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Charting A Course to Medical School: PART IX

Considering a Foreign Medical School?

It is widely believed that pre-medical students apply to foreign medical schools only after being rejected from several U.S. schools. In a special article printed in the New England Journal of Medicine, analysts disprove this myth by revealing that fifty-five percent of a study group did not even apply to a U.S. medical school.

A possible explanation is that substantial numbers of U.S. citizens study abroad because of the inability of the U.S. medical education system to accommodate them. Students who are interested in studying in a foreign medical school must take a test administered by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG). The study shows that the number of U.S. students applying to foreign schools is steadily increasing. In fact, at least ten new medical schools with curricula designed to attract applicants from the U.S. opened in the Caribbean Island countries during the 1970s. 

The most popular foreign countries are Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe, the Philippines and Israel. There seems to be a fair chance of acceptance to a foreign medical school since the overall pass rate was 68% in 1982 for those U.S. students taking the ECFMG. Students looking at foreign medical schools, though, should be aware that getting into the residency of their choice may be tougher coming from a foreign medical school. Be sure to ask any foreign medical schools that you are interested in for some statistics regarding their students' success in "the match" (the process by which medical students are placed in residencies).

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