View Full Version : Avalon MD5 changes proceeding over the objections of students

08-06-2015, 04:00 PM

I am a current Avalon student at the Curacao campus, and feel obligated to inform incoming students as well as anyone considering Avalon University School of Medicine that the MD5 program being advertised on their website (the one current students signed up for) is being replaced over the vehement objections of essentially the entire student body with one obviously designed to save the school money at the expense of it's students.

The program we all signed up for, and is still no doubt being sold to new students since the website hasn't changed is 16 weeks for MD5 in West Virginia with a review course and properly qualified teachers to prepare us for Step 1. We have all planned our lives around this timetable from both a financial as well as personal standpoint.

The Avalon administration has unilaterally decided to pull a bait and switch on us, and informed us less than two weeks prior to our final exams (when everybody was too busy studying to put up much resistance of course) that MD5 will now consist of 8 more weeks on Curacao followed by 8 weeks in West Virginia. Besides the difficulty of moving 2000 miles halfway though your last semester before the Step, the administration has consistently balked at attempts by students to get them to tell us exactly who these professors on the island teaching the first part will be, or even if they will have taken Step 1 themselves. When pressed on the issue at the only meeting of the student body that was held on this issue, the head of the school on the island replied: "The professors will be aware of Step 1" When pressed further on what exactly was meant by that evasive, abstract and non-committal answer, he refused to answer further questions on the matter. All of this while AUSOM is raising our tuition significantly.

This is a cost cutting measure cloaked in the excuse that this is to provide better supervision to students before the Step as according to the admins, people are not studying in WV, and therefore not scoring acceptably on Step 1. I think it should be painfully obvious to everyone, that if you have not developed good study habits and discipline by the time you get to MD5, you're not going to be a doctor. If you can't motivate yourself to study for one of the most important exams of your life, one that can either make or break your entire medical career, then you don't deserve to be a doctor. It's really as simple as that, and another 8 weeks on the island is not going to fix someone that is not psychologically ready for this sort of undertaking.

This change is slated to happen next semester. The MD4s on their way out of Curacao now will still get the original program, but next semester's MD4s and onward will be subjected to this. The student body is furious about having the proverbial rug pulled out from under us, and many students are realistically considering transferring to another school for MD5.

We are not saying that they cannot make changes to their programs, we are simply wanting to hold the school to the terms we signed on with, and do not think it is right to put this on us after we are too invested to do much about it.

If you are considering Avalon, have already been accepted, or are the parent of someone who is/was, call the Ohio office and demand answers on what is going on and why they think it is acceptable to falsely advertise the location and content of part of their program. There needs to be accountability, and the concerns of current students are falling on deaf ears. Perhaps they will be more receptive if they think people will not come here because of this. At the very least, know what is going on down here before you sign on for loans and/or commit many thousands of dollars to attending a school that is ignoring it's students.

08-06-2015, 06:23 PM
Thanks for the heads up they have not mentioned any change. I could understand your frustrations - and your disruption to planning. I feel that keeping students on the island for closer supervision is a great idea. Step 1 pass rates are important to the school just as well as the student. I agree with you by the time MD5 rolls around students should of developed a study habit and it they have failed to obtain then they shouldn't be doctors. I start in September, and was never informed of the 8 week/8 week however (so because of you I can plan accordingly) I did see that as of Sept 1st the tuition went up for MD5. On the website it says location for MD5 both Curacao and US. I don't think they frivolously advertised.

08-06-2015, 06:36 PM
You make a salient point that some people may benefit from more time on the island under closer supervision. I simply don't feel that students who do not need this should have the option of doing the entire thing in WV as originally promised taken away from them.

As for the website stating MD5 is in both Curacao and WV, doing the entire MD5 on the island is a path many people take when they cannot get a visa to the states. Some also do rotations here, but it is easy to imagine that it is not quite the same level of quality you would see in the States. My point is that this was always an option that you had along with the 16 weeks in West Virginia, or a combination of the two. The reason that the current situation crosses over into false advertising territory is because the website is still offering the option for 16 weeks in WV when that has been completely removed by the administration.

Additionally, what they are doing to current student may legally constitute a breach of contract on the part of Avalon. Since they are a business with an office in the US that may open them up to litigation in a less than favorable environment.

I'll reiterate that I don't presume to tell them what they can and cannot do with the direction of their school, but they have an obligation to act in good faith with their students that were sold a product and are now having the goalposts moved on them.

08-06-2015, 07:20 PM
I think if I were in your shoes I too would be upset, believe me your post was at no disservice it greatly helps me plan. Just to make a little light out of the matter - Beckley is not the place I would want to attend after spending 14 months on a tropical island especially in the winter. I live in Charleston for a short stint and it was cold, nasty, and miserable.

Med grad
11-09-2016, 12:54 PM
This is another example of why people should not rely on what they read on websites or what they are told by the Caribbean schools. These schools are there to make money and their profits always take precedent over whatever small educational benefits they provide.

When you go to one of these schools you must become used to uncertainty and roadblock. Otherwise you will be sadly disappointment very early in the game. These schools don't care if you stay or transfer because they know there is always someone else waiting to take the gamble. The point to remember is that you are paying a hefty price for a chance to participate in an educational lottery, the result of which is by no means certain.