i am going to st vincents in a few days, and i started in january . . . in general the january classes seem to be a little less competitive to enter.
i don?t really know if you can quantify that very well though. the january class that just finished seemed to have a lot of problems. the classes each term are getting bigger, so the anatomy department has had to shift things around with respect to how they teach things and do exams, the result last term was that a lot of people suffered more than normal in biochem because they had to spend more time with anatomy. plenty of people did well, though.
i am a bit skeptical that the ?curve? is significantly harder or easier from term to term, besides that, biochem is the class that is really curved first term. as brian said, the material is the same from term to term, but the amount of people who ?decel? from to term to term does change. my class had an abnormally high amount of ?decels? (although something like 40 percent of decels do not graduate, it still allows people to learn what they need to, albiet with more time invested, to become a doctor.) we started at something like 280 and something like 80 or 90 deceled. there is a pet theory that they have to make things harder or easier from term to term to adjust the class size for st. vincent, i personally have not verified this though.
as far as all the gpa stuff goes and how many people drop out . . . from a students perspective it is rather hard to keep track of that because of the huge class sizes and the whole ?decel? factor. also, i personally have done well, so i have not really paid attention to the amount of people that fail one class to another, but i am pretty sure that plenty of people do fail stuff in first term and do decel, my best guess would be that anywhere from a quarter to a third of class fail something (most likely biochem or anatomy) or decel.
imho, first term can get just about anybody in trouble, but if one is focused, and can get accepted, then i really don?t see any reason why they should not be able to get by first term and do well in the next few years.
as far as the whole cut throat thing goes, there are definitely plenty of gunners in every class, but that shouldn?t discourage anybody. in my class there are plenty of not-so-nice people and plenty of folks that are friendly and willing to help out too, i think that it balances out. more than anything, it is a really stressful time, especially when people first get there and around test time, so that tends to make people a bit more edgy, but i haven?t really seen any outright misconduct from one student to another. the campus and island is rather small though, so there is plenty of drama . . . asi es la vida.
i have had some tough time there, but overall, i would say that it has been a good experience. and more than that, it has offered me and all the rest of us that are there an opportunity to be doctors, one that most of us would not have had anywhere else. i have really grown as a person as well.
from personal experience, i would try and get into a us medschool, unless that is really unlikely (most folks are down in the caribbean because of the mcat). i applied two years to us medschool and got interviews and was waitlisted a bunch and was frustrated, so i didn?t apply a third time.
looking back at it, i wish i would have, because there are some uncertainties when one graduates from a caribbean school. BUT, sgu has more than a good rep and ability to place its graduates in good residency postions, so if the carib is your only option, then go for it. there are plenty of carib grads doing great things in the us.
just make sure that you really look at all your options and get as much information on each possibility.best of luck and feel free to ask more questions.