Study for MCAT or ROSS Univ

Hello all,

I am a 35 year old PharmD determined to go back to med school. I have strong grades (3.7 GPA). I have been accepted to Ross Univ without MCAT since I have a doctorate degree. I need some advice - Should I go ahead with Ross or delay it by a year, take the MCAT and apply to US schools? I am hesitant with the MCAT because I don’t remember the basic sciences. Hence, not sure if I will do well on MCAT plus I am not really guaranteed acceptance even if I study and take the MCAT.

Thank you so much… look forward to your advice and thoughts.

Although Ross is one of the “good” Caribbean schools, it’s still going to mean a tougher slog for you as you work your way through med school, and a higher bar when it comes to seeking out a residency position. So trading a relatively short “no MCAT” can have long term consequences for your future career.

But avoiding the MCAT because you had your basic sciences a long time ago means that you may be in for a big challenge regardless of where you go to school. The basic sciences in med school are going to hit you hard and fast and you may struggle… which has the potential to be a setback as well.

My prejudice is toward taking the slow, plodding approach that involves dotting all your i’s, crossing all your t’s, taking the MCAT and making your application a good one. The Ross shortcut, while attractive and potentially good for you, has some pretty significant land mines in it.

Just my $0.02. No one can tell you what to do.


One more thought: the folks who are going to be successful at applying this year have already taken the MCAT (or scheduled it for the near future), have lined up their letters of recommendation, have filed their AMCAS and/or AACOMAS applications or will be very soon, and are poised to start completing secondaries when they get them starting in July.

Are you in a position to do all that? If you haven’t even prepared for the MCAT, you are already awfully late for this year.

Rule 8: “Premature Application”

Is the goal to get into medical school or get into medical school quickly?

If you wait the year to apply,and in the mean while start studying for the MCAT (take a year-long Kaplan and get those basics sciences down cold), take another advanced bio course (much has changed especially in genetics), add volunteering, shadow a doctor, get your LORs in order, you would have super-duper strong application.

Pardon me for saying it like this but a “wham, bam, thank you ma’am” application this late in the game is going leave both you and the school unsatisfied. So instead of running off with the first cheap floozy of a medical school that will have you, stick around and find the right one to settle down with for a long and happy education.

All above was written before coffee so I plead the forum have mercy on my comments

Your grades are very strong and if you have other good characteristics (the ability to get good letters, some community activities, etcetera) I think your chances for admission at stateside school should be good. Go to the AAMC web site and take the free practice MCAT and see how it goes. I think if you’re hugely rusty on the basic sciences and you don’t brush up before med school, you won’t have big fun in school anyway.

After you take the test you can determine whether a prep course (your own or a commercial one) could brush off enough cobwebs to make you competitive. I think Caribbean schools are expensive enough and getting residencies from them difficult enough that you owe it to yourself to take a good solid swing at stateside admissions before you go there. You sound like a strong candidate.

Thank you so much Mary, Richard and Denise for your feedback/advice. You bring up an excellent point re basic sciences and being ready for med school… I totally agree…this is not something I thought about.

Based on your advice, it appears that if I want to do it the right way (US Med School) I need to apply for Sept 2011. Ross is taking me for Jan 2010 and wait listed me for Sept 09. Do you think going the US route is worth the 2 year wait at my “age.” I feel that I am already late to the party.

I have a couple of former classmates who went the Ross route and are very successful…one is board certified pain doc, another one is a neurologist. After going to Ross they all recommend to try US first but is it worth the 2 year wait with no guarantees?

Are there any Ross or other Carib folks on the website? Would love to hear your comments too…

Again thank you in advance for your help.

Classic mindset of older students after they realize that medicine is where they want to be, they think they to hurry up and get it all done now. Of Mary, Denise and Myself, all started premed or medical school AFTER 40 y/o’s old. Linda Wilson just started her residency at 54 (I think). A significant percentage of OPM people who start the process are in their 40’s or older when they start.

As one speaker we had a few years ago asked, what are you willing to give up to be a doctor? Is it two more of preparing and waiting for a stateside school? Is it limited residency choices and job opportunities if you choose a quick route to Ross.

(note: some US residencies will not accept graduates from any non-US school, even if the graduate is a citizen. you should also note that only 55% of us citizens graduating from overseas medical schools and who apply for US residency slots get a PGY-1 positions compared to 92% of US Medical Schools).

In either case you are giving up something, time or some limitation on future possibilities.

Which one do you prefer

+1 on everything above. Don’t fall into the “hurry up and get into med school” trap that every older med school hopeful seems to get into (including myself, until I went to the OPM conference).

Slow down. Breathe. (This is my new mantra.)

Take an organized review course on MCAT. It’ll come back. I took a Kaplan MCAT 2 years after pre-med, with a worse gpa, and not even having taken orgo - and still managed to get an OK score.

BTW, Ross is freaking expensive! You will probably regret settling. The trouble with the caribbean schools is the incredible expense, the the HUGE class size at ross (over 700 for each trimester)and their high attrition rate, which makes everyone really competitive with each other (it’s not pass/fail). Combine that with being on an isolated island that is not easy to get to from the states, and it’s just not an ideal situation compared to what you can get by waiting one more year, taking the MCAT and getting into school here.

I have a friend at Ross. She just graduated AZ state, so has recent sciences. She struggles at times to the point of not always passing. She was a 3.4 gpa with a low MCAT, so instead of preparing again for the MCAT she took the easy, sure fire-way. Her parents are saying, “Well, at least we have the money if she needs to repeat a quarter.” It sounds to me there isn’t a lot of time to review while learning the new material. I am sure you can do it, but, it is nice to know what you are in for.

Thank you all very much for your thoughts and advice.