Would you consider a Caribbean School?

  • YES!

    Votes: 8 12.9%
  • NO!

    Votes: 54 87.1%

  • Total voters
    62

MagentaKarma

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I am reapplying this cycle. Last year, I focused solely on MD schools because I had little knowledge of the DO philosophy and had no rec letter from a DO. This year, I am focusing more on DO schools besides my in-state MD school. I keep getting told by relatives and friends outside of this forum to apply to Caribbean schools as a back up option. They keep telling me that with my stats, I can easily get accepted there and at the end of the day, no one cares where your MD degree comes from. Additionally, I have been told that people who apply from the top 3 Carribean schools still get decent residencies and are still preferred over foreign doctors who immigrate to the US. I also keep seeing on SDN that Caribbean schools have high tuition costs but from my research, they don't seem much higher than most private or out of state schools. I understand that these schools are often in locations without great electricity and water access. I also understand that you are going to be far from home and travel expenses will have to be added but honestly, I can't imagine it being much more expensive to travel to Grenada than to travel to CA from where I live. Am I missing something? If you are determined to be a doctor, isn't it better to go to St. George's or Ross than to keep applying over and over again?
 
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MagentaKarma

MagentaKarma

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The search function is your friend......
I have been searching the forum. All is see is that Carribbean schools < DO schools, which I understand, and the blatantly vague argument that Carribbean schools will give you huge amounts of debt. This I don't see as a valid argument based on the tuition rates I have compared.
 

FCMike11

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It's boils down to an increasing chance of not matching. It's not good now and in four years, with several new US schools being opened, your chances of matching will decrease further.

That situation of a MD degree that is relatively worthless without residency, with a large amount of debt, is seen as not worth risking. Most here will advice you to relentlessly exhaust all options (retaking MCAT, DO grade replacement, SMP programs) to get into a US school even if it delays you a few years.
 
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FCMike11

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This is to the point that ive seen many knowledgeable posters here suggest that PA is a better option than applying to carribbean MD schools
 
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DrMidlife

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Review the match data on NRMP.org. This is where you find the statistics on the residency match. There's no data that breaks things down perfectly for Carib top 3. You have to just look for trends and clues. Pay attention to:
1. the match rate for US-IMGs that is around 50%, and compare it to DOs which is around 79% and MDs which is around 95%
2. the decline in US-IMG match rates over the last few years
3. the increase in USMD applicants, the lack of change in the number of residency spots, and the subsequent squeeze for non-USMDs trying to match

Review residency opportunities of interest. Pick a specialty. Find some residencies in that specialty using FREIDA. Visit the program webpages and become familiar with the current residents and where they went to school. Consider community programs as well as academic programs. You will find IMGs. Pay attention to whether you find IMGs at programs in locations and/or at schools where you might want to go.

Review the alumni pages for Carib schools of your choice. SGU has a really nice data page by year. Consider:
1. The students who are listed as PGY1, for instance, may have come from the last 2-3 classes of students.
2. So if you try to count the number of students matched from the class of 2014, for instance, you can't get that count. But if you try for an aggregate, you might get an estimate.

What you should notice:
1. Few Carib grads at competitive residencies. Generally DOs fare better.
2. Few Carib grads matching and starting residency 4 years after starting med school.
3. Half of the classes for Carib schools are missing. Accepted with low stats, tuition paid for 2+ years, grades too low to be allowed to take boards, gone with $100k+ debt. Half the class is missing, for any given Carib school and class.

That said, the Carib IMGs that make it (please don't assume you'll make it, if you're just trying to get in somewhere in a hurry with low stats) are great to work with.

The point: you're less likely to make it into residency from the Carib than from a DO school.

Hope that helps. Best of luck to you.
 

gyngyn

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The Caribbean business model requires a significant number of students to fail.
This happens both before allowing them to sit for the USMLE and after (not matching or matching poorly). They don't get their time or tuition back.

Although about 79% of DO's match into MD residencies, all but about 1% get spots in what are now DO residencies.
 
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DrMidlife

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the match rate for ...DOs which is around 79%
Although about 79% of DO's match into MD residencies, all but about 1% get spots in what are now DO residencies.
Let's break this down a bit for those who don't think about this stuff every day.

AOA: (not the honor society) organization that owns all things DO, similar to AMA for MD. There have been AOA residencies just for DOs for, um, forever.
ACGME: organization that accredits "graduate medical education" (residencies) traditionally for MDs, which recently took over accreditation of almost all the AOA/DO residencies.
-> Basically there aren't going to be MD/DO residencies anymore, there are just residencies, except for programs that aren't done with the multi-year changeover yet.
-> But this just changed this year, so figuring out what's going on still requires looking at the "MD" match and the "DO" match

AACOM: the DO version of AAMC

NRMP: The Match. It's an algorithm. It won a Nobel prize. The org that runs the algorithm every year publishes great data on nrmp.org.

Number of DOs graduating per year: increasing very rapidly from 4000 to over 6000
total enrolled in 2014: 6401 (http://www.aacom.org/reports-programs-initiatives/aacom-reports/matriculants)
2179 matched in "DO" residencies in 2015: http://www.osteopathic.org/inside-aoa/Education/students/match-program/Pages/match-results.aspx
-> I'm not finding the unmatched rate for the DO match, but 1% is believable.
2339
matched in "MD" residencies in 2015: http://www.nrmp.org/match-data/main-residency-match-data/
2013 DO graduation rate: 88% (http://www.aacom.org/reports-programs-initiatives/aacom-reports)

The 79% DO match rate that I cite above is the rate of DOs that matched across all ACGME ("MD") residencies in 2015. This is from nrmp.org.

There were about 3000 positions in the "DO" match in 2015, and about 2/3 of them filled (with DOs). http://www.osteopathic.org/inside-aoa/Education/students/match-program/Pages/match-results.aspx

Of note, the match for "DO" residencies comes before the "MD" match, which means a DO who matches "DO" is contractually bound and unable to participate in the "MD" match.

For people who are considering Carib and DO, you should be mapping these numbers out to compare MD vs. DO vs. Carib. I'm not going to do everything for you.
 
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FCMike11

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This was unnecessary and frankly rude. I bristle every time I see this kind of thing. If you don't want to take part in the discussion, simply click elsewhere instead of passive-aggressively moderating from the peanut gallery.
Rude? Maybe. Just providing the same advice I've seen given and been given myself. Also, my next two comments regurgitated the same information that would have been found with the search function.

Moderating from the peanut gallery? Ease up.
 

DrMidlife

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Rude? Maybe. Just providing the same advice I've seen given and been given myself. Also, my next two comments regurgitated the same information that would have been found with the search function.
If you want full credit for providing answers, post links to official info, otherwise you're just pushing the same shlt around.

But you're right, I have personally answered this question comprehensively at least a dozen times on SDN. The info is here. I had to learn all of this info about DOs and the Caribbean from scratch the hard way...and just sayin, maybe it's not a total coincidence that I'm the now-4th-year-USMD-student variety of low GPA comeback reapplicant. I'm in favor of people doing the "hard" work of finding out what the official governing bodies are for things and finding their websites and being curious about what the numbers mean... But one characteristic common to the premed/med student species is being only interested in what only affects you only right now, and *******es like me come along and post good info so back to watching the Emmys, amiright?
 
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FCMike11

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If you want full credit for providing answers, post links to official info, otherwise you're just pushing the same shlt around.

But you're right, I have personally answered this question comprehensively at least a dozen times on SDN. The info is here. I had to learn all of this info about DOs and the Caribbean from scratch the hard way...and just sayin, maybe it's not a total coincidence that I'm the now-4th-year-USMD-student variety of low GPA comeback reapplicant. I'm in favor of people doing the "hard" work of finding out what the official governing bodies are for things and finding their websites and being curious about what the numbers mean... But one characteristic common to the premed/med student species is being only interested in what only affects you only right now, and *******es like me come along and post good info so back to watching the Emmys, amiright?
Haha, ok, fair enough.
 

Goro

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Tell these people that in their ignorance, they're doing great damage to your medical career, and you can do it on your own, thank you very much.

I keep getting told by relatives and friends outside of this forum to apply to Caribbean schools as a back up option.


Residency directors care VERY much where your MD degree comes from, and for many of them, it's "no IMGs allowed." As as your stats are concerned, the only stat Carib diploma mills care about is how much you can write down on your tuition check, and your pulse rate, because if you have a pulse, you're admitted.

They keep telling me that with my stats, I can easily get accepted there and at the end of the day, no one cares where your MD degree comes from.

You have been told wrong. Pa attention to my wise colleague Doktermom.

Additionally, I have been told that people who apply from the top 3 Carribean schools still get decent residencies and are still preferred over foreign doctors who immigrate to the US.

Maybe low tuition, but high cost of living. Like $6/gallon of milk.
I also keep seeing on SDN that Caribbean schools have high tuition costs but from my research, they don't seem much higher than most private or out of state schools. I understand that these schools are often in locations without great electricity and water access.

Pay attention to what my wise colleague gyngyn has pointed out :

The pool of US applicants from the Caribbean is viewed differently by Program Directors. The DDx for a Caribbean grad is pretty off-putting: bad judgment, bad advice, egotism, gullibility, overbearing parents, gullibility, inability to delay gratification, IA's, legal problems, weak research skills, high risk behavior. This is not to say that all of them still have the quality that drew them into this situation. There is just no way to know which ones they are. Some PD's are in a position where they need to, or can afford to take risks too! So, some do get interviews.

Bad grades and scores are the least of the deficits from a PD's standpoint. A strong academic showing in a Caribbean medical school does not erase this stigma. It fact it increases the perception that the reason for the choice was on the above-mentioned list!

Just about everyone from a Caribbean school has one or more of these problems and PDs know it. That's why their grads are the last choice even with a high Step 1 score.

There was a time when folks whose only flaw was being a late bloomer went Carib, but those days are gone. There are a number of spots at US schools with grade replacement for these candidates.

A little light reading for you, OP.

https://milliondollarmistake.wordpress.com/


 
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gyngyn

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Tell these people that in their ignorance, they're doing great damage to your medical career, and you can do it on your own, thank you very much.

I keep getting told by relatives and friends outside of this forum to apply to Caribbean schools as a back up option.


Residency directors care VERY much where your MD degree comes from, and for many of them, it's "no IMGs allowed." As as your stats are concerned, the only stat Carib diploma mills care about is how much you can write down on your tuition check, and your pulse rate, because if you have a pulse, you're admitted.

They keep telling me that with my stats, I can easily get accepted there and at the end of the day, no one cares where your MD degree comes from.

You have been told wrong. Pa attention to my wise colleague Doktermom.

Additionally, I have been told that people who apply from the top 3 Carribean schools still get decent residencies and are still preferred over foreign doctors who immigrate to the US.

Maybe low tuition, but high cost of living. Like $6/gallon of milk.
I also keep seeing on SDN that Caribbean schools have high tuition costs but from my research, they don't seem much higher than most private or out of state schools. I understand that these schools are often in locations without great electricity and water access.

Pay attention to what my wise colleague gyngyn has pointed out :

The pool of US applicants from the Caribbean is viewed differently by Program Directors. The DDx for a Caribbean grad is pretty off-putting: bad judgment, bad advice, egotism, gullibility, overbearing parents, gullibility, inability to delay gratification, IA's, legal problems, weak research skills, high risk behavior. This is not to say that all of them still have the quality that drew them into this situation. There is just no way to know which ones they are. Some PD's are in a position where they need to, or can afford to take risks too! So, some do get interviews.

Bad grades and scores are the least of the deficits from a PD's standpoint. A strong academic showing in a Caribbean medical school does not erase this stigma. It fact it increases the perception that the reason for the choice was on the above-mentioned list!

Just about everyone from a Caribbean school has one or more of these problems and PDs know it. That's why their grads are the last choice even with a high Step 1 score.

There was a time when folks whose only flaw was being a late bloomer went Carib, but those days are gone. There are a number of spots at US schools with grade replacement for these candidates.

A little light reading for you, OP.

https://milliondollarmistake.wordpress.com/
Did I really type gullibility twice?!
 

Goro

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I am reapplying this cycle. Last year, I focused solely on MD schools because I had little knowledge of the DO philosophy and had no rec letter from a DO. This year, I am focusing more on DO schools besides my in-state MD school. I keep getting told by relatives and friends outside of this forum to apply to Caribbean schools as a back up option. They keep telling me that with my stats, I can easily get accepted there and at the end of the day, no one cares where your MD degree comes from. Additionally, I have been told that people who apply from the top 3 Carribean schools still get decent residencies and are still preferred over foreign doctors who immigrate to the US. I also keep seeing on SDN that Caribbean schools have high tuition costs but from my research, they don't seem much higher than most private or out of state schools. I understand that these schools are often in locations without great electricity and water access. I also understand that you are going to be far from home and travel expenses will have to be added but honestly, I can't imagine it being much more expensive to travel to Grenada than to travel to CA from where I live. Am I missing something? If you are determined to be a doctor, isn't it better to go to St. George's or Ross than to keep applying over and over again?
Mostly because there is a 50 percent chance at most schools you won't even finish and even if you do the the chances are 50 percent that you will get a residency, that is why there is so much hate for Caribbean schools. Not all foreign medical schools are bad, some are excellent, schools in Commonwealth English speaking countries are as good as the top US medical schools. I had a friend who went to Ireland and got a residency at Brigham in Boston, which is one of nation's best hospitals.

Even if you do not have a LOR from a DO that does not preclude you from applying to a DO school which is a much better option than any island medical school. If I am not mistaken many of the students at schools like SGU are similar to many DO students in terms of stats, in other words these people could probably get into DO schools.

Sure there is a difference in philosophy at DO schools vs MD schools but then again I rather have a degree where I will have a job rather than gamble with thousands of dollars of debt not to mention having to endure rather poor living conditions. The Caribbean schools are not fun, contrary to what they put on their shiny brochures.
 
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