Thursday, February 2, 2012

Caribbean Medical Schools - Advantages and Disadvantages

When considering whether one of the many Caribbean Medical Schools is right for you it's important to do thorough research and get as much information as possible so you can make an informed choice. There is no doubt that the Caribbean is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. If you decide to go to school in the Caribbean you'll be immersing yourself in that beauty while getting a world-class medical education.
Here are a few things you should consider when starting down the path to gather that information and making your choice:
1. Cost
It is usually significantly less expensive to attend a Caribbean school. Even the top universities are a fraction of most top U.S. schools. An important note is the fact that there will be extra costs associated with studying abroad, such as travel expenses and travel student health insurance. However, even with those added expenses the total cost of education is far cheaper.
2. Rolling admissions
Some Caribbean medical schools have rolling admissions. What that means is that the window for applying to a given school can be very wide, often with 3 periods each year. This can make the application process far less stressful and allow more time to make sure everything you need is in order before submitting your application.
3. High USMLE pass rates
The top Caribbean medical schools have USMLE first-time pass rates that are at or above the U.S. average. High USMLE pass rates are a strong indicator that the programs offered by Caribbean schools are top level and that your education and advancement is taken seriously.
4. Admission Opportunities
Even with the best scores getting into medical school can sometimes be impossible. The number of applicants to U.S. schools is always far greater than the number of open slots. Caribbean medical schools give people opportunities to go to medical school that they might not otherwise have.
5. Clinical Rotation Opportunities
The first two years will be at the overseas campuses for all Caribbean medical schools, but the clinical rotations for the top schools are in the U.S. This offers a huge advantage to students in that they can benefit from the higher acceptance rates to get into the Caribbean universities while still being able to learn from the doctors at U.S. hospitals during their clinical rotations.
1. Wide range of quality
Not all Caribbean medical schools are the same, to say the least. The folks who run the schools know that there is high competition among prospective students to find a school to attend. At the top schools this has led to greater competition to elevate their programs and attract the best students. However, It has also meant the opportunity for lesser schools to make their way into the market and take advantage of those who might fall prey. Sticking to one of the best and oldest universities like is a safe decision because they are very well known and highly reputable. If you decide to investigate one of the newer schools be sure you research them especially well.
2. Language barrier
Again, this is something that you won't have to worry about at the top schools, but some Caribbean medical Schools don't use English as their primary teaching language. If you aren't fluent in the spoken language (usually Spanish) you will have a considerable disadvantage and will struggle unnecessarily.
3. Living in a foreign country can be challenging
The beginning of this article highlights the fact that the Caribbean is an incredibly beautiful part of the world. It is still a foreign country though, and its customs and culture are different than what most North Americans are used to. Most people find the differences exciting and fun, but some do find that it adds more stress to the already demanding medical school curriculum.
Deciding which medical schools to attend is a life-changing decision. It's important that you put a lot of time into gathering as much information as you can. Caribbean medical schools offer much to the student who puts forth the effort. Investigate the possibilities and see if a Caribbean medical school might be a perfect fit for you.

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