Caribbean MD vs. DO?

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OPM 310: Caribbean MD vs. DO?

Session 310

This premed was accepted to a Caribbean MD school – but wants to know if they should hold out for a DO acceptance in the states.

Questions answered here on the podcast are taken directly from the Premed Hangout. Go ask your questions there and use #OPMquestion.

Also, please be sure to check out all our other podcasts on Meded Media as we try to bring you as many resources as you need on this journey.

Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.

[01:00] The MCAT Minute

The MCAT Minute is brought to you by Blueprint MCAT.

Specifically for nontraditional students, one of the hardest things is trying to figure out when to take the MCAT. It’s because you’re not a traditional student, you don’t work on traditional schedules, and so you have to think about when you’re going to ideally start medical school.

If you want to start in August of 2025, that means you’re applying in June of 2024, which means you’re taking the MCAT before that date. And so, you have a whole year and a half before you plan on starting medical school.

Two years before you start medical school, you should start thinking about prepping and planning and all that stuff. 

Use the free study planner tool over at Blueprint MCAT. With a free account, you get access to that study planner tool to figure out what that schedule looks like moving forward. That way you can also work in your responsibilities as a parent, as a spouse, as an employee, or whatever that maybe to make sure you’re setting yourself up for success on the MCAT.

[02:03] OldPreMeds Question of the Week

“I’m a 30 y/o applicant here. I got an acceptance for St. George’s University and am waiting to hear about interview offers from two DO schools in the states.

I received my MCAT score back from retaking it this summer, and I actually did worse despite studying this time, so it was a big fail.

My question is, should I just throw it out and up-root to Grenada, having to drag along my dog and cat, or should I re-apply next cycle (obviously retake the MCAT…again) and go to med school in the states?”

[02:39] Going to a Caribbean Medical School

This is a very common dilemma for students, especially nontrads who are usually trying to speed things along because they are older in life. They want to speed up this whole process because it’s long, with four years of medical school and three years of residency, on average.

“The biggest question is, what have you done to prove to yourself that you're academically capable of doing well in medical school?”Click To Tweet

You Have More to Prove

If you go to a Caribbean school, you have to be a super strong student, just as strong, if not stronger, than you would have been here in the States. 

You have more to prove. When you come back to match for your residency, you are rightfully or wrongfully placed at a lower tier to your U.S. counterparts. So you have to make sure that you are going to be academically capable of doing well in the Caribbean.

You have to be strict and organized and self-sufficient enough to block out all the distractions of classmates leaving, being dismissed, and getting kicked out. Understand that the attrition rate in Caribbean schools is notoriously higher than it is here in the States. And that is a potential distraction.

How Residency Programs View You

There are amazing physicians here in the states who went to Caribbean medical schools.

'The education that you potentially can get in the Caribbean medical schools is good enough to be an amazing physician here in the States. It's not lesser than, it's, it's just as good.'Click To Tweet

And so, just to be clear here. From an education standpoint, you are not lesser than. But in the eyes of the residency programs, you are lesser than, unfortunately. And so, you have to do more to prove yourself.

[06:00] Should You Go to a Caribbean Medical School?

You shouldn’t go to a Caribbean medical school unless you have to go to a Caribbean medical school.

'Don't go to Caribbean medical school unless you have to. It just makes things harder coming back.'Click To Tweet

The Big Four Caribbean medical schools are the four safest schools out there. There are Caribbean medical schools out there, where you will go, you’ll pay your money, you’ll get your education. Then you’ll come back to the states and find out that you can’t get licensed here, or you can’t get licensed in certain states. So be careful.

Never go to a Caribbean medical school that waives the MCAT. The MCAT is a big test so you have to make sure that you are going to be okay with studying and putting a lot of effort into that test.

And so if you really have to go to a Caribbean school go to one of the more prominent Caribbean medical schools.

[07:48] Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, the decision is all up to you. If you’ve been trying and trying to get into a U.S. school year after year after year, go to the Caribbean. Work your butt off and go to the Caribbean. If you are just one cycle into the U.S., don’t go to the Caribbean. Try again here in the States, fix your MCAT score.

We don’t have enough data yet to see the ramifications of Caribbean medical schools with the match and with Step 1 going pass/fail. 

Again, don’t go to Caribbean school unless you have to go to a Caribbean school. Meaning you’ve tried to get into the states one time. You didn’t get in. You asked questions and you figured things out.

Keep trying to figure it out one cycle, two cycles, three cycles. If you’re getting to the point where you really think you can’t do it anymore, then go to the Caribbean. This is your dream, to go to the Caribbean. But try again here in the States first.


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