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Medical Would previous matriculant at foreign med school be a huge red flag to US med schools?

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Jun 11, 2010
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Hello,

I graduated from one of the top 20 research university in the U.S. in winter 2018 (a semester early) with 4.0 and 517 on MCAT (took it in June 2018). I always thought of applying to US med schools so just like other pre-meds, I spent a significant amount of time conducting basic science research, shadowing physicians, working as a TA, etc. Here comes the complicated situation. As a person who immigrated to U.S. with family in high school, I also considered MD options in my home country as well. It would have been ideal to coordinate the application timeline for med schools in US and my native country but unfortunately, med schools in my home country decided to shut down its admission path for people with 4-year college degree after 2018 so I just applied to schools in my home country first before applying to US schools and ended up getting into the #1 school in my country (the school is ranked about the 30th in the international med school ranking).

Right after graduating from college, I attended and completed the first year of med school from March to December 2019 with a good academic standing (the first semester in my home country starts in March). But as time passed by and reflecting on my shadowing experiences in the US, I realized I would like to practice medicine and live in the US. Don't get me wrong. The school I attended is full of great professors and smartest, kindest, funniest classmates. Although most of our textbooks are from the US, the emphasis, values, and cultures seemed to be different from those of US. There is still a way to get residency training in the US as an IMG, but I see way more benefits attending the US med schools. I might share the same medical knowledge with US MDs; however, I would not get the same clinical exposure needed to become a better clinician in the US. Also, with my family's decision to stay in the US and go through the naturalization process, I also applied to the US citizenship and recently became a US citizen in last February. Due to my citizenship interview and passport process, I am currently on a leave of absence for a year and plan to apply to US MD schools this coming cycle as a first-year applicant (no transfer option is available for med students outside of US and Canada).

I already checked with several schools about my eligibility. For instance, HMS stated in its website that any previous matriculant regardless of country is not eligible to apply and Stanford admission has the same policy as HMS. But there are other schools that told me I am eligible to apply. However, I am scared that my previous matriculant status would raise a huge red flag in my application. I checked SDN and other online forums to see if there were people in the similar situation. But most cases were about someone who withdrew from med school due to academic or mental issues. Although I am not required by AMCAS to submit my foreign med school transcript, I would be willing to provide it to schools and will state my GPA and percentile rank on my "previous matriculant" space. Thank you for reading this long post!
I've had a student who was a medical student in an another country but had to flee due to persecution issues.
But on the whole, you're going to need to inquire at schools that will allow your sort of applicant, and also match that to your stats and ECs.

Honestly, I think that your judgement and commitment will be questioned.
 
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Oct 14, 2011
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You'll need to be active in recruiting events (virtual included) to ask. I agree with Goro that in my experience there have been students that had started but switched due to political persecution or discrimination.

I think given your start and the much lower cost of attendance that if you are able to continue and complete your studies, you should. US medical schools have different prerequisites and will not be inclined to accept transfer students. Most US medical schools are really specialized when it comes to group-based simulation learning and not so heavy on lectures compared to non-US/non-Canadian schools.

You will need to take the MCAT if you make any attempt to apply to medical school in the US. You will also need your transcripts evaluated, and a lot of schools are going to be very wary of taking a transfer especially from an international school. You will likely have to start over as a M1 student, even if you have completed your first-year. And no school is going to take your word about how well you did in medical school. The medical schools have set up their processes to protect US nationals and not admit international students (unlike undergraduate, graduate, and business schools). Under other circumstances we would have encouraged you to wait until you get your citizenship, start over in undergrad at a US institution, and then do well in your application for medical school; as it stands you'll have to see if you can do clerkship rotations/observations in the US as part of your medical school training and perhaps petition for participation in hospital "international observer" programs.
 
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Oct 14, 2011
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Before going to the med school in my home country, I graduated from Top 20 research university in the US with 4.0 (and summa cum laude), completing all the pre-reqs as well as MCAT (scored 517 in June 2018 MCAT). I am now a U.S. citizen. The med school I attended is the most prestigious school in the country, ranked in the similar place in the world to some of the US T10 schools, and has ties with top schools in the US that would allow me to easily participate in elective courses in the top US institutions. In fact, last summer I participated in the observership using my private connection in one of the top US hospitals as a M1 student. I know that still my previous matriculation would raise a huge red flag, causing concerns to adcom officers about my judgment and commitment as Goro pointed out. However, I feel like there might be still mere chance for me to start my medical education in the U.S.
Okay... that helps clarify some things a bit. So I have to think if you attended a US institution, a top-20 research institution, and took the MCAT, that you had access to a health professions advising office. I also would have thought that having taken the MCAT, you would have had a good chance at going to a US institution once the citizenship issue were resolved. I probably would have advised you to try going into research and get a masters for a couple of years until your green card or citizenship were resolved.

So that said, you will be asked to disclose prior matriculations to medical school, and it will be a red flag for many medical schools. You'll need to do your homework on how your application would be screened, but given your circumstances as disclosed now, I'll agree with Goro and say that unless you have made strides connecting with admissions staff, screeners would red-flag your application.
 
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