28 Helpful Questions to Ask When Selecting a Medical School in 2020

Okay, so you have finally decided to study in the Caribbean and pursue a rewarding career in the medical field. You have successfully secured a stellar MCAT score, gained clinical experience and completed all your prerequisite courses, now is the time to start thinking about selecting the right school. There are more than 60 medical institutions in the Caribbean, choosing where to apply can be a daunting undertaking. Being a prospective medical student, your goal is to find the perfect fit for you.

Probably you are thinking to submit your application to a long list of schools. Selecting the right medical university is one of the key steps along your premedical journey. Make sure to figure out how many schools to apply, where to apply, carefully research each school, and check their admission requirements prior to applying, so that you can make the right selection.

Here are some important considerations to keep in mind that will help you evaluate potential schools.

Here are 28 Questions that Help You Find the Best Med School

caribbean medical schools

  1. How to find the right school?

If you want to serve humanity, make a difference in people’s lives, and pursue a rewarding career in medicine, it’s the right time to start searching the right med schools in the Caribbean. Many schools follow the U.S. curriculum, offer a state-of-the-art learning environment, digital classrooms, and offer clinical rotations in the U.S. and Canada. WUSOM focuses on providing innovative curriculum based on cutting-edge learning techniques and affordable tuition fees.

  1. What are the benefits of studying?

Attending a Caribbean medical school is undoubtedly a great option for students who want to become a qualified doctor and serve the world in a myriad of ways. Med colleges in the Caribbean not only offer quality medical education, advanced clinical training, low tuition cost, higher acceptance rate, and graduate success rate but also allow you to pursue a lucrative career in the challenging medical field.

  1. Is the school accredited?

School accreditation is the most important factor students should take into account. Students are advised to do careful research before applying. Make sure the school you are applying to is accredited by the World Federation for Medical (WFME), the World Health Organization, the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research and International Medical Education Directory (FAIMER-IMED).

  1. How to apply?

The application process and admission requirements are different from school to school. In order to apply for an MD program in WUSOM, applicants need to complete an undergraduate degree, complete 8 credit hours in biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics, submit your transcripts, personal statement, two letters of recommendation, 2 passport size pictures, curriculum vitae, and your MCAT scores (optional).

  1. What are the admission requirements?

Keep in mind that the application process and admission requirements are different from school to school. Top schools required applicants to complete eight credit hours of biology, chemistry, physics, Mathematics, and English including lab experience. Applicants who have taken courses in advanced science coursework such as human anatomy, human physiology, genetics, as well as social science courses such as psychology, humanities, and philosophy are preferred over other candidates. In addition, you are required to submit 2-3 letters of recommendation, official transcript, personal statement and MCAT scores (optional).

  1. When do I apply?

One of the major benefits of applying in the Caribbean is rolling admissions, flexible deadline and hassle-free admission process. With rolling admissions, applications are evaluated on the basis of first come first basis and will have less competition. If you are thinking of pursuing an MD program or Premedical Science Program, you can apply to Spring, Summer, and Fall semesters.

  1. What documents do I have to submit for admission into Premed or MD program?

If you are applying for a premedical or MD program, you have to submit the transcripts of your undergraduate degree, personal statement, two letters of recommendation, two passport size pictures, curriculum vitae, and your MCAT scores (optional).

  1. What documents do I have to submit if I am an international student?

If you are an international student and applying, you need to submit an official credential evaluation report of transcript through World Education Services (WES), the official report of scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and refundable Security Deposit.

  1. Why do school rankings matter to students?

When it comes to creating a list of schools for your application, it is a good idea to consider the school rankings as it provides a broad interpretation of a school’s overall quality. Many students think that schools with higher rankings provide the best education and is the best fit for them. Different education ranking publications consider different factors such as MCAT, GPA, acceptance rate, faculty resource, research activity, and residency placement to determine the quality of the school. Applicants can use medical schools’ ranking to determine how competitive they are for the specific school. In addition, school rankings matter when it comes to submitting your residency application as it can increase your chances of matching into the competitive specialty of your choice.

  1. Can I apply to without MCAT?

Yes, you can apply without MCAT. There are many schools including Windsor University School of Medicine that don’t require the MCAT for admissions. If you want to study medicine, you can apply to a Windsor University School of Medicine with no MCAT. However, securing stellar MCAT scores can increase your chances of gaining admission. If your GPA is less than perfect, but your MCAT score is impressive, you can still get in. So, prepare well for the test and secure good marks.

  1. Is it possible to start medical school at 30?

Yes, it’s not late. If you are older than 30, you can still apply. Age is never a limitation when it comes to earning an MD degree. Many schools accept applicants into their 30’s and 40’s. So, if you have decided to study medicine and become a doctor, and you are in your 30s or older, you can start now.

  1. Is Windsor accredited?

WUSOM is accredited by the Medical Council and Accreditation Board of Government of St. Kitts. It is licensed and chartered by the Ministry of Education and listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools in partnership with FAIMER. Windsor University has been approved by the Medical Council of Canada and the Medical Council of India. The graduates are eligible to be Education Commission of Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) certified.

  1. What is the acceptance rate of the Caribbean schools?

As compared to US, the Caribbean region has a much higher acceptance rate. Many U.S. schools give more importance to MCAT scores; on the other hand, Caribbean schools don’t require the MCAT to apply. Aspiring medical professionals who were rejected from the U.S. should consider studying in the Caribbean to fulfill their dream. Students have higher chances of getting an interview call who fulfills all the admission prerequisites. WUSOM wants to provide an equal chance to all applicants to prove their passion and potential regardless of their MCAT scores.

  1. How long is the MD program?

If you have a dream of becoming a physician and applying to an MD program, it is important to note that the path to becoming an excellent doctor takes five years, three years in residency and fellowships depending on the medical specialty you choose.

  1. How long is the Premed Program?

It takes four years to complete the premedical Science program. You don’t need to take a major in science courses if you complete the required course works. Upon successful completion of 4 semesters of premedical courses, students are eligible to complete the Basic Medical Science program.

  1. Can I get admission with a low GPA?

If your GPA is less than ideal, don’t worry; you can still gain admission. Since your GPA is the most important factor that can improve your chances of getting a spot, it is not the only factor that the admission committees consider. They give much importance to other areas to evaluate your application.

  1. Do grades matter when applying? 

Your grades are the most important component that can strengthen your application. The overall GPA requirements are lower than in the U.S. Though grades are not the only criterion for acceptance, many other factors matter most during the admission process. Grade requirements depend on the medical university; however, it is important to secure stellar grades in biology, chemistry, physics, and other science courses. As admissions committees want to ensure that you have a solid understanding of the basic concepts and can handle the coursework you are required to study. It is strongly advised to check the entry requirements where you are applying to.

  1. How much does it cost to go to study in the Caribbean?

The tuition cost is relatively lower than the schools in the U.S. and Canada. This is why many students prefer studying medicine in the Caribbean because of their affordable tuition costs. The average tuition cost is $3,990 per semester for the pre-medical program, $4,990 per semester for the basic sciences program, and $6,490 per semester for the clinical sciences program.

  1. Do you need a bachelor’s degree program?

In order to gain admission to a top medical university, students are required to complete a bachelor’s degree program, which includes the prerequisite courses of General Biology, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physics, English, and Mathematics. Applicants are advised to complete courses in advanced science courses such as genetics, biochemistry, human physiology. Most schools require a minimum of 90 credit hours of undergraduate coursework and must complete the undergraduate study before applying.

  1. Is it really difficult?

Studying medicine is a long and arduous undertaking. From learning the sheer amount of information to completing a lot of assignments, performing lab work to meeting the challenging demands of clinical rotations, many students find it extremely hard to survive. By following smart learning strategies, effective study habits, helpful memorization techniques, you can perform well and become a competent physician.

  1. What are the pros and cons of Caribbean schools?

There is a lot of benefits of studying in the Caribbean.

  • It’s easier to gain acceptance than the US.
  • They have rolling admissions schedules.
  • Affordable tuition cost.
  • They focus on providing their students with early clinical training.
  • They offer clinical rotations in the U.S.

Besides offering countless benefits, there are some cons as well:

  • Not all schools in the Caribbean are accredited.
  • Students find it challenging to get residency placements in certain specialties.
  1. What are the admission requirements for the premed program?

Students are required to obtain a bachelor’s degree before applying. Since any undergraduate major is acceptable, you need to fulfill the course requirements of general and organic chemistry, physics, biology, English, calculus or college-level mathematics.

  1. What are the admission requirements for the MD program?

In order to apply to the five-year MD program, students need to complete the undergraduate degree with a science background, official transcript, MCAT scores (optional), personal statement, letters of recommendation, passport size pictures, activities and achievements (if any).

  1. What is the highest MCAT score ever recorded?

Taking the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is the most important step in applying. Aspiring students should submit their MCAT scores to increase their chances of acceptance. The maximum possible score is 528. The highest MCAT score for matriculants who have been accepted is 519.

  1. Is it easy to get a residency match?

Attending an accredited med school in the Caribbean will prepare you for residency placements in a myriad of competitive specialties. Graduates are eligible to obtain residencies in a variety of hospital programs in different states of the United States and Canada.

  1. How long is the admission process?

The admission process is less stressful and more feasible than U.S. Rolling admissions allow students to apply three times a year, January, May, and August. The admissions committee provides application assistance and helps students with their admission process. Applicants usually get an interview call and hear about the final decision within two weeks.

  1. What is the student drop out rate?

Caribbean schools have around 7-12% drop rate. Schools in the Caribbean that offers a higher tuition rate have high attrition rates compared to those that offer affordable tuition fee.

  1. What are the major problems?

The medical journey is a difficult journey. Learning the sheer amount of information, memorizing difficult medical terms and concepts, preparing for USMLE Step 1 and Step 2, and clinical rotations are the major problems usually students face.

Final Words

Applicants want to get into the most prestigious institution, but a school reputation is not the only factor to consider. It is important to explore school websites, speak with the current students and alumni, attend an interview to learn the culture and curriculum of a school. Furthermore, factors such as early opportunities for medical training, preclinical course load, shadowing opportunities, research opportunities, and elective third-year rotations also matter when selecting the right school.

Now you have developed an in-depth understanding of how to choose a school, it’s time to start evaluating your options and narrowing your focus. Visit your favorite school to get a feel for the place. Hopefully, these questions will help you find the best medical university for you.

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