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.