View Full Version : Current Med student studying in China

05-11-2017, 11:01 PM

Basically I want to know if it's possible to transfer to a U.S medical school (I am a U.S citizen) or if possible a Singaporean Med school.

Thank you

05-12-2017, 12:43 AM
No idea about Singapore, but I would be surprised if it's a possibility.

For the US? Short answer: No.

The thumbnail sketch of requirements for admission to a US medical school are 1) completion of a bachelor's degree (with a high GPA and all of the pre-med science classes) in North America, and 2) completion of the MCAT examination. Transfer into a US medical school from abroad is extremely rare, and requires completion of at least Step 1 of the USMLE board examination. If you do not have these things, then it basically is not happening. People who successfully transfer from foreign medical schools into the US are usually very strong applicants who were on the cusp of being admitted there initially, but due to the vagaries of the admissions process ended up studying in the Caribbean... and then really kicked butt there. And even that is no guarantee.

The best path back to the US for residency and practice is to finish strong where you are, kick tail on the USMLE Steps, get some US clinical experience during vacations, and apply very broadly for the US Match (in specialties for which you are competitive) in the year that you graduate. The transfer route is rare and tends to work only for a small subset of students who are already in US-style medical education programs.

05-12-2017, 04:05 AM
So it is possible then? I would like to think i'll be a strong candidate; already have a degree in neuroscience, micro and immunology, have my name to a research paper and will have more by the time I apply to transfer (2~ years from now). I have to do step 1 and 2 regardless so that's not the issue, the issue is just whether it's possible and with whom it is possible to transfer to.

05-12-2017, 02:42 PM
Yes, foreign transfers to the US medical schools are rare, but it sometimes happens for a few lucky souls each year. Again, they usually tend to come from the Caribbean schools because they have the same type of curricular set-up as the US schools -- Asian, South American, and European programs (etc.) tend to be different in length and structure, so it can make it difficult to compare apples to apples when it comes to applicants.

Now, there are very few US schools that allow foreign transfers at all (I know that Drexel does, for example - MD Program Transfer Applicants - Drexel University College of Medicine (http://drexel.edu/medicine/academics/md-program/md-program-admissions/transfer-applicants/) - and NE Ohio has in the past - Become a Doctor | NEOMED (http://www.neomed.edu/admissions/become-a-doctor/#1487817614613-43cd7f18-b97f) - and I think there are a couple of others). Those schools that do accept transfer students usually only have openings based on attrition, so some years there are a few, while other years they might not have any. Each year the schools announce at a certain point whether there are any open spots, and if so, how many.

Note also that they usually require two years of medical school completed, plus a really good Step 1 score, and you are usually only allowed to transfer into 2nd year. So transfers will end up repeating MS2... but it's definitely worth the additional time afterward when it comes to the Match, of course. That is especially true if you are gunning for a competitive specialty outside of primary care.

Having an undergrad degree is a basic requirement, and the research should help. Not having MCAT scores could be a significant challenge to overcome, but if you have the academic chops to do so then get after it! I would recommend scouring VMD (and/or Google and/or the websites of other medical schools) to put together a complete list of the schools that accept international transfer. There are not a lot of them, but I think there are more than just Drexel and NE Ohio. And remember, the list of schools and number of open positions will vary from year to year.

Good luck to you.

05-13-2017, 09:54 AM
Great thanks a lot man! Surely not having an MCAT can be overlooked? Considering I will have done the basic sciences (medical chemistry and physics etc) twice and surely they can just look and my grades and determine whether or not i'm capable of studying medicine; since the grades are from a medical school... I would like to finish all my pre-clinical stuff here and then transfer and i'm happy to repeat a year/content as that gives me time to setup in a foreign city without the huge strain of constant study.

Thanks a lot hopefully I don't need luck and can get a transfer on merit :D

05-13-2017, 05:57 PM
How important is the MCAT? Well, one is ineligible without it at Drexel, according to their website:

• US citizenship or permanent residency
• Completion of the science pre-requisite courses at a US or Canadian undergraduate school
• MCAT exam
• Students attending LCME approved medical schools who have satisfactorily completed all first year courses (for applicants to the second year class) or all first and second year courses (for applicants to the third year class)
• USMLE Step 1 scores received by May 15 (for applicants to the third year class)
• (1) Students in foreign medical schools listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools published by the World Health Organization; (2) Dental students, dental school graduates or dentists applying to the Oral Maxillofacial Surgery Program; and (3) Osteopathic medical school students or graduates who can document that they have satisfactorily completed classes equivalent to Drexel’s first and second year curriculum

Your argument makes a measure of sense, and I can totally see where you are coming from, but it is just not that simple of a process -- and even more importantly, Drexel disagrees... remember that US medical schools tend to be very conservative and risk-averse in their admissions thinking. Not having the MCAT means considering an applicant with one less (very important) element of the US medical school admissions process, and one which they like to use for 1-to-1 comparison with the other people who are applying. The more crap they have that they can use to compare applicants straight across, the happier they will tend to be.

Now, with that said, NE Ohio apparently does not require it (although I submit that having it could help a lot). From their website:

Transfer applicants are required to:
- be in good academic standing at their current medical school
- be citizens or permanent residents of the United States (priority is given to Ohio residents)
- hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited U.S. college or university
- have passed the USMLE Step 1
- have successfully completed two years of coursework at their current medical school

So out of the two schools I listed above, one of them will allow application without MCAT scores. I have no idea about any others, but definitely look into it to make sure.

As a med student in China you are an outlier, which is totally cool and all, but it will be very challenging for an admissions committee to quantify exactly what you are bringing to the table when compared with other applicants. By far their safest bet for transfer admission is going to be the kid from AUC who applied and almost got in from their waiting list two years ago, who has great MCAT scores (as good as their current crop of students), and who is coming in smoothly from an American-style curriculum. This kind of applicant is what they know, and what they are generally most comfortable with... and that general type of background will also fit the majority of their transfer applicants.

You will be applying with a cool CV, research publications, lots of great stuff in there... but with no MCAT scores and with a medical school transcript that they probably won't fully know what to do with. Be mindful that, while it is important to have a strong transcript, foreign grades for medical school sometimes can mean very little in the US. I am certainly not saying that you are not smart, or that you have not earned them. Hell, I went to a foreign med school myself. The unfortunate fact is that in many, many countries the concept of grades (and earning grades) has a far different definition than in the US and Canada.

So... in order to be awarded a transfer to a US medical school from a foreign school, you are going to need both luck AND merit. The people who go through the effort of trying to transfer into a US school are almost all going to be extremely strong candidates, so merit is not the sole determining factor -- and the vast majority of them will not be successful in obtaining a transfer. It is not easy (no matter how good you are) and it is not common. It is well worth applying, and I encourage you to do so at every school where you meet the transfer eligibility criteria, but definitely keep the realities of the situation in mind as you do so.

Again, best of luck to you!

05-13-2017, 08:39 PM
My problem is that I am a U.S citizen but I have never been to or lived in the U.S. I am originally from New Zealand and did my 1st degree there, so for me to sit an MCAT is a huge problem; travel to the U.S spending thousands just to sit a test and then fly back. I understand completely your points on the MCAT though, however I find it quite funny that they still require an MCAT score even though they are taking your USMLE step 1 score, seems a bit redundant don't you think? "oh this guy scored a 250 on the USMLE step 1 oh but wait he doesn't he a valid score on the medical school entry test, we don't know if he's suitable..." either way I will get in contact with these Universities and see what happens.

Edit: I just read your list of criteria again, the USMLE score is only required for those wanting to head into the 3rd year, surely that should replace/overlay an MCAT score and agree with my sarcastic rhetoric above.

Anyway thanks again :)

05-14-2017, 06:46 AM
I hope that they will accept Kiwi undergrad! Double check that, as well.

Good luck and go get 'em.

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