Caribbean Schools vs. US Schools?

Saint James School of Medicine wants an interview, but I’ve heard a lot of negatives about going to a med school in the Caribbean. They DO have guaranteed rotations in US hospitals, and they say that matching residents has never been a problem, but I’m a little leery that they do not require an MCAT score.

My gut is telling me that taking what seems to be the “easy road” with this school will come back to haunt me, and that I should just proceed with my original plan of taking my remaining Science prereqs and sitting for the MCAT in 2015.

Input? Thoughts?

You should do a little more “independent” research about the school, the opportunities it offers, and it’s ability to match residencies. Historically Carib schools have a much lower match rate than US schools, but a lot of that is based on how you do on the boards/rotations and not necessarily just because it’s a Carib school.

Thinking outside of academics, keep in mind that you possibly can’t get federal loans for these schools and will end up needing to pay your own way/get standard private loans with different interest rates/payment schedules available to fed ed loans.

Further, think about where you want to practice and whether that particular state will grant you a license.

I agree with kennymac on doing independent research on the school. I don’t know anything about St. James, but your gut feeling that they don’t require an MCAT score does sound fishy to me, too.

Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to pursue the U.S. medical school option if you can, before thinking about Caribbean schools (for the reasons kennymac outlined–better match rate, loan availability, etc.).

That’s not to say never go to a Caribbean school. I would just try the U.S. route first, if you can.

  1. Call up the school. Ask how many people graduated in the last class. Then ask how many people were accepted in the last cycle. Ask in that order.

  2. Ask for a list of programs that their students matched into. Call up some of the programs to verify. [Hey, I understand that you took a graduate of this school into your residency… true?]

  3. Ask for pass rates for the various exams medical students take. Say it like that. Don’t give them names of exams and see what they volunteer.

  4. If they tell you that they need some time to get this information, tell them you’re not in a rush and stay on the line.

Thanks so much for all the advice!