PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS who dream of becoming a physician but are worried about getting accepted into a U.S. school of medicine , where it’s exceedingly difficult to urge in, might want to think about attending a high-quality Caribbean school of medicine that takes a more forgiving approach within the student selection process.
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St. George’s University, which is home to a med school and has its main campus on the island of Grenada within the West Indies , considers applicants that U.S. medical schools won’t , says Bob Ryan, dean of admissions.
Those applicants may include students who had a rocky start in college but did far better later, and students who worked through college and whose GPAs suffered as a result, he says.
“We often see that our very strong students after year one and two are people who we took that fall upon and said, ‘Hey, we’re getting to offer you that chance to point out us that you simply can achieve medicine,'” Ryan says, adding that his school uses a holistic admissions process.
“I think many U.S. schools probably have cutoffs, and if you are not at a particular GPA and MCAT, they are not even getting to open your file,” he says. “But we take the other attitude.”
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Dr. Joshua Mansour, who earned his medical degree from Ross University School of drugs – a Caribbean school that was previously based in Dominica but is now based in Barbados – and subsequently completed a medical fellowship at Stanford University in California, says he has no regrets.
“At the top of the day, I completed my training at Stanford after everything, so it didn’t hinder me from getting a top-tier training … i used to be actually very happy how that figured out ,” he says.
Mansour, a California hematologist and oncologist, has some advice for aspiring doctors who are concerned about their admissions prospects at U.S. medical schools but hopeful that they could be admitted to an honest Caribbean medical school: “Take advantage of the chance .”
Those who enroll, he notes, can “do everything you would like to by getting to a faculty like that.”
Mansour adds that he has many friends he met at his Caribbean school of medicine who now have high-profile medical jobs.
However, some administrators, faculty and alumni of Caribbean medical schools note that these institutions vary widely in quality, so potential students should conduct research on their target schools.
“The best indicator of how good a faculty is would be where its recent graduates matched into residency and what they’re doing now,” Dr. Ashley Steinberg, a Houston-based plastic and reconstructive surgeon who earned her medical degree at St. George’s, wrote in an email.
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Dr. G. Richard Olds, president of St. George’s University, suggests that one key factor to seem at may be a school’s rate of attrition . a faculty with an rate of attrition above 50% may be a major red flag, he warns, since it indicates that a lot of of the school’s students leave without receiving a medical degree – which successively means they’re going to be unable to practice medicine.
“This is a neighborhood where you actually got to know the statistics,” Olds says.
Prospective med students should take attrition rates under consideration when assessing both licensing exam passage rates and residency placement rates, he advises. a faculty that flunks out students it suspects won’t perform well on licensing exams or secure residencies may appear to possess solid pass rates and placement rates but might not be providing good preparation for a medical career, he warns.
It’s also important to seek out out what quite tutoring and academic support services a Caribbean school of medicine offers, because students may have extra help preparing for the medical licensing exams if they’re entering with a lower MCAT score or GPA than a typical U.S. med student, Olds says.
U.S. students who are watching international medical schools but have plans to practice medicine within the U.S. should make sure that the varsity they attend will help them achieve that goal, says Dr. Heidi Chumley, executive dean of the American University of the Caribbean School of drugs , which has its main campus in St. Maarten.
“They got to know that the varsity that they are getting to is both a faculty that’s excellent at preparing people to travel back and practice within the U.S. and features a long diary of doing so,” she says.
One positive sign a few Caribbean school of medicine is when it’s eligible for U.S. Department of Education Title IV funding, meaning that its students can receive federal aid , Chumley says.