September 28, 2022

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Considering studying medicine overseas – here is what you should keep in mind

4 min read

In both the United States and Canada, a lot of students apply for admission to medical schools every year, with the students amounting in tens of thousands. Unfortunately, it is not easy to gain admission to medical school.

Apart from the tuition fees being exorbitant, the studies of medicine are challenging in multiple aspects. Rejection rates of students at medical schools in the United States are a cause of concern, particularly in Canada. 

Those students who are prospective medical students must understand that it is important to acknowledge that there is a good chance that their acceptance to a medical school in either Canada or in the United States is challenging in the first attempt.

What should they do if they want to study medicine in Canada but are unable to gain admission in medical schools there? The same question American students ask when they apply for medical school stateside. 

If they do get rejected, what should they do? Should they try again in the following year? Or should they give up their hopes on medicine and switch to another field? Or how about applying for admission overseas? Especially to a well-known Caribbean medical University?

Rates of students getting rejected in medical school admissions in Canada and the United States

Let us first examine the statistics first.

For those who are living in either Canada or the United States of America, applying to a local medical school and getting accepted by that school is a monumental achievement. With that being said, it is not much more common than what people may think. Statistics are not much sombre but the matter is of quite a concern.

Last year alone in the United States, 330,000 undergraduates submitted loads of separate applications to medical schools. There were an average of 17 applications per student and only 40% of them were eventually accepted by medical schools. 60% were hence left behind who either applied again, applied elsewhere or switched their fields of study.

However in Canada, the situation is quite alarming (and concerning as well). Last year, 80% of the 14,000 applicants to different medical schools across the country were rejected. Other than that, admissions to Canadian medical schools are more difficult and the statistics paint a bleak picture, especially for Canadian students hoping to become physicians.

Are international medical schools an option worth the consideration by Canadian students?

Unless and until aspiring medical students in both Canada and the United States wish to study medicine overseas, they will not be able to become a physician if they keep on getting rejected in their home countries.

If medical students of the United States and Canada are strongly passionate about studying medicine, it is imperative for them to have a plan B if they are rejected by American and/or Canadian medical schools they applied to.

However, if they wish to create that plan, they need to think quite deeply about their long-term plans, what they wish to achieve with their medical degree, and where they wish to practice medicine in the future.

For example: If medical students with to work either in Canada or the United States after they have graduated from an overseas medical school, they should do their research and ensure that the foreign medical school they attended is properly accredited by recognized bodies

Doing this is quite important so that medical graduates can get the permission to work in either Canada or the United States, or both; especially in the area where they plan to live on after graduation. 

This will save the students a considerable amount of time especially when it comes to jumping through bureaucratic levels just to gain official certification and recognition.

Weighing the options – what to consider for studying in overseas medical schools?

Whether med students wish to study medicine at University of New South Wales, Sackler Faculty of Medicine – Tel Aviv University, University of Sao Paulo,the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM), or a top-notch Caribbean medical university, here are the points they should consider when wishing to study medicine overseas:

  • The quality of the education at any foreign medical school (or college or university).
  • The accreditation level of the foreign medical schools they apply to.
  • The opportunity and ability for medical graduates to join residency programs in their home countries.
  • The research and mentorship chances for medical graduates from foreign medical schools.
  • The tuition fees and other related costs of living overseas.
  • The proximity and ease of travel between the foreign medical school and the student’s family.
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