With medical school spaces not growing at the same pace as applications, coupled with the traditional difficulties of being accepted, Caribbean medical schools pros and cons are on the minds of an increasing number of hopeful medical students. Luckily for you, we know the ropes of the admission process and studying at a medical school abroad.
Here are just a few of the pros and cons of Caribbean medical schools to consider before you begin your application process.
The Pros of Studying at Caribbean Medical Schools
1. Higher Acceptance Rates
Using the old MCAT scoring system, the average MCAT result for North American schools is about 31. For Caribbean medical schools, the average MCAT result is 25. You may also find more openness to other potential qualifications, including mature students. Additionally, many Caribbean medical schools also accept students right out of high school. Which is the standard pathway that physicians start their education in the UK, Australia, and South America. Basically everywhere else in the world, except the US and Canada. Which means, if you excelled in high school, you can start medicine the fall after graduation!
2. Rolling Admission Schedules
Instead of the single period of acceptance for admission to North American medical schools, most Carribean schools have two or three admission periods. If you miss one, another will come along in three to six months. A major benefit that’s better suited for the modern professional’s busy schedule.
3. Clinical Rotations at Home
Most Caribbean schools offer clinical rotations in North America after your first four or five semesters (starting in the third year). If you plan to practice medicine in the USA or Canada, choosing a school that offers clinical rotations in your home country is crucial to being able to practice at home. It also helps to build your references when you’re getting ready to apply for residency.
4. You Get to Travel
Although this isn’t at the forefront of students’ minds when applying to medical school, it has become widely cited as one of the best reasons to study in the Caribbean. Not only do you get to learn medicine on a tropical island, but you’ll also have the opportunity to travel across North America for your clerkships in your senior year. You can even choose to do an overseas elective to broaden your application and gain insightful experience.
The Cons of Studying at Caribbean Medical Schools
1. Familiarity with Universities & Programs
While many, if not most, North American students attend universities that are not close to where they live, the vast majority still enroll in schools in their home country. They will generally be very familiar with the schools and programs they choose to apply for and may even have relatives or acquaintances who have attended the school. Choosing to study in the Caribbean means you may not be as familiar with the universities you can choose from, or know anyone who has attended the school.
2. Living in a Foreign Country
Of course, attending university brings its own brand of stress, and living in a foreign country can add to that. Even if the university is English-speaking, the first language of the country may not be English, and many of their local customs might be different.
3. Increasing Demand
Again, with limited spaces available in North American universities. Demand for medical degrees from Caribbean medical universities is increasing all the time. This is seen every year as thousands of Caribbean medical graduates obtain residency positions across the US and Canada (more than any other region outside North America).
Whatever attracts you to study in the Caribbean, it is important to research the best schools. You may know which are the best universities at home, but you’ll need to do some research to get the same level of understanding about Caribbean medical schools. At UMCAS, we’re working to bring some of the best medical schools abroad in the Caribbean to our platform to make the application process more simple and as stress-free as possible. After all, medical school is hard enough but applying shouldn’t be!