What to Look For When Applying to a Caribbean Medical University

Attending a Caribbean medical university can be a dream come true. Entrance into a medical program can be a life-changing event, and you may find it difficult to wait for the program’s start date. Furthermore, the ability to study while living on a beautiful Caribbean island only adds to your excitement. Before you can enjoy life as a medical student at a Caribbean university, however, you must first apply for a program and be admitted. As you explore the different colleges and universities available in the Caribbean, focus on these three critical factors.

The School’s Accreditation
While there are more than 60 universities in the Caribbean that have medical programs, the accreditation of these schools varies substantially. It is important to research the accreditation that is required to practice medicine in the area you are interested in in the future. For example, if you wish to practice in the United States after graduating, only a few Caribbean schools like All Saints University have the proper accreditation to do so. The accreditation factor can drastically reduce your options and may give you just a few top schools to consider applying to.

The School’s Location
The location of the school is critical for several reasons. For example, you may prefer to live in a country that speaks your primary language. You may prefer a more heavily populated island that has greater opportunities for internships and work in your field while you study. You may also want an island that has a relatively low crime rate, numerous flights to the mainland for easy travel planning and more. The school’s location can dramatically impact your comfort level, your cost of living and more.

The Cost of Tuition
While the school’s location can affect your cost of living while studying, the school’s tuition rate can also directly affect your budget as well as your college loan needs. The annual tuition expense can vary substantially between schools, and you may find that two or three of your top picks vary by tens of thousands of dollars per year in cost. By focusing on this important factor, you may be able to determine which option is a top pick for you.

The school as well as the island must both be carefully researched before you make a final decision about which school to attend. By analyzing some of these factors up-front before you apply, you may even decide not to apply to a few schools. This can save you time and money up-front. However, be sure not to narrow down your list too much as you want to increase your chances of getting into a medical program by applying to several schools.

Are Caribbean Medical Schools A Viable Option?

The high competition for admission in local and American medical schools has led to many bright students applying to Caribbean Medical University. This recent turn of events has consequently resulted in the emergence of reputable institutions in the region in the last forty years or so, with a sole purpose of catching the overflow of medical students from abroad. Thousands of Caribbean attendees have practiced in the main hospitals across North America with some of them even rising through the ranks of hospital administrations against all the odds.

The ticket to becoming a practicing physician remains unchanged as students applying to attend foreign medical schools have to meet the criteria of becoming a resident in Canadian hospitals. The system of education is slightly different in the Caribbean. Graduates from foreign universities continue to play a critical role towards meeting the primary care medicine physician shortage.

Quality of Education

The quality of medical training in the Caribbean is decent. Top performing medical schools in the region are in Grenada, Dominica, Barbados, and Jamaica. Some of these schools could easily surpass the quality of some Canadian institutions, to be honest. About 95 percent of students in Caribbean med schools will pass the basic Medical Licensing Exam, according to reports from the academic journal. It is critical to find out precisely where the particular specialties students match when assessing the graduates’ success after attending these schools. It is unclear if the match results published by the universities are inclusive of all the details. Therefore, it could be hard to get the exact number of fourth-year students matching into specialty programs.

Residency and Attending Opportunities

A significant number of Canadian students who attend the Caribbean choose to pursue less competitive specialties such as family practice or internal medicine. However, those who decide to pursue other competitive specialties have enormous success in finding residency opportunities locally. Those with strong clinical and academic performances will acquire competitive residency positions without much hustle. Students should strategically plan their clinical clerkships in Canada before submitting an application for a residency position.

Overcome the Bias

To have a successful medical career a degree from a Caribbean university, make sure you attend an established Caribbean med school, have a strong academic performance, and get strong recommendation letters. Caribbean attendees can overcome some of the bias students who attend foreign colleges face when applying for the highly contested attending positions by getting the best residency training they can. The quality of an individual’s residency training tends to carry more weight than the colleges they went to.

Bottom Line

As long as you make an informed choice of the institution, specialty, and residency option, you will not regret attending a Caribbean medical school. It is a second chance for any aspiring medical professional left out by the system.