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Saba Medical School


lilli
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I know a few people who went to Saba. They all did their residencies in the States. It has a good match rate for the United States, although I don't know about the "recent changes" mentioned above.

 

If you do it, borrow money from the bank, not your family. Worse comes to worse you can always discharge bank debts with bankruptcy. Family loans are more complicated. I think Royal Bank gives lines of credit to Carribean med students.

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All of the banks require a cosigner, so whoever signs it (eg parents) would be responsible to pay off your loans if you failed out. The fact that you're applying to a Caribbean school in the first place suggests you don't have what it takes to survive medical school, and a good chunk of students who come to Saba do end up failing and going back home. 

 

As a Saba grad who is now training in Canada, I can probably make some comparisons with Canadian programs. If you did succeed and graduate from Saba, the didactic training is on par to the US system, which is probably more in depth than what you get in Canada. The area where there's a lot of variability (at all foreign schools) is in the clinical training, which is arguably more important. It can be on par with Canadian training but can also be vastly inferior, if you're not lucky to get a good clinical placement where you do a lot of hands-on training and have a lot of responsibilities. 

 

If you have other questions feel free to ask. 

Edited by leviathan
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All of the banks require a cosigner, so whoever signs it (eg parents) would be responsible to pay off your loans if you failed out. The fact that you're applying to a Caribbean school in the first place suggests you don't have what it takes to survive medical school, and a good chunk of students who come to Saba do end up failing and going back home. 

 

As a Saba grad who is now training in Canada, I can probably make some comparisons with Canadian programs. If you did succeed and graduate from Saba, the didactic training is on par to the US system, which is probably more in depth than what you get in Canada. The area where there's a lot of variability (at all foreign schools) is in the clinical training, which is arguably more important. It can be on par with Canadian training but can also be vastly inferior, if you're not lucky to get a good clinical placement where you do a lot of hands-on training and have a lot of responsibilities. 

 

If you have other questions feel free to ask. 

 

Why would you consider someone considering a Caribbean school not able to survive medical school, when you did? The Canadian admissions processes can be very messy and for people who don't make the choice to commit and apply multiple times, the Caribbean schools, from my experience, have proved to be a perfectly viable option for students willing to practice in primary care. 

 

My question to you, and I'd really appreciate your advice - why did you choose to go to Saba? I'm beginning to research in-depth the long-term circumstances of being an IMG and would really appreciate insight from a successful Saba grad. 

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Why would you consider someone considering a Caribbean school not able to survive medical school, when you did? The Canadian admissions processes can be very messy and for people who don't make the choice to commit and apply multiple times, the Caribbean schools, from my experience, have proved to be a perfectly viable option for students willing to practice in primary care. 

 

My question to you, and I'd really appreciate your advice - why did you choose to go to Saba? I'm beginning to research in-depth the long-term circumstances of being an IMG and would really appreciate insight from a successful Saba grad. 

From the 2000s to 2010, the Caribbean/IMG options was perfectly viable, I agree. In recent years however, there's been a steady increase in the number of domestic US MD/DO students as well as medical school expansion. International options are frankly very risky these days in light of the numerous people who spent 300k+ on their Caribbean/international medical education, then ended up not matching for residency either in the US or Canada. Seeing these Caribbean grads not matching, and continuing to not match 2-3 years after their graduation is real life for me - I've seen it with my own eyes, when that happens, it is not pretty. I recently matched less than a year ago, and while on the interview trail - I've met numerous Caribbean candidates - they usually have to apply to 150-200 programs to have a decent shot at interview at maybe 10 programs, which is not the case for a non-US citizen AMG to be like myself who easily got 16 interview with only 49 applications.

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From the 2000s to 2010, the Caribbean/IMG options was perfectly viable, I agree. In recent years however, there's been a steady increase in the number of domestic US MD/DO students as well as medical school expansion. International options are frankly very risky these days in light of the numerous people who spent 300k+ on their Caribbean/international medical education, then ended up not matching for residency either in the US or Canada. Seeing these Caribbean grads not matching, and continuing to not match 2-3 years after their graduation is real life for me - I've seen it with my own eyes, when that happens, it is not pretty. I recently matched less than a year ago, and while on the interview trail - I've met numerous Caribbean candidates - they usually have to apply to 150-200 programs to have a decent shot at interview at maybe 10 programs, which is not the case for a non-US citizen AMG to be like myself who easily got 16 interview with only 49 applications.

 

So you're saying US DO students have a better chance than IMGs - even though they are both considered IMGs in CaRMS? 

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So you're saying US DO students have a better chance than IMGs - even though they are both considered IMGs in CaRMS? 

Precisely, in the US, on the interview trail, as a DO AMG, your chances can't even compare to that of an IMG, your chance of matching and even getting selected for an interview is so much better. I've seen IMGs who are US citizens not match as opposed to IMGs who are Canadians.

 

As for IMG status in CaRMs - an IMG is an IMG in Canada, successful match for CSAs/IMGs in 2014 match was 19.3%, something like 400 people matched out of 2300 IMGs/CSAs in total. IMG status for DOs in Canada is complicated, DOs can match 1st CMG iteration in BC, in 2016 and onwards, DOs will be IMGs in Ontario (not Canada as a whole), although some jurisdictions in Canada already consider DOs as IMGs, and a few provinces like PEI, Saskatchwen won't even allow a US DO to match for residency. So for Canada, as a DO, after 2016, you'll be at an even greater disadvantage than an IMG, but that is not to say that the chances of an IMG/CSA to successfully match into Canada is pretty bleak as it is.

 

In the US, whole different story. Much better to be a DO vs. IMG anything.

 

Basically, I'm saying, if you are choosing to go to an international school/Caribbean school, your game plan should not be to match back to Canada for anything, it is to match into an ACGME residency in the US. And for people with lower stats, and who want to maximize their chances to match into US ACGME program, US DO degree is the way to go.

Edited by Mashmetoo
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Why would you consider someone considering a Caribbean school not able to survive medical school, when you did? The Canadian admissions processes can be very messy and for people who don't make the choice to commit and apply multiple times, the Caribbean schools, from my experience, have proved to be a perfectly viable option for students willing to practice in primary care. 

 

My question to you, and I'd really appreciate your advice - why did you choose to go to Saba? I'm beginning to research in-depth the long-term circumstances of being an IMG and would really appreciate insight from a successful Saba grad. 

 

Very good questions. I had no idea if I'd make it through the program before I started, and nobody going abroad should assume they will either. I had a lot of reasons I thought I'd do well in med school: my poor undergrad was because I majored in psych where grading is extremely subjective. I had done very well on the MCAT. I aced all my science pre-reqs and aced my physiology+pharm+biochem courses as well, and any subjects that were related to medicine. 

 

That said, I had no idea if they were valid reasons, or just excuses to hide that I wasn't cut out for medicine (like the 40% of people who didn't graduate with me). Further to that, you not only have to just graduate from medical school, you have to EXCEL academically and clinically if you want a realistic chance at matching as an IMG. Thankfully I did very well on the USMLE exams and the Canadian exams (99th percentile on all), and got great LORs in Canada, all of which helped me get a spot. But there's no way I could have known that before going. 

 

I chose Saba because it was the only international school that I could afford on a student loan, that was approved in all 50 US states, and had a good match rate in Canada (and excellent match rate in the US). 

Edited by leviathan
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Very good questions. I had no idea if I'd make it through the program before I started, and nobody going abroad should assume they will either. I had a lot of reasons I thought I'd do well in med school: my poor undergrad was because I majored in psych where grading is extremely subjective. I had done very well on the MCAT. I aced all my science pre-reqs and aced my physiology+pharm+biochem courses as well, and any subjects that were related to medicine. 

 

That said, I had no idea if they were valid reasons, or just excuses to hide that I wasn't cut out for medicine (like the 40% of people who didn't graduate with me). Further to that, you not only have to just graduate from medical school, you have to EXCEL academically and clinically if you want a realistic chance at matching as an IMG. Thankfully I did very well on the USMLE exams and the Canadian exams (99th percentile on all), and got great LORs in Canada, all of which helped me get a spot. But there's no way I could have known that before going. 

 

I chose Saba because it was the only international school that I could afford on a student loan, that was approved in all 50 US states, and had a good match rate in Canada (and excellent match rate in the US). 

 

Thanks so much for your detailed response leviathan! My situation is the opposite - I have a fairly competitive GPA, but poor MCAT performance. My practice tests were generally in the low to mid-30s so I was content with that since my GPA can offset that - but I wasn't mentally prepared for the abysmal score I received. I'm hoping it was just my immature test anxiety taking over, because my re-write in November is realistically my last shot.

 

If you did so well on the MCAT, what motivated you to go to Saba regardless? Considering your crazy good board exam stats, I'm sure you'd have gotten in to med school after taking more undergrad years. I'm sorry to bother you with so many questions, but your position - a person who has been through the whole process and done very well for himself/herself - is so unique to me, since I don't know anyone personally who has matched back to Canada from the Caribbean (it's generally the States/didn't match). 

 

Also, what are your opinions on the widely-discussed "bleaker future" for IMGs matching in North America?

 

Thanks in advance! 

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Precisely, in the US, on the interview trail, as a DO AMG, your chances can't even compare to that of an IMG, your chance of matching and even getting selected for an interview is so much better. I've seen IMGs who are US citizens not match as opposed to IMGs who are Canadians.

 

As for IMG status in CaRMs - an IMG is an IMG in Canada, successful match for CSAs/IMGs in 2014 match was 19.3%, something like 400 people matched out of 2300 IMGs/CSAs in total. IMG status for DOs in Canada is complicated, DOs can match 1st CMG iteration in BC, in 2016 and onwards, DOs will be IMGs in Ontario (not Canada as a whole), although some jurisdictions in Canada already consider DOs as IMGs, and a few provinces like PEI, Saskatchwen won't even allow a US DO to match for residency. So for Canada, as a DO, after 2016, you'll be at an even greater disadvantage than an IMG, but that is not to say that the chances of an IMG/CSA to successfully match into Canada is pretty bleak as it is.

 

In the US, whole different story. Much better to be a DO vs. IMG anything.

 

Basically, I'm saying, if you are choosing to go to an international school/Caribbean school, your game plan should not be to match back to Canada for anything, it is to match into an ACGME residency in the US. And for people with lower stats, and who want to maximize their chances to match into US ACGME program, US DO degree is the way to go.

 

Thanks for your input! I'll definitely be looking into applying to MD and DO schools in the next application cycle. Unfortunately, my MCAT was a total bust so applying late + poor MCAT would probably amount to a huge waste of money and a disastrous app cycle. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Very good questions. I had no idea if I'd make it through the program before I started, and nobody going abroad should assume they will either. I had a lot of reasons I thought I'd do well in med school: my poor undergrad was because I majored in psych where grading is extremely subjective. I had done very well on the MCAT. I aced all my science pre-reqs and aced my physiology+pharm+biochem courses as well, and any subjects that were related to medicine. 

 

That said, I had no idea if they were valid reasons, or just excuses to hide that I wasn't cut out for medicine (like the 40% of people who didn't graduate with me). Further to that, you not only have to just graduate from medical school, you have to EXCEL academically and clinically if you want a realistic chance at matching as an IMG. Thankfully I did very well on the USMLE exams and the Canadian exams (99th percentile on all), and got great LORs in Canada, all of which helped me get a spot. But there's no way I could have known that before going. 

 

I chose Saba because it was the only international school that I could afford on a student loan, that was approved in all 50 US states, and had a good match rate in Canada (and excellent match rate in the US). 

Did you get 2 digit score 99 or actually 99th percentile because the USMLE doesn't actually ever give percentiles. a 2 digit score of 99 is not as difficult to achieve it only indicates about 1 standard deviation above the norm (in 2014) or a 3 digit score of 240+ (still a very good score nonetheless)

http://clinicalreview.com/ClinicalReview/resources/usmle-score-calculator.html

 

A lot of people confuse the 2 digit score as a percentile when its not. This confusion might be why USMLE discontinued the 2 digit score in 2013. 

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Did you get 2 digit score 99 or actually 99th percentile because the USMLE doesn't actually ever give percentiles. a 2 digit score of 99 is not as difficult to achieve it only indicates about 1 standard deviation above the norm (in 2014) or a 3 digit score of 240+ (still a very good score nonetheless)

http://clinicalreview.com/ClinicalReview/resources/usmle-score-calculator.html

 

A lot of people confuse the 2 digit score as a percentile when its not. This confusion might be why USMLE discontinued the 2 digit score in 2013. 

 

I didn't know they discontinued the score? Actually I got in the high 270s on Step 2 and my 2 digit score was only 87 or something ridiculously low. The percentile I used was based off the score distributions for applicants published on the NRMP match data. 

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I didn't know they discontinued the score? Actually I got in the high 270s on Step 2 and my 2 digit score was only 87 or something ridiculously low. The percentile I used was based off the score distributions for applicants published on the NRMP match data. 

 

Wow very impressive. High 270s in Step 2 is very good. Yeah, they discontinued the 2 digit score, it used to be a 99 for anything over 240 and then they changed it making it really low before completely removing it now you just get a 3 digit score.  

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  • 4 years later...
On 10/3/2014 at 5:01 PM, leviathan said:

Very good questions. I had no idea if I'd make it through the program before I started, and nobody going abroad should assume they will either. I had a lot of reasons I thought I'd do well in med school: my poor undergrad was because I majored in psych where grading is extremely subjective. I had done very well on the MCAT. I aced all my science pre-reqs and aced my physiology+pharm+biochem courses as well, and any subjects that were related to medicine. 

 

That said, I had no idea if they were valid reasons, or just excuses to hide that I wasn't cut out for medicine (like the 40% of people who didn't graduate with me). Further to that, you not only have to just graduate from medical school, you have to EXCEL academically and clinically if you want a realistic chance at matching as an IMG. Thankfully I did very well on the USMLE exams and the Canadian exams (99th percentile on all), and got great LORs in Canada, all of which helped me get a spot. But there's no way I could have known that before going. 

 

I chose Saba because it was the only international school that I could afford on a student loan, that was approved in all 50 US states, and had a good match rate in Canada (and excellent match rate in the US). 

@leviathan Doc, I don't know if you'll see this as I'm replying 5 years late on this thread, but it's worth a shot. What specialty did you match into in Canada and how many years after graduating from Saba was it? Also, may I ask 1) where did you do undergrad? 2) do you know anything about St. James School of Medicine in the Caribbean and whether or not it's worth it? 3) What USMLE scores should IMG's aim to get simply to match into primary care in the U.S? 4) What score on MCCQE to simply match into primary care in Canada?

As a premed student aspiring to be a physician since I was in elementary school, I would really appreciate your input on the above. Thank you

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On 10/10/2019 at 5:39 AM, Qadr said:

@leviathan Doc, I don't know if you'll see this as I'm replying 5 years late on this thread, but it's worth a shot. What specialty did you match into in Canada and how many years after graduating from Saba was it? Also, may I ask 1) where did you do undergrad? 2) do you know anything about St. James School of Medicine in the Caribbean and whether or not it's worth it? 3) What USMLE scores should IMG's aim to get simply to match into primary care in the U.S? 4) What score on MCCQE to simply match into primary care in Canada?

As a premed student aspiring to be a physician since I was in elementary school, I would really appreciate your input on the above. Thank you

Just a list of things I feel you should know.

1) Caribbean match rates to Canada are notoriously low. Like just don't do it. Your priority in order should be Canadian or US MD, US DO, Ireland/UK/Aus/NZ>>>>>>>Caribbean

2) High scores on the MCCQE does not mean you will match into a primary care residency in Canada. Many IMG's with high scores do not match, even into FM.

3) A high USMLE score (240+) will definitely help you a lot if you want to match to a primary care residency in the USA but again, it is not guaranteed. Better odds in lower desirable areas.

4) Attrition rates of Caribbean schools are high. These are privately owned diploma mills. Infrastructure is poor, living conditions won't be great.

5) If you absolutely insist on going to the Caribbean, go to one of the "big 4" schools. These are Ross, Saba, SGU and AUC. All the others are even sketchier. Some have issues with funding/licensing and it will just be flushing 200k down the toilet.  Can you imagine if you go to some little known med school in the Bahamas and halfway through your education the school shuts down? What are you going to do then?

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3 hours ago, Qadr said:

@leviathan Doc, I don't know if you'll see this as I'm replying 5 years late on this thread, but it's worth a shot. What specialty did you match into in Canada and how many years after graduating from Saba was it? Also, may I ask 1) where did you do undergrad? 2) do you know anything about St. James School of Medicine in the Caribbean and whether or not it's worth it? 3) What USMLE scores should IMG's aim to get simply to match into primary care in the U.S? 4) What score on MCCQE to simply match into primary care in Canada?

As a premed student aspiring to be a physician since I was in elementary school, I would really appreciate your input on the above. Thank you

I agree with the first response, but specifically St. James is notoriously bad. Their attrition rate looks to be upwards of 70%, even if you're set on a Caribbean school I would at least hold out for the big 4.

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  • 2 weeks later...
31 minutes ago, gnatcatcher said:

i dont know. i still have a 3.9 depending on WGPAs at a few schools (Western is one, but my MCAT takes that away) so i thought SGU was reasonable back-up plan. 

 

Caribbean should be last resort. Your chances of coming back to Canada are not good. As CMGs have an increasingly difficult time to match, it’s much worse for IMG. And you’re limiting to very few choices e.g fam and psych, nothing wrong with that unless you don’t want either. Plus cost is $$$$. If you’re good with that then may the odds be ever in your favour, but I was not willing to roll those dice when I went for a second degree.

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28 minutes ago, Intrepid86 said:

As someone who did this route and was successful, I still don't recommend it.

That being said, if you're going to go, then make sure you're knowledgeable about the process and risks beforehand. Contrary to the opinions of the inadequately informed, this path is not a sure thing.

Good luck

 

I'll probably give the MCAT a second go and move to Calgary for a masters before I go to Caribbean but I'll look into other worst-case-scenario plans, maybe.

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