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  1. #1
    r_stringer is offline Junior Member
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    Everyone is so quick to dismiss polish schools. Where is the Proof?

    Hello everyone,

    I am still trying to decide between polish and carribean schools. Now I read almost every post in this forum in regards of polish medical schools and especially those which are associated with HMI or Alliance. Everyone is very quick to dismiss those schools because they use agents. Again and again the only criticism has been , "shy away from those schools , they use agents" and usually these comments are from people who do not attend them.

    I just want to point out that this kind of critisim is counterproductive and inappropiate. When we discuss this medical schools, people are interested in the quality of education and the care the students recieve. Not one post has addressed this issue except the ones posted by students who visit those schools, and they seem to be contect I might add. Sure the professors have accents and yes adapting to an eastern european living standard takes time and motivation for North Americans but does that mean that these people are getting an inferior medical education? If so where is the proof?

    Again I am not doubting that there are some money hungry agents behind certain schools, but again that does not mean that having to pay for the opportinity to obtain a seat is a statement about it's lack of value.
    I remember having read a few posts about carribean students saying that for the USLMEs they still had to make a great independent effort to pass them. And we all agree that there is no curriculum that really prepares you for the North American system.

    People made remarks such as "You are paying the agent directly or indirectly through high tuition fees". But by all due respect the carribean school's tuition if not higher is not neccessary less either. And further one cannot forget that a polish education is recognized in europe and in North America vs an carribean one which is only taylored to the US market.

    Now I am a Newbie and I don't claim to know more than others neither do I claim that your findings are not true. I do however know how to recognize an objective and well supported argument and in my opinion noone has been able so far to provide one against the polish system. And hearsay by the way does not qualify as such either.

    It is very difficult for people who are in the process of making a decision to absorb all this information and to make the right choice. Please help them by actually providing constructive ciritism on the subject that matters most when choosing a school which is the quality of the medical education.

    Regards,

    Rob

  2. #11
    r_stringer is offline Junior Member
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    Point not taken again

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    Miklos,

    While risking to appear as a "Last Word Freak" , I need to make these points.

    You keep repeating the fact the "Big3 " are great schools and you are implying that I do not believe their numbers. when did I express any misconception about the quality of these schools? I am confident and agree that they are great schools, but they only cater to the American market.

    My aim is not to put down the carribean shools, far from that, I am only trying to convery the message that EE schools are very valuable in alot of ways and people have taken advantage of them and You still have not provided and solid evidence against them. Your only two arguments are a) They use agents and b) They don't publish numbers. All I am telling you is that's not good enough unless you proof to me that most people attending those schoos do not pass USMLEs and further do not get residencies. And even then you have to take into account that since the admission criteria for EE schools are looser that maybe it's the students entering that are not up to the game and not the school that is to blame.

    Fees again. Let's assume that the agents are completely useless for finding rotations. still the differece in tuition fees still make up come out ahead financially and I think that 's a big advantage. Let's face it we all do care about money too, otherwise we all would go for nursing.

    And true there are some shady agents and then again there are some decent ones. Alliance seems to be very decent, I talked to a guy for an hour and in this conversation he did anything but pushing the school. He actually made me aware of the pros and especially the cons of being a doctor in the states and the misconceptions that go along with it. So again there are bad and good carribean schools and that also goes for agents. Not to mention that YOU are making the valid point that you don't need the agent if you choose not to. So more flexiblity there again and more saved dollars.

    Please understand I don't disagree with what you have to say , but with the the way you are supporting or rather not supporting your argument. But there is nothing wrong about being passionate about things

  3. #12
    neilc is offline Permanently Banned
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    Point not taken again

    Quote Originally Posted by r_stringer
    . Your only two arguments are a) They use agents and b) They don't publish numbers. All I am telling you is that's not good enough unless you proof to me that most people attending those schoos do not pass USMLEs and further do not get residencies.
    )
    r_stringer, i think that you are simply having an optimistic view of the EE schools. technically, you are correct. they do give a chance, and they are much less expensive. however, those of us here have a bit more real world experience and know a different story than what the agents will tell you.

    first, a response to the above quote. you are looking for proof that the school is not producing. i strongly urge you to look at things from the perspective that schools should prove to you that they are producing. as a student here in EE, i can tell you that all of the schools that i am familiar with have a lot of unsuccessful students from the states. the usmle pass rate can be very misleading because many delay taking it as long as possible, and very often until after they graduate. residency placement lists do not exist because the school is not familiar with the importance, and there is very poor follow up on the graduating students.

    basically, you can theoretically do well from the EE schools. there are a few of us who do it, pass the exams and complete things on time. and i anticipate that we also will not have huge problems getting residency placements. so, it is possible. but, trust us when we tell you that it is far from easy, and it involves a LOT of extra work by the individual, no matter what the agents tell you.

    as far as agents go, there may well be "good" ones out there. great. but, i have yet to hear from a student that has been happy with the decision to use one. far, far more often i hear them complain about broken promises and blatant lies. i experienced some of these first hand in some conversations i had with an agent. and, the fact of the matter is, they are wholly useless. any decent school should have an admissions office which does a very large proportion of what the agent does (paperwork, visa help, etc...) and, as far as rotations scheduling goes, it is very very easy to get several rotations on your own once you pass the usmle. so, i personally consider it a huge waste of money for someone to use an agent, and i also think that it shows the school is not willing to deal with the English students and the issues they may have. instead, they delegate this to an agent, and the students pay for these "services", which are the responsibility of the school

    bottom line is, no matter what you want to think, the EE schools are a more difficult route. the big 3 will give you far more bang for your buck, more value for the money spent. the EE schools are a great opportunity for some. i would choose mine again, even over most of the carib schools. everyone has the personal reasons for choosing a school that is a good fit, and i found my fit here. but, you need to go in with your eyes open. there is no problem in prefering a polish education, but no matter what you want to think, it will be much more difficult that the big 3.

    can you achieve your goals coming from an EE school? 100% absolutely, if you work your butt off. on the other hand, if you come here turning a blind eye to the pitfalls and problems which do exist, you will have an even more difficult time adjusting and succeeding.

  4. #13
    r_stringer is offline Junior Member
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    Interesting points

    Neilc

    You are making some interesting points. I am merely trying to get an objective point of view about those schools. and so far the only evidence provided is based on what people and yoursef have "heard". And ironically most of you guys are at EE schools happy with your decision.

    I am going to go further and even accept that those students have problems with the USMLE, but again we have to factor in that students going to these schools are a) preparing for a european career or b) if they are coming back to the US they are not the cream of the crop if anything probably the ones who can't even get into the good carribean ones. They certainly represent the ones with the poorest academic credentials and thus they have problems pass their tests.

    So this is a little bit of a chicken and egg question. Is it the poor student who has a hard time passing? or the school which does not prepare the student, i just believe that this is a valid point which we need to take into account. And word of mouth nor statics can reflect all the factors that contribute to Test results.

    I just wanted to make sure all aspects of such evaluation are brought to light, after all there are some whose only option might be a EE school, I just think we should tell them that their dreams are not over and it's not ALL so bad.

    Cheers,

    Rob

  5. #14
    neilc is offline Permanently Banned
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    ...

    the fact is that getting an "objective" point of veiw will be close to impossible. the schools typically do not have such data. maybe they are begining to keep it, but i would still be wary. and, based on my experience i would flat out reject ANY data that ANY agent tried to give me. so, if you want the good word on the EE, you really can only visit the schools and talk to the students and distill the "truth" on your own.

    i do think that the quality of the student plays a large role in the success (or lack thereof) of the students from these schools. i think that there are quite a few happy folks, mixed in with quite a few very unhappy folks.

    anyhow, like i said, it is a good match for a select few people. other folks are not such a great match, but work through it and succeed anyhow. and still others can't adapt or possibly shouldn't be in med school anywhere.

    so, if you are saying that the polish schools are a means to an end, and can be an option for some folks, i would agree. i think miklos would too. but, the major point is that there are better ways to get where we are going, at least for the majority of students out there.

    if you do decide on a polish (or any EE education for that matter) simply being aware of the pitfalls and additional hurdles will help you do better. but, i really hope that you trust us when we tell you that no matter what anybody tells you (esp. agents) the results are not the same. while this may be due to a lower level of quality for the admitted students, please do realize that the schools are simply not designed to get you back to the states. no matter what they say. the profs have not taken the usmle. the multiple choice tests are so far from what you will see on the usmle it is laughable. the schools have little or no experience with ECFMG and the process of getting back to the states. even the deans letter will be a chore.

    so, yes, you are right in saying it can be done. but, please do realize that it will take a significant amount of extra work. if you are willing to do it, you will be fine. but, much of this can be avoided by going somewhere that has a primary objective of getting you to the states.

    if europe is an objective, then i would say the EE schools are a better bet than the carib, on the other hand....but, that is not something i am very informed about, and i think that the vast majority of us do plan to return to the good old usa anyhow...

  6. #15
    r_stringer is offline Junior Member
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    Fair enough

    Neil,

    I completely agree with you on the major points you making.

    I believe that if someone wants to come back to the states and ONLY back to the states a carribean education is better than an EE one. No argument about that.

    My situation and as I found out many other's is this.

    I am a 31 year old professional with a college degree. This means that I don't have the time to do an MCAT nor the motiviation, I want to start my studies immediately. Besides in my undergrad I did not do too well, not because I couldn't but rather because of my immaturity and lack of motivation for school. So Admisson into a carribean school is still fairly competitive from what I hear.

    I am canadian and I want to be able to practise either back in Canada , UK or Ausralia and ALSO the US which means my degree has to be more flexible.

    I cannot as a Canadian get very high student loans from the government.

    Not to mention that I really would have a hard time motivating myself on a sunny island. For me an old european city lends itself much better to vigorous studying. You being Prague yourself sure agree with me on that.

    And I think there are others like me who have the same dilemma, who don't have the funds nor the time and nor the restriction to only want to practise in the US. Well for us the selections are pretty limited and Poland seems to be an answer although as you said correctly with a greater effort. But I rather be given a chance than none . You did a great job explaining why it's harder and the fact that is possible. Some people's remarks however are very onesided and do nothing but to scare people off without showing the other side and that is what I tried to speak out against.


    Cheers,
    Rob

  7. #16
    carbon is offline Member
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    Be informed whatever you choose to do

    r_stringer,
    Be sure and make very informed decisions especially if you are planning to return to Canada. They have notoriously difficult exams and getting into residency there is extremely difficult for FMG's. Be sure and check with your local Medical boards and find out in writing what needs to be done on your behalf to become a practioner in Canada wether it be from a Carib school or EE school. Having travelled the Poznan to US residency route I must agree with all points made by you and NeilC on the last few postings.
    Good Luck

  8. #17
    neilc is offline Permanently Banned
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    one last thing!

    r_stringer, one more thing to consider is the acceptance of the four year programs worldwide. i would be rather careful with them. by far, your best choice for a value education accepted worldwide would be to attend one of the 6 year programs which are approved in Ca. i say this because licensing issues in the states are likely to get harder vs. easier, and the Ca approval process is pretty thourough. i would not be surprised if other states use it (as NM is already doing). as far as working outside of the states, i would imagine that a four-year degree from a polish school may pose some problems. those are certainly designed specifically for those planning to return to the states. i know that some states have wording that requires you to be licensable in the country that you recieved your education, and i am not sure that 4 year polish programs do that. additionally, i would imagine that if you want to work in other countries, they may have specific requirements that state you need to complete the same education as the local docs in the country that you recieved your education.

    just a footnote, i really don't know what the truth is. i only mention the above as my opinion, and i really do think it would be valuable to check it out further. i have not done the research, but i am merely guessing as to what some consequences may be. do the research, and my advice is that if there is a doubt, go the more conservative route. an extra 2 years may seem like a lot, but in the end it is not much if it opens all the doors that you need to be opened.

    best of luck with your endeavors.

  9. #18
    carbon is offline Member
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    License

    Let's not get too excited here. With the exception of CA. and NM, there are no problems in any other state as far as I know. There are licensed graduates from the 4 year programs all over the USA and I am certain that eventually some of these programs will have Cali approval. I hold several state licenses and have never had an issue obtaining one. But you should check local regulations beforehand because things are always changing. Other than CA/NM I am curious where else specifically in the world these 4 year programs are not accepted. In Poland you may enter postgraduate training and are eligible for a physicians license upon completion of the 4 year program.

  10. #19
    neilc is offline Permanently Banned
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    no getting excited, just giving food for thought

    if you are eligible for licensure in poland upon graduation, that is good news. that is helpful. however, my comments about that were simply food for thought if he was considering working OUTSIDE of the US. i think it is wise to check that out, as it may be an issue. who knows if australia will also recognize a four year degree? not me...

    if you have accurate info on other countries, it would be great if you could post it.

    also, i don't really want to get into a whole licensure thing. i agree that there are grads in many states. my point is simply that a) licensure issues may change for the worse, and b)i think that having california approval offers some protection against that. now, you may consider this paranoid, but it is something that i would consider. after all, there are lots of california approved schools, and i have yet to hear a good argument for not attending one of them. and saying that we will apply, or that the paperwork has been sent counts for jack. if it is not approved now, i would not bank anything on it being approved. there are no guarantees in offshore medical schools....it could happen, but it just as easily could never happen.

    lots of people say that it doesn't matter if you don't want to work in california, but that is pretty short sighted and ignorant. what if you change your mind? what if other states adopt the policy? another point is that a school that can pass the approval process is not likely to be a dodgy school...this is something that i would strongly consider if i was looking at choosing a school today. ignore it at your own peril.

    anyhow, i think we are moving off topic a bit. basically, i am saying be very careful, and look into all the little details. it would really suck to go to school, work so hard at getting this good education, only to find that some small clause or a detail that you didn't feel was important turns out to be a limiting factor. what a waste that would be....again, this is another very important thing to consider when even comparing the EE schools to the carib. the unkown is much more of a problem for us.

  11. #20
    r_stringer is offline Junior Member
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    Cali question

    Hi Neil,

    Thanks for the info i certainly had not thought of that. Now the only question i have is this, after you practice medicine in another state for a few years can you go back to cali then and somehow get certified?

    Thanks for any response in advance

    Rob

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