Jul 17, 2009
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Hello,


Sorry for the long question, but my situation requires a lot of explanation, and I hope you guys can help me decide.

I have recently been accepted into a Carribean med school, but where I am currently working the director had advised me to rethink going to the Carribean since it may be more difficult to get into residency. I am currenlty working on the regulatory side of clincial research, but the director of the office has really taken a liking to me and has offered to write a great letter of recommendation for me if I chose to go to medical school here. Also, she put me in touch with a doctor to help me evaluate my decisions. The doctor whom I talked to said, she feels that I should try getting into medical school here because although it is hard now, later down the line it will open more opportunities as far as residencies and jobs go. This doctor also interviews for fellowships, and she said that she thinks i would do well in medical school. However, the reason I did not think of applying to the US for medical school initially, is because my GPA is pretty low, 3.25, and I did not do so well on the MCATs. Also, I have been out of school for about 3 years. After I graduated, I took time off to travel and just take a break. Then I started working. I can always retake the MCATs to improve my scores, but what can I do about my GPA? Let's say that I am able to improve my MCAT scores, I get good letters of recommendation, and really focus on my personal statement, would that really give me a shot at attending medical school in the US?

Also, I am currently working so if I decide to deferr my acceptance to the Carribena for a yeare and retake the MCAT while working, how should I plan to study for the MCATs?

Or, should I go to the Carribean as planned?
 

camaras2480

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Aug 21, 2007
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Hello,


Sorry for the long question, but my situation requires a lot of explanation, and I hope you guys can help me decide.

I have recently been accepted into a Carribean med school, but where I am currently working the director had advised me to rethink going to the Carribean since it may be more difficult to get into residency. I am currenlty working on the regulatory side of clincial research, but the director of the office has really taken a liking to me and has offered to write a great letter of recommendation for me if I chose to go to medical school here. Also, she put me in touch with a doctor to help me evaluate my decisions. The doctor whom I talked to said, she feels that I should try getting into medical school here because although it is hard now, later down the line it will open more opportunities as far as residencies and jobs go. This doctor also interviews for fellowships, and she said that she thinks i would do well in medical school. However, the reason I did not think of applying to the US for medical school initially, is because my GPA is pretty low, 3.25, and I did not do so well on the MCATs. Also, I have been out of school for about 3 years. After I graduated, I took time off to travel and just take a break. Then I started working. I can always retake the MCATs to improve my scores, but what can I do about my GPA? Let's say that I am able to improve my MCAT scores, I get good letters of recommendation, and really focus on my personal statement, would that really give me a shot at attending medical school in the US?

Also, I am currently working so if I decide to deferr my acceptance to the Carribena for a yeare and retake the MCAT while working, how should I plan to study for the MCATs?

Or, should I go to the Carribean as planned?
Do an SMP, get a 3.5+, and get a 32 on the MCAT. With decent clinical experience (shadowing and volunteering), you can get into a US MD school 2 years from now (if you can start the SMP in September).

The 2 years is worth it - the attrition rate at the island schools is scary, and the residency really is tough. Not even going to get into the often-heard-of licensing issues MDs from the Caribbean are known to experience.
 

DaTruMD

10+ Year Member
Jan 9, 2008
459
83
Do an SMP, get a 3.5+, and get a 32 on the MCAT. With decent clinical experience (shadowing and volunteering), you can get into a US MD school 2 years from now (if you can start the SMP in September).

The 2 years is worth it - the attrition rate at the island schools is scary, and the residency really is tough. Not even going to get into the often-heard-of licensing issues MDs from the Caribbean are known to experience.
What exactly is SMP? I know it's a masters program but that's about it. Is it something like if you do well enough, you will get an acceptance at that school?

If that is the case, wouldn't it just be better to do a regular masters program for the possibility that you might fail that as well? That way, you have a chance of finding a decent job afterward (assuming that you do a masters that is actually worth something).
 

danny317

10+ Year Member
Dec 7, 2007
133
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Status
Pre-Medical
Hello,


Sorry for the long question, but my situation requires a lot of explanation, and I hope you guys can help me decide.

I have recently been accepted into a Carribean med school, but where I am currently working the director had advised me to rethink going to the Carribean since it may be more difficult to get into residency. I am currenlty working on the regulatory side of clincial research, but the director of the office has really taken a liking to me and has offered to write a great letter of recommendation for me if I chose to go to medical school here. Also, she put me in touch with a doctor to help me evaluate my decisions. The doctor whom I talked to said, she feels that I should try getting into medical school here because although it is hard now, later down the line it will open more opportunities as far as residencies and jobs go. This doctor also interviews for fellowships, and she said that she thinks i would do well in medical school. However, the reason I did not think of applying to the US for medical school initially, is because my GPA is pretty low, 3.25, and I did not do so well on the MCATs. Also, I have been out of school for about 3 years. After I graduated, I took time off to travel and just take a break. Then I started working. I can always retake the MCATs to improve my scores, but what can I do about my GPA? Let's say that I am able to improve my MCAT scores, I get good letters of recommendation, and really focus on my personal statement, would that really give me a shot at attending medical school in the US?

Also, I am currently working so if I decide to deferr my acceptance to the Carribena for a yeare and retake the MCAT while working, how should I plan to study for the MCATs?

Or, should I go to the Carribean as planned?
wow, youre in a tough position...

go talk to the doc that interviews for fellowship positions. show her your numbers and see what she says.

a 3.25 is tough to bring up but not impossible. i graduated w/ a ~3.3 cgpa w/ ~140 credit hours. went to community college and did my pre-reqs + any other bio courses they offered. i was able to get my cgpa to ~3.5. then i studied my butt off and got a 30+ on my mcat. all in all, this took ~2 yrs...

if you have the patience and drive, then id try to get into med school here in the states. like your boss and the other doc said, itll be tougher right now but youll be rewarded in the long run...

good luck!
 

camaras2480

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What exactly is SMP? I know it's a masters program but that's about it. Is it something like if you do well enough, you will get an acceptance at that school?

If that is the case, wouldn't it just be better to do a regular masters program for the possibility that you might fail that as well? That way, you have a chance of finding a decent job afterward (assuming that you do a masters that is actually worth something).
Absolutely. An SMP is a Special Masters Program that is designed specifically for students working towards medical school. The degree is not worth a whole lot beyond medical school, and the fallback options are tough. This is why SMP programs are always advertised as high risk, high reward.

Is it something like if you do well enough, you will get an acceptance at that school?
Nothing can assure anyone a seat in medical school. However, for students fitting the following profile: decent ECs, strong LORs, an undergraduate GPA above 3.0 but below 3.4, and an MCAT 32+, an SMP is the best option.

The SMP GPA does not affect the uGPA. It provides a new GPA that you can show adcoms. Some of the classes offered in an SMP are medical school courses - literally - you take them with the medical school students. However, in general, while they are graded Pass/Fail, you are graded on an A-F scale, making it rather harder on the SMP candidates to do well.

This opportunity is what puts the "S" in SMP. Adcoms understand that students with strong performances (3.5+) in SMPs have handled a more difficult hard science course load than any other postbac/masters program available. However, as mentioned previously, screwing up in an SMP (3.2 or below) can be the end of someone's MD hopes. As such, SMPs are often the desperate, last attempt for a student to establish themselves as a candidate for medical school.
 

camaras2480

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wow, youre in a tough position...

go talk to the doc that interviews for fellowship positions. show her your numbers and see what she says.

a 3.25 is tough to bring up but not impossible. i graduated w/ a ~3.3 cgpa w/ ~140 credit hours. went to community college and did my pre-reqs + any other bio courses they offered. i was able to get my cgpa to ~3.5. then i studied my butt off and got a 30+ on my mcat. all in all, this took ~2 yrs...

if you have the patience and drive, then id try to get into med school here in the states. like your boss and the other doc said, itll be tougher right now but youll be rewarded in the long run...

good luck!
This is definitely a good option, and a safer one than an SMP. However, a strong GPA (3.5+) from an SMP would open more doors than pulling the 3.25 up to 3.45, and you can start medical school 2 years from now, rather than 3 (which I think danny is referring to (?)). Needless to say, an excellent GPA (3.75+) will help a ton.

Summary: SMP is more risky, more money, and flat out harder to do better in than postbac. However, a great GPA from SMP speaks volumes.
 
OP
N
Jul 17, 2009
7
0
Status
Non-Student
thanks for all the great advice. yes, the decision is very tough. I just had one question, what is an SMP? What would I have to do to get in?

Also, the reason my GPA was low was because I was in a major that was not the right major for me and was miserable. I switched majors when I had 4 classes left because I was so unhappy. This made my undergrad longer, but in the end I was much happier. However, it really did not help my GPA much because the damage was done from my previous major. Does that change any of the options suggested?
 

camaras2480

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thanks for all the great advice. yes, the decision is very tough. I just had one question, what is an SMP? What would I have to do to get in?
SMP = Special Masters Program. Georgetown and Boston University are generally considered to have the best/most established programs. There are threads here on SDN about them - check them out. I know the most recent BU one is titled BU MAMS 2009.

The general SMP student at BU/Georgetown has a uGPA of like 3.0-3.4, an MCAT of ~30, and most of their ECs complete. Note that many SMPs accept GREs as well.

Also, the reason my GPA was low was because I was in a major that was not the right major for me and was miserable. I switched majors when I had 4 classes left because I was so unhappy. This made my undergrad longer, but in the end I was much happier. However, it really did not help my GPA much because the damage was done from my previous major. Does that change any of the options suggested?
Unfortunately, no one will particularly care (sorry for sounding rude!) about this. I stand by my previous posts - doesn't change my opinion.
 
OP
N
Jul 17, 2009
7
0
Status
Non-Student
Thanks for the clarification. I will check it out. Regarding my degree situation, I thought so. You were just giving an honest opinion and it is good to hear so that I can make a
decision.
 
OP
N
Jul 17, 2009
7
0
Status
Non-Student
It seems that an SMP is an option, but many of you had said it is risky because it is either you succeed or fail. If you do not do as well, i.e. 3.2 then my chances are over. Considering all this, wouldn't it be better to just go to the Carribean for medical school, even though I would be attending Ross, one of the 3 most well-known medical schools there?
 

camaras2480

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It seems that an SMP is an option, but many of you had said it is risky because it is either you succeed or fail. If you do not do as well, i.e. 3.2 then my chances are over. Considering all this, wouldn't it be better to just go to the Carribean for medical school, even though I would be attending Ross, one of the 3 most well-known medical schools there?
Go DO before Caribbean. It is just not worth it. I mean, you can go, but I can't support that decision, I'm sorry.
 

camaras2480

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camaras2480

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Sorry for the naive question, but what is attrition rate?
In really simple terms, its basically what % of students actually make it through a given medical school and into residency.

In the Caribbean, it is something around 50% in general. Scary.