Applying to medical school is a daunting process. Caribbean medical schools offer a unique opportunity for students that are looking for a unique medical school experience or who have been rejected by schools in the United States. Many Caribbean schools will accept students with lower GPAs and MCAT scores but still produce high-performing physicians. If you want to apply to a medical school in the Caribbean, there are a few things to keep in mind.
There are many medical schools in the Caribbean, several of which produce well-trained physicians, but not all are accredited. Be sure to check before you begin the application process as your chances of being accepted for residencies will be better with a degree from an accredited school. Many clerkships and residencies in the United States are closed to students that have graduated from an unaccredited university.
Application types and requirements vary depending the type of student applying. Students from the United States, for example, are required to submit an MCAT score, although it may or may not be considered during the application process. However, Canadian students are not required to submit an MCAT or TOEFL score. Additionally, Canada has their own loan programs that make it easier for Canadian students to attend a Caribbean medical school. Do your research. Be sure you know the requirements before applying and check what student category into which you fall.
Understanding the Admission Process
While the admission process at Caribbean medical schools is similar to schools in the United States, they have some differences that will make a big difference in how you approach the application process. Both schools encourage students to do independent research on any school before applying but it is also important to make a personal visit if at all possible. You’ll be able to get a feel for the campus and the type of students that thrive in that environment. You may also have an opportunity to talk to alumni and current students.
Academic calendars vary greatly between the U.S. and the Caribbean. Caribbean schools have rolling enrollment which means they accept applicants several times a year whereas U.S. schools only accept students once a year.
Because of the number of students applying to U.S. medical schools, these schools focus on scores and GPAs when determining who they will accept. Caribbean schools consider other factors such as dedication, desire, and aptitude rather than MCAT scores giving them the opportunity to accept students with a wide variety of backgrounds.
The Whole Student
When considering students, Caribbean medical schools tend to look at the whole person rather than the numbers on a page. Knowing how to navigate the application and admittance process will increase your chances of being accepted into the school of your choice.