Why Go To Med School in the Caribbean?
There are numerous Caribbean medical schools to consider and attend. Make sure you know the right questions to ask as you do your research.
As you think about attending a Caribbean medical school, you have many things to consider. Below are some topics that you may want to factor in to your educational decisions. Be sure to ask the questions below when speaking with representatives from international or Caribbean medical schools. We've provided answers as they relate to AUC below as examples.
Download a PDF version of this question checklist.
Benefits of Going to a Caribbean Medical School
Q: What degree will I earn?
AUC offers the Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree to students who complete our program. AUC is listed in the World Health Organization's verified registry of verified medical education providers.
Q: Is this an established institution? How long has the school been in operation?
AUC was established in 1978, and is one of the oldest Caribbean medical schools.
Q: Is the school accredited?
AUC’s Medical Doctorate program and medical school facilities are accredited by the Accreditation Commission on Colleges of Medicine (ACCM). The US Department of Education’s National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation (NCFMEA) has determined the standards employed by the ACCM are comparable to those used by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the accrediting body that accredits US medical education programs.
Q: Where is the school located?
Sint Maarten, where our Medical Sciences campus is located, is a beautiful 37-square-mile Caribbean island. English is spoken everywhere and the US dollar is the accepted currency. AUC students enjoy a variety of beaches as well as water sports activities. Clinical rotations take place at US teaching sites or, optionally, in the United Kingdom.
Q: Are class sizes large or small?
We keep our class sizes small, helping us to personalize the educational experience to fit your unique learning style. AUC’s close-knit community enables enhanced relationships with our expert faculty, and with your fellow students of diverse backgrounds.
Q: Where are the alumni practicing? Will I have an alumni network to tap into?
Since AUC alumni are eligible for licensure in all US states, Canada, and Puerto Rico, they can be found practicing throughout North America and beyond. Alumni can tap into a network of 6,500+ (and growing) AUC graduates to potentially unlock new career opportunities, promote your practice, get advice, or just enjoy the lifelong connections and friendships you will make.
Residencies and USMLE Exam Performance
Q: How did your graduates perform in residency attainment, and what is the residency attainment rate for the 2016-2017 class?
AUC graduates secured 302 residencies through the NRMP Main Match, making it one of the largest Match Days on record for AUC. This year included standout matches in competitive fields like orthopedic surgery, dermatology child neurology, interventional radiology, neurology, surgery, and anesthesiology.
84.4% is the residency attainment rate for first-time eligible 2016-2017 AUC graduates, as of 9/5/17.
Q: How do AUC students perform on the USMLE?
AUC’s students’ cumulative first-time pass rate on USMLE Step 1 is 94 percent over the last five years. Over the last five years (2012-2016), students’ cumulative first-time pass rates on USMLE Step 2 CK and Step 2 CS are 88 percent and 87 percent, respectively. Residency directors look closely at a student's USMLE scores when making a residency decision.
Q: What kind of services do they offer students for residency placement? Do they have time to give me personal guidance?
Our residency preparation doesn’t start in the final year of medical school—it’s begins the moment our students set foot on campus. The Office of Student and Professional Development (OSPD) offers resources, workshops, and one-on-one advising to help students develop a residency match plan, decide on a specialty, and understand the application process.
Q: What technology is in place at the school?
Over the last few years, the campus has incorporated new technology and enhanced study and learning space to complement the close faculty-student interaction. The medical school campus features:
Contemporary lecture halls outfitted with audio/visual technology
Fully equipped anatomical dissection laboratory featuring medical imaging
Clinical Skills Simulation Center providing a realistic emergency room and examination room environment. The Center is equipped with high-fidelity human patient simulators and provides a robust standardized patient program.
Applied research laboratory
Extensive medical library
Campus-wide wireless Internet connectivity
High-tech student computer center
Q: What teaching methods do they offer to students?
AUC leadership and faculty hail from US and international medical schools—and they’re always willing to provide support to students who need it. We know that students learn differently, so AUC offers a wide variety of classroom technology to supplement traditional academic lectures.
Q: What types of clubs and organizations do you offer?
Members of AUC’s diverse student body have a wide variety of interests and backgrounds, which help to shape our institution. With so many options at AUC, you’ll be able to find the right student organization for you. Students are encouraged to explore options for involvement in campus and community life by joining one or more of our 24 student organizations or student interest groups including medical, religious, ethnic groups and more.
Q: Does the university offer service learning or volunteer activities?
Many students decide to become physicians as a way of giving back. Community service is deeply interwoven into AUC’s educational philosophy. Students have access to volunteer opportunities that can help physicians-in-training become more empathetic, raise their cultural awareness, and prepare them to serve diverse patient populations.
Q: What kind of services do they offer to students in terms of counseling?
AUC offers wellness counseling services to assist students in managing issues related to their well-being. These services include financial, mental health counseling, tutoring, test taking strategies, and more.
Q: What is there to do if I want to take a break from studying?
AUC offers a full gym that includes activity rooms for free classes like yoga for students and a game room, including table tennis. There are many outdoor activities like basketball, beach volleyball, and water sports like snorkeling, scuba diving, and sailing to help relax. There are many different types of restaurants on the island where you can enjoy a meal and a nice evening out with your friends.
Medical Sciences/Clinical Sciences
Q: What is the curriculum like?
The first five semesters at AUC involve a concentrated study of the medical sciences through AUC's US-modeled medical school curriculum. Students are introduced to clinical medicine in first semester with an increased emphasis in fifth semester, which allows them to experience the clinical application of the medical sciences well before they advance to the clinical portion of the program. AUC’s medical sciences program is designed to help prepare them for the USMLE and match students’ needs, with faculty easily accessible for assistance and students provided with adequate opportunity for self-directed study.
Q: Where can students complete clinical rotations?
Students can complete clinical rotations at United States clinical sites, with an option to complete them in the United Kingdom. In addition, AUC students can participate in Global Health Electives, which includes clinical experiences in places like the Dominican Republic, Russia, Uganda, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe. We're proud that we give students the opportunity to explore and engage in other countries' healthcare systems.
Q: Do they offer research opportunities?
Students at AUC have the opportunity to pursue a wide variety of research interests under faculty membership, beginning in their second semester. Students have the opportunity to present their work at international meetings.
Q: Does the school offer scholarships?
AUC invites all prospective students to explore and apply for the scholarships, regardless of where they stand in the medical school enrollment process. Qualified students could gain access to thousands of dollars to help fund his or her medical education. AUC offers scholarships recognizing academic achievement, community service, and more.
Q: What are my financial aid options?
AUC is approved for participation in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program (Direct Loans). Qualified citizens and eligible non-citizens of the United States may be eligible to receive medical school financial aid from the Direct Loan programs up to the cost of attendance (tuition, books & supplies, accommodation and travel).
Canadian students can obtain a substantial amount of financing for education through student lines of credit offered by Canadian chartered banks.
Applying to Medical School
Q: I don't want to wait months to begin medical school. I'm ready now. What are my options?
AUC offers start dates in January, May, and September and we accept applications year round, up to a year in advance of a term.
Q: What if I need help during the application process?
AUC’s regional admissions colleagues take the time to get to know you, and work closely with applicants to guide them through the application process—from start to finish—while providing helpful tips so students can put their best foot forward. They are based throughout the US and Canada to provide personalized support.
AUC's website also features several webinars that may come in handy as you apply to medical schools, including sessions on personal statements, the MCAT, and more.