Need opinion about Caribbean Med school...

What are opinions about Caribbean med schools like

American University of Antigua



I think if you do a search on this topic you will find many discussion threads regarding this topic.

Here is my personal opinion on the subject:

To be sure, there are success stories which come out of Caribbean schools. I worked with an anesthesia resident where I currently attend who attended a Caribbean school and I think is at a minimum on par with his classmates who attended MD schools in the US. However, I believe his story is more unique rather than the norm. I believe Caribbean schools have significantly higher drop out rates than on-shore med schools. This could be for a variety of reasons. Also, the reality is that, to put it as nicely as I can, an individual who graduates from a Caribbean med school will face significantly greater scrutiny when you go to apply for residency programs. Also, there is the problem that not all states will even allow you to practice medicine if your degree is from a Caribbean school (varies by state and by which Caribbean/foreign school you attend).

Caribbean schools do offer the opportunity for students who did not get into on-shore med schools to pursue their desire to become a doctor. But it can be at a significant price, some of which is described above.

My belief is that an applicant should truly exhaust all avenues in the U.S. before attending a Caribbean med school, including looking at both M.D. and D.O. schools and, if not getting accepted, taking a year to evaluate what is missing and fix it. For some, the choice of Caribbean is because of poor recent grades and/or poor MCAT scores. For these people I would send an even greater caution–medical studies are, in my opinion, infinitely more difficult than undergrad studies and board exams are going to be part of your life forever as a physician. If a person isn’t able to get the academic side of things down prior to med school, I believe it to be highly unlike that they should come during medical school (on-shore or Caribbean). Every year of medical school, especially in the Caribbean, is expensive. I can’t imagine what it would be like to incur the debt and then not be able to practice medicine ultimately.

Lots of rambling there…sorry. Hopefully that will give you some things to at least consider. I am certain you will find other view points that differ from my own, either through this post or a search through the archived forums.

I have a friend at Ross. Sorry, cannot recall Islands. But, she has had quite the challenge passing. To the point that she transferred to another island. The other island is also Ross, from what I gather. She is, so far, happier there and with the new school. I would venture to say that if you go this route of MD then to actually interview and visit the school. It’s a lot of money to pay if the school is not interested in your success. I think it’s possible to say that in the U.S. once you are interviewed that school has an interest in you being a successful doctor. I am not certain that is the case for all of the island schools.

A good deal of time spent at most of these schools is on preparation for passing the USMLE (the us medical liscensing exam). Whether or not an individual can practice in any given state depends on whether he/she passes the USMLE. The quality of instruction and facilities can vary widely from school to school. Check out the individual schools you are considering applying to before making a committment! (Just as you would if they were in the states!)

  • future_doc_psych Said:
Whether or not an individual can practice in any given state depends on whether he/she passes the USMLE.

Just a quick point of clarification.

It is true that whether you are able to practice in a given state is dictated by passing the USMLE (for example, the state I'm in requires that you pass all 3 steps of the USMLE within 7 years or 10 years if already boarded and you must pass Step 3 within 3 attempts).

However, that is separate from the off-shore (i.e. Caribbean) med school issues. Some states only allow graduates of CERTAIN off-shore schools to practice medicine (including variability amongst Caribbean schools). Thus, anyone considering attending an off-shore school really needs to research the subject (beyond what the school is saying) to be certain the future restrictions placed on the career are within the limits the person finds acceptable.