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Discussion in 'General International Discussion' started by Winged Scapula, Jul 31, 2002.
I'll move this to the International Forum...
May I ask who it is you know at sgu?
And its St. vincent's, Skip. St. Vincents.
Let me just correct a couple of Skips comments as it pertains to sgu
At sgu, all folks (not "many") spend 4 1/2 mos on the island of St. Vincents (not St. Lucia). The reason for this is they have very good "preclinical" hospital rotations that are part of the curriculum. The hospital in Grenada can't accomodate as a teaching facility in any real sence, while the one on SVG is quite good. Its a nice prep for your clinical years 3 and 4.
i've contemplated both Ross and SGU (st. george's) and from all the information i've gathered SGU is the better choice.
I say this because it is much more respected in the states, especially the east coast. It is definitely more well known. AND it has better USMLE board pass rates than many US schools. One more thing, unlike Ross, SGU is very selective. SGU students seem to all be students who should have gotten into US schools but because of the randomness of the process didnt. so dont go down there expecting it's a joke either.
hope it helps
I live in the States, but am thinking of applying to Ross University in Dominican Republic as I've heard it's similar to medical schools in the US. From what I know, med students attend Ross in DR for the first two years, then spend the third year in Florida and then the last year is up to them. Is that correct? If not, please tell me their system. Thanks.
by the way, are there other schools outside of the US that follow the same system like Ross. I don't want to leave the states, but if it's only for two years, I'm willing to move.
does anyone have any info about this?
Thanks! I did not realize there was a separate forum for international schools.
I live in the States, but am thinking of applying to Ross University in Dominican Republic as I've heard it's similar to medical schools in the US. From what I know, med students attend Ross in DR for the first two years, then spend the third year in Florida and then the last year is up to them. Is that correct? If not, please tell me their system.
By the way, are there other schools outside of the US that follow the same system like Ross. I don't want to leave the states, but if it's only for two years, I'm willing to move.
From reading the International forum, supposedly St. George's University is the most well respected Caribbean school. I'm pretty sure they spend the 3rd & 4th year in the States. Look in the International forum for info on this. There are people who go to foreign schools who will be able to answer your questions about the details of the programs.
Good post Skip. I'm sure some prospective Caribbean med students will find it helpful.
Why are you thinking about the Caribbean? Have you tried U.S. schools yet? If not, I highly recommend you first give a concerted effort to gaining acceptance to a U.S. med school. Then and only then consider Caribbean schools... and then shoot for SGU. If you can't get into a U.S. school or SGU, then go to Ross... don't worry, from what I've seen, they have very low standards for admission and you'll most certainly be accepted. Good luck.
Well, Cuts, that's a very difficult question to answer objectively. I have very complex feelings about Ross, some of which (I'm certain) are born out of what I'm sure a lot of medical students feel when they hit the doldrums of not being able to always see the light at the end of the tunnel. Nonetheless, I can only try to answer the question as best I can without interjecting too much unsupportable opinion, recognizing however that a lot of my statements will have evolved from my personal experiences and observations and will naturally reflect that bias on some level.
In general, the "pros" about Ross are as follows:
(1) You will get your chance. By this, I mean that many students who could not, for whatever reason, get an acceptance into a U.S. school - or, who chose not to play the AMCAS game (which is rare, granted - but I've met a few, myself included) - will get a quality, Western-medicine based medical education that will provide a good foundation for when you get back to the U.S.
(2) Accelerated nature of the program. The pre-clinical phase is 16 months divided into four semesters. In that time, students cover the core curriculum which consists of the following: Biochemistry (1 semester), Histology (1 semester), Doctor, Patient, and Society (1 semester ethics course P/F), Anatomy (1 semester), Neurobehavioral 1 & 2 (2 semesters), Medical Physiology (1 semester), Pathology 1 & 2 (2 semesters), Medical Microbiology/Immunology (1 semester), Pharmacology (1 semester), and Intro to Clinical Medicine (1 semester). These courses (or equivalents) form the core of all medical education programs and prepares one well for Step I.
(3) Administering of the NBME Shelf Exams. Ross gives the "shelf" exams that many U.S. medical schools take at the end of each course. This represents a large part of our grade as well. Doing well on such an exam - and, more importantly, feeling like you have been taught the subject matter covered on the exam - is a good indicator of what you've learned and what the U.S. system expects that you SHOULD be learning.
(4) Extensive connection to U.S. programs I believe that Ross currently has the largest selection of U.S. affiliate hospitals of all Caribbean schools, even SGU. This does not necessarily mean that they are better (or worse) than SGU's hospitals, per se, but assures that a student will have a fairly large selection when it comes time for clerkships.
(5) The warm weather. This is a superficial and personal reason, but I hate cold weather. So, that's a small bonus in my book.
Although I could probably spend several pages with picky little personal pet peeves that don't matter in the grand scheme of things, I'll limit it to the few that are most relevant:
(1) The "stigma" associate with ALL Carib schools. Yes, discussed ad nauseum, existent, and hopefully something that will ultimately fade away someday. Perhaps wishful thinking on my part.
(2) The high attrition rate. I find that, clearly, there are a lot of people who get acceptances and attend this school who, quite simply, don't want it bad enough. The school says that "officially" there's only about 10% of the class that doesn't make it. In my "unofficial" estimation, I think it's closer to about 40% of any starting class won't make it to graduation. The school IS trying to do something about this, but I think a better start would be a more selective admissions policy. (Yes, I said that.)
(3) The potential "for profit" conflict of interest. This is a bigger area of concern for me, and I don't have a lot of room to go into this in detail (PM with your e-mail if you want more in depth response). But, suffice it to say, that the administration has you by the "short hairs" once you've invested a significant portion of money and time into this program. In essence, they are trying to tighten-up the program a bit and have created a bit of a "hit the moving target" phenomenon... sorry for being so cagey. Let's just say that a LOT of students are transferring to other schools after this semester...
(4) Dominica. This can be a pro or a con, depending on how one looks at it. Personally, I've just about reached my tolerance limit with this island. It is almost certainly the poorest island in the Caribbean. If there actually exists a poorer country down in these parts, I'd love for someone to point it out to me. Likewise, students are seen as a "cottage industry" and as a result get overcharged for everything. For example, my little piece of crap efficiency apartment is $600 U.S. a month. But, it's either live close to campus or live far away (which is cheaper) but both less safe and convenient. The food is horrible, too. And, there's absolutely nothing to do but study... and scuba dive if you have the inclination and the time. (It does give you a MUCH deeper appreciation of what we have in the U.S.)
Well, that's a good start. I could go on and on, I'm sure, but a lot of it would be nit-picky stuff that some would find not as annoying as I do. Likewise, others may find things about the school and the island more frustrating than I do.
Suffice it to say that Ross, as I've consistently stated, is a means to an end. It is one of the more recognized Carib schools in the U.S. Is there room for improvement? Clearly. But, I think the University is attempting to address a lot of long-standing issues and continuously make this place better and better. We'll see...
If you look at the number of students that start a class, anywhere from 200-270, multiply that by the number of classes that start per year (3), and then look at the number of graduating students per year, the numbers just don't add up. There should be close to 700 or so students in any given
"graduating class". On Ross' website, there are only abou 350 or so that graduate and have their residencies listed. Accounting for "slower track" students, transfers in and out, and overall program attrition, that puts the number of students actually entering the school and eventually graduating at about 60%.
I think that the reasons for this are multi-factorial. My class (starting last fall and currently winding-up the third semester), started with about 265. We are currently hovering around 200. Last semester, we had about 35 "repeats" (those who didn't pass at least one course in second) who got held back. There were also several students who just left during 1st and 2nd semesters. We had a few that didn't last longer than the first week. Many get acceptances and aren't prepared to do the work. Some transfer to other Carib schools. Some never pass Step I. Some never get the chance to even sit for Step I, though. I think a very few (maybe 10-12 per year) will actually do well enough to transfer into U.S. schools. But, no one should come here thinking that they are going to be that lucky person. I have a feeling, but no real way of knowing, that many who do are heavily connected.
I got sick at least once a week during my first semester. I lost about 16 pounds by the end of it. It was terrible. One of the many tribulations you must endure on the island. The problem is that there isn't a great selection of food. There are about 10 or so vendors at "the Shacks" that offer basically the same thing everyday. Any one of these places would get shut down by any local health authority in the U.S. in about 30 seconds. I'm not joking.
Then, there is the on-campus cafeteria, called the Seaside Cafe (which the students have affectionately dubbed the "Seasick" Cafe) that offers about 3 or 4 regular items. Those are: chicken, chicken, chicken, and - oh yeah! - chicken. If you are a steak lover, you will definitely suffer while down here.
Of course, you can always buy food at the James Store or Tina's. Everyone loves paying the equivalent of $5 U.S. for a box of stale Pop-Tarts. Or, how about $18 E.C. (about $6.75 U.S.) for a six- pack of Lipton "Brisk" ice tea?
The water? I've NEVER - let me repeat that NEVER - had one drink out of the tap. When it rains, the water gets cloudy. Most students buy bottled water and refill them on campus at the heavily filtered and conditioned water fountains. This seems to do the trick. If you have to drink the tap water, boil it first then filter it through a Brita or the like.
Whomever believes that they are coming to Dominica to "buy" their medical degree or have a 16-month Caribbean vacation will be sorely disappointed shortly after arrival. If you survive this program, I believe you will get a good medical education. There are two schools of thought: what doesn't kill you makes you stronger -OR- what doesn't kill you only prolongs the inevitable. Still, there are some moments when this place isn't so bad. But, the phrase caveat emptor has taken on new meaning for me. If I could me Robert Ross just once I'd ask him why in HELL he chose to put the school on this island!
First off, it is in Dominica (dom-in-EEK-uh) in the West Indies, not the Dominican Republic. But, no worries... common mistake.
Secondly, you spend 4 four-month semesters (16 months) in Dominica, then a nine-week "5th semester" in Miami, then you sit for USMLE Step I. After passing that, you then do your 3rd and 4th year clinical clerkships at U.S. hospitals.
Your best bet is to check-out Ross' website first.
If you still have questions, feel free to post them here (or PM me). As someone once told me before I came here, be careful what you wish for... because you just might get it. And, with ANY Caribbean program (St. George's is similar), caveat emptor. Research this long and hard before you make a decision.
MS2 Ross University
Quoted from the other thread you started in this forum. Referenced: http://www.studentdoctor.net/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=41690
Furthermore, while I'd agree with Cuts that the admission's standards are less stringent than SGU's, the program is not any less competitive. Certainly, there are only two real competitive choices in the Caribbean - SGU and Ross - and this is based on the post-graduate placements that both schools get. SGU is probably a little more competitive overall, and is commonly known as the "Harvard of the Caribbean". Ross, OTOH, has a very hardcore "weeding out" process that occurs once you gain your acceptance and begin your matriculation. So, it's a front-end vs. back-end type of selection: SGU harder to get in, but maybe selects for stronger students - and, Ross easier to get in, but will weed out students that can't make it. As I state above, buyer beware.
What are some advantages of Ross over SGU? You spend less time in the Caribbean - only 16 months. If you start in September of this year, you will be in Miami's fifth semester after December 2003. SGU requires many students to move to St. Lucia for part of their second year. So, you actually may have to spend time on two separate islands if you go to SGU. Again, is this good or bad? No, it's just different.
What are some advantages of SGU over Ross? You will probably have a slightly easier life when it comes time for the NRMP. While each school has hospitals where the caliber of their graduates are "better known and accepted", I still think SGU edges out Ross slightly in recognition. (I have a feeling that a lot of this has to do with the publicity SGU got during the 'Nutmeg Revolution' back in the early 1980's... but that's an argument for another day.)
SGU is clearly your "first-stop" in Caribbean shopping, so to speak. But, as I've said many times, I don't think it ultimately matters where you get your M.D. in the Caribbean provided you prove yourself on the licensure exams - weighed MUCH more heavily for Carib grads than they are U.S. grads - and are in a program that allows you to do your clinical years (3rd and 4th) in U.S. hospitals. Still, you should exhaust all other opportunities before you decide to go south for your medical education. I do (contrary to what he might believe) agree with Cuts on that.
Thanks for clarifying, Steph. I was under the impression (via a friend who is currently starting 2nd year there) that not everyone is required to move to St. Lucia for part of their second year. Apparently that is not the case.
I imagine that this program is somewhat akin to Ross' Advanced Intro to Clinical Medicine (a.k.a., "fifth semester"), which is done at U.S. hospitals in Miami before you sit for Step I.
Skip, you said about the attrition rate: "I think it is closer to about 40% of any starting class won't make it to graduation."
Why do you think this is the case? Do a lot of the students just fail out b/c they cannot handle the workload or do they just hate the living conditions? Do they transfer into another med school?
Dunno much about Ross 'cept that it's not in the Dominican Republic. It's in Dominica, which is a different country altogether
Whoa! Trainwreck... someone's been condensing, splitting, pasting threads...
Sorry, St. Vincents. (I have St. Lucia stuck in the head because that is one of Liat's hubs. And, they are next to each other in dee islands, mon.)
steph... I PM'd you.