Competition for admission into American medical schools is fierce. With so many qualified students and so few places, the solution for many prospective applicants is to consider getting their education at one of the numerous Caribbean medical schools that have made themselves available as a second chance to medical students. The question here is whether the short-term benefits of outsourcing an education will help or hinder a medical student’s later career.
The primary appeal of Caribbean medical schools is their higher acceptance rate and lower tuition costs. With such competitive acceptance at U.S. medical schools, many eligible and dedicated students are left without a place to study. For this reason, Caribbean medical schools are able to offer otherwise capable students the opportunity to pursue a degree in medicine at a fraction of the cost — even when taking travel expenses into account. These institutions make themselves further available for prospective students by offering three application periods throughout the year. This allows students to start classes outside of the traditional, and often restricting, American start dates.
Since the 1970’s, Caribbean medical schools have begun to establish themselves as a viable option for medical students. Despite concerns over variability in the quality of education provided for undergraduates, students can check a school’s accreditation prior to applying to confirm their degree is valid in their home country. As for student qualifications, didactic studies during the first two years and clinical practice in their final years may differ from school to school, but graduate certification in the U.S. is based on Philadelphia’s Educational Committee on Foreign Medical Graduates, and is the same for all students — Caribbean or otherwise.
The biggest concern for students who are looking into attending Caribbean medical schools is whether or not they will be able to obtain a residency when they return to home. Although it is common for foreign students to face certain biases when applying for their residency matches, dedicated graduates of reputable Caribbean medical schools will find that, with adequate preparation when applying for residencies, their medical careers will not be hampered by the location of their studies.
With proper research into their prospective Caribbean institution, students can decide for themselves the pros and cons of obtaining their education overseas. For the dedicated and qualified students who fall victim to the competitive acceptance rates of American schools, however, Caribbean medical schools are a fair option for pursuing a medical education.