TLDR - Took a year off during med school and considering transferring from one int'l med school to a Carib med school. What can I still do to ensure that I can match into a family med program?
I'm an American who went to medical school abroad (not a Caribbean school). My grades during my first two years were middle of the pack - I'm probably ranked somewhere smack dab in the middle. My experience, however, was pretty miserable.
I discovered that the vast majority of my classmates were cheating. I'm not talking about memorizing old test banks, but straight up cheating. I reported this anonymously to the school administration as well as to the professors for each course in which I knew cheating was happening. I initially reported that cheating was occurring, but when I observed that no action was being taken, I began detailing the specifics of how the cheating was happening in subsequent emails.
I know some professors attempted to take action because there were revisions in our testing procedures for some classes. But I believe the administration dimed me out to my classmates by exposing my specific emails to several of my classmates. Though sent anonymously, my writing style and the peculiarity of the details probably allowed them (my classmates) to figure out that I was the sender.
Needless to say, I was shunned, and if not for a few students who kept me up to date on important events (like rescheduled exams, signups for events, etc.), I would likely have missed exams and critical events. The administration is very unhelpful - they've always been this way, but now that I have been marked as a troublemaker, my perception (though not necessarily reality) is that they're even more unhelpful.
After I completed my first 2 years, I took a gap year - primarily to separate myself from my classmates. I completed a good portion of a masters degree in that timeframe (I'll have the masters by the time I graduate medical school) and worked on my mental health - 1.5 years of being shunned by classmates is pretty brutal.
When I returned to med school, COVID was (is) in full-swing. Though I should have been placed with the M3's, the school placed me with the M2's, claiming that the school did not have the capacity to handle an additional person. This, despite the fact that I have completed all of my M1 and M2 requirements. I'm taking a bunch of elective coursework right now, but nothing involving hands-on clinical work.
So, I'm thinking of transferring to a Caribbean school, probably one of the "Big 4" to complete my clinical years rather than wait to see what my current school will do with me. US schools are clearly not an option to transfer into. My goal has always been to go into family medicine (it's true - I come from a small town and I want to return to my small town and take over after the current physician, a family med doctor, retires).
My question is this - with the obvious red flags of taking a year off during med school as well as a transfer from one international med school to another, plus the current year of largely useless coursework, how much will this hurt my chances of getting into a family medicine / general internal medicine residency?
There’s no way around if, you’re in a metric ton of trouble. It’s going to appear that not only did you take a gap year, but you also repeated MS2. Maybe that happened through no fault of your own, but that’s how it will appear. Transferring would be yet anotjer
Even if you could transfer to a big 4, don’t they require you to take Step 1 prior to starting clinical rotations? And to me, that is your last potential hope, to do well on step 1 and show you have what it takes. I am concerned that this will be difficult given that you’re now 1.5 years and counting removed from taking the material in your classes.
If transferring even is an option (which I’m not sure it is without step 1) and you feel like your current school is not setting you up to do well on step 1, then you could consider transferring. But IMO this is all window dressing surrounding the fact that you absolutely need to crush step 1, and somehow you need to focus on that rather than all the other drama surrounding your school situation.