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  1. #1
    hopefulmed95 is offline Member 510 points
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    Thoughts on SGU as it exists today? Worth it or skip?

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    I know some people who graduated from SGU and the consensus is that SGU is the best of the Caribbean medical schools. I don't know anybody at SGU right now so I want to know if you think SGU is till as good of a school as it was or if things have changed. I have a friend who matched several years ago into a somewhat competitive specialty but he says it's just a giant risk and he wouldn't do it again if he had the chance. I also know a few SGU students who matched into surgical prelim positions and I don't know what became of them after.

    I looked at another school called Medical University of the Americas which is in St. Kitts & Nevis because it is the least expensive but I haven't heard good things about that school either.

    My understanding has always been that it is getting harder to match from a Caribbean school but I wanted to know if there was any truth to it.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    fujiwara is offline Newbie 513 points
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    Current SGU student here. Every alum that we've had return and talk to us have said that its harder for us to match for the same spot the US applicants will aim for. The general consensus seem to be getting 10scores higher on STEP1 than average (i.e 250 for gen surgery if avg is 240 etc). Now, if my understandings are correct, the goods news as of late is that before the residency spots used to be divided into 3 categories USMD, USDO and IMG/FMG but now they'll be eliminating the USDO reserved spot and will be merged with IMG/FMG spots. I dont know when/if this will actually happen but if it does, it may help our chances just a little bit.

  3. #3
    scolari66 is offline Junior Member 512 points
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    I went through SGU Basic Sciences. It seems to be getting more and more like a big assembly line.
    800 people in some of my classes ...and expected to grow. (on the bright side the attrition rate is only around 8 %)
    You can check out MUA on St. Kitts (actually Nevis) but they have a creepster Dean who just wants to crack the whip.
    Trinity Med in St. Vincent broke away from SGU years ago after they saw it getting too big; not a great school but they
    seem to care about the students. AUC on St. Maarten was bought by DeVry and run a class act, low attrition. Saba gets mixed reviews and not
    everyone can take the tiny island, more of a rock. And then there's Ross, a lot like SGU (big and expensive) but higher attrition rate.

  4. #4
    hopefulmed95 is offline Member 510 points
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    Quote Originally Posted by scolari66 View Post
    I went through SGU Basic Sciences. It seems to be getting more and more like a big assembly line.
    800 people in some of my classes ...and expected to grow. (on the bright side the attrition rate is only around 8 %)
    You can check out MUA on St. Kitts (actually Nevis) but they have a creepster Dean who just wants to crack the whip.
    Trinity Med in St. Vincent broke away from SGU years ago after they saw it getting too big; not a great school but they
    seem to care about the students. AUC on St. Maarten was bought by DeVry and run a class act, low attrition. Saba gets mixed reviews and not
    everyone can take the tiny island, more of a rock. And then there's Ross, a lot like SGU (big and expensive) but higher attrition rate.
    Did you like SGU?

  5. #5
    scolari66 is offline Junior Member 512 points
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    Did you like SGU?


    Geez, hard to give a simple yes or no. I think I would rate it 7 for terms 1-3, maybe the same for Term 4,
    Term 5 which I would rate a 4 or 5 seemed like a big grind. A critical class for Step 1 prep (Pathophysiology) was run mostly by one guy whose accent was so thick nobody had any idea what he was saying. Also, SAKAI (the monolithic SGU website) kept getting bigger and bigger and human interaction with students seemed to get less and less robust so by the end I just felt like a number. (I raised the idea that Pathophys should be an all-star panel for hot-shot teachers for a given subject eg Dr. S for
    pedigrees or the female Dr. U for jaundice/glycolysis but no one seemed to know how to introduce changes)...
    Many of my colleagues felt the same way but knew what was coming so seemed less disappointed by the whole process
    and just wanted off the island by that point.

  6. #6
    ChesterBHairston is offline Junior Member 510 points
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    Thanks for sharing this information with us.

  7. #7
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    Groove is offline Member 534 points
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    Class of 2009 here. I'm an emergency physician in the Southern US. I'm pretty happy with the education that I received at SGU. Living on that island in 2005/6 was a complete and utter culture shock for me, but you get acclimated fairly quickly. The classes were too big, but I thought the quality of the education was very good. The curriculum was oriented towards doing well on the USMLE steps and I appreciated that when it came time to actually take them. Coordinating clinicals in NYC at multiple different sites was a gigantic pain in the butt but again...all were fairly decent to good clinical experiences. The match was stressful but I had a good strategy from the get go and matched at my #1 ranking in EM and the rest is history. In hindsight....going to SGU really made my life a lot more complicated than it had to be. Could I have matched in an allopathic school if I had applied? Maybe. If I hadn't matched in a US allopathic school, could I have matched in a DO school? Probably. I still think that matching in a DO school would be infinitely preferable to going overseas and taking on the risk of a Caribbean allopathic school. That being said, SGU gave me the opportunity to become a physician and for that I'll always be infinitely grateful.

    Shortly after I went through, there was a push for 25% increase in US allopathic class sizes and so US medical school classes are larger today than they were in my day. I have "heard" that it makes the match more difficult if you plan to apply to some of the various specialties. That being said, it's not hard to match in FM/IM/Gen Surg/Psych/Peds/OB with a little bit of effort. There are always FM/IM spots that are unfilled. Remember, if you match IM, you can always apply to an IM subspecialty and there are plenty. My honest opinion these days is that I would exhaust your stateside options first. Apply allopathic, then apply osteopathic. The reality is that applying osteopathic before Carib will make your life so much easier in the long run. I like to tell people that If I had it to do over again, I would probably have applied DO (assuming I couldn't get into an allopathic school). That being said, the longer I sit here and think about it...I don't think, given that scenario, that I would have done anything differently and probably would have still gone to SGU. Another thing to consider is the cost. SGU is not cheap and you want to be able to match in something that will give you a realistic ability to pay off those loans. Mine were roughly around 400K after 4 years of residency. Luckily, I was able to pay all of it off after about 4.5 years or so. Anyway, my impression is that it's a little bit more risky these days to matriculate to SGU. However, I don't think it's foolhardy either as long as you are determined to work hard. 25-35% of my class disappeared after first term and flunked out. Remember that when you see all the parties going on during first term and are wondering how people can party so much and keep up with their studies. They can't.

    Anyway, my 2 cents. Good luck to all of you considering the big life change. I can remember those days.

    One last thing to consider is the change to pass/fail with the USMLE steps. I have no idea how you guys would make yourself competitive in your applications when you don't have a score. The scores were a big deal during my match and it would seem to me that the lack of an actual score would make the match process more arduous and competitive for IMG/FMGs. I would thoroughly research that topic before plunging headfirst into an overseas medical school.
    Last edited by Groove; 09-04-2020 at 08:07 AM.

  8. #8
    Denim is online now Junior Member 513 points
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    Great to hear Groove.
    Out of interest how much were living expenses in the Caribbean? How much per month would be needed to pay for housing, food, utilities?

  9. #9
    hopefulmed95 is offline Member 510 points
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    Quote Originally Posted by Groove View Post
    Class of 2009 here. I'm an emergency physician in the Southern US. I'm pretty happy with the education that I received at SGU. Living on that island in 2005/6 was a complete and utter culture shock for me, but you get acclimated fairly quickly. The classes were too big, but I thought the quality of the education was very good. The curriculum was oriented towards doing well on the USMLE steps and I appreciated that when it came time to actually take them. Coordinating clinicals in NYC at multiple different sites was a gigantic pain in the butt but again...all were fairly decent to good clinical experiences. The match was stressful but I had a good strategy from the get go and matched at my #1 ranking in EM and the rest is history. In hindsight....going to SGU really made my life a lot more complicated than it had to be. Could I have matched in an allopathic school if I had applied? Maybe. If I hadn't matched in a US allopathic school, could I have matched in a DO school? Probably. I still think that matching in a DO school would be infinitely preferable to going overseas and taking on the risk of a Caribbean allopathic school. That being said, SGU gave me the opportunity to become a physician and for that I'll always be infinitely grateful.

    Shortly after I went through, there was a push for 25% increase in US allopathic class sizes and so US medical school classes are larger today than they were in my day. I have "heard" that it makes the match more difficult if you plan to apply to some of the various specialties. That being said, it's not hard to match in FM/IM/Gen Surg/Psych/Peds/OB with a little bit of effort. There are always FM/IM spots that are unfilled. Remember, if you match IM, you can always apply to an IM subspecialty and there are plenty. My honest opinion these days is that I would exhaust your stateside options first. Apply allopathic, then apply osteopathic. The reality is that applying osteopathic before Carib will make your life so much easier in the long run. I like to tell people that If I had it to do over again, I would probably have applied DO (assuming I couldn't get into an allopathic school). That being said, the longer I sit here and think about it...I don't think, given that scenario, that I would have done anything differently and probably would have still gone to SGU. Another thing to consider is the cost. SGU is not cheap and you want to be able to match in something that will give you a realistic ability to pay off those loans. Mine were roughly around 400K after 4 years of residency. Luckily, I was able to pay all of it off after about 4.5 years or so. Anyway, my impression is that it's a little bit more risky these days to matriculate to SGU. However, I don't think it's foolhardy either as long as you are determined to work hard. 25-35% of my class disappeared after first term and flunked out. Remember that when you see all the parties going on during first term and are wondering how people can party so much and keep up with their studies. They can't.

    Anyway, my 2 cents. Good luck to all of you considering the big life change. I can remember those days.

    One last thing to consider is the change to pass/fail with the USMLE steps. I have no idea how you guys would make yourself competitive in your applications when you don't have a score. The scores were a big deal during my match and it would seem to me that the lack of an actual score would make the match process more arduous and competitive for IMG/FMGs. I would thoroughly research that topic before plunging headfirst into an overseas medical school.

    lol, 2009 was a looooooooong time ago dude. The IMG landscape has changed drastically since then. I don't doubt SGU was a good plan B a decade or so ago but I want to know how it is TODAY, especially considering the school is taking in like 1200 students a term and they apparently have some significant foreign investment.

    Also, nobody knows anything about how USMLE pass/fail is going to affect anybody going forward. I mean how would anybody know?

  10. #10
    Denim is online now Junior Member 513 points
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    How can they take 1200 students a term? Do all of them graduate or is there a catch?

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