Loophole to becoming a doctor. Pls tell me this is wrong

squidwardholmes

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Hi,

Has anyone heard of Avalon University School of Medicine? It's a Caribbean medical school located in Curacao. One of my relatives goes here and everyone in my family thinks that he's found a loophole in becoming a US doctor. This distant cousin of mine came to this school fresh out of 12th grade (2nd PUC, he's from India) 4 years ago. He was on the island for the first 2 years (probably studying basic bio, chem etc.). The third year he took the USLME step 1 and failed twice. So in this past year he went back to India to study for step 1 again and apparently he passed with a 240. So now next year he's coming to the US for clinical rotations and then after that he's going to try to get matched. He wants to become a surgeon lmao.

Is that all it takes to become a doctor? Why are WE struggling so much? Why do WE have to take gap years, and do research, and take the MCAT, and do non-clinical volunteering? IF all it takes to become a doctor is cram for the USMLE step 1?

Can someone please give me a good comeback for when my family calls me stupid for becoming a doctor the normal way.
 
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Matthew9Thirtyfive

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It’s listed in the world directory so technically he can get ECFMG certification and match. But the part that you’re missing is that he probably has less than a 50% chance of matching and if he does match, it most likely won’t be to a categorical surgery residency.
 
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squidwardholmes

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@Matthew9Thirtyfive Can he get matched even if he doesn't have a bachelor's degree? Don't people usually have undergrad degrees before going to Caribbean med schools? And even after that people have 50% chance at matching.

This kid literally went to a 4.5 year program that just teaches them how to take the USLME step 1.
 
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American residencies recognize that there are ways like this to cheat the system and become a physician. They likely get hundreds of applicants that did just that. The question becomes: why would they ever take a student that did this over a student who went through the 4 years of undergrad and medical school in the USA? It's probably possible to match as a physician who skipped undergrad and attended a foreign medical school but it's not going to be easier.

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gonnif

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It’s listed in the world directory so technically he can get ECFMG certification and match. But the part that you’re missing is that he probably has less than a 50% chance of matching and if he does match, it most likely won’t be to a categorical surgery residency.
Any medical school that is legally chartered by a legitimate, recognized governmental authority (city, state, country) can be listed in the world directory of medical schools and therefore ECFMG must work with them. Charter says nothing about the quality or oversight of the school nor does it indicate how the charter was obtained.

with a small fraction of FMGs coming from “traditional” high-quality international, schools, with high residency success rate, and much larger fraction from coming from the “Big 3/4” Carib schools with a moderate residency success at best, the lesser known off shore Carib schools have just horrific residency success rates with likely just as bad attrition/graduation rates
 
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gonnif

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You don't need a bachelor's degree to get into some US Medical schools. I've seen some that only require 90 credit hours of undergrad completed.
Lets clarify this

The 90 credit rule exists for the historical former common practice across primarily ivy league UGs and medical schools, which had a series of interlocking agreements across each other that essentially guaranteed med school seats to 3rd year UGs. It also had the effect of locking most seats to the “right” kind of people, allowing racist/ethnic-biased policies to remain legally in place. Currently, the vast majority of non-degree students accepted to medical schools are part of BS/MD programs. Very few “independent” non-degree students matriculate into medical school
 
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gonnif

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@Matthew9Thirtyfive Can he get matched even if he doesn't have a bachelor's degree? Don't people usually have undergrad degrees before going to Caribbean med schools? And even after that people have 50% chance at matching.

This kid literally went to a 4.5 year program that just teaches them how to take the USLME step 1.
The requirement for applying to residency (and getting medical license) is solely to have a medical degree, in whatever form that takes. For examples, In UK, you get a bachelors of medicine. However that says nothing about realistic chances for a graduate of the Avalon School of Medicine and Beach Resort or whatever its called to get a spot especially without a UG degree
 
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Goro

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@Matthew9Thirtyfive Can he get matched even if he doesn't have a bachelor's degree? Don't people usually have undergrad degrees before going to Caribbean med schools? And even after that people have 50% chance at matching.

This kid literally went to a 4.5 year program that just teaches them how to take the USLME step 1.
Most of the Carib predators do the same thing.

And old Korean proverb: "If it's too good to be true, it is".
 
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Med Ed

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Is that all it takes to become a doctor? Why are WE struggling so much? Why do WE have to take gap years, and do research, and take the MCAT, and do non-clinical volunteering? IF all it takes to become a doctor is cram for the USMLE step 1?

Can someone please give me a good comeback for when my family calls me stupid for becoming a doctor the normal way.
So I went through Avalon's US match list. Four matches in surgery/general surgery.

First one listed: Washington Hospital Center. I guess they mean MedStar Georgetown. Anyways, I comb through the current resident list and find zero who claim to have graduated from Avalon or Xavier (previous name).

Second one listed: University of Illinois-Chicago. The program does not list where its current residents went to medical school. Bust.

Third one listed: Anne Arumdel [sic] Medical Center. Success! A PGY-4 is listed as having attended Avalon. If you stalk this individual a bit more you will see that he went to UCLA, then Avalon, then got a MBA at Hopkins and worked as a clinical research fellow before landing a categorical spot. An interesting tale, wish I knew more.

Fourth one listed: Main Line Health. The program does not list where its current residents went to medical school. Another bust.

The moral of this story: Pay now or pay later. It sucks doing gap years, and research, and taking the MCAT, and non-clinical volunteering, but you know what else sucks? Graduating from an off-brand Caribbean medical school and then having to claw your way into a categorical surgery position as a research fellow. You know what doesn't suck? Matching into the surgery residency of your choice as a US senior.
 
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HopeP

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So I went through Avalon's US match list. Four matches in surgery/general surgery.

First one listed: Washington Hospital Center. I guess they mean MedStar Georgetown. Anyways, I comb through the current resident list and find zero who claim to have graduated from Avalon or Xavier (previous name).

Second one listed: University of Illinois-Chicago. The program does not list where its current residents went to medical school. Bust.

Third one listed: Anne Arumdel [sic] Medical Center. Success! A PGY-4 is listed as having attended Avalon. If you stalk this individual a bit more you will see that he went to UCLA, then Avalon, then got a MBA at Hopkins and worked as a clinical research fellow before landing a categorical spot. An interesting tale, wish I knew more.

Fourth one listed: Main Line Health. The program does not list where its current residents went to medical school. Another bust.

The moral of this story: Pay now or pay later. It sucks doing gap years, and research, and taking the MCAT, and non-clinical volunteering, but you know what else sucks? Graduating from an off-brand Caribbean medical school and then having to claw your way into a categorical surgery position as a research fellow. You know what doesn't suck? Matching into the surgery residency of your choice as a US senior.
It sounds more like 'Mad Detective' :)
 
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Hzreio

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“All it takes” lmao you act like the process of failing step twice and having to match residency as an IMG is a cakewalk
 
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Matthew9Thirtyfive

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So I went through Avalon's US match list. Four matches in surgery/general surgery.

First one listed: Washington Hospital Center. I guess they mean MedStar Georgetown. Anyways, I comb through the current resident list and find zero who claim to have graduated from Avalon or Xavier (previous name).

Second one listed: University of Illinois-Chicago. The program does not list where its current residents went to medical school. Bust.

Third one listed: Anne Arumdel [sic] Medical Center. Success! A PGY-4 is listed as having attended Avalon. If you stalk this individual a bit more you will see that he went to UCLA, then Avalon, then got a MBA at Hopkins and worked as a clinical research fellow before landing a categorical spot. An interesting tale, wish I knew more.

Fourth one listed: Main Line Health. The program does not list where its current residents went to medical school. Another bust.

The moral of this story: Pay now or pay later. It sucks doing gap years, and research, and taking the MCAT, and non-clinical volunteering, but you know what else sucks? Graduating from an off-brand Caribbean medical school and then having to claw your way into a categorical surgery position as a research fellow. You know what doesn't suck? Matching into the surgery residency of your choice as a US senior.

Bingo.
 
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seanm028

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I suppose it all comes down to your objectives in attending medical school. Do you just want to have MD behind your name? Then yes, the Caribbean schools might provide an easier path (although at a very steep price). Do you want a desirable residency -> fellowship -> career? While it's possible through the Caribbean, it's far from guaranteed and therefore I would not consider this a loophole.

Also, who cares if he did find a magic loophole? (He didn't.) Even if he did, worry about your plan and your journey. Comparing yourself to others is a fool's game. It's like blackjack — you only worry about you and the dealer. Forget about everyone else sitting next to you at the table.
 
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Dad said he has several Avalon and similar grads working as coding assistants for like 45-50k. 'Cause they couldn't find any way to progress to being a licensed MD.
 
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thepoopologist

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Hi,

Has anyone heard of Avalon University School of Medicine? It's a Caribbean medical school located in Curacao. One of my relatives goes here and everyone in my family thinks that he's found a loophole in becoming a US doctor. This distant cousin of mine came to this school fresh out of 12th grade (2nd PUC, he's from India) 4 years ago. He was on the island for the first 2 years (probably studying basic bio, chem etc.). The third year he took the USLME step 1 and failed twice. So in this past year he went back to India to study for step 1 again and apparently he passed with a 240. So now next year he's coming to the US for clinical rotations and then after that he's going to try to get matched. He wants to become a surgeon lmao.

Is that all it takes to become a doctor? Why are WE struggling so much? Why do WE have to take gap years, and do research, and take the MCAT, and do non-clinical volunteering? IF all it takes to become a doctor is cram for the USMLE step 1?

Can someone please give me a good comeback for when my family calls me stupid for becoming a doctor the normal way.


I interviewed a graduate from Avalon about 4 years ago. Took him 3 years to match into psychiatry. I didn't think he had any potential but another program did and he matched there.

I don't know if I can speak very generally about the subject. I'd say once they get through the filters and are seen at interview, they are either seen as trainable or they are not. Of the 2 foreign graduates during my years, 1 was from St. George, the other was Romanian from a med school in Romania. They were middle of the road graduates who didn't have as much foundation or natural ability as the USMDs I encountered but they had a great attitude and eventually after a lot of reading and feedback did just fine.

I'd say the absolute worst residents I've ever encountered were from a certain UC program. Smart like you'd expect, definitely smarter than me, but a horribly entitled group who generally arrived late and left early. I stopped accepting residents entirely after encountering a couple of them and it was one of the reasons I went into telepsychiatry.
 
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gonnif

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Dad said he has several Avalon and similar grads working as coding assistants for like 45-50k. 'Cause they couldn't find any way to progress to being a licensed MD.
One of my advisees who got into an ivy said several of the gross anatomy lab instructors were foreign MD grads who couldnt get residency or license to practice in US. They are essentially teaching assistants for medical students
 
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