The Caribbean Medical Student Journey

From application to practice and everywhere in between

1. Taking the MCAT and Getting Official Scores

Once you decide you want to go to medical school and become a doctor, it’s time to start thinking about the Medical College Admissions Test, better known as the MCAT. The scores you earn on this test make up part of your medical school applications. Many schools prioritize MCAT scores above other admissions considerations.

 

U.S. and Canadian Students who want to attend medical school in the United States, Canada, or the Caribbean Islands are required to take this exam.

Preparing for the MCAT

Due to its importance, students spend months preparing for the MCAT exam. There are many tools available that candidates can use while they prepare. For example, the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) posts official study guides, which can be useful resources for test prep. There are many other online resources, both free and paid, that may be of use in preparing for the MCAT.

Taking the MCAT

Candidates schedule an appointment at approved testing centers to complete the MCAT. The exam contains four sections:

  • Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
  • Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
  • Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
  • Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills

 

Each section consists of multiple-choice questions. Learners should set aside the whole day for the exam, which they have 7 hours and 30 minutes to complete. The cost of the MCAT ranges from $130 (early registration with fee assistance) to $375 (late registration with no fee assistance).

What is the average MCAT score?

While the possible range of the composite score is 472-528, the average score is 500. Most students aim to pass all four sections with a composite score of 508, which is the 76th percentile. A composite score of 510 puts students in the 81st percentile.

 

The AAMC reports that for the year 2017–2018, the average MCAT score of students who earned admissions to U.S. medical schools is between 510 and 511, with an average GPA of 3.71.

What if I get a low MCAT score?

Not all schools place such a high level of importance on this standardized test. At Trinity, we accept lower MCAT scores because we know that it only represents a small part of your journey to becoming a physician.

 

The averages of students at Trinity School of Medicine are an MCAT score of 499 and a GPA of 3.27. Trinity is a wonderful option for students with below-average MCAT scores who excel in other areas. Trinity takes a holistic approach to admissions and evaluates each student as an individual.

 

Standardized tests can be difficult, which means some learners may score lower than Trinity’s average. These students should not give up on their dreams of becoming a doctor. Complete a pre-application evaluation to have your credentials reviewed.

2. Finding the Right Medical School and Applying

With the MCAT out of the way, prospective students start searching for the medical schools that will launch their careers. Students should consider several factors when picking a medical school, including admissions requirements, accreditation, curriculum, and unique advantages. Below are some of the many reasons learners choose Trinity at this stage in their journeys.

 

2a. Consider Admissions Requirements

While Trinity requires your MCAT score as part of the overall admission requirements, that score alone is not the sole determining factor in whether you’ll be admitted to medical school. Trinity also considers factors like:

 

  • Relevant work experience
  • Internships
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Strategic extracurriculars
  • Shadowing
  • Intangibles like drive, focus, and dedication

 

The MCAT score is useful in determining how well a student learned and retained information in their pre-med endeavors; however, we feel it’s not a predictive tool for student success. At most medical schools, the MCAT score is used as an ever-changing barrier to entry, allowing top test performers to move on to the next round of admissions and leaving many qualified applicants feeling defeated.

2b. Choose an Accredited School

Trinity School of Medicine is a fully-accredited medical school with the majority of our students coming to us from the United States and Canada. These students generally intend to return to their home country of residency when beginning clinical practice after graduation. 

CAAM-HP Accreditation

Trinity School of Medicine is recognized by the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER) and has been listed in its International Medical Education Directory (IMED) since September 19, 2008.

 

Trinity holds accreditation from the Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and Other Health Professions (CAAM-HP). This is the highest level of accreditation available, which makes Trinity stand apart from other schools in the Caribbean that have not achieved CAAM-HP accreditation.

 

Trinity is fully accredited without conditions by CAAM-HP. CAAM-HP accreditation is recognized as a standard comparable to the U.S. Department of Education and United States medical schools, as governed by the LCME. Trinity remains classified as one of the top accredited schools in the Caribbean, allowing graduates to pursue medical practice worldwide.

 

Under the 2024 Rule of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), medical students applying for ECFMG certification to enter the U.S. residency match must have attended a school accredited under standards recognized as equivalent to the standards for the U.S. medical schools. Trinity meets this definition and our graduates continue a long history of residency success.

2c. Learn About Each School's Curriculum

Medical students at all accredited schools have the same objectives and learning goals. However, how each school goes about achieving those goals varies widely. Learning about Trinity’s curriculum can help you determine if our school is right for you. 

Clinical Experience

Trinity maintains a long-standing partnership with the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital, which is just minutes away from campus. Through this partnership, students benefit from hands-on learning and clinical practice in their very first term. Students have the opportunity to apply what they are learning in the classroom, reinforcing the critical understanding of required skills and patient rapport. 

 

During Trinity students’ third and fourth years, they complete clerkships at our U.S.-based clinical facilities. Trinity’s distinguished clerkship program sets us apart from all other international medical schools, as all students have their clerkships scheduled by one of our coordinators without a wait list or any gaps between rotations. Students stay together through their clerkships and complete all of their core rotations in one place, removing the stress of having to relocate to a new facility every few weeks and allowing students the advantage of making lasting connections.

Learn from World-Class Physicians and Researchers

Experienced U.S. medical educators lead Trinity and shape the foundation of our institution. Their knowledge and dedication to the highest quality medical education is driven by this experience. With this solid foundation comes a strong network of colleagues and opportunities that are available to Trinity students and graduates. 

 

Research is an integral part of Trinity’s medical education program and we offer numerous opportunities for students to get involved. Students can partner with professors on research projects currently underway or seek mentorships from faculty whose projects are in the planning stages. Additionally, students may have the opportunity to write and publish case reports during their early clinical exposure at Milton Cato Hospital in St. Vincent. During the third and fourth years, students have the opportunity to partner with preceptors on research projects and case reports or complete an elective research rotation.

 

Students and professors come together through the Trinity Think Tank, a student-run organization that offers peer advising and helps inspire students to engage in research and scholarly activities. Think Tank meetings allow students to break into focus groups based on their specific area of interest and work together to design and complete research projects. Peer mentors offer assistance on topics related to research, journal publication, poster presentation, statistical analysis, and medical conference attendance.

2d. Think About Each School's Unique Advantages

Every medical school offers unique experiences and advantages for its students. A few of the benefits we offer here at Trinity include leadership from experienced U.S. educators, an unmatched location of preserved natural beauty, personal student support, small class sizes, and tuition savings of tens of thousands of dollars compared to our competitors.

Life as a Caribbean Medical Student

Trinity is located on the beautiful island of St. Vincent. This location offers all the sun and sand you’d expect from the Caribbean, without being in the active hurricane region. The school itself offers gorgeous views of neighboring islands and unmatched natural beauty. This environment is perfect for students who desire a soothing atmosphere to keep them focused on their studies and as stress-free as possible. 

 

Traveling to and around the island is simple. Students can fly non-stop directly to St. Vincent and the Grenadines from Toronto, Miami, or New York. The campus is within a few short miles of the airport, Milton Cato Memorial Hospital and downtown Kingstown.

Some of the main features of our campus include: 

  • Fully furnished residence halls and apartments 
  • Multiple large lecture halls, all accommodated with contemporary technology to help you make the most of your learning experience at Trinity 
  • 24/7 library and study hall 
  • Student health clinic 
  • 24-hour security for onsite student housing and Trinity-sponsored off-campus apartment residences 
  • State-of-the-art anatomy lab utilizing plastination displays
  • Laboratory, general-purpose classrooms, and break-out rooms for small group learning sessions 
  • Administrative, faculty, and student support services with team offices 
  • On-campus cafeteria with online ordering and delivery
  • Newly-renovated air-conditioned gym and newly-resurfaced volleyball and basketball courts
Small Class Sizes and Direct Contact with Professors​

In some medical schools, students sit in large lecture halls with hundreds of classmates. Their professors may never learn their names, much less anything about the interests and talents of each student. At Trinity, we believe that students learn best when they are in smaller classes and have unlimited access to communicating with professors. That’s why we maintain a small student-to-faculty ratio of just 10-to-1. Trinity remains dedicated to offering smaller class sizes, where students can easily communicate with their professors to seek guidance and mentorship.

2e. Applying to a Caribbean Medical School

Once learners know where they want to attend Caribbean medical school, they can start sending applications. Trinity School of Medicine offers three program entry points each year: January, May, and September. We utilize a rolling admissions process to give every applicant an individual evaluation on their own merits. While prospective students can apply at any time, we encourage applicants to submit all materials for consideration 2 to 4 months before they wish to begin classes.

How to Apply to Trinity

We’ve made applying to Trinity as simple as possible. Applicants can fill out our online application or submit a current AMCAS, AACOMAS, TMDSAS or OMSAS application report as a PDF. After applying, each applicant is assigned a personal admissions counselor to help guide and assist them throughout the application process. An admissions counselor will then contact the candidate to schedule an interview, usually within a week after receiving all application materials.

We always schedule our applicant interviews at the beginning of the admissions process rather than towards the end. This allows us to learn the story of you as an individual and not just your scores and grades.

 

Applicants have several options for interview locations. Trinity admission directors travel throughout the U.S. and Canada each month conducting in-person interviews. Applicants can also interview on campus at St. Vincent and the Grenadines or at one of our U.S. or Canadian admission offices in:

  • Roswell, Georgia
  • Tacoma, Washington
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Baltimore, Maryland
  • Toronto, Ontario

 

If none of these options work, we are happy to arrange a virtual interview via Zoom.

3. Moving to Your Caribbean Medical School

Once applicants gain acceptance to Trinity, they typically have just a few months to pack up their lives and move to the Caribbean. As students prepare for their move to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, we are here to help assist with logistics so they are able to focus on the excitement of the journey.

How does Trinity prepare students for their move?

After acceptance, Trinity’s admissions counselors continue to work closely with each student through the transition process by assisting with financial budgeting, completing required documentation, and securing housing. Housing includes furniture, full kitchens, internet access, and air conditioning. We offer options of one, two, three and four-bedroom apartments. Residence halls and apartments have full access to Trinity’s transportation services, 24-hour on-site security, and weekly maid service.

What should students bring?

Since Trinity’s school-sponsored apartment homes are furnished with fully-equipped kitchens, furniture, and internet access, all students really need to bring are personal items for everyday living. Students should consider buying electrical adapters so they can plug electronics directly into wall outlets that are different from those in the United States. Students may also need to adjust their wardrobes to reflect the warm tropical climate of St. Vincent.

Arriving at Trinity – The Welcoming Committee

Upon arrival to St. Vincent, a member of the Welcoming Committee greets each new student at the airport, welcomes them to the island, shows students around campus, gets them settled into student housing, and even arranges a shopping trip downtown for all the essentials. Trinity provides transportation to the grocery store several times a week and on weekends.

 

Additionally, we ensure that your experience on-campus and in school-sponsored housing is always safe and accessible with 24/7 security and shuttle services.

4. The First Term at Trinity

From the day you walk on campus until the day you walk across the stage at graduation, your academic advisor will be with you every step of the way. After students are settled into their housing, it’s time to start classes. Trinity’s professors get to know each student individually and also encourage communication and collaboration among fellow students to foster success.

Early Clinical Experience Alongside Classes

We want to send great doctors out into the world. That’s why we’re committed to building expertise early with clinical work beginning during your first term in St. Vincent. The combination of theoretical and hands-on learning leads to a deep understanding of how to provide quality care to your future patients.

Student Engagement through World Pediatric Project and Rotary Village Doctors

Trinity’s partnership with the World Pediatric Project (WPP) benefits our students through frequent visits from extraordinary, world-class doctors who perform life-saving work in the Grenadine islands. Trinity students have the truly unique opportunity to participate in the pediatric care missions of this remarkable organization. WPP serves at-risk children throughout the Caribbean region with its teams of volunteer physicians and a state-of-the-art operating facility in St. Vincent for specialty surgeries. Trinity students serve supporting roles in surgical cases and participate in care discussions, offering additional clinical experience as well as further opportunities to learn from experienced physicians.

The Rotary Village Doctors is a group of medical and surgical specialists that delivers services to indigent patients in the rural communities of St. Vincent by setting up a clinic that allows patients the opportunity to be seen by a number of volunteer specialists on a single day at a single location. In addition to the Rotary Village Doctors improving the length and quality of life for people who would otherwise go untreated, they also provide invaluable clinical experiences to Trinity students.

5. Travel and Student Life

As with most medical schools, Trinity students enjoy breaks between terms, during which they can explore the islands or travel home to visit family and friends. 

Enjoy Breaks from Medical School to Visit Home

At the end of the fall term, students enjoy a break from mid-December until after the first of the year. There are shorter breaks between the other two terms. Each of our three yearly terms runs for 15 weeks. Terms begin in January, May, and September. See our academic calendar for details.

 

When you’re ready to head home for a visit, you can fly directly out of nearby Argyle International Airport to most major cities in the U.S. and Canada at reasonable prices.

 

Off-Campus Activities and Island Life

When students need to give their brains a break from studying, they can enjoy a variety of exciting activities around the island! St. Vincent has a thriving ecotourism scene, offering adventures like volcano hiking, scuba diving, exploring local markets, sailing, fishing, or just relaxing and enjoying the island atmosphere.

 

Most of our students at Trinity enjoy an active lifestyle outside the classroom by participating in student-led organizations and associations that are aligned with our diverse student body. They also have the opportunity to participate in several academic associations and cause-oriented organizations. 

 Some of our student groups include: 

  • The Society of Medicine and Surgery (SMS) 
  • Student Government Association (SGA)
  • The American Medical Student Association (AMSA)
  • The Canadian Medical Students Association (CaMSA)
  • The Christian Medical & Dental Associations® (CMDA)
  • The Trinity Muslim Student Association
  • Vincentian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

6. Preparing for USMLE Step 1

The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) is a one-day exam that medical

students normally take during their second year. The test consists of seven one-hour segments. It is administered at designated testing centers using computers, and includes about 280 multiple-choice questions.

The USMLE STEP 1 covers:

  • Anatomy 
  • Behavioral Science 
  • Biochemistry 
  • Microbiology 
  • Pathology 
  • Pharmacology 
  • Physiology 
  • Genetics 
  • Immunology 
  • Nutrition 
 

By testing proficiency in these subjects, the USMLE STEP 1 test ensures that students are ready for clinical rotations. Students must pass this exam to move forward towards their next step in becoming an MD.

Average USMLE Pass Rates at Trinity

Trinity works hard to prepare students for the USMLE. In Term 5, students receive faculty-facilitated preparation through comprehensive reviews that integrate basic science concepts with clinical scenarios.

During this time, four to five diagnostic tests are administered to assess student readiness. These tests emphasize what students can expect when taking the UMSLE Step 1. Because of the intensive preparation we provide at Trinity, 94% of students pass their USMLE Step 1, which recently phased to a pass/fail grading system.

7. Clinical Rotations with Trinity

After successfully passing USMLE Step 1, students move to the next phase of their journey: Clinical Clerkships.

Trinity's clinical students enjoy many benefits, including:

  • All rotations can be completed in one location – no moving around
  • Pre-scheduled rotations – no wait list
  • No gaps between rotations
  • On-site Deans available to serve as valuable resources
  • Learning from highly-qualified faculty
  • A tight-knit student community
  • Away electives are available

The clinical rotations allow learners to get hands-on experience treating patients in several areas of medicine. In addition to electives close to home in Georgia, elective rotations are available across the U.S. to support students looking to bolster their specialty experience in highly-respected teaching hospitals across the country.

8. Landing Your Residency

Because residency marks the transition between school and your career as a doctor, Trinity works hard to prepare students to secure a residency in a prestigious program and excel while doing so.

 

Trinity’s on-site clinical clerkship deans work directly with students to help them choose the right program and prepare for interviews. This level of personal support is one of the many things that sets Trinity apart from other medical schools.

How Graduating Students Get Their Residencies

Once students complete the USMLE Step 2 and all their required coursework, the next step is registering for the National Residency Match Program (NRMP) and, when relevant, the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS), which are paired-choice systems for matching applicants to available residencies. 

 

To register with NRMP, students must pay an initial fee and the ECFMG ID for international medical school students/graduates (IMGS). 

Learn more about the registration process by visiting the NRMP Match Registration page

Recent graduates have secured residencies in specialties such as:

  • Anatomical Pathology 
  • Anesthesiology 
  • Emergency Medicine 
  • Family Medicine 
  • Family Medicine-Preventive Medicine 
  • Family Medicine-Rural Medicine 
  • General Medicine 
  • Internal Medicine 
  • Internal Medicine-Pediatrics 
  • Neurology 
  • Obstetrics & Gynecology 
  • Orthopedic Surgery 
  • Pathology 
  • Pediatrics 
  • Psychiatry 
  • Radiology 
  • Radiology-Diagnostic 
  • Surgery 

 

For detailed questions and answers on the NRMP, visit their detailed FAQ page.

Unlimited Possibilities for Trinity Students’ Residency Success

Trinity prides itself on ensuring that its graduates are afforded excellent opportunities for residencies. We’re proud to hold a 90% match rate at some of the finest institutions in the country.

Graduates of Trinity have gone on to secure and succeed in residencies across the U.S. and Canada. Trinity’s accreditation by CAAM-HP, the leading accrediting authority for Caribbean medical schools, qualifies our graduates to enter the U.S. and Canadian residency match processes, secure residencies in any U.S. state or Canadian province, and become licensed to practice in any U.S. state or Canadian province.

Recent graduates have gained residencies at prestigious hospitals and universities such as:

  • Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital – Cleveland, OH
  • The Cleveland Clinic – Cleveland, OH
  • Augusta University’s Medical College of Georgia – Augusta, GA
  • Sinai Hospital – Baltimore, MD 
  • Crozer-Chester Medical Center – Upland, PA
  • Hackensack University Medical Center – Hackensack, NJ
  • University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center – Cleveland, OH
  • Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School – Newark, NJ
  • Case Western Reserve University Hospital and Medical Center- Cleveland, OH
  • Kaiser Permanente Riverside Medical Center – Riverside, CA
  • Detroit Medical Center, Wayne State University – Detroit, MI
  • Aventura Hospital and Medical Center – Aventura, FL 
  • Mercy Health GME Consortium – Rockford, IL
  • Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science – Chicago, IL 
  • HCA Houston Healthcare, University of Houston – Houston, TX 
  • Spectrum Health, Michigan State University – Grand Rapids, MI 
  • Unity Health, Mayo Clinic – Searcy, AR
  • Arnot Ogden Medical Center – Elmira, NY 
  • St Agnes Medical Center – Fresno, CA 
  • McGill University – Montreal, Quebec 
  • University of Montreal – Montreal, Quebec 
  • Sunrise Health GME Consortium – Las Vegas, NV
  • Coliseum Medical Centers – Macon, GA 
  • Advocate Health Care – Chicago, IL 
  • Virginia Commonwealth University Health – Richmond, VA

9. Graduating from Caribbean Medical School

Trinity is proud to celebrate graduates each year during our special commencement ceremony, held at the famous Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia. The opulent, historic building is the perfect backdrop for the moment students have worked so hard to reach. Graduates, their families, and our faculty gather for this special day to celebrate all the hard work accomplished to bring more healing hands into the workforce and make the world a better place.

10. Alumni Life

trinity_2019-50

We achieve excellence through the personal investment we make in each student who enters our school, starting from the admissions process and continuing through their academic and clinical studies, residencies, and medical practice. 

 

 

After graduates leave Trinity to begin their residencies and professional careers, they are invited to actively participate in our Trinity Alumni Network. We encourage them to serve as guest speakers on webinars, attend alumni events, mentor current students, and share their stories of success. Nothing brings us more joy than sharing the accomplishments of our graduates and inspiring future students.

Alumni Spotlights

Dr. Maye Mohamed & Dr. Nada Mohamed

Dr. Maye Mohamed & Dr. Nada Mohamed

According to a recent study in Sweden, being born into a family where one or both parents are physicians greatly increases the likelihood that the children will also become physicians. For doctors and sisters Maye and Nada Mohamed, that certainly rings true. Both Dr. Maye Mohamed and Dr. Nada Mohamed are graduates of Trinity and we recently had the pleasure of sitting down with them to talk about their experiences as students, graduates, and healthcare providers.

Dr. Kyle Humphrey

Dr. Kyle Humphrey

At a recent White Coat Ceremony, Dr. Humphrey gave a testament to how Trinity shaped him into the physician he is today, saying “I was able to achieve my dream career goals through Trinity. I went to a top internal medicine academic institution and one of the top infectious disease programs in the US, especially in tropical medicine research."

Dr. Brielle Cartwright

Dr. Brielle Cartwright

When we asked Dr. Brielle Cartwright what inspired her to go into medicine, she said the answer was simple: "Wanting to advocate for mental health patients who cannot advocate for themselves." Now, as a Psychiatrist, she works hard to help her patients maintain their mental and emotional stability and provide an underserved population with the care they deserve.

Dr. Anitesh Jaswal

Dr. Anitesh Jaswal

This Alumni Spotlight features Dr. Anitesh Jaswal. Of his career in medicine, Dr. Jaswal says, "“I am excited to start my professional journey and can’t thank everyone enough for the help over the years to get to today. I’m eager to do some good in another community with a fantastic program and become a better physician for the patients I’ll be honored to call mine.

Dr. Meghan Pillai

Dr. Meghan Pillai

This edition of our alumni spotlight shines a bright light on Dr. Meghan Pillai. Hailing from the eastern end of Long Island (the North Fork), Pillai has spent plenty of time in the northeast. She attended Boston University, earning a B.S. in Business Management. With a knack for numbers, Meghan wasn't done adding to her higher-level education. She went on to Harvard University, earning a master's in Business Administration. Pillai's innate drive to know more, coupled with her desire to help others, eventually led her to pursue a medical career. Attending both undergraduate and graduate school in the northeast, attending a Caribbean medical offered more than just a beautiful backdrop to study medicine. Dr. Pillai is now in her 3rd year of residency, close to home, in New Jersey.

Dr. Allison Laffoon

Dr. Allison Laffoon

In this edition of our alumni spotlight, we are proud to showcase Dr. Allison Laffoon. Dr. Laffoon's desire for medicine was sparked when her younger brother was diagnosed with severe autism when he was just 5-years-old. She recalls the countless doctors' appointments, tests, and other factors that eventually led to her brother's diagnosis. Her interest in medicine stems from these experiences as a young child. Laffoon attended the University of Iowa and received her MD from Trinity in 2018. She is now a general surgery resident at the University of Texas Health - San Antonio.

Online Events


Jan11

Preparing for Med School Interviews

Join us on January 11th at 5:30PM PST/8:30PM EST to learn how to ace your med school interviews! No matter how great your application looks on paper, the interview portion of the medical school admissions process is what sets you apart from the competition. Join Director of Admissions Lisa Miller as she goes through the process of preparing for your interviews and the most important questions you will want to practice. Register Here

Nov30

From an Insider – Ask a 5th Term Student

Join us on November 30th at 5:30PM PST/8:30PM EST for the next webinar in our "From an Insider" series, where we'll be speaking with a current 5th term student. At Trinity, the 5th term is known as the clinical transition term — this is the term in between the basic science and the clinical rotation terms. The clinical transition term is also the time during which students review all the material learned during their time in St. Vincent in preparation for the USMLE Step 1 Exam. Topics will include how Trinity prepares students for success on their Step exam, student support and resources, and life in Warner Robins, Georgia. Attendees will also have the opportunity to ask their own questions live! Register Here

Jan31

Preparing Your Med School Application

Join us on January 31st at 5:30PM PST/8:30PM EST to learn how to prepare a med school application that will impress admissions committees. Topics of discussion will include choosing which schools to apply to, preparing for the MCAT, crafting your personal statement, and more. Join Director of Admissions Lisa Miller as she goes through the process of applying to medical school and how to make your dream of becoming a U.S.-practicing physician a reality. Register Here

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