Students

Medical School acceptance rate

  • Last Updated:
  • Mar 17th, 2017 8:36 pm
Jr. Member
Jul 20, 2009
187 posts
177 upvotes
motime wrote:
Mar 15th, 2017 12:56 pm
I honestly know at least 15 people who couldn't get into medical school in Canada but went to the Caribbean and are now doing residency or practicing in US and Canada. I don't know how much easier it is to get into Caribbean schools but everyone seems to be going there, and it does seem to work. A lot of these people were not outstanding students at all, neither were they from well off families.
In my time, my school was actually 70% Canadian. It's probably more like 40-50% now because of the exchange rate and my school getting US federal loan approval. It's WAY easier to get in, especially if you have a Canadian undergrad. You can say that it works, but you don't hear as much about the people that fail or the people that don't match because they tend not to tell anyone. I think only about 50% of my original class ended up graduating on time.

It's easy to say that people weren't outstanding students, but most of them did poorly in undergrad for a variety of reasons (excuses) and just needed some time to get their crap together. My excuse was that I had no idea how to study in my first two years and because of that my overall GPA was atrocious despite me figuring it out later in undergrad. Several of the kids in my school had 3.7+ GPAs and simply didn't want to wait for their chance in Canada. All of those students did really well so matching wasn't an issue for them as long as they were okay with primary care. One guy got into U of T med after starting with me so it's not like we were all underachievers. It's a little mean for me to say this, but the kids that didn't get their act together in undergrad and that were poor students all along ended up failing out pretty quickly because they didn't belong in med school in the first place. Medicine isn't for everyone and some people just can't excel in an academic environment even if they're otherwise intelligent.

Cost wise, it depends where you go. A school like St. Georges or Ross is pretty expensive, whereas Saba and MUA are more reasonable. Your province also determines your government funding. Ontario kids got very little from OSAP or whatever they call it. I got 3x what they got being an Albertan and of course there are $150k lines of credit to cover the rest. I paid for the entire thing myself as I'm not from a well off family and I somehow have less debt than many of my Canadian colleagues. Mind you, they used their lines of credit to go on vacation and buy themselves nice things whereas I lived on instant noodles.
Buster34 wrote:
Mar 15th, 2017 2:57 pm
Ireland works.doable
Yep, though it's crazy expensive. Two years in Ireland is about what I paid for my entire education. If you go from high school then it's obviously better, but I don't see why people go to Ireland if they already have an undergrad. After talking to my Canadian IMG classmates, I probably would have done Australia if I could do it all over again and money wasn't such an issue. They seemed so much happier than I was in the Caribbean.
Sr. Member
Sep 29, 2008
610 posts
69 upvotes
Mississauga
oilerfan4lyfe wrote:
Mar 15th, 2017 8:07 pm
In my time, my school was actually 70% Canadian. It's probably more like 40-50% now because of the exchange rate and my school getting US federal loan approval. It's WAY easier to get in, especially if you have a Canadian undergrad. You can say that it works, but you don't hear as much about the people that fail or the people that don't match because they tend not to tell anyone. I think only about 50% of my original class ended up graduating on time.

It's easy to say that people weren't outstanding students, but most of them did poorly in undergrad for a variety of reasons (excuses) and just needed some time to get their crap together. My excuse was that I had no idea how to study in my first two years and because of that my overall GPA was atrocious despite me figuring it out later in undergrad. Several of the kids in my school had 3.7+ GPAs and simply didn't want to wait for their chance in Canada. All of those students did really well so matching wasn't an issue for them as long as they were okay with primary care. One guy got into U of T med after starting with me so it's not like we were all underachievers. It's a little mean for me to say this, but the kids that didn't get their act together in undergrad and that were poor students all along ended up failing out pretty quickly because they didn't belong in med school in the first place. Medicine isn't for everyone and some people just can't excel in an academic environment even if they're otherwise intelligent.

Cost wise, it depends where you go. A school like St. Georges or Ross is pretty expensive, whereas Saba and MUA are more reasonable. Your province also determines your government funding. Ontario kids got very little from OSAP or whatever they call it. I got 3x what they got being an Albertan and of course there are $150k lines of credit to cover the rest. I paid for the entire thing myself as I'm not from a well off family and I somehow have less debt than many of my Canadian colleagues. Mind you, they used their lines of credit to go on vacation and buy themselves nice things whereas I lived on instant noodles.



Yep, though it's crazy expensive. Two years in Ireland is about what I paid for my entire education. If you go from high school then it's obviously better, but I don't see why people go to Ireland if they already have an undergrad. After talking to my Canadian IMG classmates, I probably would have done Australia if I could do it all over again and money wasn't such an issue. They seemed so much happier than I was in the Caribbean.
So what is the deal with these Caribbean schools? So many people I know have studied there. I don't tend to ask questions but it has got me a bit curious. Is the education just as good as in Canada? Do people specialize there? Do they tend to get paid the same once they become Canadian doctors and such? What if they want to specialize in something more demanding such as dermatology or surgery? Are these schools more expensive than Canadian schools? I actually also have a friend from Alberta who is in Australia studying medicine, that seems a better option to me.

Thanks.
Newbie
Apr 11, 2016
70 posts
10 upvotes
motime wrote:
Mar 15th, 2017 8:56 pm
So what is the deal with these Caribbean schools? So many people I know have studied there. I don't tend to ask questions but it has got me a bit curious. Is the education just as good as in Canada? Do people specialize there? Do they tend to get paid the same once they become Canadian doctors and such? What if they want to specialize in something more demanding such as dermatology or surgery? Are these schools more expensive than Canadian schools? I actually also have a friend from Alberta who is in Australia studying medicine, that seems a better option to me.

Thanks.
I suggest that you look at the premed subreddit for more information on the Carribean schools. They all say that it is not worth it to go there - your chances of matching into residency are lower and your chances of getting into a competitive field is even lower (not to say that it isn't possible, because it definitely is if you work extremely hard and score well). Literally search on their subreddit for the term, "Caribbean" and you will see a lot of negative views on the subject matter. As one of the other posters mentioned, a good portion of his original class did not graduate with him. Whether it's because they dropped out or did not match (or whatever reason), the question is: Do you want to risk going to a school where the odds are stacked against you to (A) get into residency, (B) get into a competitive field (if that's your cup of tea) and (C) graduate? In my opinion, a US MD will always be the better option - you will have a much higher chance to land a residency and your field of interest is probably possible as well. I've seen a couple of posts on the subreddit that you can graduate with a MD but not get into residency. You will most likely not be able to practice as a MD if you don't do residency and then you'll have a TON of debt that you will have to pay off. If you want to take this risk, go ahead. There's a reason as to why they accept almost anyone ...
Jr. Member
Jul 20, 2009
187 posts
177 upvotes
motime wrote:
Mar 15th, 2017 8:56 pm

So what is the deal with these Caribbean schools? So many people I know have studied there. I don't tend to ask questions but it has got me a bit curious. Is the education just as good as in Canada? Do people specialize there? Do they tend to get paid the same once they become Canadian doctors and such? What if they want to specialize in something more demanding such as dermatology or surgery? Are these schools more expensive than Canadian schools? I actually also have a friend from Alberta who is in Australia studying medicine, that seems a better option to me.

Thanks.
Caribbean schools are a second chance for people who REALLY want to become physicians and don't think they'll ever get into Canada (or the US). The education is much worse than what students get in Canada. That doesn't mean that Caribbean grads aren't just as good, but rather that there's a lot less help and if you want to be good, you have to do it mostly on your own. I was told that compared to my resident colleagues I was better than average with book knowledge and a bit below when it comes to clinical skills so I focused on improving the latter in my first year of residency. It makes sense since med school for me was frantic studying in order to excel on the USMLE so I had lots of book knowledge, whereas in Canada the focus is more on clinical skills and not just book knowledge. Some schools don't even have grades, they're pass/fail.

Most Caribbean schools have you down there for about 2 years give or take to do classroom learning, but your last 2 years of medical school are done in the US...those are called clerkships. Once you pass those 4 years, you get your MD and then you have to match to residency which is like a practicum prior to practicing independently. Your education will obviously depend on how good of a school you go to, even in the Caribbean. Last I checked there were something like 100 Caribbean schools and they're definitely not equal. There are about 5-6 of them that are above the others in terms of quality. The clerkships that you do also depend on your school and the agreements that they have with US hospitals/universities. Better schools have better clerkships but the quality still isn't what US or Canadian students get as the Caribbean grads are essentially getting the rotations that US students don't want.

Some people do specialize, but the vast majority of Caribbean grads end up in primary care. There are very few spots for specialties if you're applying to residency as an international grad, especially in Canada. The year I applied, there was one spot in each of anesthesia and radiology in all of Western Canada. I know that there was nothing for derm in Western Canada...I assume U of T had one spot for derm...so that's one spot in the entire country for international grads. Almost everyone that wants to specialize from the Caribbean ends up getting their residency in something like family first, then transferring either during residency or doing further training to tailor their practice to their desires. For example, a family med resident can apply to do a 3rd year of training in anesthesia and then work in a rural area as an anesthesiologist. Once you're in residency, no one really cares if you got your MD from Harvard, U of T, or from the Caribbean. The only other consideration is that some provinces have return of service agreements where you're forced to work for a certain amount of years after finishing residency in an underserviced area of that province, so they can potentially block you from specializing based on that.

We have 3 residents in my class that are Canadians who went to Australia for med school. All of them seemed to enjoy their time a lot more than I did. They also have the option of getting residency in Australia and staying there, though it's generally a longer process there than it is here. My knowledge of their system is limited so I'll let you look that up yourself.
KPanOpto wrote:
Mar 15th, 2017 10:56 pm
I suggest that you look at the premed subreddit for more information on the Carribean schools. They all say that it is not worth it to go there - your chances of matching into residency are lower and your chances of getting into a competitive field is even lower (not to say that it isn't possible, because it definitely is if you work extremely hard and score well). Literally search on their subreddit for the term, "Caribbean" and you will see a lot of negative views on the subject matter. As one of the other posters mentioned, a good portion of his original class did not graduate with him. Whether it's because they dropped out or did not match (or whatever reason), the question is: Do you want to risk going to a school where the odds are stacked against you to (A) get into residency, (B) get into a competitive field (if that's your cup of tea) and (C) graduate? In my opinion, a US MD will always be the better option - you will have a much higher chance to land a residency and your field of interest is probably possible as well. I've seen a couple of posts on the subreddit that you can graduate with a MD but not get into residency. You will most likely not be able to practice as a MD if you don't do residency and then you'll have a TON of debt that you will have to pay off. If you want to take this risk, go ahead. There's a reason as to why they accept almost anyone ...
Remember that places like reddit, valueMD, premed forums, etc. are biased. You'll have more people who fail out or do poorly sharing their experiences compared to those who excel and do well.

Going to the Caribbean was the best life decision I ever made. I got my MD and I matched to residency in Canada. Yes, it's not that sweet for everyone, but I definitely lucked out and couldn't be happier. I would have always regretted it if I gave up and did something else just because I couldn't get into med school.

While it's true that only about 50% of my class graduated on time, I'd guess that 90ish percent of us got a residency somewhere in something on the first try. Out of the remaining 10% most of them got a spot the following year. I doubt there are more than 2 or 3 people who graduated on time and never matched. That's also in part because I went to a hard med school. If you couldn't hack it, you failed out. If you made it through, your chances of matching to residency were quite good.

After all that typing I think the best way to sum it up is to say that the Caribbean should be a last resort for people who absolutely want to be physicians and can't get into Canada or the US. Your life will be a million times easier and less stressful if you get into med school in Canada/US and are considered a domestic applicant instead of an international.

Sorry for the essay...hope that helps.
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User avatar
Mar 29, 2008
2821 posts
213 upvotes
oilerfan4lyfe wrote:
Mar 16th, 2017 7:30 pm
Caribbean schools are a second chance for people who REALLY want to become physicians and don't think they'll ever get into Canada (or the US). The education is much worse than what students get in Canada. That doesn't mean that Caribbean grads aren't just as good, but rather that there's a lot less help and if you want to be good, you have to do it mostly on your own. I was told that compared to my resident colleagues I was better than average with book knowledge and a bit below when it comes to clinical skills so I focused on improving the latter in my first year of residency. It makes sense since med school for me was frantic studying in order to excel on the USMLE so I had lots of book knowledge, whereas in Canada the focus is more on clinical skills and not just book knowledge. Some schools don't even have grades, they're pass/fail.

Most Caribbean schools have you down there for about 2 years give or take to do classroom learning, but your last 2 years of medical school are done in the US...those are called clerkships. Once you pass those 4 years, you get your MD and then you have to match to residency which is like a practicum prior to practicing independently. Your education will obviously depend on how good of a school you go to, even in the Caribbean. Last I checked there were something like 100 Caribbean schools and they're definitely not equal. There are about 5-6 of them that are above the others in terms of quality. The clerkships that you do also depend on your school and the agreements that they have with US hospitals/universities. Better schools have better clerkships but the quality still isn't what US or Canadian students get as the Caribbean grads are essentially getting the rotations that US students don't want.

Some people do specialize, but the vast majority of Caribbean grads end up in primary care. There are very few spots for specialties if you're applying to residency as an international grad, especially in Canada. The year I applied, there was one spot in each of anesthesia and radiology in all of Western Canada. I know that there was nothing for derm in Western Canada...I assume U of T had one spot for derm...so that's one spot in the entire country for international grads. Almost everyone that wants to specialize from the Caribbean ends up getting their residency in something like family first, then transferring either during residency or doing further training to tailor their practice to their desires. For example, a family med resident can apply to do a 3rd year of training in anesthesia and then work in a rural area as an anesthesiologist. Once you're in residency, no one really cares if you got your MD from Harvard, U of T, or from the Caribbean. The only other consideration is that some provinces have return of service agreements where you're forced to work for a certain amount of years after finishing residency in an underserviced area of that province, so they can potentially block you from specializing based on that.

We have 3 residents in my class that are Canadians who went to Australia for med school. All of them seemed to enjoy their time a lot more than I did. They also have the option of getting residency in Australia and staying there, though it's generally a longer process there than it is here. My knowledge of their system is limited so I'll let you look that up yourself.



Remember that places like reddit, valueMD, premed forums, etc. are biased. You'll have more people who fail out or do poorly sharing their experiences compared to those who excel and do well.

Going to the Caribbean was the best life decision I ever made. I got my MD and I matched to residency in Canada. Yes, it's not that sweet for everyone, but I definitely lucked out and couldn't be happier. I would have always regretted it if I gave up and did something else just because I couldn't get into med school.

While it's true that only about 50% of my class graduated on time, I'd guess that 90ish percent of us got a residency somewhere in something on the first try. Out of the remaining 10% most of them got a spot the following year. I doubt there are more than 2 or 3 people who graduated on time and never matched. That's also in part because I went to a hard med school. If you couldn't hack it, you failed out. If you made it through, your chances of matching to residency were quite good.

After all that typing I think the best way to sum it up is to say that the Caribbean should be a last resort for people who absolutely want to be physicians and can't get into Canada or the US. Your life will be a million times easier and less stressful if you get into med school in Canada/US and are considered a domestic applicant instead of an international.

Sorry for the essay...hope that helps.
Thanks for the informative and honest posts and for sharing your personal experience...
Sr. Member
Sep 29, 2008
610 posts
69 upvotes
Mississauga
Thanks for the info. Yes I don't see how it is a bad idea given that most people I know that did goto Caribbean med schools are doing residency in the US. It is still hard to get placements in Canada but they all managed to get residency in the US. I was just curious about this since so many people I know have gone this route and been successful, I am a computer science major personally and have little interest in medicine.

So overall we can say it is much easier to get spots in medical schools in the Caribbean? And if you do reasonably well then you can find residency in the US but it is difficult to specialize and you are generally left with being a GP/paediatrics and internal medicine etc which are easier specialties to get into?
Jr. Member
Jul 20, 2009
187 posts
177 upvotes
motime wrote:
Mar 17th, 2017 2:49 pm
Thanks for the info. Yes I don't see how it is a bad idea given that most people I know that did goto Caribbean med schools are doing residency in the US. It is still hard to get placements in Canada but they all managed to get residency in the US. I was just curious about this since so many people I know have gone this route and been successful, I am a computer science major personally and have little interest in medicine.

So overall we can say it is much easier to get spots in medical schools in the Caribbean? And if you do reasonably well then you can find residency in the US but it is difficult to specialize and you are generally left with being a GP/paediatrics and internal medicine etc which are easier specialties to get into?
Yep, I agree with everything in your second paragraph.

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