Medical schools in the Caribbean offer a high level of academic education and rigorous medical training that prepares graduating students for long, successful careers as physicians. 

Despite what you may have heard, attending foreign medical schools in the Caribbean is no “magic shortcut” to becoming a doctor. The top Caribbean medical schools have very high standards of education and training, putting many Caribbean medical schools on par with leading Canadian and American medical schools. 

Understanding the Caribbean Medical School Admissions Process

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At the American University of Antigua (AUA) College of Medicine, the application process involves a holistic examination of each candidate to see if they will be able to rise to the challenge of medical school and go on to successfully practice medicine.

Most Caribbean medical schools understand that each prospective student is more than the sum of their test scores, which is why certain academic performance indicators, such as average GPA scores, are taken into consideration along with other factors. 

That’s why so many people love the prospect of attending medical school in the Caribbean. 

Apply to the American University of Antigua!

Caribbean Medical Schools – Acceptance Rate, GPA & Other Academic Requirements

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In general, an application to a top-flight American medical school requires a very high GPA[RN1] . However, while this high barrier to entry lowers an applicant’s chance of being accepted, even really good students are frequently rejected from both Canadian and American medical schools. 

The reason? There’s not enough space – which we wrote about previously in our blog post “What if I Don’t Get Into Medical School.” This reality creates what might seem like an insurmountable difficulty, even for those with great drive, potential and test scores. 

Without an alternative option like a Caribbean medical school, many of these potentially outstanding physicians would never get their chance to shine. At the American University of Antigua, we know that great young doctors come in all shapes and sizes, and from all walks of life. Additionally, we know that sometimes test scores don’t necessarily reflect the work of a poor student.

Numerous factors can lower a GPA: a death in the family, serious financial problems, or other major life events could have gotten in the way of their education. A low GPA early in college could also be the result of adjusting to college life, or just a couple of bad classes. 

From the perspective of many medical schools, as long as prospective Caribbean medical students can show consistent improvement in their GPA scores throughout their time in college, it shows Caribbean school admissions committees that you are willing to learn from your mistakes and become a better student. 

Caribbean medical school admissions committees look for strong academic abilities in the basic sciences, which is why Caribbean medical school applicants with a high GPA average in science and/or pre-med coursework are favoured. 

Since much of the work in medical school is built on a basic understanding of concepts in biology, chemistry and physics, these committees want to ensure that any accepted student can handle MD program coursework when they begin medical school.

Considering an International Medical School for your Medical Studies? Click Here to Apply to AUA College of Medicine

Caribbean Medical Schools – No MCAT Required for Admissions

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Unlike most med schools in Canada and the US, few Caribbean schools require Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores for admission. At the American University of Antigua, MCAT scores are not required for admission. 

However, MCAT scores are required for matriculation. This distinction is in place to comply with U.S. government regulations, while still reassuring applicants that average MCAT scores do not play a role in admissions decisions.  Certain Caribbean medical schools use MCAT scores for admissions – but only if the MCAT score meets a certain threshold. For example, Caribbean medical school applicants who have relatively low GPAs could have their application approved thanks to high MCAT scores. 

Student Loan Eligibility

AUA students are eligible for U.S. federal loans. They can participate in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford and Grad PLUS Loan programs, both of which are administered by the U.S. Department of Education. Learn more here

AUA students from Canada are also eligible for provincial loans, scholarships and other forms of financial aid.

The Value of Relevant Extracurricular Activities


Succeeding at a medical university, qualifying for a residency program and keeping up with the demands of clinical rotations requires a skill set that goes beyond being a strong student. 

The best Caribbean medical schools take academic performance into consideration alongside many other factors when considering admissions decisions. Interpersonal skills and attributes, such compassion, leadership and teamwork are highly valued by admissions committees. Academic performance, interpersonal skills and individual attributes are viewed collectively to find the candidates with the greatest potential to become Caribbean medical school graduates and move on to successful careers in medicine. 

There are many ways you can show off these skills on your application. Have you participated in the Pre-Med Society at your college? Worked in a physician’s office? Volunteered at a hospital? These are great to mention in your medical school application to show you have a passion for medicine. 

Volunteer experience gives admissions committees of international medical schools the impression that you want to do more for your community. Leadership positions in clubs and other activities show that your peers have acknowledged you as someone they trust and respect to make difficult decisions. Even showing that you were on a sports team can show that students can thrive as part of a team. 

Personal and Professional Characteristics Matter

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The selection process for Caribbean medical schools is quite similar to that of a US medical school, as interviews are an important part of the process. 

If your medical school application meets the essential academic criteria, you will be selected for an interview with an admissions counselor to see if you have the personal and professional characteristics to become a doctor. 

These interviews can make or break a medical school application, so prospective students should treat them seriously. These interviews are your opportunity to show that you have the drive and potential to have a successful career as a doctor. 

Caribbean Medical Schools Offer Opportunity

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Certain Caribbean medical schools structure their application process in this way in order to make the process more accessible and easier to follow. As one of the Caribbean medical schools that offers rolling admissions, AUA welcomes applicants to apply up to one year in advance of the term they plan to start. 

With rolling admissions, the sooner you apply, the sooner you get a response. A common misconception surrounding the rolling admissions process is that the lack of a hard deadline means that poor students can be easily accepted, however, accepting students who are unprepared for med school serves neither the students nor the institution. 

Instead of waiting for a deadline before evaluating applications, the rolling admissions system judges applications as they are received, which can help prospective students secure their spot early and reduce the stress involved with medical school applications. 

Caribbean medical schools believe that if you show you are determined to succeed and able to meet the demands of a rigorous medical education, your talent and drive should be recognized, as it shows that you have what it takes to qualify for residency programs and set out on a long, successful career as a physician.