May 14, 2018
2
0
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Hello,

I was a former student at Saint James and I want to make sure that people are making informed decisions as to whether or not they are going to get their money's worth if they choose to go there.

First off, I'd like to mention that eventually there will be content at the youtube channel, i will update this thread with the information at a later date.

I will add videos describing the kinds of things I experienced and that a prospective student should expect when going there.

I have a lot of video and content to put up but there needs to be editing done and it will take some time to get it in order. I will try to have it all done and up by the end of the summer before I continue my studies elsewhere back in Canada.

secondly, there will be a website that I will create later this summer, again I will need some time to get all of that together.

So with that out of the way, here is a breakdown of the PROS and CONS of going to Saint James.

PROS:

* If you graduate and obtain your degree before 2023, then it is one of cheaper options that allows you to do that at a school which still thinks that it has CAAM-HP accreditation (notice how this is different from actually having accreditation)
* The island has beautiful beaches.
* alcohol is really inexpensive (some people don't want a degree and just want to go have some fun)

CONS:

* Accreditation

They are not CAAM-HP accredited (I have spoken to CAAM-HP multiple times and even have them on recording saying that Saint James is not accredited, despite what they have been putting on their website. This is a huge deal and should be a deal-breaker for the people even considering going there.

Here is why: Imagine that you are going to make a decision that will involve spending 200k, would you choose to gamble on an institution that is currently lying to everyone in terms of their accreditation? Like I said, I have it on recording, directly from CAAM-HP that they are not accredited in 2018, that will more than likely go up on my youtube channel eventually along with a lot more information.

But why does CAAM-HP accreditation even matter? The reason it matters is because the ECFMG has told all of the schools that are not CAAM-HP accredited to stop accepting students as of Fall 2018. Because those students would wind up graduating when the new 2023 rules come into effect. At that time, if you do not get a degree from a CAAM-HP accredited school, your degree will be meaningless. So can't you just transfer if it becomes a problem when their status changes from the ambiguous "pending"... which really means not accredited... to accreditation removed? NO. Many of the CAAM-HP schools will require you to transfer from a CAAM-HP accredited school... so unless Saint James were to get their act together rather quickly it does not seem likely that they will get accreditation...

Furthermore, in discussing with Lorna Perkins from CAAM-HP, she told me that she had many complaints from other students and things brought to their attention and that they would all be taken into consideration when their decision is made this summer on whether or not to extend their accreditation. I myself had lots to complain about but only sent her one example, relating to my expulsion and the sketchy treatment I got but apparently she didn't even read it. I think that their mind is probably already made up on SJSM but who knows. If you are reading this post after July 2018, then the decision should be posted on the CAAM-HP website and if the school still has accreditation by some miracle or whatever other method, then this would not be a problem for future students. But for students considering it right now, Saint-James is NOT CAAM-HP accredited. If you doubt this, call CAAM-HP yourself, their phone number is listed on the website and you will be able to speak to Lorna yourself.

* Money

The education costs a lot more than they had initially put on their website. The reason for this is the cost of living in Anguilla. I will give you some examples:

Tuition ~8000$/4 months
Rent ~ 800*4months
Food (highly variable, but if you want to eat like a north american, 20$/day sounds about right, i was spending way more) ~ 600*4 months
Vehicle ~ 300*4months
Gas ~ 80*4month
Electricity 150-200/month (less if you share and live with someone, but living with someone you don't know can be a disaster)
Alcohol ~ 50/month (even though alcohol is cheap, there is a lot of boozing going on)
Travel ~ you are going to want to see your friends and family at least once between semesters. so lets say 1000$ for the roundtrip

total 17k* 5 = approximately 85000$ (for 1/2 of the degree)

This matters because the school manipulates the students' grades to round up and allow them to move on even though they haven't learnt enough of the material to merit doing so. They have some weird algorithmic method of doing so which benefits the students that have the worst grades. so for example if you got a 35% on an exam, they might curve you up to a 65% but if you got a 75% on the exam, you may only get an 80%. The only reality check comes after you are done with the 5th semester and have to write an NBME exam and pass it. That is what allows you to write your step 1. From speaking to a fellow student, and this data cannot be completely trusted because only the students themselves and the administration know the exact numbers, but apparently only 3 people out of a class of 15... which started out as a much bigger class... passed the NBME. The others will be taking time and reviewing and doing more study sessions in the hopes of getting a passing NBME score so they can write their step.

So, if you have been doing well, then your grades are going to be good. But if you have been doing really poorly, its highly likely you will be passing anyways because of the manipulation of the grades done by some people in Chicago.

But you only get a real idea as to how well you will be doing when you write that NBME score. And only the best of the best at the school pass that exam on their first try right after the fifth semester. For some people it helps identify where they need to improve to succeed and for others its an unbiased result that shows them just how far from passing they are. They need to then decide whether or not it makes sense to continue spending a ton of money trying to learn the stuff they clearly hadn't learnt in the first five semesters.

* Quality of the staff

Here there is a real mix. There are some great profs and some really atrociously awful ones. It is also a very subjective thing so it's tough to go on about this at length. But what I can say is that the quality of the education including the system they have put in place to evaluate the progress of the students does not lead to producing a majority of successful and competitive applicants come time for the NBME/Step1.

They hire a lot of staff from various countries, some of them have very thick accents and are difficult to understand but overall most of them are decent. There is a problem ethics since some of the staff come to the social events where alcohol is consumed and I have heard it from both staff members and students that some of the faculty have a history of having sex with or "dating" the students. It is sort of sketchy that an institution would turn a blind eye to this sort of behaviour where there is a clear power difference between the student and the teacher. One professor told me that another professor (now gone) had been working at SABA for some time and when he was there he would ask for sexual favours in exchange for certain grades. While at SJSM, students and professors reported that he was seeing a student who was a tutor for his class.

Now, of course I have not been there to document the sexual acts myself so I cannot report that they actually took place. But it is common knowledge amongst the students that a particular professor still there is dating a student. That is not something that is debatable.

* Does the school prepare you for the Step1 exam?

The example for this is clearly NO. This is a fact and can be corroborated by looking at the data that the Dean of Basic Sciences showed me on his computer of the amount of time it took for students, after graduating from the basic sciences portion, to pass their Step1 exam. He showed we that for two recent years the average times were 15 and 17 months. This is about the length of the basic science program in it's entirety excluding the review semester which is basically just a kaplan course. SJSM students are not prepared to write the Step1 at the end of the fifth semester. This is a fact.

* Are exams fair and are there ever problems in terms of unfair scheduling problems?

Professors at the school do not like writing their own questions and so they tend to simply copy a lot of them from sources you can find online. If you can figure out where they get their questions from, you will have a decent chance at doing okay on the exam even if you dont know any of the material and just know the answers from that section. But be careful doing this since sometimes professors will change their exams and write their own. When this happens the class average drops to about 30%, which is more in line with an actual assessment of how well the school is preparing the students for a career in medicine.

There are also sometimes scheduling "conflicts" that they seem to only figure out at the last minute and you can wind up having to write an exam earlier than you had planned. Sometimes a weekend earlier and so this throws off your whole preparation. Does anyone care that you think it's unacceptable? the answer is no. If you tell them that you and your friends are all going to transfer to another school, then they might do something about it.

Why would I say such a thing? It seems like a fairly absurd and inflammatory claim to make. At the end of my first semester, we had a lot of people who wound up failing the class. But apparently this was also the case at the Saint Vincent campus and a ton of students wound up transferring over to CMU. Of course it did not help SJSM that CMU was offering a 1000$ referral bonus and lower tuition, but the school was sufficiently affected by the efflux of students that they lowered the pass rate for the entire class. So we were sitting in our MD2 class when all of a sudden a bunch of people who had failed magically passed because Chicago felt as though it was in their financial best interests.

The rest of us who had worked our ***** off were upset because we were worried that this would affect the school's accreditation and we knew how important it was. But our complaints were not heard and they told us to just keep our mouths shut and that everything would be alright.

* It's getting late and so I will stop here. But there will be more to come. I hope that I have helped anyone thinking about going to this school. I will be updated if anyone replies to this thread so if you have any questions, feel free to ask away.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I am very bitter about having been expelled from the school for "breaching rules 2,6,10" or something of the sort. They simply wanted me gone and didn't follow their disciplinary procedures because I have it from one of the members that the disciplinary committee apparently didn't decide to expel me. Which makes sense because I didn't do anything meriting expulsion. What actually happened is that they decided that they had power over me and tried to intimidate me by putting formal reprimands on my file for silly matters. I demanded a hearing and instead was suspended and had the police search my home (and found nothing obviously) and was eventually evicted from the Island at the request of the Dean who had my student visa revoked. So if you do choose to go to Saint James, beware of the consequences of demanding for a fair and formal process. Furthermore, the person, according to the student catalogue, who is responsible for disciplinary issues didn't even have a hand in the decisions whatsoever. The member who told me's name is Sindie, she is an Anguillian and a very nice person. You should know that Anguillians are very trustworthy people and honestly it is a shame that they have been having such a tough recession of late. It is a great place to go for a vacation, it's just a really awful place to study medicine (in my somewhat biased opinion). Since I have nothing to lose by sharing all of the truth about the school (I'm already 100k in debt), I might as well help others who are considering going to this institution by telling them what I do know about them from having been there for a while and being a fairly observant person in general.

Also, I am not so far removed from the time when I was browsing these forums and sometimes my dreams of being a doctor had me ignore some of the negative feedback I had heard about this school. Please do not make the same mistake I made. The salespeople on the phone will tell you all sorts of great things and their job is to get you to pay money and go to the school. It is not to give you an unbiased opinion of the merits of going to Saint James.

I can give you an example of something one of the salespeople told me. That the attrition rate was "about 1%". The truth is that about 20-25% of the initial class make it to clinicals, that would mean an attrition rate of 70-75% just to make it to the clinical portion of the program. This is a number I got from a former teacher and furthermore it is consistent with the dwindling class sizes observed. Your class might start off with 70... the next semester you have 62... then maybe 45... then maybe 25 etc...

I am not going to pretend that my opinion is unbiased, because it is biased. But I have done my absolute best to stick to the facts.

Furthermore, if you think that the reason I am writing this is I was expelled because I couldn't hack it, you are sorely mistaken. I was on the Dean's list at the school (top 3-4 students) and would dominate on pretty much all of the board exams they have us write (but do not prepare us for). The Dean showed me the class average for like say the Physiology NBME. It was below 30, I believe the number was 24. The NBME reports their scores differently than they used to but you can interpret that average as being two standard deviations below the mean. That puts the average Saint James student in the lowest 2.5% of all NBME test takers.

In discussing this with the Dean of Student Affairs in her office, Dr. Page Edgar (now apparently retired as of this past semester), she pointed out that it's even worse than that because now more and more Caribbean schools are having their students write those exams. For that reason it skews the average score even lower making it easier to get a better score against the average of all test takers. But to put it in even easier words to understand. The average score at Saint James would put you below the bottom 2.5% of all test takers for that physiology exam. How competitive do you think you will be if you are consistently getting scores like that?
 

Skip Intro

Registered User
15+ Year Member
Apr 30, 2002
3,378
983
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
They are not CAAM-HP accredited (I have spoken to CAAM-HP multiple times and even have them on recording saying that Saint James is not accredited, despite what they have been putting on their website. This is a huge deal and should be a deal-breaker for the people even considering going there.

Untitled Document

The CAAM-HP directory, as of right now, lists their accreditation status as "pending".

-Skip
 
About the Ads

Skip Intro

Registered User
15+ Year Member
Apr 30, 2002
3,378
983
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
The OP is correct though, if you reach out to CAAM directly, they will tell you that SJSM is NOT accredited. The website hasn't been updated since last year or something crazy.

Splitting hairs.

This is far different than saying that they were visited and did not meet accreditation standards and therefore were "not accredited" or the like. The document speaks for itself.

Listen, I'm not recommending this (or any other) Caribbean school. I only care about presenting the facts. We'll know soon enough if their status changes to "not accredited". It is currently listed as "pending". It is sort of an accreditation purgatory at this point. It is neither fair to say they are accredited (if the school is doing that it is a misrepresentation) nor to say the are not accredited (which is also a formal status that has yet to be conveyed by the CAAM-HP).

-Skip
 
May 14, 2018
2
0
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Splitting hairs.

This is far different than saying that they were visited and did not meet accreditation standards and therefore were "not accredited" or the like. The document speaks for itself.

Listen, I'm not recommending this (or any other) Caribbean school. I only care about presenting the facts. We'll know soon enough if their status changes to "not accredited". It is currently listed as "pending". It is sort of an accreditation purgatory at this point. It is neither fair to say they are accredited (if the school is doing that it is a misrepresentation) nor to say the are not accredited (which is also a formal status that has yet to be conveyed by the CAAM-HP).

-Skip

I spoke to CAAM-HP at length. I believe that the impression they had of the Anguilla campus was that it was reasonable and they had given them something that resembles the lowest form of accreditation that the school can get (not that SJSM is keen on making that clear). What happened was they visited the campus on St-Vincent and saw that it was a complete disaster and so since SJSM wanted the school to be one school 2 islands, they needed both islands to meet the CAAM-HP standards. Since that time, Lorna from CAAM-HP has told me very specifically that MANY (yes with emphasis) students had come forward about how things carried on in Anguilla and presumably Bonaire as well. So I agree with you that in July, we'll see what is up (there could be all sorts of ways to get accreditation involving methods that have nothing to do with raising the bar at the school). I can tell you that Anguilla has a fair bit of corruption and if the decision were to be made there, it would just be a matter of putting the right amount of money into the right hands. But Jamaica is much bigger and CAAM-HP is a bigger organization that has clearly taken a hard line on the schools recently so I think that is a rather unlikely outcome. The most likely outcome is that they will lose their status or who knows maybe they will scramble and make drastic changes at the last minute and request to have another evaluation in time for their assessment in July. But such drastic changes would probably come at the cost of the students currently studying there.

SJSM will do anything to take your money. Their salespeople must work on commission because they will say anything to get you to come. Another thing they do is that they know that the people who are applying are used to getting NO as an answer so they'll ask for documents or something at the last minute and stress the person out. But really, for the most part, they are just making sure that the people can pay.

I was at the school and the truth is that there were some people there who are never going to be doctors, no matter what. But SJSM keeps passing them or if they do fail them, they give them a grade like 69. which is one point under the pass... and gives them the impression they were close. what they don't tell the student is that they actually got a 30% and that they are in the bottom 0.01% of the medical students so their chances of getting into residency are effectively zero.

The stories of people matching that you hear about are the few students who were the cream of the crop. Every year has a few and they can succeed regardless of where they go. But those types of students usually got into med school. So unless you have a good reason for not having gotten into medical school and you are certain you need ZERO help from the school other than being able to have the chance to write the exam, I seriously suggest going to another school where they will provide the resources necessary to succeed. Furthermore, you want to go to a school that is honest with you, because if the school acts like SJSM does and lies to all it's students on a constant basis then you wind up paying a huge financial price for it with nothing in return.

The school only cares about money. Nothing else. There is no one there who is acting in the best interest of the students, not even the student union.
 
D

deleted936442

AuA has a similar problem. Although they are accredited they don’t have lectures or any faculty support. In fact you barley know the faculty. It’s very much worth it to work on your application and get into US MD/DO even if it takes years you will certainly reap the benefits.
 
Jul 12, 2018
1
4
Current Student as well. Is SJSM good? Not really. Would i recommend it? Only if all US, DO or, if you want to spend 300,000, a Big 4 school is off the table. You still want to try it out? Come on down and give yourself 1 semester and work your ass off. If you are in top 25% of your class keep going. If you struggled with any course i'd say cut your losses.

Just passing is not enough, you need to crush every semester. The last batch of students to write NBME C only like top 20%(if that) of the class passed. But hey, SJSM matched 50ish people last year. Is that super impressive number or % match rate from all incoming students--> residency? Not really, but you can sure as **** bet all those people who matched are laughing that they did it all by sheer grit, hardwork and fortitude (and at a fraction of the cost of most medical schools).

Like Karakul said, the people most vocal about the shadiness of carib schools are the ones who took the gamble and lost. Everyone down here is an adult, You should know the risks when you accept your spot. Look at the numbers, look at the match rates, look at your class rank and how YOU stack up to your american counterparts. Sure the subject NBME's SJSM take have bad averages But who cares what the class average was(50% of the students are out partying most of the time), look at what you got and how hard you worked. Focus, buckle down and work your butt off for 20 months. Take your education into your own hands. The professors aren't going to help you, the TA's aren't your guardian angles, the only person that can get you through the slog is you.

Carib schools are gonna milk you for all you got if you let them, they will do anything, say anything, promise anything to get you to do 1 more semester. If you fail. Thats on you. If you drop out. Thats on you. If you decide redo class, and remediate exams and take 7,8,9 semesters to get through NBME/USMLE then dont be surprised if you never actually make it while being sucked100,000's into debt.

SJSM is a last chance school. This is your last chance to become a doctor. One mess up and you aren't going to make it. If you slack off you aren't gonna make it. Like every carib school 50% of the students are only there to pay tuition and keep the lights on for the ones that are actually gonna make it. Be realistic and play your odds right. Don't just hope by some miracle that you will match. There should be no wishing, praying, hoping with you education. Sack up and put the work in too earn it.

Stop whining that you were wronged, Stop looking for the easy way to become a doctor. You did this to yourself Now own up to your mistakes. Everybody wants to be a doctor but Nobody wants to study those heavy *** books.

 
  • Like
Reactions: 3 users
D

deleted936442

All these supposed students commenting seem to be working for the school.so passionate.
 
D

deleted936442

All these defensive comments seem to be posted by accounts created yesterday and they in turn like each other’s comments. This goes without saying that op could be right.
 
About the Ads
This thread is more than 2 years old.

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.