now in residency in rad onc.

    Most people however do want primary care fields. Most want IM or the like. And that's what is most readily available. However we've had one and possible two neurosurgeons in the last few years (Im not sure; one was in my class-and also is listed by her internship in surgery only) and quite a few get optho and rads isn't as hard as it used to be but still is competitive. You neglected to mention anesthesia which again is getting compeititve but many have been going into it from sgu. ER and surgery enjoys a number of our grads. My friend from sgu is going into derm. But he's the only one i know. There are several orthopods recently. You cant come to sgu assuming you'll get these positions but you might in you are very good.

    University based programs aren't so hard to get into. SGU puts people into both community and Uni programs.

    All the best,
    Steph
     
  9. ApacheIndian

    ApacheIndian philomath
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    Hmmm... this is the first I've heard of this. When is this supposed to go into effect?
     
  10. stephew

    stephew SDN Super Moderator
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  11. ApacheIndian

    ApacheIndian philomath
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    Thanks for the link. The new "no-prematch" rule goes into effect in 2004.
     
  12. Skip Intro

    Skip Intro Registered User
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