How do I convince my friend not to go to Ross? Or is this the right path for her?

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Sep 23, 2023
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My friend and I are pre-med. She is a senior and I am a sophomore at a large state school. I've heard some negative things about Caribbean schools specifically regarding cost, living conditions, and match rates. I've discussed these concerns with my friend as she goes through the application process, but she doesn't seem to take me seriously. For context her GPA is ~3.3, 1st MCAT was 479 in Jan 2023, she retook in Aug 2023 and got a 500. She has lots of leadership experience, minimal research, and moderate clinical experience/shadowing.

She's very adamant about applying this cycle and refuses to take a gap year on the basis that it will throw off her timeline for marriage and kids. She is also very adamant about not attending a DO school citing that only an MD would satisfy her and her family even if it's at a Caribbean school. However, she is applying to a handful of DO schools.

She was recently offered conditional acceptance to Ross if she passes their 15-week MERP program. Is this program a cash-grab or a genuine way to help students succeed? Can anyone speak on the true success rate? (She has told me 96% of their students pass first try)

Although she's telling me that she's still considering other schools, it seems like she has her heart set on Ross and has decided to begin MERP in April. She knows not all Caribbean schools are good, but repeatedly cites Ross' 97% match rate, and wide range of clinical rotations as reasons to attend. She's also very dead set on going into psychiatry and states that since she's not going into a competitive specialty, Ross' match rates shouldn't be an issue. Money is also not an issue in her mind since her family is well off.

She doesn't want to reapply (which I can understand to an extent) since it would decrease her chances significantly and she wouldn't have a committee letter from our school (which apparently is a big disadvantage to an application, I'm not really sure about this)

Is there anything else I can show/tell her to convince her that she can do better than Ross? And that taking a gap year and reapplying would be better? Or if there are people from Ross on here, would you advise her to continue on this path?

I care for her and I don't want her to end up in a difficulty situation. But it doesn't seem like the information I have now is convincing enough for her to reconsider.

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If she has a 3.3/500, I doubt 1 year of gap is going to fix the problem. Others here are in a better position to comment about her chances of getting into a DO, but it looks marginal to me. She'd need a much better MCAT, or a better GPA. The latter would require a post-bacc which will almost certainly take more than 1 year. She already has two scores on the MCAT, so stacking a third one so quickly may also be an issue - even if she can score significantly better.

If someone is going to go to a Carib school, Ross is a reasonable choice. MERP is a real thing, but I doubt their 96% success rate there - seems unrealistic.

Pysch is much more competitive these days. Looking at Ross's match list for psych, 34 of 597 students matched to psych. Worth looking at the list to see what programs they were able to get into so your friend can be realistic: 2023 Residency Appointment List | Ross University School of Medicine

97% match rate is "spin". It doesn't count the people who fail out, and also is likely a "placement rate" so includes people who don't match and end up scambling into something -- likely not what they wanted. Hard to get solid numbers, but for the better carib schools it looks like about 70% of people make it to graduation and into residency.

Honestly, the major downsides here are money and opportunity. If she goes to Ross and fails out, that's lots of lost money. But if her family is paying and she won't have big loans, that's less of an issue. The other issue is opportunity -- it's possible psych will get more competitive and she might have trouble getting any spot, or she might have trouble getting the spot she wants / the geography she wants. Then again, psych might get less competitive. She might change her mind in medical school and suddenly want orthopedic surgery. Bottom line is that she will have more opportunities / open doors in a US MD/DO.

With a 3.3/500, she's at relatively higher risk of failing out.
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She should consider podiatry. Lots of doom and gloom on the forums here, but there are upsides worth considering. GPA/MCAT requirements are much less competitive. You graduate as a physician, albeit a very narrowly focused one, and you can be surgical or non-surgical. Pay isn’t nearly as good, which is a big downside. It’d be worth talking to/shadowing a podiatrist to get a better perspective given where she’s at.
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