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Dispelling the myths of international medical schools

October 01, 2018
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There is a stigma surrounding international medical schools and much of it is unfounded. People are operating on misconceptions and outdated data. At Saint James School of Medicine we’ve heard all of these myths and more and thought it was about time to dispel these falsehoods with some cold hard facts.

MYTH #1: International medical schools are “second-chance schools”

FACT: The truth is, for some it may be, but that is ok. There are a number of reasons that students may diverge from the traditional path to their medical degree. Perhaps you started a family, pursued a different career path or didn’t make it past the application process. Every year, the US and Canadian med school application processes weed out more would-be doctors than the rigorous curriculum itself. More than 50,000 students apply for traditional medical schools each year. Unfortunately, only about 40% of applicants will actually matriculate into full-time students. During the admissions process, the majority of applicants are quickly and decisively eliminated based on a variety of factors: MCAT scores and GPA to letters of recommendation, personal statements, and tuition costs. Those are all valid reasons, but it doesn’t make you any less qualified. If that is the case, a Caribbean medical school is just the answer. Today, almost 1 in 4 doctors in the U.S. are graduates of a foreign medical school. There has been no significant increase in the intake of U.S. medical schools in decades, while the number of qualified candidates increases every year. As a result, some students with the potential to become excellent physicians miss out on a medical education. As a top Caribbean Medical School with accreditation, the Saint James School of Medicine offers a top quality MD Program and an affordable alternative to American and Canadian medical schools.

MYTH #2: The quality of training at overseas school isn’t up to par with other medical schools

FACT: Foreign medical graduates are monitored by the ECFMG in the U.S. and the MCC in Canada. The examinations conducted by the USMLE and the MCCEE, respectively, are a very effective regulatory mechanism of the quality of medical training. No student will be allowed to practice in these countries unless these examinations are cleared. Any student who passes these tests meets the standards of the U.S. and Canada and is therefore eligible to compete for residency slots and internships in these countries. In fact, Saint James is the first Caribbean medical school to provide a USMLE Step 1 Pass Guarantee.

MYTH #3: International medical schools are primarily for foreign students, not those from Canada and the U.S.

FACT: The demographic composition of overseas medical school classes has evolved over the years. In 2007, there were 1,828 U.S.-born students from international medical schools who were certified to enter the country’s residency and fellowship programs, versus 2,734 classmates born in India. A decade later, there were 3298 U.S. students, versus just 1,140 Indian students, according to the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG). In fact, the Caribbean has been the number one destination for medical education for U.S. and Canadian students for the last 30 years. Diversity in medical schools helps develop future physicians who have better cultural competence and are able to relate to their patients. Saint James encourages diversity in age and race throughout our staff and student body to create more well-rounded, compassionate physicians. Don’t let the myths deter you from following your dream of becoming a doctor. Your success is all in your hands. Do your research and discover the path that’s right for you. If you are interested in Saint James or would like some answers to your questions, please call the admissions team at 800-542-1553.
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