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Entry into American medical schools has become more and more competitive recently. MCAT scores that would have been acceptable ten years ago (e.g., combined scores of 24 to 27) are now considered below consideration by many schools. Part of the problem is that while more and more students entering college are pre-med students and applying to medical school, the number of slots available in U.S. medical schools has remained relatively constant.
One option that has become more popular is attending a Caribbean medical school. These schools once had a poor reputation, due to the inability to attract good students. With the increasing competitiveness of American schools, these schools are now much more attractive.
The major advantage of attending a Caribbean school is that the entry requirements are much easier. While American schools will do an initial screen using only MCAT scores and GPA, Caribbean schools are more able to look at the whole person. Someone with low MCAT scores or a mediocre GPA may have other qualities that would make him/her a good candidate, e.g., EMT training and experience. Because of the deluge of applications at American schools (e.g., 3000 applicants for 100 seats), they don’t have a chance to see these qualities. Another distinction is that many Caribbean schools have multiple start dates (September, January, and May) and their admission deadlines are closer to the start date than American schools. Many students apply to these schools after they get bad news from American schools. Finally, another difference is that they usually shorten the preclinical, basic science portion to between 15 and 18 months (as opposed to 24 months in American Schools). This means that there are very short breaks between semesters.
There are many factors that should go into your decision to attend a Caribbean school. You should read about these factors in this web page: http://www.missouristate.edu/bms/30613.htm
Not all Caribbean schools are the same. Some are fully accredited and some are not. In the accredited schools, students only take their general science courses at the school and then do their clinical rotations at American hospitals. This is important because you will make your connections for letters of recommendations during your clinical years, and this will determine your ability to match in a good residency. So it is important to go to one of these schools.
The Pre-Health Advisory Committee recommends the following Caribbean medical schools:
For more information about the pre-health professions advisement, please contact
Pre-Health Professions Advisory Committee Chairperson
Office: Beaumont Hall 304B
Phone: (518) 564-5160