Best Caribbean Medical Schools
It’s not easy to get into medical school. You need a high GPA, a good MCAT score, and excellent extracurricular activities in order to be competitive. Only 46% of all candidates to medical schools in the US were accepted in 2011. (MD). Students are looking to Caribbean medical schools as a feasible alternative because the competition is fierce and is getting worse.
About Caribbean Medical Schools
Caribbean medical schools are well-known for allowing American students to pursue their studies in medicine abroad. After graduating from a Caribbean medical school, the majority of students intend to finish their residency in the United States. It’s no secret that Caribbean medical schools are popular due to their lenient admissions standards. The “top” medical school in the Caribbean has an entering class with an average undergraduate GPA of around 3.3 or 3.4. Additionally, it is typical for Caribbean medical schools to accept candidates with GPAs around 3. The “lowest” US medical school’s entering cohort has an average undergraduate GPA of about 3.5, in contrast.
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Those interested in attending a Caribbean medical school should have the following two questions answered before enrolling:
- What percentage of students at the medical school actually graduate?
- How many of those graduates were able to successfully apply for residency in the US?
Disadvantages of Caribbean Medical Schools
Although attending a medical school in the Caribbean may sound like a dream come true, there is a drawback. The majority of US medical school graduates are successful in their quest to practice medicine in the country; this cannot be said of Caribbean medical school graduates. It is less likely, though still conceivable, for a Caribbean medical school graduate to work as a doctor in the US. Before becoming licensed physicians, all future doctors must successfully complete and pass the following two main steps: pass the USMLE and finish your residency. The USMLE or become ineligible for US residency opportunities after graduating from Caribbean medical schools.
The reasons for this situation are hotly contested. Some contend that Caribbean medical schools’ curricula are inadequate, while others contend that their students’ intellectual skills are subpar. In either case, prospective students must conduct extensive research before deciding which Caribbean medical school they will attend. If they want to know whether it would be prudent to attend a particular medical school, they can look into the USMLE pass rates and the residency placement rates. It would be a waste of tens of thousands of dollars and years of valuable time to graduate from a Caribbean medical school but not succeed in becoming a doctor.
The fact that Caribbean medical schools are for-profit institutions should not be overlooked. According to economic theory, new schools will open as long as the sector continues to be lucrative. There are now over 60 medical schools in the Caribbean. While some of them have solid reputations, others are rife with controversy. Some are renowned for generating doctors, while others are infamous for creating foreclosures. Each prospective student must do their own study on the colleges to see whether they are a good fit.
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How difficult is it to Enroll in Medical Schools in the Caribbean?
Only 21,869 of the more than 53,000 applicants matriculated into an allopathic medical school in 2021. That indicates that about 60% of the applicants were turned down. The 80 Caribbean medical schools, while not always having the highest reputations, do provide American students the chance to study medicine.
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Duration of Medical Programs in the Caribbean Medical Schools
A normal Caribbean medical school program lasts four years, the first two of which are spent on the campus of the institution taking fundamental scientific courses. Clinical rotations are a part of the medical school program’s final two years, and they happen at associated hospitals all over the world. Overall, it takes 8 years to complete your education at Caribbean Med.
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Best Caribbean Medical Schools
The following institutions have demonstrated their ability to prepare students to practice medicine in the US. They are frequently cited as the best Caribbean medical schools:
1. St. George’s University
Grenada, an island in the West Indies, is where St. George University is situated. Despite being more than 30 years old, the school still has a good reputation in the medical community. Over 140 nations are represented among the students at this medical school in the Caribbean.
There are many different programs available. A regular MD degree and a seven-year program that combines a BD and an MD are both offered at St. George University.
All over, St. George University boasts amazing stats. More than 1,100 graduates of the institution were admitted into residency programs across the US and Canada in just 2020. The institution also has a 96 percent success rate for the UMSLE Step 1 in 2018 according to USMLE performance data. This makes them one of the top medical schools in the Caribbean.
2. Saba University School of Medicine
The Saba University School of Medicine was founded in 1992, making it a relatively new institution. It is situated on the Dutch municipality of Saba, which is an island.
Saba University School of Medicine is well-known in the industry despite its brief history. The school has received formal approval from the New York State Education Department and recognition from the California Medical Board in the United States. Additionally, the Florida Commission for Independent Education has granted it a license.
The institution provides an MD program. The program’s first five semesters are devoted to teaching foundational concepts and basic sciences. Students conduct clinical rotations and studies during the course of the last five semesters.
The Saba University School of Medicine’s acceptance of federal student aid programs from the US is a major benefit. Attending becomes substantially more affordable as a result.
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3. Ross University
RUSM, commonly referred to as Ross University School of Medicine, is situated in Bridgetown, Barbados. The school was initially founded in Dominica. But in 2019, it was moved to Barbados.
The institution places a strong emphasis on experiential learning. RUSM takes pride in providing students with a global health perspective, which can be useful no matter where you choose to practice medicine in the US.
Traditional MD training is available at RUSM. To meet the particular needs of each student, the curriculum is divided in a few distinct ways. You can select a track based on your speed.
No matter which route you take, the curriculum is the same. The first part of your education will be devoted to studying the fundamentals of science and medicine. Rotations and clinical experience make up the second half.
4. American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine
The American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine, which is situated in St. Maarten, has a successful history. Ninety one percent of graduates in 2019 were matched to a residency program. In 2017, 96% of grads were successful on their first attempt at the USMLE Step 1!
The university only offers one MD program. The course material is based on US-based programs and will get you ready for licensure in all 50 states. The medical sciences are covered over the course of five semesters.
You will work with other students and medical professionals during this period to get clinical experience. You will join the team in an acting capacity after your clinical rotations are over. Along with working with attending physicians, you’ll receive valuable clinical experience.
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5. American University of Antigua
One of the more recent of the best Caribbean medical schools is the American University of Antigua. The institution has gained a solid reputation despite only being founded in 2004. Even in the US, it has developed strong connections with hospitals and educational institutions.
Over 40 associate hospitals are currently part of the American University of Antigua’s network, which spans both North America and Europe. At these sites, students can perform clinicals and receive practical experience dealing with a variety of patients. The institution collaborates with Florida International University on a clerkship certificate program.
A regular MD, an expedited pre-med program, and a BS in Human Health Sciences are among the few programs the school provides. As you can see, there are a variety of factors that make this one of the best Caribbean medical schools you may enroll in.
6. Medical University of the Americas
A smaller university called Medical University of the Americas is situated in the West Indies’ island of Nevis. Every year, the institution takes between 80 and 90 new students for the entering class. The majority of them are from the United States and Canada.
Having a smaller class size makes learning more personal. Instructors work one-on-one with students as they study the principles of the sciences. You can receive continued personal support even while doing clinical rotations.
These numbers from this Caribbean medical school are excellent. Almost 88 percent of graduates since 2001 have been accepted into residency programs in the US and Canada. A whopping 99% of graduates also succeeded on their first try at the USMLE Step 1 exam.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Which medical school in the Caribbean has the best match rate?
Ross University is an obvious choice if you want to go to medical school in Barbados. More than 16,200 of Ross' 1978-founded alumni are reportedly currently working as lawyers in the United States and Canada. The school's average MCAT score is 496 and its GPA is 3.2. Over 95% of applicants are matched to residencies.
Do Caribbean Medical Schools merit the expense?
It is undoubtedly simpler statistically. In comparison to US medical schools, the average GPA and MCAT for matriculants at Caribbean institutions is substantially lower. Students with poor GPAs and MCAT scores who have little to no chance of getting into a US MD or DO school can get a second chance at success at these institutions.
Can you transfer to US from a medical school in the Caribbean?
The LCME, which only accredits medical schools in the United States and Canada, is used by almost all US medical schools to evaluate transfer candidates only if they originate from such institutions.
When can I Apply to a Caribbean medical school?
Three cycles—one in May, one in August/September, and one in January/February—are used by Caribbean schools to open admissions. Consequently, if an American medical school rejects you in March, you can still apply to a top Caribbean medical school for the May cycle.
As you can see, the best Caribbean medical schools are nothing to belittle. In fact, they produce a huge number of excellent doctors every year!
We advise getting in touch with them to learn more if one (or more) of them catch your eye. This is due to the fact that many of them don’t disclose program data as frequently as medical schools in the US.
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