The Caribbean Medical Student Journey

A student's journey through medical school is unlike any other experience. From deciding to become a doctor to the first lecture, and from the first day of clinical rotations through the alumni life, Trinity School of Medicine is here to help learners have the best possible experience. While each student has a unique journey, the steps below broadly outline what prospective medical students can expect.


MCAT-1

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, and 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 take this required exam.

 

Preparing for the MCAT

Due to the importance of the MCAT, students spend months preparing for the 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 Lower MCAT Score?

Not all schools place such a high level of importance on this standardized test. The averages at Trinity Medical School are an MCAT score of 499 and a GPA of 3.27So, students with below-average MCAT scores who excel in other areas may be an excellent fit for Trinity. 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 averaged. These students should not give up on their dreams of becoming a doctor, and should consider applying to the Trinity MHSc program with advancement into the MD program


Applying

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.

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 fact is the MCAT score is useful in diagnosing how well a student learned and retained information in their pre-med endeavors; we feel it’s not a predictive tool for student success. It’s 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 out in the cold, in the middle of a physician shortage. 

Choose an Accredited School

Trinity School of Medicine is a fully accredited medical school, we predominantly train students from both the United States and Canada. These students generally intend to return to their home country of residency, where they begin clinical practice after graduation. 

As such, it's important that graduates can return to their home countries and practice medicine. Many graduates are helping fix the physician shortage in areas across the country.

 CAAM-HP Accreditation

Trinity earns 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 on the islands.

Trinity is fully accredited without conditions by CAAM-HP. The standards used by CAAM-HP are equal to the US Department of Education and the accreditation is recognized at a standard comparable to United States medical schools, as governed by the LCME. Trinity remains classified as one of the top accredited schools in the Caribbean region, 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.

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 the 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 begin 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's' third and fourth years, students finish clerkships on our U.S.-based clinical  campuses in Baltimore, Maryland, or Warner Robins, Georgia. Trinity's distinguished clerkship program sets us  apart from all other international schools, as all Trinity students have their clerkships scheduled by Trinity without having 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, allowing students the advantage of making connections and becoming part of the medical community. 

Learn From World-Class Physicians and Researchers 

Experienced U.S. medical educators lead Trinity and our board. The knowledge and dedication they have to the successful delivery of the highest quality medical education is driven by this experience, it's what shapes the foundation of Trinity. With this solid foundation comes a strong network of colleagues and opportunities that are available to Trinity students and graduates.

As an integral part of Trinity's medical program, students have numerous opportunities to get involved with research. Students can partner with professors on research projects currently underway or seek mentorships from faculty while designing their projects. Students who see interesting cases during the early clinical exposure at Milton Cato Hospital in Saint Vincent may have the opportunity to write-up and publish case reports.

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 specialty 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.

Think About Each School's Unique Advantages

Every medical school offers unique experiences and advantages for its students. At Trinity, we are proud to offer experienced U.S. leadership, an unmatched location, personal student support, and small class sizes, just to name a few benefits.

Life as a Caribbean Medical Student

Trinity is located on the beautiful St. Vincent and the Grenadines. This location offers all the sun and sand you expect from the Caribbean, without being in the active hurricane region.The school itself offers gorgeous views of neighboring islands. 

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 Kingston. 

Some of the main features of our campus include:

  • Fully furnished residence halls and apartments
  • Lecture halls including a 200-seat space and two 80-seat spaces, 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 along with off-campus apartment residences
  • State-of-the-art anatomy lab - utilizing plastination displays in addition to cadavers
  • Laboratory, general-purpose classrooms, and break out rooms for small group learning sessions that include research projects
  • Administrative, faculty and student support services with team offices
  • Trinity offers students an on-campus cafeteria, newly renovated gym, volleyball and basketball court

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 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-faculty ratio of just 10-to-1.

Trinity remains dedicated in offering smaller class sizes, where students always have easy access to each of their professors. It’s common practice for our professors to know the name of each student. We look at it as being in a small pond, where you get the personal attention you need. 

Applying to a Caribbean Medical School

Once learners know where they want to attend 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 throughout the application process. Within in the week after Trinity receives all application materials for a candidate, we will contact the candidate to schedule an interview.

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 a complete candidate and not just 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 here at St. Vincent and the Grenadines or at one of our U.S. or Canadian admission offices in Atlanta, Georgia; Tacoma, Washington; Los Angeles, California; Dallas, Texas;  Baltimore, Maryland; or Toronto, Ontario. If none of these options work, we can arrange a virtual interview via Zoom. 

Moving-1

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. It's important for students to fully prepare for this exciting part of the journey. When learners are preparing for the move to St. Vincent & The Grenadines, we’re here for them every step of the way. 

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. Assisting students with financial budgeting, required documentation and securing housing. Our housing options include furniture, kitchens that are fully equipped, internet access, and air conditioning. There are one, two, three and four-bedroom apartments. Residence Halls and apartments are all serviced by Trinity's transportation services and have 24-hour security on-site along with weekly maid service. 

What Students Should 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 for U.S. gadgets so they can plug directly into wall outlets that are different from those in the United States. Because of the warm tropical climate, students may also need to adjust their wardrobes depending on their current location.

Arriving at Trinity – Welcoming Committee

Starting fresh at a new school and in a new country can be overwhelming. Students will be in good company at Trinity – we promise!

When students arrive at St. Vincent, a member of the Welcoming Committee greets each new student at the airport and welcomes them to the island, shows students around campus, gets them settled into student housing, and even arranges a shopping trip into 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 our shuttle services to help you get around.

First-Term

4) The First Term at Trinity

When you get started in your first term, you’ll be in contact with your academic advisor from the day you walk on campus, until the day you walk for your graduation. Once students are settled into school, it's time to start classes. Trinity's professors encourage open communication and collaboration that fosters student success.   

Early Clinical Experience Alongside Classes

We want to send great doctors out into the world. That’s why we help build clinical expertise early for students at Trinity. In our program, you’ll actually start your clinical work during your first term in St. Vincent. 

Students also take more traditional classes during this time. The combination of theoretical and hands-on learning leads to success for many learners. In fact, 94% of students pass their USMLE Step 1 with an average score of 220 – with Trinity, you’re in good hands.

Student Engagement through  World Pediatric Project & Rotary Village Doctors 

At Trinity, our partnership with the World Pediatric Project (WPP) benefits our students in frequent visits from extraordinary, world class doctors who perform life altering work in the Grenadine islands,  Trinity students have a truly unique opportunity to participate in the pediatric care missions of this remarkable organization. WPP serves at-risk children throughout the Caribbean region through its teams of volunteer physicians, with 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 with surgical teams, offering  additional clinical experience as well as further opportunities to get to know personally and learn from experts in your future field. This experience is priceless.

The Rotary Village Doctors is a group of medical and surgical specialists, and Trinity medical students, that deliver services to less fortunate patients in the rural communities of St. Vincent. This program goes into the villages and sets up a clinic that allows the people of SVG the opportunity to be seen by a number of volunteer specialists on a single day, in a single location. Early patient interactions and exposure to clinical situations provide a great benefit to Trinity students and allows the students remain committed to the people of SVG.

Travel-Student-Life

5) Travel and Student Life

During the first two years at Trinity, students attend many classes and get important clinical experience. However, that's not all there is to attending medical school in the Caribbean. Trinity students enjoy breaks in which they can explore the islands or direct flights make it easy to visit home.

Enjoy Breaks From Medical School To Visit Home

At the end of the fall term, students enjoy a great break from mid-December until after the first of the year. There are shorter breaks between the other two term. Each of our three terms runs for just 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

Most of our students at Trinity enjoy an active lifestyle outside the classroom through student-led organizations and associations that are aligned with our diverse student body as well as 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

Our campus is about 5 acres and is located about 15 -20 minutes from town, but there is a wide variety of things to do around St. Vincent from ecotourism, volcano hikes, scuba diving, exploring local markets, sailing and fishing to volunteering while relaxing and enjoying the island atmosphere.

USMLE

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, is administered at 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

With these subjects, the USMLE STEP 1 test ensures that students are ready for clinical rotations. (Important note: clinical rotations are different than the early clinical experiences that Trinity students have in their first two years.) Learners must pass this exam to move forward.

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 and provide formative assessments during these periods.

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 all these stepsat Trinity, 94% of students pass their USMLE Step 1 with an average score of 220.


Clinical-Rotations

7) Clinical Rotations with Trinity

After successfully passing USMLE Step 1 students move to the next phase of their journey: Clinical Clerkships. Our two U.S. clinical campuses are located in the Southeast in Georgia and in the Mid-Atlantic in Baltimore, Maryland.

Students on these campuses enjoy several 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 as valuable resources for learners
  • 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. Both of the Trinity campuses offer elective rotations and specialty tracks to help launch the careers of their dreams

Residency

8) Landing Your Residency     

Because residency marks the transition between school and a student's career as a doctor, Trinity prepares students to land a residency in a prestigious program and excel in it. Trinity's on-site clinical clerkship deans develop a close relationship and work directly with students helping them choose the right program and prepare for interviews. This support reduces stress for the student and has proven to be successful, many Trinity graduates go on to become chief residents within their programs. 

How Graduating Students Get Their Residencies

Once students complete the USMLE STEP 2 and all their coursework, the next step for Trinity's graduating students is register 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, you’ll need to pay their initial fee and the ECFMG ID for international medical school students/graduates (IMGS).

Learn more about the registration process at the NRMP Match Registration page. 

Trinity students have gone on to place in residencies in medical specialties including

  • 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.

Where Trinity’s students can do their residency

Trinity prides itself on ensuring that its graduates are afforded excellent opportunities for residencies, and we’re proud of our 86% match rate at some of the finest institutions in the country.

Graduates of Trinity have gone on to residencies across the U.S. and Canada. Trinity graduates face no barriers to applying for residency or licensure in the US or Canada.

Our graduates have recently gained residencies at hospitals and universities such as:

  • Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital
  • The Cleveland Clinic
  • Augusta University's Medical College of Georgia
  • Sinai in Maryland
  • Crozer in Pennsylvania 
  • HackensackUMC
  • University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center
  • Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School
  • Case Western/Univ Hosps Case Med Ctr-OH
  • Kaiser Permanente-Riverside-CA
  • Detroit Med Ctr/WSU-MI
  • Aventura Hospital-FL
  • Mercy health GME Consortium-IL
  • RFUMS/Chicago Medical School-IL
  • HCA Houston Healthcare/U Houston-TX
  • Spectrum Health/Michigan State Univ
  • Unity Health and Mayo Clinic
  • Arnot Ogden Med Ctr-NY
  • St Agnes Med Ctr-CA
  • McGill University
  • University of Montreal
  • Sinai Hospital of Baltimore
  • Sunrise Health GME Consortium-NV
  • HCA Houston Healthcare/U Houston-TX
  • Coliseum Med Ctrs-GA
  • Advocate Health Care-IL
  • Virginia Commonwealth U Hlth Sys


Graduating

9) Graduating from Caribbean Medical School

Trinity is proud to celebrate each and every one of its graduates each year during our special commencement ceremony, held at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia. With the historic Fox Theatre as our backdrop, graduates, their families, and our faculty gather together to celebrate all the hard work done to bring more healing hands into the workforce and make the world a better place. Commencement is truly an amazing event. 


Alumni-Life

10) Alumni Life

After our graduates leave Trinity to begin their residencies and professional careers, we’re happy to report that our students have gone on to enjoy careers in a wide array of specialties. 

Trinity continues to provide a medical school that holds the highest levels of accreditation. Trinity also positions itself with an unmatched student curriculum, world class educators and a dedicated team of professionals, allowing students to focus on their medical education. We pride ourselves with being a smaller Caribbean medical school, whose vision continues to remain laser focused on the success of our students, from the first day of class, to the last, and well beyond.

We’re just a call away and have resources to provide support wherever we can. Many students stay actively connected and involved with our ever-widening network of alumni.

Read about some of our recent student success stories: