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annu25
04-20-2012, 01:58 PM
Hi everyone,
I'm a Canadian student and I've just recently been accepted to Saba. I've also applied to AUC and still waiting on from them. Ive been told that I won't get a reply until May 11th, the latest. My question is that out of the two schools, AUC and Saba, which one would you recommend?
The deadline to send in the initial deposit for Saba is coming up next week, so I have to make a decision really quickly.
I've been told that the only difference between the two is that AUC is on a much better island. Yet, Saba is much safer and cleaner. Would it be wise to give up my seat at Saba and try to see if I make it in AUC?

Please let me know what you think.
Thanks

Intrepid1
04-20-2012, 02:55 PM
If you're sure you can get into AUC and you can afford it, I suggest you go there.

annu25
04-20-2012, 03:06 PM
hmmm
okay, but can you give me a reason why you say that? is it because St.Maarten is a much better island, or is there another reason why?

Intrepid1
04-20-2012, 03:24 PM
Both schools will get you to where you want to go. They have similar academic standards and success rates. However, the island of St. Maarten is superior to Saba. It's like comparing a cruise ship to a rowboat. Daily living is better and logistically speaking, it's much more convenient. That shouldn't be underestimated. Saba does have more Canadian students and smaller classes though, if that's important to you.

A-Rogue
04-20-2012, 04:29 PM
Both schools will get you to where you want to go. They have similar academic standards and success rates. However, the island of St. Maarten is superior to Saba. It's like comparing a cruise ship to a rowboat. Daily living is better and logistically speaking, it's much more convenient. That shouldn't be underestimated. Saba does have more Canadian students and smaller classes though, if that's important to you.


Things have changed on Saba lately. Success rates are not the same. Maybe once you're out of the school but the attrition rate at Saba is approximately 50% compared to AUCs 17%. Go to AUC.

Intrepid1
04-20-2012, 05:36 PM
Things have changed on Saba lately. Success rates are not the same. Maybe once you're out of the school but the attrition rate at Saba is approximately 50% compared to AUCs 17%. Go to AUC.

A high attrition rate is not necessarily a good reason to avoid a school. I also have difficulty believing it's only 17% at AUC. Anyways, let's not get into that since there have already been too many futile discussions about this sort of stuff. You'll have to work hard no matter where you go.

A-Rogue
04-20-2012, 07:52 PM
A high attrition rate is not necessarily a good reason to avoid a school. I also have difficulty believing it's only 17% at AUC. Anyways, let's not get into that since there have already been too many futile discussions about this sort of stuff. You'll have to work hard no matter where you go.

I agree. Hard work no matter what! Just pointing out that things have changed at Saba in the last couple semesters. I have been to interviews at AUC. Saba prepares you very well but there are a lot of things going on that people dont agree with right now due to the new ownership. It is also quite unpredictable. I'd advise if you had a choice, to go to AUC. =) Either way you'll have to work your tail off =)

AK13
04-21-2012, 03:15 PM
Things have changed on Saba lately. Success rates are not the same. Maybe once you're out of the school but the attrition rate at Saba is approximately 50% compared to AUCs 17%. Go to AUC.

I would dispute that.

My cousin started AUC in Jan ~ 2009. He's doing rotations now but he said out of ~100 people that started about 35 left on the island on time​.

cardiomegaly
04-21-2012, 03:44 PM
They are both great schools. My friend went to SABA and she said the island is not the best the education is great. It really goes down to the money and the island. AUC has a better island but SABA is cheaper. By the way my friend who graduated from SABA is now in a surgery residency (dont know the name of the program)

maadaputtar
04-27-2012, 11:19 AM
hey,
it's a tough choice. unfortunately, most students here will only know one side of your dilemma, as they are in one or the other school. the best people to talk to in this case are transfer students, but I don't know if there are many of those around on these forums.
here are my 2 cents (from Saba's perspective, as I am a student there): A-Rouge is right in saying that Saba is not the same school from a few years ago. Ownership has changed and, from what I feel, it has changed to the worse. I have been doing really well in the school (*knock on wood*), but you never feel safe. It always feels like they are trying to get rid of as many people as possible as quickly as possible. This may be just me venting, but one of the last exams we wrote was a cumulative exam. We have all written cumulative exams before and know that we should be getting tested on main ideas to see if we have learned the major conepts. I needed 25% on the final exam to pass the course and I studied my butt of for it. And as I am sitting through the exam, I couldn't help but get the feeling that the exam was designed to get rid of people who were sitting close to passing. it was unfairly detailed and very specific. and surely enough, it had the highest failure rate in our class. definitely one of the hardest exam i have ever written.
~50% attrition is a reality at saba (my class is half in just 8 months). also I don't know what the passing grade is at other schools, it is 75% at saba, and there is no leniency (74.5% is a pass, 74.4% is a fail. I know this because I know people who have had to repeat courses because they had a 74.4%).
I have sensed that our class doesn't have the same relaxed, happy feel that we had in first semester. it's actually quite depressing. Also, I have posted about this asking students from other schools, but the rotation situation at Saba is not looking that great. From what upper semesters are being told (these are 5th semester's - students in their last semester before starting rotations), Saba has lost some of its rotation spots and so 5th semester's have to wait a minimum of 3-6 months before starting their rotations. this, eventually, will lead to students being a full year late in applying for residencies. Now, this may change over the next few months, who knows. I am trying to find out myself if the situation is better at other universities and planning to transfer.
so, i would advise that you do your research. try to find out how student-friendly the school is, what is the real attrition rate, and what is their long-term situation like (this is going to change as things are changing in US, but this is the best you can do from your side and hope for the best later). the best source for most of this information are students in these schools and not the admin. If you are really keen, I would call the saba office and ask them directly about this delay in rotations and see whether they tell you the truth.
on other and maybe a little less important issue, the island of St. Maarten is much much better to live on than saba. it is definitely more convenient in terms of food, travel and just overall living. if i could afford it, i would definitely go to AUC than saba.
One final thing to keep in mind is this: this is all coming from a student at saba. i honestly don't know ANYTHING about other schools. for all i know, they may have the same academic issues as i have listed. so please do your research before making a decision. it's an uphill battle no matter what caribbean school you go to, but the environment may be less hostile in other schools than in saba. you know where you stand academically and try to figure out if a 75% pass rate is realistic for you.
you can pm me if you have more questions.
hope this helps.

thxleave
04-27-2012, 12:04 PM
I would dispute that.

My cousin started AUC in Jan ~ 2009. He's doing rotations now but he said out of ~100 people that started about 35 left on the island on time​.

Well like you say. It's possible that AUC has a large amount of students that repeat a semester. I'm incline to believe the 17% figure, since on the AUC thread a lot of the students will agree. I would also think AUC numbers are a bit more regulated, since it's taking Title IV loans; Obama signed new requirement in 2011, that for private schools taking Title IV loans must provide information through gainful employment.

maladdy85
04-27-2012, 01:36 PM
hey,
it's a tough choice. unfortunately, most students here will only know one side of your dilemma, as they are in one or the other school. the best people to talk to in this case are transfer students, but I don't know if there are many of those around on these forums.
here are my 2 cents (from Saba's perspective, as I am a student there): A-Rouge is right in saying that Saba is not the same school from a few years ago. Ownership has changed and, from what I feel, it has changed to the worse. I have been doing really well in the school (*knock on wood*), but you never feel safe. It always feels like they are trying to get rid of as many people as possible as quickly as possible. This may be just me venting, but one of the last exams we wrote was a cumulative exam. We have all written cumulative exams before and know that we should be getting tested on main ideas to see if we have learned the major conepts. I needed 25% on the final exam to pass the course and I studied my butt of for it. And as I am sitting through the exam, I couldn't help but get the feeling that the exam was designed to get rid of people who were sitting close to passing. it was unfairly detailed and very specific. and surely enough, it had the highest failure rate in our class. definitely one of the hardest exam i have ever written.
~50% attrition is a reality at saba (my class is half in just 8 months). also I don't know what the passing grade is at other schools, it is 75% at saba, and there is no leniency (74.5% is a pass, 74.4% is a fail. I know this because I know people who have had to repeat courses because they had a 74.4%).
I have sensed that our class doesn't have the same relaxed, happy feel that we had in first semester. it's actually quite depressing. Also, I have posted about this asking students from other schools, but the rotation situation at Saba is not looking that great. From what upper semesters are being told (these are 5th semester's - students in their last semester before starting rotations), Saba has lost some of its rotation spots and so 5th semester's have to wait a minimum of 3-6 months before starting their rotations. this, eventually, will lead to students being a full year late in applying for residencies. Now, this may change over the next few months, who knows. I am trying to find out myself if the situation is better at other universities and planning to transfer.
so, i would advise that you do your research. try to find out how student-friendly the school is, what is the real attrition rate, and what is their long-term situation like (this is going to change as things are changing in US, but this is the best you can do from your side and hope for the best later). the best source for most of this information are students in these schools and not the admin. If you are really keen, I would call the saba office and ask them directly about this delay in rotations and see whether they tell you the truth.
on other and maybe a little less important issue, the island of St. Maarten is much much better to live on than saba. it is definitely more convenient in terms of food, travel and just overall living. if i could afford it, i would definitely go to AUC than saba.
One final thing to keep in mind is this: this is all coming from a student at saba. i honestly don't know ANYTHING about other schools. for all i know, they may have the same academic issues as i have listed. so please do your research before making a decision. it's an uphill battle no matter what caribbean school you go to, but the environment may be less hostile in other schools than in saba. you know where you stand academically and try to figure out if a 75% pass rate is realistic for you.
you can pm me if you have more questions.
hope this helps.

The clinical director told us this past semester that the only things which can delay your start in clinicals are: 1) if you take a long time to study for Step 1, and thus get your score late when your fellow students were earlier and took up the available spots 2) If you have criteria about which hospitals you will/won't rotate with (some people want to get all rotations in 1 place/ only want big cities, etc.) 3) if your step 1 score is bad enough that it prevents you from rotating certain places. We were also told that we lost rotations in one city but those exact same rotations were replaced with a new hospital contracted on the east coast.

maadaputtar
04-27-2012, 03:13 PM
The clinical director told us this past semester that the only things which can delay your start in clinicals are: 1) if you take a long time to study for Step 1, and thus get your score late when your fellow students were earlier and took up the available spots 2) If you have criteria about which hospitals you will/won't rotate with (some people want to get all rotations in 1 place/ only want big cities, etc.) 3) if your step 1 score is bad enough that it prevents you from rotating certain places. We were also told that we lost rotations in one city but those exact same rotations were replaced with a new hospital contracted on the east coast.

Oh really? That's good to know. Thanks.
A friend of mine spoke with the clinical rotations guy and he told me that the director said that there was some issue with 1) getting people started on time (this was further confirmed by a few 5th semester's that just graduated from there. They were saying that they were told that there is some sort of a waitlist right now for getting people started on rotations), and 2) getting people through their core rotations on time. Meaning that, say, I am supposed to match in 2015, then I need to be done with my core rotations BEFORE applying in fall for 2014 for the 2015 match. But apparently students are not able to complete their core rotations by then and thus cannot apply for the 2015 match. And from my understanding this is not due to any fault of the students.

seattle
05-21-2012, 08:47 AM
A-Rouge is right in saying that Saba is not the same school from a few years ago. Ownership has changed and, from what I feel, it has changed to the worse. I have been doing really well in the school (*knock on wood*), but you never feel safe. It always feels like they are trying to get rid of as many people as possible as quickly as possible....I couldn't help but get the feeling that the exam was designed to get rid of people who were sitting close to passing. it was unfairly detailed and very specific.

Since the school received California approval a number of years ago (a big step for a Caribbean school), changes have occurred. This is partially due to pressure from the California Board to retain the 50-state approval and partially due to other factors that I am discussing below. U.S. state medical boards have particularly been focusing on the fact that these Caribbean business models are enormous money makers that are accepting hundreds of students (many unqualified for a medical career) and are promoting enough thru the basic sciences in comparison to the clinical spots available for that school that results in an unacceptable waiting list. I am talking about AUA and Ross in particular.

The California Board and many state medical boards across the country are now interested in first time pass rate on the USMLE Step 1. I can tell you personally, 20 years ago this was not nearly the case. I know several individuals who took the then called National Boards (1000 question exam over 2 days) compared to the now USMLE Step 1 300 question exam and failed 3 times before passing. Back then it was not as much of an issue. Now if you fail once (not good)...fail twice (very bad) and if you have to take it a third time, well the chances keep going down to match even if you eventually pass. In such a hostile environment, Saba is forced to only permit the best candidates (those who can handle extreme academic pressure and rigor) to move thru the system. For future viability, unfortunately Saba does have to weed out the student population and this has BEEN VERIFIED personally to me when I finished up by several faculty. Yes - you are absolutely right, they do purposely vary the exam difficulty level to (1) promote only those with the highest chance to pass Step 1 on the first attempt and (2) to keep the numbers somewhat correlated with the openings in clinical spots so as to minimize the waiting time for rotations.

As I have said on many other forums, in the past 10 years Saba is really only suitable in vast majority of cases for those individuals who truly had the MCAT and GPA to gain admission to a North American Medical School, but could not due to ridiculous circumstances. These are the individuals who make it thru the rigorous program on the island. Those who traditionally looked to the Caribbean programs as a true 2nd chance, meaning a school that would provide them the proper educational background to sit for the Step 1 exam, but where the environment was also one that was forgiving - that was the Saba of the past (mid-1990s). It is just not a viable strategy anymore for the school to remain in that mode, given that residency is becoming increasingly difficult as more and more IMGs are applying with 99% on Step 1 from foreign countries and the residency slots are not keeping pace with the increase in D.O. schools and M.D. seats that will compete with you for those slots in the future.

sgMD
05-21-2012, 09:26 AM
As I have said on many other forums, in the past 10 years Saba is really only suitable in vast majority of cases for those individuals who truly had the MCAT and GPA to gain admission to a North American Medical School, but could not due to ridiculous circumstances.


TO PROSPECTIVES!!

You should write the above statement in gold, and read it 10 times before applying to Saba. There are people who get into north american medical schools from Saba in their 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th semesters. Some others get interviews and such. It's typical on campus seeing students applying for north american medical schools. If you have lower than a 3.2-3 gpa and high 20's MCAT don't bother applying to Saba... you will simply waste your money. This was not the case two years ago but things have changed tremendously with the new rules etc. TRUST ME ON THIS! or you can spend 30k to realize this on your own!

Best,

benevolo
05-21-2012, 02:56 PM
This thread is derailing fast. Back on track. Both schools will give you a good education.

St. Maarten is a very nice island, lots of things to do, lots of distractions like casinos restaurants beaches golf courses etc. Lots of full service supermarkets like back home, even a Costco-like warehouse. They even have a movie theater, and they have all your usual fast food restaurants you have back home. On the flip side, AUC costs more, St. Maarten costs more to live, and there's way more crime. Crime is almost non-existent on Saba except for petty stuff like theft and fights. On SXM people get robbed/mugged in broad daylight and there are stories about kidnappings and rape etc. The only negative that St. Maarten as an island has which Saba doesn't is the frequent power outages. Saba's power goes out once or twice a semester for a few hours. On St. maarten i've heard power outages are a weekly occurrence and it will be down for up to 24 hours. However on the whole, island life is much better on St. Maarten if you're street smart about crime (eg dont walk alone at night through the golf course) and you don't mind the power outages, and you have the will power to avoid distractions when you're busy for exams. I still remember coming back to gamble at the casinos on my home, and you'd see AUC students at the poker + blackjack tables when they were still in the middle of exams.

Island_student
10-01-2012, 04:17 PM
Hey, Did you make your choice yet?

Island_student
10-01-2012, 04:24 PM
TO PROSPECTIVES!! You should write the above statement in gold, and read it 10 times before applying to Saba. There are people who get into north american medical schools from Saba in their 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th semesters. Some others get interviews and such. It's typical on campus seeing students applying for north american medical schools. If you have lower than a 3.2-3 gpa and high 20's MCAT don't bother applying to Saba... you will simply waste your money. This was not the case two years ago but things have changed tremendously with the new rules etc. TRUST ME ON THIS! or you can spend 30k to realize this on your own! Best,I just have graduted from McMaster, with a life science degree. My GPA is 3.2 and MCAT score is 32Q. I was thinking to apply to Saba as I don't believe i can make it in Canada with my stats.Your post made me think twice...any advice ? Thanks !:)

maladdy85
10-01-2012, 04:52 PM
Now that Saba dropped the pass rate from 75 to 70 it has become easier to get through the program. Your stats are decent and the 32 MCAT indicates you probably won't have difficulty with the material. As long as you have good study habits (or think you can foster them) IMO you would be fine at Saba.

Intrepid1
10-01-2012, 09:29 PM
I just have graduted from McMaster, with a life science degree. My GPA is 3.2 and MCAT score is 32Q. I was thinking to apply to Saba as I don't believe i can make it in Canada with my stats.Your post made me think twice...any advice ? Thanks !:)

I suggest you consider all your options (e.g., American schools) before making a final decision, if you haven't already done so. Your stats aren't that bad.

Fjetha
10-10-2012, 11:19 PM
Now that Saba dropped the pass rate from 75 to 70 it has become easier to get through the program. Your stats are decent and the 32 MCAT indicates you probably won't have difficulty with the material. As long as you have good study habits (or think you can foster them) IMO you would be fine at Saba.


Hey is this actually true? Cause I was looking through the catalogue and online and there is nothing that says the pass rate has changed?

maladdy85
10-11-2012, 02:17 AM
As of the summer 2012 semester,the passing grade for an exam is 70. Before it was 75

amw
10-13-2012, 07:41 PM
This probably too late for the original "poster" but IMHO if you are Canadian you should probably choose Saba. They have a great reputation for getting Canadian students into Canadian residency programs-better than any other Caribbean school. They have good connections with several Canadian schools which helps with getting electives. Saba students are well thought of in Canada. It is very very hard to get back into Canada for a residency program if you study abroad, but Saba will give you the best chance and as you can't get USA federal loans (like the US students at AUC ,Ross etc )the cost is better too.
Bottom line the education is good. Canadians do well (it's much harder to get into Canadian medical schools, so the caliber of students by and large is higher), it's much cheaper and you are more likely to get back to Canada to work.
Good luck. I hope this clarifies things







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