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Thread: Complete SGU Review From A Successfully Matched Graduate

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    lotus360 is offline Newbie 515 points
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    Complete SGU Review From A Successfully Matched Graduate

    Thinking about going to a Caribbean school? Impressed by SGU's advertising? Lost and looking for advice? Well look no further. I'm a recent graduate from the school that got my top choice residency program (from the limited number of choices available to Caribbean students) and in my top field of choice which was not in primary care (from the very limited choice of fields available to Caribbean students). This is my review of my 4 years spent at the "Harvard of the Caribbean"... which in context places it below every MD and DO school in the US and most international schools, as those have about 50 spots in the entire country and take the absolute best and brightest, both in the eyes of residency program directors and probably in reality.

    First a little background about myself. I graduated from a fairly well known university with a degree in Biochemistry and 3.8 GPA. I had a 30+ MCAT score on the first try. I got several interviews from american medical schools, including my top choice at the time. What went wrong? My extracurricular activates were less than spectacular. Every interview I was at zeroed in on my lack of clinical experience. One interviewer flat out told me she didn't think I was mentally prepared to deal with sick and dying patients. As if anyone is? So as you've already predicted, I didn't end up getting in. At this point I was at a cross road. I could take the year off, boost the weak parts of my resume with shadowing and volunteer work or I could start considering a Caribbean school. Originally never having been an option, a good friend of mine told me about SGU. His cousin was graduating that year and had matched into an Internal Medicine residency. The main points were that they had a great step 1 passing rate, students didn't have problems getting rotation spots in the US, they matched into some pretty competitive specialties, and the most important detail to me, I could start in January instead of having to wait until August of next year. It sounded good enough so I took a shot and applied. It only took a few weeks until I was granted an interview. It was at a nearby hospital with a radiology resident/SGU graduate. Even as a senior in undergrad, I knew radiology was a pretty tough residency to get into so I was already impressed. It was a very causal interview. He basically talked about the high points of the school and sold me the program. Great pass rate, "some" of the students matching into things like derm and ortho each year, no problems getting rotation spots, etc. A few weeks later, I was mailed an acceptance letter along with a 1/3 tuition scholarship offer. I was sold. Everything was wrapped up so perfectly, my initial rejection from medical school felt like a blessing in disguise. I dove in head first and gave SGU a chance.

    From their first introduction lecture on the island, they made it clear that this was a self-directed learning program. Their sorry excuse was that when you get out into the "real world" you won't have anyone to teach you and you'll have to learn on your own. For people inexperienced in the world of medicine, I can tell you this is simply not true. In the "real world" you'll be surrounded by people with much more experience and knowledge than you. Though it is important to learn yourself, it is not a crime to ask for help when you need it. Especially when people can live or die based on your decisions. An attending even told me once that instead of searching through a book for an hour searching for answers, he'd rather just call up a specialist and get a better answer in under a minute. The real reason they tell you that is to quickly acquaint with the fact that you are on your own. They do not give a single fu*k about you, except for the money they're draining from your bank account and student loans. Most of their "dedicated teaching staff" is away doing their own private research; the lectures are usually run by foreign IMGs who are trying to place into residency in the US. There is a new lecturer every day, so don't expect much consistency. If you're struggling or have any specific questions though, you're in luck. You're allowed to meet with any professor you want once per term. That's right, one single time per term, because apparently at one point one student was abusing the system and meeting with professors multiple times per week. Doesn't do it for you? They also have a bunch of tedious, bullpooh pooh small group sessions for every class where the point is for everyone to answer a bunch of bullpooh pooh questions ahead of time and then read them to each other. Have questions? Remember, you're supposed to figure things out on your own. Every question you ask is thrown right back at you. Once during a discussion, the entire group was confused about a question and the exact response from a preceptor was "Don't push me, you have to figure it out on your own." This "culture" (of the doing the least amount of work possible on their own part) pretty much seeps into every crack of the SGU foundation. Any type of question you may have whether it's regarding your student account or your grades which they locked 1 month before your TB test is actually due, the only consistent response you'll ever get is to look in your student manual and "Please be guided accordingly" several days or weeks after your initial email. The coordinators during 3rd and 4th year can take several months to submit final evaluations, sometimes not at all until you email them several times without response.

    On the bright side, the campus looks pretty decent. Your tuition dollars have to go somewhere right? Aside from mass advertising. However, when I was there wifi was non-existent and the air conditioner in the lecture halls was either broken or they didn't want to use it. They have security on campus at all times so you can feel safe. Their main job is to hassle anyone who looks like a student at the front gate and ask for ID. If you don't have your ID at all times, you can be taken to the Dean's office for severe repercussions. They also love to steal things out of student dorms. During my last term, a group of about 50 security guards was found to be stealing things out of student dorm rooms. They also have a clinic on campus for all your health needs. They once let a student that was going into anaphylactic shock die because they wouldn't get her an EpiPen or take her to the main hospital.

    Now placing my many personal grievances with SGU aside, let's go over SGU's credentials for a second. If you open up their website, you'll see two important things on the front page. A 96% step 1 pass score (it's gotten lower lol) and underneath it the current years match list with about 800 or appointments. Delving a little deeper into the site, you'll find a list of affiliated hospitals for clinical rotations, about 50 or so hospitals, almost all of them on the east coast. They don't list their step 2 ck or cs pass rate. Why? Last I heard the CS pass rate was 80%. For reference the total pass rate for US students is 96% step 1 and 98% cs. I don't know about CK, but if it was anywhere over 90% you can be damn sure it would be plastered all over their front page. But the stuff they tell you sounds great right? A step 1 pass rate as high as any US school, "more residency appointments than any other school in the world", and 50 rotation sites? Sound wonderful? Think again. My starting class size in 2012 was 600 students, just for the January semester. A second term of 600 students would be accepted in August, for a total of 1,200 students for the year. The last incoming class when I was leaving the island at the end of my 5th term was 1,000 accepted students for the term, a total of 2,000 students for the year. The largest US class is 300 students total. I mean, it's great for SGU on the island. All they literally need are extra seats for the warm bodies to fill. The bottle neck would come from the number of rotation spots, they don't have nearly enough. In fact they've lost quite a few over the year as there are many more US med schools opening. In fact, my primary rotation site alone cut the number of SGU spots in half for a new school that opened in the area. So how do they remedy this? Spend more of your tuition dollars for getting us spots? Actually they increased the cumulative GPA pass rate per term to 75%, but leaving the class pass rate at 70%. Meaning, if you have 70% in your classes for a term, you pass all the classes, but since your cumulative GPA in below 75% you don't get to move on to the next term. Clever right? There’s more. While I was there in fourth term, they had the clicker system in affect to take attendance. You would answer questions using clickers and they would count as your mandatory attendance points. The class was Clinical Skills. They had 20 total lectures and you needed to attend 16 to get the points. This was the 18th one, two weeks or so before Finals. I already had attended 16 lectures so I was set, but my OCD made me keep going to this third rate waste of brain cells. Near the end, at the last question, the man's best friend lady giving lecture thought there weren’t nearly enough students in the room to match with the amount of people that answered. So now she wanted everyone in the room to line up and start signing paper sheets with their names if they wanted attendance points. Since I already had my points and again, it was 2 weeks before midterms, and it would take at least half an hour for everyone to sign these stupid sheets, I decided to walk out. Along with several dozen other people. Later that day, an email was sent out stating that anyone who had clicked in and had not signed the sheets would lose all of their attendance points for the semester because of “non-professionalism”. The attendance points were worth 20% of the grade. They did end up giving them back to people who had attended 16 lectures prior to the incident, including myself, but there were more than a few who ended up failing because of the incident. Also count in the ridiculous, straight bullpooh pooh exams such as the Immunology final and anything given by the clinical skills department, I think SGU has their strategy planned out well.

    From my class, only 75% of the students made it to second term. 25% of them failed at least one class and would come back to repeat the semester. From my communications with people ahead of me this was a normal average. The failure rate for 2nd term was 10% and for 4th term was about 15%. So in essence only half of our original class made it through the first two years on time and picking up students from classes ahead of us, 550 students went on to take step 1. So in essence, the people from SGU taking step 1 were either the top 50% of their class, or took classes several times over. And they brag about a 96% pass rate. Emphasis on pass. Simply passing won't even get your foot into the door of a program director's office in a time where average matching score for all graduates into Internal Medicine is a 230.

    Then, we moved onto clinicals. They made it point to tell us we would all get the rotations we wanted. They just might not be where we want them or the time we want them. I really have no complaints about my base hospital for my clinical years though. It was a spectacular hospital with affiliation to major American medical schools in the area. Restricted to 2-3 students per team, lots of patient exposure, and direct resident/attending interaction. I couldn't have asked for better. However, I came to learn it was an exception rather than a rule. I couldn't get all my 4th year rotations at my base hospital, so I had to wander out into NY for some time during my 4th year. On a side note, you have to contact every hospital on your own to schedule 4th year rotations. Spots get filled on a first come, first serve basis. Though base hospitals priority their own students first and the really decent ones only have about one spot per month per elective. But I digress, during an ER rotation at a small 10 bed hospital in NY, I was alongside 8 other students every single day. During a surgery rotation at a hospital with 4 ORs and about 10 surgeries a day, 5 other students. Nobody really kept track of who you were or where you were. Most students would just show up, get their attendance sheets filled out and leave. Some attendings were kind enough to sign for the entire month so you could take a vacation. If you're really self-motivated I guess you could do ok, but it's difficult to stay motivated when you don't feel you're a part of the team and your actions are not only not helping the residents/attendings, but instead feel bothersome. There were residents that flat out told students they don't care what they do and didn't need their help. Just wander around and go see whatever patients you want. If you're doing something wrong, you're stuck with repeating it until you correct yourself. On the brightside, you'll have plenty of time to study for step 2 ck and cs. Though this is doomed to become an example of great scores not making great residents.

    My 3rd year went off without a hitch. However, being at a fairly strict, watchful learning environment, grading was pretty tough. I did ok, but I later came to realize that the "average" for SGU students doing core rotations is a solid A. A- went only went to a few percent of students placing many of my rotation grades below the 10th percentile. Grade inflation at its finest that really screws you over when all of these statistics will be listed on your MSPE. They place the total average and deviations of all SGU students grades on your MSPE so residency directors can "objectively compare" your performance to your peers throughout medical school. Thanks SGU!

    During my 4th year, I was able to get most of the rotations I wanted, definitely not where I wanted them. I had to bounce around alot from state to state, city to city. This is where you really get a taste of what it's like to be Caribbean student. An american student can call up any LCME affiliated hospital in the country and schedule a rotation days before it starts. Most american grads spend their 4th year doing auditions at various hospitals and try to find ones that fit them. As an IMG, you're pretty much strictly limited to the affiliated hospital list. You'll be lucky if you even get one in the field that you want before match opens with all the other SGU students fighting for that small amount of spots. Want to get an away rotation? Good luck. Firstly, you're strictly restricted to 12 weeks of your 4th year electives with non-affiliated hospitals and all of your 3rd year rotations have to be at affiliated centers. And if you do happen to find a place or two that will accept you, SGU likes to make the process as long and as complex as possible. How else are they going to keep draining money from your wallet? I did personally try. I sent out at least a 100 emails to various hospitals and found only 3 that would take SGU students. However, I was unable to get a spot due to waitlists a mile long. People had been emailing the programs since before even starting their 3rd year and I was just starting in December. I have heard of students from other Caribbean schools, Ross for one, allowing their students to schedule however many rotations they wanted, both cores and electives, at any place that would take them.

    Now, moving onto the match. I had a 240+ step 1 and 250+ step 2. I applied to about 100 programs and only got 10 interviews. All of them at places that have previously accepted SGU grads. These programs had previously given IMGs a chance and they had proven themselves. But that only goes on to cement the idea that your range pool for residency is just as limited as getting away rotations in medical school. It's estimated at least 33% of residency programs will not even look at your application if you are an IMG. There are programs that would rather take a US grad that barely passed over an IMG with 250+ step 1. The average rate for US students is a 96% match rate. Of the remaining, 2.5% or so successfully get a spot in the SOAP. Alot of the rest pick up spots afterward with connections from their school. The biggest worry for most US students is WHERE they will match. For those with less stellar CVs, WHAT they will match into. But a US student that does not match has to fail step exams several times and be at the bottom of the class. I was talking to some of US students I was rotating with after the match and their class had 8 students that wanted to get into derm. 6 got in for a 75% match rate into derm. Their total match rate was 96%. SGU however is a very different story. Our total class size in rotations I would say was about 1,200 students. The number of students that went into residency (match, soap, and prematch) was just over 800 for a rate of about 75% overall. Is that as great a statistic as "most graduates placed into residency than any other school"? Attached is a breakdown of the matched specialties.

    Attachment 28906

    At the end of all of it, I suppose I am content with the way things worked out for me. Though there are at least 25% of SGU graduates, some of which I personally know that are not. They are at least 200k in debt with nothing but a cheap piece of paper to show for it. For anyone looking for advice. I would highly recommend going to a US school, whether it's DO or MD. As I've stated previously, the preference for residency position by program directors is US MD > US DO > International graduates > Caribbean IMG. The only reason for anyone to go to the Caribbean is if it is their absolute last option. It is MUCH easier to retake your MCAT and get a good score or put in time for extracirriculars than to land a residency spot as a Caribbean IMG. And if it is your last option, I would rethink going to SGU. If it is the "Harvard" of the Caribbean, then AUC is UCSF, Ross is Hopkins, and SABA is Duke. Any Caribbean school for the most part is a just Caribbean school with no real differences in education, but at the very least, I know those schools don't take 2,000 students per year.
    Last edited by lotus360; 05-06-2016 at 10:59 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lotus360 View Post
    As I've stated previously, the preference for residency position by program directors is US MD > US DO > International graduates > Caribbean IMG. The only reason for anyone to go to the Caribbean is if it is their absolute last option.
    Just curious, when you say 'International Graduates > Carib IMG', are you saying that program directors view any other International school i.e. Australia and/or Poland as a 'better option'? Is that really their preference?

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    Quote Originally Posted by P-MD View Post
    Just curious, when you say 'International Graduates > Carib IMG', are you saying that program directors view any other International school i.e. Australia and/or Poland as a 'better option'? Is that really their preference?
    I think the OP meant to say "Foreign Medical Graduates" (FMG) rather than "International Graduates".

    Terminology:
    1. USMG = United States Medical Graduate = US Citizen who obtains MD or DO degree in US.
      • US-MD = US Citizen who obtains MD degree in US.
      • US-DO = US Citizen who obtains DO degree in US.
    2. FMG = Foreign Medical Graduate = Foreign citizen who obtains MD or MBBS degree in their country of origin.
    3. IMG = International Medical Graduate = US citizen who obtains MD degree abroad.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lotus360 View Post
    Thinking about going to a Caribbean school? Impressed by SGU's advertising? Lost and looking for advice? Well look no further. I'm a recent graduate from the school that got my top choice residency program (from the limited number of choices available to Caribbean students) and in my top field of choice which was not in primary care (from the very limited choice of fields available to Caribbean students). This is my review of my 4 years spent at the "Harvard of the Caribbean"... which in context places it below every MD and DO school in the US and most international schools, as those have about 50 spots in the entire country and take the absolute best and brightest, both in the eyes of residency program directors and probably in reality.

    First a little background about myself. I graduated from a fairly well known university with a degree in Biochemistry and 3.8 GPA. I had a 30+ MCAT score on the first try. I got several interviews from american medical schools, including my top choice at the time. What went wrong? My extracurricular activates were less than spectacular. Every interview I was at zeroed in on my lack of clinical experience. One interviewer flat out told me she didn't think I was mentally prepared to deal with sick and dying patients. As if anyone is? So as you've already predicted, I didn't end up getting in. At this point I was at a cross road. I could take the year off, boost the weak parts of my resume with shadowing and volunteer work or I could start considering a Caribbean school. Originally never having been an option, a good friend of mine told me about SGU. His cousin was graduating that year and had matched into an Internal Medicine residency. The main points were that they had a great step 1 passing rate, students didn't have problems getting rotation spots in the US, they matched into some pretty competitive specialties, and the most important detail to me, I could start in January instead of having to wait until August of next year. It sounded good enough so I took a shot and applied. It only took a few weeks until I was granted an interview. It was at a nearby hospital with a radiology resident/SGU graduate. Even as a senior in undergrad, I knew radiology was a pretty tough residency to get into so I was already impressed. It was a very causal interview. He basically talked about the high points of the school and sold me the program. Great pass rate, "some" of the students matching into things like derm and ortho each year, no problems getting rotation spots, etc. A few weeks later, I was mailed an acceptance letter along with a 1/3 tuition scholarship offer. I was sold. Everything was wrapped up so perfectly, my initial rejection from medical school felt like a blessing in disguise. I dove in head first and gave SGU a chance.

    From their first introduction lecture on the island, they made it clear that this was a self-directed learning program. Their sorry excuse was that when you get out into the "real world" you won't have anyone to teach you and you'll have to learn on your own. For people inexperienced in the world of medicine, I can tell you this is simply not true. In the "real world" you'll be surrounded by people with much more experience and knowledge than you. Though it is important to learn yourself, it is not a crime to ask for help when you need it. Especially when people can live or die based on your decisions. An attending even told me once that instead of searching through a book for an hour searching for answers, he'd rather just call up a specialist and get a better answer in under a minute. The real reason they tell you that is to quickly acquaint with the fact that you are on your own. They do not give a single fu*k about you, except for the money they're draining from your bank account and student loans. Most of their "dedicated teaching staff" is away doing their own private research; the lectures are usually run by foreign IMGs who are trying to place into residency in the US. There is a new lecturer every day, so don't expect much consistency. If you're struggling or have any specific questions though, you're in luck. You're allowed to meet with any professor you want once per term. That's right, one single time per term, because apparently at one point one student was abusing the system and meeting with professors multiple times per week. Doesn't do it for you? They also have a bunch of tedious, bullpooh pooh small group sessions for every class where the point is for everyone to answer a bunch of bullpooh pooh questions ahead of time and then read them to each other. Have questions? Remember, you're supposed to figure things out on your own. Every question you ask is thrown right back at you. Once during a discussion, the entire group was confused about a question and the exact response from a preceptor was "Don't push me, you have to figure it out on your own." This "culture" (of the doing the least amount of work possible on their own part) pretty much seeps into every crack of the SGU foundation. Any type of question you may have whether it's regarding your student account or your grades which they locked 1 month before your TB test is actually due, the only consistent response you'll ever get is to look in your student manual and "Please be guided accordingly" several days or weeks after your initial email. The coordinators during 3rd and 4th year can take several months to submit final evaluations, sometimes not at all until you email them several times without response.

    On the bright side, the campus looks pretty decent. Your tuition dollars have to go somewhere right? Aside from mass advertising. However, when I was there wifi was non-existent and the air conditioner in the lecture halls was either broken or they didn't want to use it. They have security on campus at all times so you can feel safe. Their main job is to hassle anyone who looks like a student at the front gate and ask for ID. If you don't have your ID at all times, you can be taken to the Dean's office for severe repercussions. They also love to steal things out of student dorms. During my last term, a group of about 50 security guards was found to be stealing things out of student dorm rooms. They also have a clinic on campus for all your health needs. They once let a student that was going into anaphylactic shock die because they wouldn't get her an EpiPen or take her to the main hospital.

    Now placing my many personal grievances with SGU aside, let's go over SGU's credentials for a second. If you open up their website, you'll see two important things on the front page. A 96% step 1 pass score (it's gotten lower lol) and underneath it the current years match list with about 800 or appointments. Delving a little deeper into the site, you'll find a list of affiliated hospitals for clinical rotations, about 50 or so hospitals, almost all of them on the east coast. They don't list their step 2 ck or cs pass rate. Why? Last I heard the CS pass rate was 80%. For reference the total pass rate for US students is 96% step 1 and 98% cs. I don't know about CK, but if it was anywhere over 90% you can be damn sure it would be plastered all over their front page. But the stuff they tell you sounds great right? A step 1 pass rate as high as any US school, "more residency appointments than any other school in the world", and 50 rotation sites? Sound wonderful? Think again. My starting class size in 2012 was 600 students, just for the January semester. A second term of 600 students would be accepted in August, for a total of 1,200 students for the year. The last incoming class when I was leaving the island at the end of my 5th term was 1,000 accepted students for the term, a total of 2,000 students for the year. The largest US class is 300 students total. I mean, it's great for SGU on the island. All they literally need are extra seats for the warm bodies to fill. The bottle neck would come from the number of rotation spots, they don't have nearly enough. In fact they've lost quite a few over the year as there are many more US med schools opening. In fact, my primary rotation site alone cut the number of SGU spots in half for a new school that opened in the area. So how do they remedy this? Spend more of your tuition dollars for getting us spots? Actually they increased the cumulative GPA pass rate per term to 75%, but leaving the class pass rate at 70%. Meaning, if you have 70% in your classes for a term, you pass all the classes, but since your cumulative GPA in below 75% you don't get to move on to the next term. Clever right? There’s more. While I was there in fourth term, they had the clicker system in affect to take attendance. You would answer questions using clickers and they would count as your mandatory attendance points. The class was Clinical Skills. They had 20 total lectures and you needed to attend 16 to get the points. This was the 18th one, two weeks or so before Finals. I already had attended 16 lectures so I was set, but my OCD made me keep going to this third rate waste of brain cells. Near the end, at the last question, the man's best friend lady giving lecture thought there weren’t nearly enough students in the room to match with the amount of people that answered. So now she wanted everyone in the room to line up and start signing paper sheets with their names if they wanted attendance points. Since I already had my points and again, it was 2 weeks before midterms, and it would take at least half an hour for everyone to sign these stupid sheets, I decided to walk out. Along with several dozen other people. Later that day, an email was sent out stating that anyone who had clicked in and had not signed the sheets would lose all of their attendance points for the semester because of “non-professionalism”. The attendance points were worth 20% of the grade. They did end up giving them back to people who had attended 16 lectures prior to the incident, including myself, but there were more than a few who ended up failing because of the incident. Also count in the ridiculous, straight bullpooh pooh exams such as the Immunology final and anything given by the clinical skills department, I think SGU has their strategy planned out well.

    From my class, only 75% of the students made it to second term. 25% of them failed at least one class and would come back to repeat the semester. From my communications with people ahead of me this was a normal average. The failure rate for 2nd term was 10% and for 4th term was about 15%. So in essence only half of our original class made it through the first two years on time and picking up students from classes ahead of us, 550 students went on to take step 1. So in essence, the people from SGU taking step 1 were either the top 50% of their class, or took classes several times over. And they brag about a 96% pass rate. Emphasis on pass. Simply passing won't even get your foot into the door of a program director's office in a time where average matching score for all graduates into Internal Medicine is a 230.

    Then, we moved onto clinicals. They made it point to tell us we would all get the rotations we wanted. They just might not be where we want them or the time we want them. I really have no complaints about my base hospital for my clinical years though. It was a spectacular hospital with affiliation to major American medical schools in the area. Restricted to 2-3 students per team, lots of patient exposure, and direct resident/attending interaction. I couldn't have asked for better. However, I came to learn it was an exception rather than a rule. I couldn't get all my 4th year rotations at my base hospital, so I had to wander out into NY for some time during my 4th year. On a side note, you have to contact every hospital on your own to schedule 4th year rotations. Spots get filled on a first come, first serve basis. Though base hospitals priority their own students first and the really decent ones only have about one spot per month per elective. But I digress, during an ER rotation at a small 10 bed hospital in NY, I was alongside 8 other students every single day. During a surgery rotation at a hospital with 4 ORs and about 10 surgeries a day, 5 other students. Nobody really kept track of who you were or where you were. Most students would just show up, get their attendance sheets filled out and leave. Some attendings were kind enough to sign for the entire month so you could take a vacation. If you're really self-motivated I guess you could do ok, but it's difficult to stay motivated when you don't feel you're a part of the team and your actions are not only not helping the residents/attendings, but instead feel bothersome. There were residents that flat out told students they don't care what they do and didn't need their help. Just wander around and go see whatever patients you want. If you're doing something wrong, you're stuck with repeating it until you correct yourself. On the brightside, you'll have plenty of time to study for step 2 ck and cs. Though this is doomed to become an example of great scores not making great residents.

    My 3rd year went off without a hitch. However, being at a fairly strict, watchful learning environment, grading was pretty tough. I did ok, but I later came to realize that the "average" for SGU students doing core rotations is a solid A. A- went only went to a few percent of students placing many of my rotation grades below the 10th percentile. Grade inflation at its finest that really screws you over when all of these statistics will be listed on your MSPE. They place the total average and deviations of all SGU students grades on your MSPE so residency directors can "objectively compare" your performance to your peers throughout medical school. Thanks SGU!

    During my 4th year, I was able to get most of the rotations I wanted, definitely not where I wanted them. I had to bounce around alot from state to state, city to city. This is where you really get a taste of what it's like to be Caribbean student. An american student can call up any LCME affiliated hospital in the country and schedule a rotation days before it starts. Most american grads spend their 4th year doing auditions at various hospitals and try to find ones that fit them. As an IMG, you're pretty much strictly limited to the affiliated hospital list. You'll be lucky if you even get one in the field that you want before match opens with all the other SGU students fighting for that small amount of spots. Want to get an away rotation? Good luck. Firstly, you're strictly restricted to 12 weeks of your 4th year electives with non-affiliated hospitals and all of your 3rd year rotations have to be at affiliated centers. And if you do happen to find a place or two that will accept you, SGU likes to make the process as long and as complex as possible. How else are they going to keep draining money from your wallet? I did personally try. I sent out at least a 100 emails to various hospitals and found only 3 that would take SGU students. However, I was unable to get a spot due to waitlists a mile long. People had been emailing the programs since before even starting their 3rd year and I was just starting in December. I have heard of students from other Caribbean schools, Ross for one, allowing their students to schedule however many rotations they wanted, both cores and electives, at any place that would take them.

    Now, moving onto the match. I had a 240+ step 1 and 250+ step 2. I applied to about 100 programs and only got 10 interviews. All of them at places that have previously accepted SGU grads. These programs had previously given IMGs a chance and they had proven themselves. But that only goes on to cement the idea that your range pool for residency is just as limited as getting away rotations in medical school. It's estimated at least 33% of residency programs will not even look at your application if you are an IMG. There are programs that would rather take a US grad that barely passed over an IMG with 250+ step 1. The average rate for US students is a 96% match rate. Of the remaining, 2.5% or so successfully get a spot in the SOAP. Alot of the rest pick up spots afterward with connections from their school. The biggest worry for most US students is WHERE they will match. For those with less stellar CVs, WHAT they will match into. But a US student that does not match has to fail step exams several times and be at the bottom of the class. I was talking to some of US students I was rotating with after the match and their class had 8 students that wanted to get into derm. 6 got in for a 75% match rate into derm. Their total match rate was 96%. SGU however is a very different story. Our total class size in rotations I would say was about 1,200 students. The number of students that went into residency (match, soap, and prematch) was just over 800 for a rate of about 75% overall. Is that as great a statistic as "most graduates placed into residency than any other school"? Attached is a breakdown of the matched specialties.

    Attachment 28906

    At the end of all of it, I suppose I am content with the way things worked out for me. Though there are at least 25% of SGU graduates, some of which I personally know that are not. They are at least 200k in debt with nothing but a cheap piece of paper to show for it. For anyone looking for advice. I would highly recommend going to a US school, whether it's DO or MD. As I've stated previously, the preference for residency position by program directors is US MD > US DO > International graduates > Caribbean IMG. The only reason for anyone to go to the Caribbean is if it is their absolute last option. It is MUCH easier to retake your MCAT and get a good score or put in time for extracirriculars than to land a residency spot as a Caribbean IMG. And if it is your last option, I would rethink going to SGU. If it is the "Harvard" of the Caribbean, then AUC is UCSF, Ross is Hopkins, and SABA is Duke. Any Caribbean school for the most part is a just Caribbean school with no real differences in education, but at the very least, I know those schools don't take 2,000 students per year.

    I got accepted by SABA, SGU, Ross and AUA however I am leaning towards SABA and SGU. My advisor at Health Professions Office told me to go to SGU because it is more acknowledged among the others. But SABA is $100,000 cheaper than the SGU and its step 1 pass rate in 2017 was 100% on the other hand SGU is highly reputed and acknowledged by almost everyone. Last day to pay deposit for SABA is October 19, 2018. If someone can give me any information regarding the comparison between SABA and SGU, it will be great. Any suggestion will be appreciated

  5. #14
    hopeless13 is offline Junior Member 514 points
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    Quote Originally Posted by Focused-to,be_MD View Post
    I got accepted by SABA, SGU, Ross and AUA however I am leaning towards SABA and SGU. My advisor at Health Professions Office told me to go to SGU because it is more acknowledged among the others. But SABA is $100,000 cheaper than the SGU and its step 1 pass rate in 2017 was 100% on the other hand SGU is highly reputed and acknowledged by almost everyone. Last day to pay deposit for SABA is October 19, 2018. If someone can give me any information regarding the comparison between SABA and SGU, it will be great. Any suggestion will be appreciated
    My own feelings are : don't do it. don't do either one. while there are successful graduates there are also many who are not.

    that being said: as an SGU graduate - in my country (Canada) nobody gives a pooh pooh where you went to school if you are an IMG.

    and that extra 100k in debt is a HUGE number. I'm not convinced that the extra 100K is worth the 'SGU rep' because i haven't seen that reputation get people anywhere. many will disagree with me but I have seen students from every school get great residence spots. i have also seen grads from every school get NO resident spot!!
    camron9012 likes this.

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