Is AUA a Good Medical School? (Major Pros & Cons)

AUA is a good medical school. The American University of Antigua College of Medicine is the best Caribbean medical school to attend since it offers the experience of studying abroad while also matching and preparing students for international residencies and practice. 

So, let’s talk about AUA’s programs, acceptance rates, tuition, match data, and more. I’ll give you all of the pros and cons of attending AUA and share some testimonies from students and alums to help you decide whether AUA Medical School might be the right choice.  

Interested in learning more about specific medical school pros and cons? Check out our Medical School Guides here – we cover all osteopathic (DO) and allopathic (MD) schools.

What Programs Does AUA Offer? 

The programs AUA offers are an MD program consisting of two years of preclinical sciences and two years of clinical sciences. They also offer a global health track, which includes an additional component before each semester of the MD program for two years, then clinical rotations at AUA and FIU. 

AUA offers two years of preclinical sciences, which you can follow for another two years to receive an MD.

During the two years of preclinical sciences, you will start year one with an organ-system-based curriculum covering embryology, anatomy, and biology. During the second year, you will hone in on subjects related to the treatment of organ systems, focusing on topics like pathology, pharmacology, and microbiology. 

Once you complete year two, students will take a 13-week Basic Science Integration Course, then take the NBME Comprehensive Basic Science Examination. Upon passing, you may move on to Clinical Sciences. 

Clinical Sciences consist of two years of clinical rotations in which you will gain experience in internal medicine, surgery, family medicine, pediatrics, OB/GYN, and psychiatry. You may also choose from other elective rotations in 60 different fields. 

Students often find these rotations incredibly beneficial in directing them to the field they want to practice in. 

Their global health track is also an attractive program for those who wish to receive their MD with a specialty in global health. Overall, this track’s graduates are the most successful in finding a residency match. 

AUA’s Accreditation

The American University of Antigua is unique as a Caribbean school because it is fully accredited in the USA. Graduates of the MD program at AUA are eligible to become residents and practicing MDs in all 50 US states, Canada, the UK, and India. This opportunity for an international residency makes AUA an attractive school for student doctors who wish to travel. 

AUA also has a special relationship with Florida International University (FIU), often sending students on a clinical rotation under the Global Health track to hospitals and practices affiliated with FIU. They also often match students with residencies in New York due to the school’s close relationship with New York’ schools. 

What Is AUA’s Acceptance Rate?

AUA’s acceptance rate is 35%, although alumni claim that the acceptance rate for American students from the USA is closer to 80%. AUA does not have very stringent requirements for admission when compared to other medical schools. 

The average GPA of students accepted to AUA’s MD program is 3.27. AUA also stresses that they do not put much weight into your MCAT scores when considering admission and do not require international and Canadian students to have an MCAT score. However, the majority of accepted students had an MCAT score of 469. 

AUA’s Match Data

According to the 2021 and 2022 placement results, 92% of AUA students who applied to the National Resident Matching Program found a match the first time. 

In 2022, students matched in 35 different US states, and some went on to residencies in Canada, the UK, and Puerto Rico. Results from 2012 to 2021 also represented placements in many states and abroad.  

Of those matched with a residency, most students went on to practice family medicine in New York or Florida. However, AUA generally matches students with many residencies in the USA, often at prestigious universities such as Tulane, Duke, and Rutgers.  

Does AUA Offer Clinical Rotation in the USA? 

AUA offers clinical rotations in the USA, allowing you to test your hand in many different fields of medicine in the continental USA. Most students in clinical rotation study at FIU or in New York. 

Although AUA is in the Caribbean, this school has close ties with other US schools, giving you more opportunities to study in the USA during clinical rotations and residency. 

AUA Tuition

The average AUA tuition for the MD program is $229,800 or around $25,900 a semester. Attendance prices go up the longer you are at the school, and in the final year, you can expect to pay $5,000 more than you paid for first-year preclinical sciences. 

However, housing, food, and medical insurance are add-on costs, often raising the cost of attendance to $38,545 per semester. 

This price represents the truth about Caribbean medical schools. They are often significantly more expensive than US-based medical schools. However, in the scheme of similar schools like St. George’s University (SGU) and American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC), AUA is more affordable.

Does AUA Accept AP Credits?

AUA does not accept AP credits because they are a graduate school of medicine. AUA will admit you based on your college transcript, regardless of whether you took AP classes. 

Since AUA strictly admits graduate students for their programs, they do not discern between AP and college credits. 

Does AUA Offer Scholarships?

AUA offers scholarships for academic performance and diversity. They also provide scholarships for incoming students who are residents of New York State. 

Some of AUA’s scholarships are very generous. If you can get them, you can cover over half the cost of your tuition per semester. Here are some of the best scholarships AUA provides: 

  • The Provost Scholarship. Students with a Bachelor’s degree, a GPA of 3.5 and up, and MCAT scores higher than 505 are eligible for a $100,000 scholarship, which covers $10,000 of your tuition per semester. 
  • High Achievers Scholarship. Students who maintain a GPA of 3.7 to 4.0 are eligible for scholarships between $90,000 and $100,000, paid to their tuition in smaller chunks.  
  • Admissions Committee Scholarship. This scholarship is for incoming and current students with an undergrad GPA above 3.0. Current students must also maintain a GPA higher than 3.0. Depending on your achievement, you can get $5,000 to $14,000 in scholarships per semester. 
  • New York Scholarship. Students who are legal residents of New York State receive $20,000 scholarships for their tuition. 

If you want to read more about the scholarships that AUA offers, you can look at the other options here.

AUA also accepts federal direct student loans, so you can feasibly cover most of your tuition with scholarships and take the rest out under the lower interest rates of the federal student loan program. 

Is AUA Good? 

AUA is good for students who wish to attend medical school in the Caribbean. It’s one of the best choices for students planning to study medicine abroad, and it’s also an excellent choice for people looking for a school with less stringent acceptance requirements. 

AUA will be an ideal choice for some people, while it might be a poor option for others. 

Of those who are interested, people with solid self-study habits who want to study abroad with options to practice in many countries and who are willing to work hard will see the most success at this school. 

However, this school may not be ideal for people who want more guidance from their instructors or who value small classes and a more student-centric approach. 

To help you determine if this school might be for you, let’s look at the pros and cons of attending AUA: 

The Pros

  • Frequent and mandatory small group sessions of 20 students encourage students to study and work together. 
  • AUA prepares students for exams well and gives students lists of objectives and many preparatory exams to use as study tools. 
  • The curriculum is unique and starts from a general to a specific approach, moving from system-based learning to pathology and pharmacology as you advance.
  • AUA offers a study abroad feel while also preparing you for practice.
  • Semesters are five months long, giving you more instruction per semester than most medical schools provide.  
  • The campus is safe and beautiful. 
  • The on-campus housing is new and next to most buildings you’ll need access to as a first-year student. 
  • Being in Antigua encourages you to make new friends, focus on academics, and study with fellow students. 

The Cons

  • Class sizes can be large, with lectures of over 300 students. 
  • Housing can be costly on the island. 
  • First-semester students must live on campus. 
  • The curriculum is challenging for students who do not have good independent study practices. 
  • The curriculum builds upon itself, so if you do not pass one of your NBME exams, you should repeat the semester to ensure your success in the following years. 
  • The semester is five months long, and completion of the MD program takes 4.5 years, which is longer than most medical schools. 
  • Being far from home can feel isolating and disorienting at first. 
  • Although the instructors are excellent, the large lecture size makes study groups more beneficial than classes. 

Student and Graduate Reviews of AUA

Students of AUA generally have polarizing opinions about this school. Students who struggled to keep up with the curriculum have unfavorable views. In contrast, those who expressed that they took the initiative and focused on covering everything from the curriculum have glowing opinions about the University. 

For example, an alum who graduated in 2015 and now mentors AUA students at his former clinical rotation site in New York expressed that students of AUA perform better than most US students under his instruction. He also noted that AUA prepared him well for residency and that he is impressed by the evolving curriculum of the school. 

Others, such as a student who attended AUA because they had lower test scores and a GPA that didn’t get them accepted to US medical schools, seem to feel that AUA was far too rigorous and didn’t give students the attention they needed. These students who had issues passing the exams also expressed difficulty finding a residency match. 

Some alums also note a significant attrition rate during the first year. However, as alums, they also stress that the dropouts and failing students lacked the self-study habits needed to succeed in AUA’s large classes. So, you will need to be an independent self-starter to do well at this University, and focusing on the curriculum and going above and beyond with studying will set you up for success.  

Overall, alums and current students generally agree that this school is what you make of it. If you attend AUA to spend your days at the beach and enjoy the parties on the island, or if you already have a low GPA from undergrad and need closer instruction to do well in your classes, you have a higher chance of failure. 

However, if you are dedicated, do the reading, attend your classes, and take your education seriously, you will receive an education that prepares you well for residency. Attending and doing well at AUA will also give you the self-starting skills you will need later in your practice.

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