In this episode, I talk with Jered Weinstock, a 3rd year medical student at American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine.
Yup, in case you haven’t already known, Caribbean medical schools are one option if getting into an MD or DO school in the U.S. seems too bleak and hopefully after all other options have been considered.
Today, Jered shares with us his path to medical school specifically the struggles he faced, having to take the MCAT four times, getting into a Caribbean medical school, and having that passion to pursue medicine at all cost.
Here are the highlights of the conversation with Jered:
How Jered started his path to medicine:
- Biochemistry major with minor in Spanish
- Doing research and working part-time at a pharmacy
- Taking two practice tests and getting a 19 on the MCAT
- Taking his results to his premed advisor and suggesting he retook the MCAT
- Going ahead applying to so many schools
- Got one interview in Philadelphia but got rejected
The MCAT as the gatekeeper:
- MCAT is a very important test
- You need to focus on preparing for the MCAT
- Taking as much practice tests as needed
Retaking the MCAT, taking a year off, and a postbac program before medical school:
- Graduating from college, he retook MCAT and got a 22
- His premed advisor was still unhappy with the score and advised him to retake again
- Having a year off and working full time at a different pharmacy
- Had his trip of a lifetime spending 3 weeks in Europe
- Took the MCAT again after not receiving any interviews and got a 25 after doing more practice tests
- Decided not to work another year and did a postbac program in the biomedical sciences at a DO school in Philadelphia, PCOM
- Meeting a colleague in the postbac program and telling him about looking into Caribbean medical schools
- Getting interviewed by PCOM but got rejected
- Applying to the Caribbean medical school
Jered’s application to the Caribbean medical school:
- Getting a call from an advisor to help him through the whole process
- Taking the MCAT again and getting a 26
- Getting acceptance with only 10 days preparation to move to the Caribbean
- The U.S. government will grant financial loans to some accredited Caribbean schools
- Set up on a 5-semester basic science program
- First four semesters – basic science-oriented
- Each block is every 3-4 weeks
- After each block, you’re in front of a computer sitting down, taking exams for the three classes in the same day within about 3-4 hours
- Fifth semester is more clinically oriented
- Patient exposure and shadowing experience
- Preparing for USMLE Step 1 and getting a 240
The attrition rate at Caribbean medical schools:
- Caribbean medical schools are ‘for profit’ medical schools
- With 200 students starting out and coming across students who didn’t seem to have their heart and soul into it
- First two semesters as the “weeding out” phase
Dealing with the stigma of coming from a Caribbean medical school:
- The challenges of Caribbean medical school students:
- Lack of large medical center and no affiliation with a large teaching hospital
- Going up against U.S. students who will be the first priority in terms of residency application
Some pieces of advice for premed students:
Put in as much time as you feel you need for the MCAT. It is the gatekeeper. Don’t let that be the problem in terms of you getting into medical school. Live your dream! Nothing should stop you.
Links and Other Resources:
- Follow @jeredweinstock on Twitter.
- Caribbean Medical School Interview Resources
- PCOM Postbac Program
- Related episode: #RespectTheMCAT with @PremedP.
- Related episode: 5 Reasons to Go To Medical School, and 5 to Not.
- Need MCAT Prep? Save $50 on Next Step’s MCAT tutoring or course with promo code “MSHQTOC”! Save 10% on their practice tests with promo code “MSHQ.” Check it out here!