Applying for Medical School Outside United States?

  • #1
Would entry be more likely if you applied to medical schools outside the United States?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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That would probably depend entirely on how competitive the med school environment is in that particular country.

The more important question, especially if the plan is to return to the US to practice medicine, is if you can get licensed in the US with that country's medical credentials.
 
  • #3
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Would entry be more likely if you applied to medical schools outside the United States?
As someone who is currently applying to medical school, I would say that if you wish to practice in the US, then don't attend school outside of the country. The caribbean schools are not the same quality as a MD school on US soil and graduating from there makes it extremely difficult to find residency positions in the US. Trust me hospitals and the USML board know all the tricks to getting around the difficult process of becoming a doctor in the US. MD degrees from foreign countries make it more difficult to become a doc here in the US. The med school applications is EXTREMELY difficult, some schools had over 15,000 applications for 120 spots this past cycle. You can have perfect scores on your MCAT and GPA and STILL get rejected by 80% of med schools. But those who have enough stamina for the process will be rewarded in the end.
 
  • #4
Moonbear
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Science Advisor
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As someone who is currently applying to medical school, I would say that if you wish to practice in the US, then don't attend school outside of the country. The caribbean schools are not the same quality as a MD school on US soil and graduating from there makes it extremely difficult to find residency positions in the US. Trust me hospitals and the USML board know all the tricks to getting around the difficult process of becoming a doctor in the US. MD degrees from foreign countries make it more difficult to become a doc here in the US. The med school applications is EXTREMELY difficult, some schools had over 15,000 applications for 120 spots this past cycle. You can have perfect scores on your MCAT and GPA and STILL get rejected by 80% of med schools. But those who have enough stamina for the process will be rewarded in the end.
This is a pretty accurate summation of the risks of attending med school outside the U.S.

Your best chances are to apply to the schools geographically closest to your state of residency and the state in which you are attending college. Schools will take some outstanding students from other regions of the country, but there is an assumption that those who are staying or returning "close to home" will remain in that area to practice medicine later, which supports their missions to provide medical resources to the local and state communities. If you can provide some compelling reason why you'd move across the country for med school and be likely to stay there after graduation (relatives in that state, a spouse moving there, you lived there for a while as a child and have always longed to return to the state), then you might have a better chance than other out-of-state applicants.

If you're concerned about your chances of getting into a traditional medical school, something else you can consider are schools of osteopathic medicine. Note that if you go that route, you're going to need letters of recommendation from doctors of osteopathic medicine, so plan ahead and meet some, shadow them, and make sure you know what you're getting into. For fields like family medicine and OB/GYN, being a D.O. instead of an M.D. will not hinder your career options or residency choices. For other fields/specialties, it might, so if you have a specialty in mind, ask people practicing that specialty if that would be a limitation.

The best advice I can give to anyone applying to med schools is HAVE A BACK-UP PLAN! If that means taking a year off to get more experience and better recommendations and more time to study for your MCAT, do it. If it means considering an alternative career, either health-related or not, do it. In fact, you should even have a back-up plan if you DO get into med school. Not everyone survives that first year. We have a few drop out of every first year class, not always for academic reasons, sometimes it's personal reasons that the demands of medical school interfere with. But, it's better to plan ahead in case that happens to know what you're going to do if it's all too overwhelming to complete.
 

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