Applying to Caribbean medical School
They are called the "big four" in the Caribbean. Unlike US schools there is not an official ranking of medical schools. Many students who end up applying look at big categories of what they're looking for in a medical school. Many of these include drop out rate, class size, match rates ect. When looking at Caribbean Medical School many of the schools located on the islands are not accredited. Although there are some Caribbean Medical Programs that are completely accredited in the US (all 50 states). The schools that ARE accredited are known as the "big four". These are...
1. American University of the Caribbean (AUC)
2. Ross University
3. SABA University
4. St. Georges University (SGU)
If you are accepted or apply to any school other than the "big four" then they're NOT fully accredited. Accreditation means these schools are recognized by an external accreditation agency and the medical school has been deemed acceptable by the US Department of Education’s National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation to have the same accreditation standards as US and Canadian medical schools - known as LCME or Liaison Committee of Medical Education. As part of the accreditation, all four of these schools receive financial aid and are recognized for federal loans using FASFA. After looking into the accreditation into the LCME also ensure the school has approved all graduates to practice in all 50 states.
When looking for what school is right for you I organized a list of things to consider when looking into Caribbean Medical Schools.
This can vary depending on who is applying. Some of my classmates prefer larger class sizes and can function the same in a smaller class size or a larger class size. Other students, like myself, prefer a smaller class size which makes it easier to speak to professors after class and keeps more of the students accountable.
Medical school is expensive no matter where you go. Many schools in the Caribbean are also going to have higher living expenses due to the beautiful locations. This is seen on every campus across the world but it is especially true for the Caribbean. Make sure to take into consideration how much money you are going to be spending.... borrowing... This can make some very large debt in the future.
Drop Out Rate:
To be honest, if you're worried about the drop out rate you shouldn't be going to medical school. The people who end up dropping out of Caribbean medical school are mostly those who cannot handle the pressure and do not do anything to change their study habits. If you are a dedicated student and willing to do whatever it takes to get through medical school then I wouldn't worry about this. All of the "big four" medical schools have very good professors who mostly did come from the states.
USMLE Pass Rate:
Many of the accredited schools int he Caribbean do have the same USMLE pass rates as those in the states. Again this is what you put into this. The more you study and the harder you work the better you will do on USMLE. Any of the accredited schools are going to give you the resources to do this.
As of 2017 Match results, the number of IMGs who matched to their preferred specialty continue to increase. This year, 53.3% of ALL IMG students matched. This includes ALL IMG schools and not just Caribbean Medical Schools. While this varies from school to school I believe this is important difference between accredited and non-accredited Caribbean Medical Schools
Statistics about the "Big Four" Caribbean Medical Schools:
Administrative office: Great River, New York
Class size: 400
Drop out rate: 10%
USMLE Step 1: 96% Pass rate
Rotations: 70+ Locations
Residency Match Rate: 93%, 900+ students matched in 2017
Location: Sint Maarten
Administrative Office: Coral Gables, Florida
Class size: 100-200
Drop out rate: 13%
USMLE Step 1: 93%
Rotations: 29+ Locations
Location: Dominica but currently located in Tennessee
due to displacement by Hurricane Maria
Administrative office: North Brunswick, New Jersey
Class Size: 400-600
Drop out Rate: 50%
USMLE Step 1: 97%
Rotations: 24+ Locations
Administrative Office: Devens, Massachusetts
Class Size: 90-150
Drop out rate: 50%
Rotations: (Mostly East Coast) 20+
Although not considered apart of the "big Four" University of Antigua should receive full accreditation by 2019 and will then be also considered a completely accredited Caribbean Medical School.