J

jayw288

I have a pretty long back story, but the gist of my question is this: I'm currently an IMG (St. George's) debating dropping out and returning to the US and either applying to a US medical school if possible or doing a masters program and possibly attempting medical school later.

So I'm currently a student at St. George's in Grenada....and absolutley hate it. I started in January of this year (2016) so I'm in the middle of my 2nd term. How I got here, and I know I'll probably get flak for going this route because I've made my future more difficult. My wife and I are both medical students at SGU. She finished undergrad before me because I spent time in the military, so she started applying to medical school first. Anyways, she sent out a round of medical school applications in the states and didn't get in. Fast forward another year, another round of applications, same result, except she did get in to SGU. Here's my stupid decision. I said we could go wherever she wanted, and I would follow. Maybe out of cockiness, I figured I could do anything I want, regardless of where I went to school. She started in August of 2015, so she's just starting her MS2. I applied to SGU last fall and got in, stating January 2016.

(Ranting about how much I dislike SGU)
Starting this term, I'm losing it. I've become depressed and angry. I really hate this school. The general apathy and disrespect is present everywhere, and that includes students, professors, small group facilitators, everybody. Students don't seem to care about learning, and it's normal for multiple students to just stand up in the middle of lecture and leave. Not to mention talking and disturbing lecture for the seemingly few that are actually there to pay attention. The professors aren't much better. They show up late, go off on random tangents with nothing that pertains to anything we are learning, go long on lectures which pushes into the following lectures. Small group facilitators act like they're being forced into participating or leading a discussion, have little motivation to help any students, and generally are more harm than good. I'm finding myself everyday questioning whether I made the right decision, and it's getting harder to justify it to myself. And at $52,000 a year for just tuition, my rising medical school loans are stressing me out and making me question why I am spending so much money for such a horrible education experience.

Back to my question.

What are the chances of me "transferring" back to the states into a US school? And I put transferring in quotations because at this point, I wouldn't mind starting over. I've only completed one semester so it wouldn't be that big of a deal to me. I actually never applied to any US schools before choosing SGU, so I honestly don't know if I could get in even as a first time student. I have my BS in Biology from U of North Carolina, undergrad GPA of 3.4, MCAT score 502 (not great). I'm a veteran, but whether that helps me I don't know. Can I even apply to US schools after starting at SGU? Or am I better off to suck it up, hate my life for a few years, and finish at SGU?

Another consideration for me is the cost. SGU is expensive. I'm paying $52,000 a year for tuition, another $15,000 on living expenses, and probably $1000 on plane tickets to and from the states. I'm not eligible for any US grants being outside the states, and SGU doesn't give financial aid. So I'm forced to take out loans and use my GI Bill from the military. Compare that to UNC medical school. In state tuition is less than $20,000, which would be covered 100% by the GI Bill. And because my income for FAFSA is $0, I also qualify for grants from the school, covering most of my living expenses. If I stay at SGU, I'm looking at close to if not over a quarter million dollars in student loans. I can go to school in the states for a lot less. Which is one big appeal to me.

Anyways, I know this was a drawn out post, but if anybody has opinions, or have done what I'm trying to do, or anything else you think could help my decision, I would be grateful. I'm losing it and am completely lost.
 

Stagg737

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What are your grades at SGU like? Idk if it would really matter, but I'd guess you'd stand more of a chance of "transferring" if you're near the top of your class vs. being one of the students who is barely passing.
 

Med Ed

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I'm losing it and am completely lost.
Your odds of transferring to a US school are zero. You can forget about that right now.

If you want to attend a domestic medical school, you only have one path: quit SGU in good standing, come back to the US, and "make amends." That means either working or successfully completing another academic program, like a MS, while continuing to improve your application and planning to retake the MCAT. This will not be quick or easy, we are talking about several years with no guarantee of admission. Being a veteran will play in your favor, and you might have better luck convincing a DO school to take a chance on you. At least you would be leaving SGU on your own terms. If you failed out I think you would be permanently dead in the water.

Your other options are to give up on medical school entirely, or to suck it up and try and finish at SGU. Your call.
 

JonMonkey

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I went through a similar path as your wife and can feel your pain. I ultimately attended AUC on St Maarten. The problem with these schools is that they are money making institutions and little more. They accept a fair number of students that honestly should not have made it into medical school but were willing to pay to become a physician. Due to that many exhibit the traits you mentioned. You may be near the $250,000 mark by the time you finish but in reality with interest once you get to a point in your career where you can actually start paying you are looking at almost double that but at the end of the day, there are programs that help (check out Income Based Repayment - IBR) and the ultimate return on your dollar far outweighs your debt. Unless you absolutely can not take it I don't think that I would just drop out, if anything I would start looking to transfer. If you drop out you will likely have to start repaying your debt before restarting medical school. If you never applied to a US school you might be surprised and like the previous poster mentioned it would depend on where you sit in your class at present. The problem with transferring is that you would be leaving your wife but that is a decision for you and her and no one on this site can help you with that. Your last option is to suck it up and finish your 2 years there and get into clinicals where things will be much different. Hope this helps.
 
OP
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jayw288

Your odds of transferring to a US school are zero.
I don't mean transfer in the traditional sense. As you said, I would probably look into an MS program or get my MPH before applying for a US school. My grades at SGU from term 1 are good, 96.5 weighted average grade, but how much US schools weigh the grades down here may be different.

I think I was looking for anybody that had withdrawn from an IMG and attempted to enroll in a US school. If that person exists.

The problem with transferring is that you would be leaving your wife but that is a decision for you and her
It's funny you say that because it was my not wanting to be separated from her that really drove me to applying to SGU rather than staying in the states. And it's still one of the biggest reasons why I would choose to stay here at SGU. I briefly looked into online masters programs so that I could stay here with her while she finished, then apply places when we were back in the states.
 
Jan 14, 2015
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Starting this term, I'm losing it. I've become depressed and angry. I really hate this school. The general apathy and disrespect is present everywhere, and that includes students, professors, small group facilitators, everybody. Students don't seem to care about learning, and it's normal for multiple students to just stand up in the middle of lecture and leave. Not to mention talking and disturbing lecture for the seemingly few that are actually there to pay attention. The professors aren't much better. They show up late, go off on random tangents with nothing that pertains to anything we are learning, go long on lectures which pushes into the following lectures. Small group facilitators act like they're being forced into participating or leading a discussion, have little motivation to help any students, and generally are more harm than good. I'm finding myself everyday questioning whether I made the right decision, and it's getting harder to justify it to myself. And at $52,000 a year for just tuition, my rising medical school loans are stressing me out and making me question why I am spending so much money for such a horrible education experience.
The stuff you've mentioned are problems that could be resolved (with the exception of small group) by not going to lecture. Does SGU have recorded lectures? Are classes mandatory?
And im going to assume the stuff you mentioned is a really big problem because in all honesty, you get a bit of that stuff with any lecturer at any school. So i'm just assuming you are a reasonable person and not just hyper-sensitive to it. Because if you are, transferring (not possible) won't necessarily solve your problem.

What are the chances of me "transferring" back to the states into a US school? And I put transferring in quotations because at this point, I wouldn't mind starting over. I've only completed one semester so it wouldn't be that big of a deal to me. I actually never applied to any US schools before choosing SGU, so I honestly don't know if I could get in even as a first time student. I have my BS in Biology from U of North Carolina, undergrad GPA of 3.4, MCAT score 502 (not great). I'm a veteran, but whether that helps me I don't know. Can I even apply to US schools after starting at SGU? Or am I better off to suck it up, hate my life for a few years, and finish at SGU?
You veteran status will help you, but I would advise you to look at that book with statistics on recently accepted applicants for this cycle. My instinct is that with your scores, gaining admission to a USMD school will be an uphill battle. Maybe you could do DO, im not sure what their score ranges are. In addition, leaving any medical school for any reason is something you have to explain very well when you're applying, as many schools have a question in their secondary for specifically that. Make sure you can clearly explain it in a way that does not paint you in a bad light.
Point is, do your homework.
Because it seems you did not last time.
 
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Mikkus

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With a 95% GPA and less than 18 months left on the rock I would advise you to stick it out. Unless you have your heart set on derm or plastics or some other long off residency position. Transferring is going to be next to impossible. And a huge waste of money to restart or get a useless masters.
You already have what I assume is 75k in debt. One of the two reasons people disparage the carib is the fail rate, and you are obviously not in hot water at the moment. If you have to attend class, wear earphones and study on your own. Tell yourself you will get back to the us soon for clinicals. Chose a clinical site where you rotate directly with US students, like Toledo, Detroit, or Hackensack.
Get a 240 ish on step and you should be pretty stable for basic matches.
 

W19

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You should be ok for DO... I met someone at the interview trail 3 years ago who had a similar story and he had multiple DO invites.
 

Warderino92

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SGU has the best match rate out of all the carib schools although that doesn't mean you'll be coming close to derm at UCSF even with a 260 step score. You can land a respectable program somewhere in many specialties, just not the toughest ones to get in for USMDs.
 
OP
J

jayw288

The stuff you've mentioned are problems that could be resolved (with the exception of small group) by not going to lecture. Does SGU have recorded lectures? Are classes mandatory?
That's actually what I did (not attend lecture) for the first term and think it's a reason why I did well. I was able to study on my time and skip all the BS of going to lecture. But what we're hearing is that they're making lecture mandatory and will be taking attendance. We use a clicker device, and the more frustrating part is that attendance isn't taken every lecture.

i'm just assuming you are a reasonable person and not just hyper-sensitive to it
I'd like to think I'm reasonable, but being in the military I think I have less of a tolerance for BS and time wasting.

If you have to attend class, wear earphones and study on your own
I'll try this out. Last term I actually calculated the time to walk to and from campus and the breaks between lecture to justify to myself why it was better to study at home.


Really, the more I'm looking into it and from the replies here, I'm more than likely just going to stay here. As much as I'd like to return to the states, as some of you had said, it's only 2 years on the island. I think the biggest factor for me wanting to leave is the little voice in my head wondering if I made the right choice going to SGU rather than even attempting to go to a US school. And the money. I could just about graduate debt free in the states compared to the always growing loan I have here.
 

Mikkus

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That's actually what I did (not attend lecture) for the first term and think it's a reason why I did well. I was able to study on my time and skip all the BS of going to lecture. But what we're hearing is that they're making lecture mandatory and will be taking attendance. We use a clicker device, and the more frustrating part is that attendance isn't taken every lecture.
  • I graduated this may, so I remember the clickers. The earphones come in handy. Then you can watch the lectures at a later time in 2x speed, and skip tangential rants.

I'd like to think I'm reasonable, but being in the military I think I have less of a tolerance for BS and time wasting.
  • You are being completely reasonable. Everyone gets frustrated. Everyone wants to punch their tutors. Just sing just keep swimming in your head and ignore them. Remind yourself they are running a sgu group for a reason, and that reason is not because they excelled. Most failed to match, and are looking for letters of rec. Remind yourself you are on the right track when they boast about how wonderful they are.
I'll try this out. Last term I actually calculated the time to walk to and from campus and the breaks between lecture to justify to myself why it was better to study at home.
  • Having an excuse to get out and move around can be a benefit. Maybe go to the gym after class so your trip doesn't seem as wasted. And breaks in between lecture won't matter when you have your earphones in.

Really, the more I'm looking into it and from the replies here, I'm more than likely just going to stay here. As much as I'd like to return to the states, as some of you had said, it's only 2 years on the island. I think the biggest factor for me wanting to leave is the little voice in my head wondering if I made the right choice going to SGU rather than even attempting to go to a US school. And the money. I could just about graduate debt free in the states compared to the always growing loan I have here.
  • I wanted to transfer after every term. I researched. I emailed schools. No one would consider me without having to re take the semesters, if they would consider me at all.
  • The carib in general is not the right choice for most, but it could be worse. You are on the road to a match in 3 years time. Consider all of you classmates that failed out. Yes, you would have been better off from a md or do, but unless you want to throw the year and 100k away, I would make the best of the island you can. Take your wife to the lighthouse, the waterfalls, aquarium. Enjoy positives, you are there now, make the best of it.
Good luck :)
 
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Goro

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Agree 100% with my learned colleague on the bold.

Agree 100% with the red. Now normally, at my school we reject out of hand Carib refugees. However, for a veteran, even a hardass like me will cut you some slack. Even more if you can find a DO to shadow and get a LOR from same. And thank you for your service to our country.


Your odds of transferring to a US school are zero. You can forget about that right now.

If you want to attend a domestic medical school, you only have one path: quit SGU in good standing, come back to the US, and "make amends." That means either working or successfully completing another academic program, like a MS, while continuing to improve your application and planning to retake the MCAT. This will not be quick or easy, we are talking about several years with no guarantee of admission. Being a veteran will play in your favor, and you might have better luck convincing a DO school to take a chance on you. At least you would be leaving SGU on your own terms. If you failed out I think you would be permanently dead in the water.

Your other options are to give up on medical school entirely, or to suck it up and try and finish at SGU. Your call.
 
Mar 27, 2018
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OP, interested in hearing about an update as to what your situation is now and how you feel.

Also question:
Does anyone know the chances of leaving SGU in good standing and then applying to other IMG schools not in the Caribbean such as Australia, Ireland, UK, etc?
And more importantly, how will this look for applying to Residency in the US (with valid ERAS explanations)?