$160,000 gamble

Hey OPM’s! I’m Andrea and I live in Central Florida. I want to ask a question and I hope everyone has some feedback positive or negative. I went to the caribbean recently to see the American School of the Caribbean. Nice, but small. The reasoning is that I finish my prereqs in May and thus will miss every U.S. cut off for fall admission. I could apply, but my app would be worthless as I would still be in 2 classes in the spring. My solution: find a school with rolling admission-offshore schools. After arriving home, I found out UCF here in Orlando will be opening a med school in 2009, the year I would have to wait for admission if I stay in the U.S., plus they are awarding the first charter class full scholarships for all 4 years!!! Yes you read that right, $20,000 for tution and $20,000 for living expenses for the length of the program-$160,000!!! Seem like a no brainer, theres a catch, the school will only have provisional accredidation until the first class graduates. Thus, if admitted, I could stand the chance of graduating and the school not getting accredidation, and inturn making me ineligible to take the licensing boards. This fact alone is enough to deter lots of students away, making admission tough, but not as tough as other schools. It’s a $160,000 gamble. Any thoughts?


Hello, and welcome :).

I’d say the first step is to slow down and consider your timeframe. Were you initially looking at offshore schools just so you wouldn’t have to wait another year? If that’s the case, and there aren’t other factors pushing you towards the Caribbean, it may pay to look at 2009 matriculation no matter where you apply. Believe me, you still have lots of time .

If you do choose to apply next year (which may be your best bet regardless), I suspect it would be a good idea to try for UCF. To those more familiar with this type of thing: does it happen often that a US school doesn’t earn accreditation?

From what I understand, Dean German seems motivated and sharp - I’ve heard good things about her. Given Florida’s affinity for state residents, I’d say go for it!


The Caribbean should be a last resort, not just to save a year. Read the caribbean thread in the Med Student’s forum. Bill, who is in the Caribbean, has a lot of things for you to think about. Graduating from the Carib will make life much more difficult for you when it comes to matching, especially if you are interested in a specialty that is at all competitive. As the number of spots in American medical schools continues to grow, there will be fewer and fewer residency spots for non-American grads.

DO NOT go to the carib simply to save yourself a year. You are too young and a year isn’t going to make a difference. Now with the med school opening I would go with that. There is no guarantee you will get accepted but any US school is better than the carib. If you are accepted to UCF then you are golden. I wouldn’t worry about accredidation. They aren’t going to open a school and fail getting it accredited.

I would hold off and apply to Florida and US schools only if something goes majorly wrong would I look into the carib. Nothing against the carib but as Bill will attest to it’s not the easiest route nor the best route for everyone. I would say that a 25 year old whose only reason to apply to the carib is because of “time” is not a good candidate.

I would be less concerned about accreditation difficulties at a new PRIVATE medical college (or God knows, a new foreign medical school). I agree with my dear friend Adam on this. An arm of the state will be much more cautious to take the proper steps and avoid the shame of such an expensive experiment failing.

As you outlined above, it’s a bet, but if I were the person involved, I would feel like it’s a level of risk I could tolerate.

Also, here’s a good gauge as to whether you really want to be a physician. Would you be willing to a) leave Florida, and/or b) pay (that is to say, borrow) private tuition if only a private institution admits you? The UCF thing is an excellent goal to strive for-- speaking as the proud son of an alum-- and you’re right that the chips may all fall into place just perfectly, for your timing, for your finances, for everything.

But if UCF is your only goal, you aren’t strategizing realistically. Entering into school in the fall of 2006 was my heart’s goal, but it didn’t happen. I wound up enjoying an awesome year abroad while applying a second time. I don’t regret what happened one iota.


I agree with others here; you want to graduate from a domestic medical school. The reason to go to the Caribbean is typically that you don’t get into a domestic school.

There are a few exceptions, granted; a friend from South Asia went to St. George because her grades were marginal, SGU was “good enough” for what she wants to do back in Sri Lanka, and she liked the diverse student body down there including lots of other Asians. I don’t know if she’s sticking by this line of reasoning, two years on, but anyway there you are. I know someone else who has family ties to the region and is interested in scuba diving, deep sea rescue, etc. I’ve been advised that SGU and Ross are today comparable with mainland schools in terms of education and primary care placement.

But the bottom line is that you will have the most professional options if you stay in the U.S. The reasons you cited for going abroad are not very compelling. Stay here, take a deep breath, and study for another year, and you’ll get where you’re going. Medicine is a very long road and there are few real shortcuts. Best of luck,

Terry skimmed the surface of a very good point. What alot of people don’t realize or turn a blind eye too is that the carib is the bottom of the barrel WORLD-WIDE. It’s not just a US thing. Students from foreign countries who don’t make it into their own countries medical school go to the caribbean. It’s not just a US phenomenon. The caliber of student who graduates is not my point. Nor on the graduates clinical abilities. Only in that the carib is “the last straw” for more than just US students.

Thank you all for your opinions and support. It’s very difficult to find good advice when you’re and “oldpremed!”