The 8 Questions the SGU Admissions Team Hears the Most Often


11.04.2019

Having an inherent sense of curiosity is essential for physicians—it helps them uncover a fuller picture of each patient’s health. But being inquisitive can benefit you long before you’re practicing medicine. You need to ask questions when applying to medical schools to make sure you find a program that meets your needs.

Now that you’ve done some initial research into the School of Medicine at St. George’s University (SGU), you’re probably ready to dig deeper. Perhaps you want to know more about the clinical training program. Or maybe you’re especially curious about what it’s like living in Grenada.

No matter which question tops your list, there’s a good chance the SGU admissions team has heard it before. We spent some time chatting with team members Richard Kleinman, Ashley Ballesteros, and Angela Cascio to find answers to the things students ask about most frequently.

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While this list might not cover every tidbit of information you are seeking, it’s a good place to start. You might even learn something you wouldn’t have thought to ask about on your own.

1. Will I be able to practice medicine in the US?

While students might be more apt to ask about SGU’s accreditation status or where graduates practice, this is usually the underlying question they’re truly looking to answer. Kleinman clarifies:

“Ultimately, prospective students want to know that if they attend St. George’s University, they can come back and practice in the US. The answer is students can and do!” he says.

"The answer is students can and do!"

SGU is accredited by the Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and other Health Professions (CAAM-HP), which has been approved by the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME). This is an important factor. Beginning in 2023, the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) will only offer the necessary certification to students who’ve graduated from a WFMD-approved medical school.

Accreditation aside, SGU has a long track record of graduate success. More than 960 SGU students and graduates obtained residency positions in 2019, according to data from July of the same year. That contributes to an already robust alumni network.

“We have more than 17,000 MD graduates who are practicing all over the world,” Kleinman offers. “But the vast majority of them are practicing in the US.”

2. How prepared are SGU students for the USMLE Step 1?

Performance on The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1 is the most commonly cited criteria program directors scrutinize when evaluating candidates. It’s clearly a key component to securing a postgraduate training position. You might find it encouraging to know that 96 percent of SGU students taking the USMLE Step 1 for the first time in 2018 passed. This rate is comparable to what you’ll find among US and Canadian schools. SGU’s success in this realm isn’t just coincidence.

“SGU exams are based off the USMLE Step 1, so they have that preparation from day one to get ready,” Cascio says. “The actual exam won’t feel like something new to them.”

"SGU exams are based off the USMLE Step 1."

Should a student run into any roadblocks during their studies, they have plenty of support to help them. The Department of Educational Services (DES) provides numerous services, including hosting hundreds of workshops every week. The professionals at DES are used to working with all different types of learning styles, and they have a full arsenal of strategies to help keep students on track.

“Many of our graduates, when they think back, attribute a lot of their success in their basic sciences years to the DES,” Cascio elaborates.

3. What is SGU’s attrition rate?

One of the most pervasive myths about Caribbean schools is that a huge portion of students drop out early in their education. This just isn’t the case at St. George’s University. Consider that for the class that began the program in August 2017, the attrition rate has been just 6.1 percent. That’s hardly the severe drop-off you might have read about elsewhere.

4. Where do students complete clinical rotations and how do they secure those placements?

While students complete their first two years of medical school in Grenada—possibly split between Grenada and the UK—most all of them return to the US for clinical rotations. SGU offers a wide array of training sites for students to choose from.

“We really try to go over all the opportunities that are available,” Kleinman says.

For many students, the clinical years are a chance to finish their education closer to their home. And SGU works hard to ensure students secure placement in one of their preferred locations. That said, you’re free to move around if that appeals to you.

"There are options all over the US."

“Occasionally, we hear from students who want to use clinical rotations as an opportunity to travel, because there are options all over the US,” Kleinman explains. “And they have opportunities to go to Canada and the UK.”

5. How successful are students at obtaining competitive residencies?

Some students worry attending a medical school outside the US means they’ll only be able to pursue primary care. But there are a few things to keep in mind. For one, the majority of graduates from every medical school go into primary care. It’s also important to remember the breadth of options available to these types of providers. Neonatology, for example, falls under primary care.

But what if you are interested in a highly competitive field that’s traditionally hard to match into for residency? Many SGU graduates have gone on to coveted fields like emergency medicine, anesthesiology, and more. You can see for yourself by browsing the annual match lists. And SGU is happy to connect you with some of those individuals.

“If SGU works with each student to maximize their opportunities for matching,” Ballesteros notes. “This includes connecting students with alumni who are practicing in their desired field.”

6. Can I speak to a graduate or student?

Speaking to graduates, and current SGU students, is incredibly beneficial for learning about what they thought (or think) of the curriculum, the instructors, and more.

“We connect students with similar medical school paths and career aspirations,” Ballesteros explains. For example, a student considering starting the MD program in January would likely be paired with a graduate who went that route.

"They’ve been there. They’ve lived it. They’ve breathed it."

“They’ve been there. They’ve lived it. They’ve breathed it,” Ballesteros says. “Sometimes, hearing about it from somebody who’s been through the program helps.”

7. What is it like living in Grenada?

The best way to understand what it’s like to live in Grenada is to see for yourself. There are a few options for this. All students who’ve already been accepted are extended a dean’s invite to come tour campus, take a look at housing, and familiarize themselves with the labs and lecture halls. There’s an option specifically for students who haven’t committed yet as well. It’s called See SGU.

“If they matriculate into the program, then they get reimbursed for the airfare and a three-night hotel stay,” Cascio explains.

If visiting isn’t feasible, check out the virtual tour. Accepted students have even more options outside of visiting Grenada. They can attend social events and join specific Facebook groups.

8. How can I pay for my education?

There’s no denying that medical school is a substantial investment. It’s not just understandable that you’d consider cost of SGU tuition—it’s essential. SGU students have numerous options for financing their education.

“We are approved for US Department of Education loans for the four-year MD program, so you can borrow up to the cost of the education,” Kleinman clarifies. “And we also have very generous scholarships.”

"And we also have very generous scholarships."

There are a few awards that are geared toward students who’ve demonstrated outstanding academic success. The Chancellor’s Circle Legacy of Excellence Scholarship, for example, is extended to students who obtain a minimum overall GPA of 3.7, a minimum science GPA of 3.5, and an MCAT score of at least 506. There’s also a Humanitarian Scholarship available to students who’ve demonstrated a commitment to helping individuals in need.

Lastly, it’s worth remembering the long-term value of your education. The cost of tuition encompasses more than classroom instruction and access to labs.

“Our students are getting the residencies they want and doing well on their board exams,” Kleinman emphasizes. “You’re getting a lot in return.”

Get started on the road to your MD

Like you, most pre-med students are naturally inquisitive and ready to work hard in pursuit of their medical degree. So it makes sense that the questions students ask the SGU admissions team often overlap. And, hopefully, you’ve now found some answers you were seeking.

If you could see yourself as a student at SGU, take the next step. Head to our request information page today.

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