DO vs Caribbean Medical School? What Should I Do?

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DO vs Caribbean Medical School? What Should I Do?

Session 4

In today’s discussion, we answer the second part of a question from last week’s episode. Today we discuss whether a premed student with a low GPA should apply to DO medical schools in the U.S. or Caribbean MD medical schools. Which option offers better prospects?

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

OldPreMeds Question of the Week: DO vs Caribbean Medical Schools

As usual on the OldPreMeds Podcast, our question is taken from the Nontrad Premed Forum. Our posts has struggled academically. Their cumulative GPA is not going to be above 3.0 unless they take over 120 additional hours of classes. But their Science GPA is better, at 3.5+.

Should this student apply to DO medical schools in the U.S., or should they go for a Caribbean MD medical school? Which is a better choice? And which will give you better prospects for residency and attending jobs afterward?

Which will give you better prospects for residency, a U.S. osteopathic medical school or a Carribean MD medical school?Click To Tweet

DO Medical Schools vs Carribean Medical Schools

Our advice: Always, always go for a U.S. medical school (MD or DO) over Caribbean medical schools, even if it takes you a couple of application cycles to get in.

Consider the Stats for U.S. Medical Schools

At U.S. medical schools,

  • About 40% of people get accepted
  • Residency matching rates after 5 years at 94%
  • Residency matching rates after 8 years at 97%
  • Placement rate at 100% (getting residency slots outside of the main match)
  • Attrition rate at 3%

In short, most people who start medical school in the U.S. are able to finish.

Other Things to Consider

  • The MD and DO Residency Merger: Soon, MD and DO residency programs will merge and have one match.
  • The 1-2% of U.S. medical school graduates who never look for residency go with research or other non-clinical fields. It’s a great degree to have even outside of clinical medicine.

What Are the Risks of Carribean Medical Schools?

Carribean medical schools will accept almost anyone, but only 50% of students who go to the big 3 or 4 Caribbean medical schools actually end up getting a degree.

If you attend a Caribbean med school or any other off-shore medical school, your chances of actually finishing and earning a degree are much lower than when you matriculate at a U.S. medical school.

Graduates of Carribean medical schools only have a 40-45% of matching into a U.S. residency program.Click To Tweet

Your chances of getting a residency slot are also much lower after a Carribean medical school, at about 40-45%. This is a huge risk when you consider the loans you’re taking out for medical school. If you can’t practice medicine afterward because you couldn’t get into residency, it will likely be a lot harder to pay off those loans.

[Related episode: President of His Carribean Med School Class Failed to Match.]

The For-profit Nature of Caribbean Medical Schools

100% of the medical schools in the Caribbean are for-profit institutions. In the U.S., only 1.1% of all DO and MD schools (2 out of 175) are run on a for-profit basis.

Conclusion: Choose DO over Carribean Medical Schools

Only consider Caribbean medical schools as your last resort, after you’ve applied twice to U.S. medical schools and fixed your application between those cycles.

Only consider Caribbean medical schools as your last resort.Click To Tweet

When it comes to other medical schools outside the U.S., there are some differences. The big medical schools in the Caribbean may not be as valuable as some of the smaller schools in Australia and in Israel, which have different setups and histories. But in any case, U.S. residency match rates are just working against anyone who goes to medical school outside the country.

Links and Other Resources