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Carribean Med School OR Take One Year Off and Apply to US Med School?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by sapien, Mar 23, 2002.

  1. sapien

    sapien New Member

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    Hi,
    I need some advice from medical students or those that have gone through the following situation:

    I recently graduated, B.S. (took all my premed courses, by the way), and I applied for an MHA (health admin.)progam from which I dropped out because I really didnt like it plus I thought that I should just apply to Med school without having to go through the Masters course. I had already taken my MCAT my junior year (score 20. Yeah, it sucks because I wasnt serious about Med. school back then..just wanted to take the MCAT so I could have an option). I am now serious about going through med school (having done tons of research on the subject; spoken to my uncles, who are doctors, surgeons, etc.; volunteered and shadowed surgeons in ICUs and ERs, etc etc). So I applied to some carribean schools only because I missed the AMCAS deadlines for the Fall '02 semester. I got into Ross (big surprise, huh?), but I went through the SDN forums and the suggestions regarding reputation, discrimination, etc. faced by IMGs are persuading me to think that I would be better off if I sit out for one year and apply to US medical schools (since I havent applied to them at all). So here are my options that I need advice on:

    -go to Ross, and fight for a competitive residency like surgery (which I have my mind on, but again, this may change during my clinicals...); or
    -apply to US med schools for Fall '03, complete a Masters in Public Health or Health Admin. in the meanwhile (from summer '02 till summer '03), and see if I get in to a US med school (maybe apply to St. George's as a backup...not sure); or
    -retake the MCAT this August, apply to med school for Fall '03, do Masters for a year or so, and then step into US med school (if I am accepted).

    My main goal and ambition is to be a doctor (allopathic, since I feel inclined to the practice and philosophy of it as opposed to osteopathic), and I would rather get that degree from a place that I can feel comfortable with in the future, not face any problems of discrimination during residency (and in being selected for the residency), and encounter issues that may be challenging to my practice (eg. if I go into surgery, being from Ross would make my patients think twice before they get under my blade..atleast that's the impression I have after reading posts about this on the SDN).

    Apologies for the lenghty post, but its decision time for me now and I am set to start my first semester at Ross in May :confused: .

    Any ideas as to which of the three options I should do...any fourth, fifth, etc. options? I appreciate any advice or frank assessments of my situations...dont worry, i have a thick skin <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />
     
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  3. sapien

    sapien New Member

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    by the way, my reason for wanting to do a Master degree until I hearing something from a US med school was perhaps to bolster my application to med school...does anyone know about this? Can having a MPH or MHA bolster my med school admission? Will they still look at my undergrad GPA? thanks.
     
  4. Cuts

    Cuts Member
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    Wait a year and go to a U.S. school... definitely. Trust me on this one... I'm gonna be graduating from a Caribbean school next year and I truly wish I had made the choice to wait it out for a U.S. school. Going to a "foreign" school will haunt you not only the 4 years you're in med school, but it'll affect which residency you get and where, and this will affect your career, and by extension your life. I implore you to wait, and start with a U.S. school next year.
     
  5. sapien

    sapien New Member

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    Thanks for the response Cuts. I really appreciate it. By the way, just out of curiousity, which one did you go to?
     
  6. trout

    trout Senior Member
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    I think you need to analyze why you didn't do well on the mcats...realistically you need at least a 27 (unless you have done something amazing) but even that is no gaurentee...if you don't think you can break that than you will need to consider either DO, offshore or a PA program.
     
  7. Bandit

    Bandit Senior Member
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    Trout, I got a 34 on the mcat and CHOOSE the PA profesion and was lucky to get into a good program. Anyone out there that feels getting into a PA program is easier than med school---you got another think comin`.
     
  8. Doctora Foxy

    7+ Year Member

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    sapien, I don't think you should apply for 2003, but rather 2004. Otherwise you will be applying late due to the august mcat, and they won't see your masters grades.

    I may have to reapply as well, but if I do, it will be for 2004, b/c the august mcat will put me at a disadvantage.

    good luck to you!
     
  9. Cuts

    Cuts Member
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by sapien:
    <strong>Thanks for the response Cuts. I really appreciate it. By the way, just out of curiousity, which one did you go to?</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I wasn't even smart enough to go to a Caribbean school at first... I started med school in Hungary, and just recently transferred into St. Eustatius (one of the newest Caribbean schools). But don't be mislead by the impression Ross recruiters will try to give you... that Ross is well established and prestige... yeah right. I'm doing rotations side by side with Ross students right now, and we're ALL preparing to be screwed royally next year in the Match (IM at Ghetto Memorial--here we come!). If you really feel that you won't get into any U.S. school, then yes, go to a Caribbean school... at least you will become a doctor (an Internist working 70 hours/week for the rest of your life, but a doctor nonetheless). However, if you think that you do stand a good chance to get accepted at a U.S. school, ANY U.S. med school, then most definitely wait a year and do that instead. Don't make the same mistake I did... you will regret it like I do every single day. If you ask other Caribbean students, many will probably tell you that their schools are great, and they have many opportunities for the future, and blah blah blah. This is nothing but their own personal ego-defense mechanisms speaking. They all got rejected by U.S. schools (b/c they weren't good enough) and so they settled for [the inferior] Caribbean schools... plain and simple. Do you really expect them to admit that? Would you? Of course not, you'd defend your choice too... you'd probably do so unconsciously, but you'd do so nonetheless. Why then, am I being so honest you ask? B/c I'm different... I never applied to U.S. med schools. My problem wasn't that I wasn't smart enough (I know I am and I know I could have easily gotten into a U.S. school had I tried)... my problem was that I was doing all the wrong things in college... wrong friends, wrong parties, wrong "pastimes", and I wanted to get out of the scene... I wanted to get away and "start over" so-to-speak. That's why I left. In retrospect, it was a good decision for me b/c I'm a changed man b/c of it... a man for the better. But b/c of my youthful indiscretions of years past, now I'm forced to study and work alongside mediocre (and that's putting it lightly) students... students that I know I far surpass in intellect and ability. But oh well, that's my sob story. You on the other hand, have a choice now... make it the right one. You have the opportunity to study at the BEST MEDICAL SCHOOLS IN THE WORLD...don't give that up. Good luck.
     
  10. rajneel1

    rajneel1 Senior Member
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    i think CUTS is right. but you have a long road ahead. you need to hit like atleast 29 on the MCATS. a masters program will help show your devotion to medicine (it doesn't help that you dropped out of one already!!!! i hope you didn't start that program.) and possibly bring up that GPA. and you need to work on extracurriculars. shadowing physicians is not enough. for you, i would suggest other work like hospice, EMT, tutoring, planned parenthood, free clinics, Big Brothers, travel aboard, research, etc. and timing is everything (especailly if you are an average applicant) so take doctora's advice and apply for 2004. never be late in applying. taking the august MCAT is usually a disadvantage, especailly if you are already an average applicant.
    try for American schools atleast once. good luck.
     
  11. Dr. Dad

    Dr. Dad Senior Member
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    If I were in your shoes I would go back and get my masters and then re-apply. That would up your chances a good deal to get into a school.

    As for the caribbean thing, I don't think we should over do it. Sure it is definately a last resort, but you will be a doctor, even if you do not get the residency you were hoping for (which a lot of people from the US schools won't either), residency does not last forever. You are still a doctor and still have options in your future. You can reach your ultimate goal if you work at it. However for something as competitive as surgery, I would think the better option is to go to a US school and get a good head start.
     
  12. sapien

    sapien New Member

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    Thanks so far for the advice, both in public and private. I really, really appreciate every single advice that was given. I am leaning towards Masters in Health Admin. at my alma (if I can't get into the Public Health program). I am also planning activities that I can do during my Masters studies that will help me get in to medical school. What did you guys (the medical students on the forum), especially those in good medical schools, do in terms of activities during your undergrad/grad years that you think helped you get into medical school?
     
  13. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by sapien:
    <strong>Hi,
    I need some advice from medical students or those that have gone through the following situation:

    I recently graduated, B.S. (took all my premed courses, by the way), and I applied for an MHA (health admin.)progam from which I dropped out because I really didnt like it plus I thought that I should just apply to Med school without having to go through the Masters course. I had already taken my MCAT my junior year (score 20. Yeah, it sucks because I wasnt serious about Med. school back then..just wanted to take the MCAT so I could have an option). I am now serious about going through med school (having done tons of research on the subject; spoken to my uncles, who are doctors, surgeons, etc.; volunteered and shadowed surgeons in ICUs and ERs, etc etc). So I applied to some carribean schools only because I missed the AMCAS deadlines for the Fall '02 semester. I got into Ross (big surprise, huh?), but I went through the SDN forums and the suggestions regarding reputation, discrimination, etc. faced by IMGs are persuading me to think that I would be better off if I sit out for one year and apply to US medical schools (since I havent applied to them at all). So here are my options that I need advice on:

    -go to Ross, and fight for a competitive residency like surgery (which I have my mind on, but again, this may change during my clinicals...); or
    -apply to US med schools for Fall '03, complete a Masters in Public Health or Health Admin. in the meanwhile (from summer '02 till summer '03), and see if I get in to a US med school (maybe apply to St. George's as a backup...not sure); or
    -retake the MCAT this August, apply to med school for Fall '03, do Masters for a year or so, and then step into US med school (if I am accepted).

    My main goal and ambition is to be a doctor (allopathic, since I feel inclined to the practice and philosophy of it as opposed to osteopathic), and I would rather get that degree from a place that I can feel comfortable with in the future, not face any problems of discrimination during residency (and in being selected for the residency), and encounter issues that may be challenging to my practice (eg. if I go into surgery, being from Ross would make my patients think twice before they get under my blade..atleast that's the impression I have after reading posts about this on the SDN).

    Apologies for the lenghty post, but its decision time for me now and I am set to start my first semester at Ross in May :confused: .

    Any ideas as to which of the three options I should do...any fourth, fifth, etc. options? I appreciate any advice or frank assessments of my situations...dont worry, i have a thick skin <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" /> </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I probably won't add anything new here but here goes.

    The others are absolutely right that unless you have a burning desire to study in the Caribbean or elsewhere, don't give up on US schools until you apply and are rejected from all. Even more than once.

    You state that you are concerned about issues of stigma, discrimination, etc. Regardless of which non-US school you attend, there will be some that question its reputation and your intelligence and abilities for attending there. The Caribbean schools are among the most "suspect" in other's eyes, IMHO (albeit not always deservedly so). However, also remember that despite the popular opinion MOST patients and even your fellow residents will have no idea where you went to medical school. I've nearly finished a year here and have not had a single patient ask me where I went to medical school and only the medical students here seem to be interested in it. None of the residents have asked either. I've never heard a patient in clinic or pre-op area ask the attendings where they went to medical school or residency either. It just doesn't matter to most once you finish - what matters to fellow residents is whether they can rely on you to carry your own weight and what matters to patients is that you are kind, seem to know what you're doing and that you listen to them. The rare patient, most often status seekers, will ask where you went to medical school - but don't use this as an excuse to avoid an off-shore school.

    The popularity of general surgery has taken a hit these past two years - while I would not call it easy to get into, it certainly doesn't require the stellar application it did a few years ago. The tendency is for these waves in specialty popularity to change every 5-7 years - so I might expect that Surgery will once more become popular by the time you are ready to apply. However, as more and more become less interested in having a "surgical lifestyle" unless programs make significant changes, it may be also true that the popularity of this field doesn't pick up - great for you and other budding surgeons.

    You obviously have to retake the MCAT. BTW, not to kick a man when he's down (but more in the way of advice for any future MCATers out there), it is an AWFUL idea to take the exam to "try it out", "see what my options are" or "for practice". You cannot replace your score of 20 with any future better scores. Some schools average all attempts, some only look at the lowest and others the highest, but ALL attempts will be reported. It looks very foolhardy to take a test you are unprepared for, especially a test like the MCAT which can be taken at any time. We like to see mature, methodical career/academic planning. So for anyone considering doing the same, please don't take the MCAT until you are absolutely as ready as you can be.

    You mention perhaps applying for Fall '03 - IMHO this might be a bit early unless you are registered for the April MCAT and ready to do well on it. The August MCAT *can* delay your application and in some cases hinder it, especially the marginal candidate. You might be better off shooting for '04.

    No mention of gpa, may we assume within competitive range? If so, I'm not sure the MPH or MPA would really make a significant difference in your application, especially if you aren't enthralled with the fields. What are your answers for the inevitable "why did you pursue this degree" questions? Bear in mind as well, that medical schools often look askance at students who start a graduate program and don't finish it - it can be seen as "student stealing" if they accept you into medical school and you haven't finished your graduate program. It also looks like you don't finish what you start.

    At any rate, others have given some excellent advice - I think you need to step back, study for the MCAT and give the US application process a shot before committing to off-shore. Ross will be there, as will other schools, should it come to that.

    Best of luck.
     

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