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Just thought you might like reading this.....

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by lumanyika, Dec 1, 2000.

  1. lumanyika

    lumanyika Senior Member

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    I got this from a letter posted on my pre-med club website.



    Hi Everyone,

    Now that the enrollment advising storm has passed, I wanted to share
    some of
    what I learned by reading Nilanjan Sen's "The Complete Guide to Foreign
    Medical Schools in Plain English and the foreign medical schools
    chapter of
    Kenneth Iserson's "Get Into Medical School: A Guide for the Perplexed
    (copies on reserve in the Anschutz Science library), and on my recent
    trip
    to Ross University on the Caribbean Island of Dominica (not the same
    thing
    as the Dominican Republic):

    Foreign medical schools do accept candidates with significantly lower
    average GPAs and MCAT scores than U.S. schools. For comparison, the
    average
    GPA of those admitted a public U.S. M.D. program is ~3.6, the average
    of
    those admitted to a U.S. D.O. program is ~3.4, and the average for
    those
    admitted to a foreign M.D. program is ~3.2. The average MCAT score per
    section (verbal, physical sciences, and biological sciences) for those
    admitted to public U.S. M.D. program is 9-10, the average for those
    admitted
    to a U.S. D.O. program is 8-9, and the average of those admitted to
    foreign
    M.D. schools is 7-8. Some foreign medical schools do not require the
    MCAT
    (Ross just started). Foreign medical schools are not highly selective,
    often
    accepting more than half their applicants.

    It isn't advertised, but I believe foreign medical schools have much
    higher
    attrition rates than U.S. medical schools. After some pushing, the Ross
    University folks admitted that 20-30% of the students who begin their
    program don't finish. Most of the dropping out happens in the first
    year.
    The attrition rate at most U.S. medical schools is <5%. So, buyer
    beware!

    Foreign medical schooling is expensive. In addition to travel costs,
    students at Ross pay ~$8,600 per semester for tuition, and they have an
    unusual 10 semester format for their education. Ross University
    estimates
    that the total cost their medical education, including books, supplies,
    room
    & board, transportation and personal expenses, is $161,400. This is
    about
    twice the cost of a medical education for an in-state resident at a
    state
    subsidized U.S. medical school, but is not far out of line with the
    cost of
    a medical education at a private U.S. medical school. I guess whatever
    the
    cost, it is still a wise investment if practicing medicine as a
    physician is
    your only calling.

    There is financial aid available to help fund a medical education at
    some
    foreign medical schools. U.S. citizens attending Ross can apply for
    both
    subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans, as well as a variety of
    private
    loan programs.

    The education at foreign medical schools for students who plan to
    practice
    in the United States, is usually arranged so that students spend their
    first
    two years of basic medical sciences at the foreign campus, then do
    their
    third and fourth year clerkships in the United States.

    Graduates of foreign medical schools have to pass an additional
    clinical
    skills test (E.C.F.M.G.) before entering a residency. At this time, the
    test
    costs $1,200 and is held in Philadelphia. According to the Ross folks,
    their
    students have not had any trouble passing.

    Random observations about Ross University and Dominica:

    The island of Dominica is strikingly beautiful: volcanic mountains,
    rivers,
    waterfalls and lush vegetation.

    Although the brochure shows a beautiful, white sand beach, all of the
    beaches I saw were black sand with lots of black rocks. The ocean was
    still
    enjoyable -- there are a lot of snorkeling and diving opportunities.

    Its hot and humid in November. I wonder what its like in summer?

    Dominica is an emerging country, and most of the people living there
    are
    relatively poor. Lots of shacks. Might be overwhelming, especially for
    someone who hadn't traveled abroad (another argument for study abroad).
    Dominica used to be a British colony, so most people do speak English.

    The roads are a little scary/exciting, narrow, winding, rising and
    falling,
    and close to the edge of large drop-offs.

    In some ways, the facilities are very basic. Most of the classrooms are
    housed in pre-fabricated metal buildings. The chairs in some of the
    classrooms were folding chairs w/ attached desk tops, though some of
    lecture
    halls were a little fancier.

    In some ways, the facilities are quite modern. The large lecture halls
    and
    the anatomy lab had plenty of large television monitors for lecture
    demonstrations. There were lots of computers for students to use. The
    anatomy lab was well stocked with cadavers.

    The library holdings seemed very basic, not a lot of books (and many
    copies
    of the same books), but students do have access to fair number of
    current
    medical journals.

    The student body at Ross seems more ethnically diverse than at most
    U.S.
    medical schools, a plus.

    The novelty of a tropical paradise seems to quickly fade. Several
    times, I
    heard students say they felt isolated, and that they didn't have much
    to do
    except study. Most viewed this as a positive, not a negative.

    When I asked what they liked best about Ross, most students said
    something
    like, "It gives me a chance to become a doctor."

    The education at Ross is more U.S. Medical Licensing Exam (U.S.M.L.E.)
    centric than education at U.S. schools. In their 5th semester (which is
    going to be done in Florida), Kaplan instructors help prepare students
    for
    step 1 of the U.S.M.L.E. Students at U.S. medical also prepare for this
    exam, but this preparation is usually not a formal a part of the
    curriculum.
    Some of the students at Ross seemed a little U.S.M.L.E. fixated, but it
    is
    very important for them to do well as Ross probably doesn't carry as
    much
    weight as U.S. medical schools for placement in competitive clinical
    clerkships or residencies. They claim high board passage rates and
    scores,
    but this is after ~1/4 of the class is weeded out.

    Most of the faculty I met were retired from positions at universities
    or
    other medical schools. Most were from the United States, but many were
    from
    other countries. Most said they were at Ross, because they sincerely
    enjoyed
    teaching. Most were not involved in ongoing research. The reviews from
    students were similar to comments from students at U.S. medical
    schools,
    they liked most of their professors and found them both demanding and
    helpful.

    Like most medical schools, the curriculum at Ross is being revised to
    be
    more problem-based, as apposed to lecture-based. Some of the faculty
    felt
    the change was too abrupt, but they are adapting.

    Ross University is educating/training a very large number of students.
    Their
    class sizes vary, averaging around 180 per class. And, they begin three
    classes each year rather than the one per year at U.S. medical schools!

    Given the structure of their semesters (3 per year), it is possible to
    complete the curriculum a little more quickly than at most U.S. medical
    schools. It also possible to apply at any point during the year.

    According to figures from Ross for their 1999 class, 96% of their
    "eligible"
    graduates achieved residency appointments. Of those obtaining a
    residency,
    30% went outside of the national matching program and 70% obtained a
    residency through the match. Of those "matching," 50% got their 1st
    choice,
    21% got their 2nd choice, and 13% got their third choice. 72% of the
    residencies were in internal medicine, family practice or pediatrics.
    10%
    were surgery. Although more of their graduates arrange residencies
    outside
    of the match, and more go into primary care areas of medicine, the rest
    of
    the numbers are similar to statistics for U.S. medical school graduates
    (although I'm not 100% certain they were comparing apples to apples).


    ------------------
    TO WHOM MUCH IS GIVEN,MUCH IS EXPECTED.
     
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  3. Nanook

    Nanook Senior Member

    Joined:
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    A very honest, fair set of observations from someone who had actually been there. That's rare when discussing foreign medical schools.

    As the author said, "caveat emptor".
     

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