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View Full Version : Should I matriculate to Saba?



firstmed
07-21-2011, 11:07 AM
Hi,

I am a recently accepted student to Saba starting in the Fall Sem 2011. I have been accepted to SGU and did not bother applying to Ross for attrition and I did not know many AUC grads at the hospital I worked at for a few years. I was particularly attracted to Saba because of its small class size (coming from a small lib arts college in the US), good preparation for USMLE step I (if you complete basic science program), and some alumni I have come to learn of because of my parents. Until recently I was excited about attending Saba in the fall however, I have heard that there is such a strong weeding out process from others on this forum. I am forced to ask my questions on this site due to my doubts of attending. I hear people say that even if you are a strong student you may not pass each semester of the basic sciences. I have contacted alumni and have heart that very few if only a handful of students in their class failed out (4-5) in the first couple semesters or basic science program alone. I talked to admissions and they state 5% attrition due to poor academic performance and 15-20% for all other reasons. The clinical science dept also told me they have enough clinical spots for all the students they accept (approx. 100) for the fall. Don't get me wrong I am not scared of the competition or rigor of the medical program, just skeptical about attending if the institution has participated in false advertizing... Here are my questions.

To the most recent classes Summer, Spring or Last Fall semesters:
1. What is the actual attrition due to academic reasons (thats how I define it)? How many fail a course like anatomy or histology/ biochem or physiology? etc.
2. How many exams are there per semester? I know there are 5 blocks right?
3. How many end up failing the 5th semester Comprehensive Exam before the USMLE?
4. If you fail that comp exam do you have to repeat the entire intro to clinical med course or can you take the exam a second/third time to pass without repeating the course? Are you allowed to take remedial courses in the States and then come back to the island to take the Comp or do you have to stay on the island until you pass the comp?
5. How many of the incoming class graduate the basic science program? Do you have to pass the USMLE to grad basic science program? or just to move on to clinicals?
6. How many out of their initial class graduate with md's from Saba?

Would you suggest that I start later on (next year) upon visiting the campus, classes, and other students on Saba?

Thanks for taking time to answer my questions.

sgMD
07-21-2011, 01:25 PM
they have changed the rules as of this semester so whatever stats you get from previous semesters wouldn't mean anything.

The new rule:
If you fail/drop a course, you will be put on probation for 3 semesters.
Example: Drop/fail anatomy in first, you are left with histo. You are put on probation while you are taking histo so you have to pass it. The following semester you are also on probation and taking anatomy for the second time, so you have to pass. Now comes the worst part (new rule!). You are now in second semester taking Physio, Biochem, Genetics and you cannot drop/fail any course in second because you are still on probation!!!! If you manage to pass second you are good to go.

But imagine you are in 3rd and you fail microbiology (which is not uncommon at all). You will be put on probation in 4th when taking Pathology, and you have invested over 70K or more into Saba already by then. And you fail or drop path and you are kicked out! Scary eh?

I am not sure what they are thinking with all these new rules. The school is doing fine already, students are doing great on steps and in residency matching. I wouldn't start Saba right now with this new rule. I would take AUC over Saba anyday, or even better than AUC, I would do DO school in the US. New England DO school has the same tuition as Saba so why not go there?

rs27
07-21-2011, 05:24 PM
1. Every semester seems to be different. For my semester we had 3 fail anatomy and 7 fail histo. We also had 4-5 people that dropped and repeated anatomy.
2. Yes 5 blocks...in first semester you have 5 anatomy and 5 histo exams which are multiple choice. In addition, you have 5 anatomy lab exams (one per block) and in the end you have your anatomy shelf. Most classes go the full 5 blocks but some classes (such as epi) have fewer blocks and some other classes (such as genetics) don't have a shelf so they end with your last block, though the material for genetics is included in the bchem shelf.
3 & 4. I can't give you an answer on these...
5. Again this is highly variable...no one can give you an answer for this. Some classes have higher attrition rates, some have lower rates. Even with that, the reasons why people leave also vary drastically so you can't just assume everyone failed because that's not the case.
6. Again...highly variable - I would assume that most kids who write and pass the step 1 end up getting an MD because I don't see why anyone would quit at that point.

I don't think you need to visit. If you have the money and want to see what it's like then go for it.

axiomofchoice
07-21-2011, 05:35 PM
I am not sure what they are thinking with all these new rules. The school is doing fine already, students are doing great on steps and in residency matching.

If I was running Saba I would try to shave the stragglers from the bottom of the class too.

To the OP: don't worry so much about failing.
If you got into SGU, its clearly the better choice. However, it comes at a somewhat unconscionable price.
I will owe <1/3 of many SGU grads and am very happy with Saba.

Kewlwhip
07-21-2011, 06:46 PM
Hi,

I have been accepted to SGU... I was particularly attracted to Saba because of its small class size (coming from a small lib arts college in the US), good preparation for USMLE step I (if you complete basic science program), and some alumni I have come to learn of because of my parents.

1. What is the actual attrition due to academic reasons (thats how I define it)? How many fail a course like anatomy or histology/ biochem or physiology? etc.
2. How many exams are there per semester? I know there are 5 blocks right?
3. How many end up failing the 5th semester Comprehensive Exam before the USMLE?
4. If you fail that comp exam do you have to repeat the entire intro to clinical med course or can you take the exam a second/third time to pass without repeating the course? Are you allowed to take remedial courses in the States and then come back to the island to take the Comp or do you have to stay on the island until you pass the comp?
5. How many of the incoming class graduate the basic science program? Do you have to pass the USMLE to grad basic science program? or just to move on to clinicals?
6. How many out of their initial class graduate with md's from Saba?



If you can afford it, or are willing to take out the loans, SGU is the choice. Removing costs as an argument, I think that most of the people on this forum would agree that SGU would have been their #1 choice in the Caribbean. They seem to have everything down right and graduate doctors in every field of medicine every year.

As sgMD stated, this new policy at Saba is rough. No one plans to fail or drop a course, but in the course of a year and a half there are many things that can affect you. If you unfortunately have to drop, the added pressure on your shoulders is tremendous. Knowing every time you walk into an exam that if you bomb it that your med career might be in jeopardy is quite difficult to cope with. Does this help you become a better student at Saba? No.

1. There are several students each semester (prolly upwards of 10 or more) that drop a course and take it the following semester. Obviously that number will get smaller as you go thru each semester, but it is quite high in the first and second semesters. I'm sure admissions does not include this in their 5% attrition due to poor academic performance numbers. They more than likely use numbers that include ONLY the students who finished a course and received a grade below a 75%. But numerous students look ahead and realize that they either can't get their grade up to a pass before the end of the semester because it is mathematically impossible, OR they are having trouble in more than one course and to avoid failing both, will drop one. Their reasons were purely academic, but if you include these students with the ones who actually do fail, the numbers would be far greater than 5%. rs27 said his class had 3 fail Anatomy and 7 fail Histo (10 out of around 100 = 10% attrition right there, so thats double the admissions numbers and it doesn't include students who dropped one of those courses.)

3. I believe that there are about 1 or 2 students that fail the comp on any given semester... sometimes more, sometimes less.
4. The first time if you fail the comp, you must return to the island and take the Kaplan review course again for a semester then take the Comp afterwards. If you fail a second time, then you can go to the states and take a review program there and then take the Comp again. If you somehow fail to pass that time, I believe you are done at Saba (I've heard people have transferred to other Carib schools and move on from that roadblock).
5. You have to pass the USMLE Step 1 to begin clinicals. Passing the comp gets you your basic science certificate.

Thats all I can answer. I would add that if you do get thru the program and write the Step, you are usually well prepared. The class averages for the past few semesters have been 220+ and I know of several friends who have scored in the 250+ range recently. But you have to weigh the pros and cons and make the decision for yourself!

Good luck







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