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

AUC is a good medical school for those who want to get their MD degree abroad in the Caribbean. The American University of the Caribbean is fully accredited and offers an MD program with a high acceptance and residency match rate. 

If you are interested in AUC, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the details about what it’s like to attend. This article will explain everything you need to know about AUC, including acceptance tuition, attrition, and match rates. I’ll also share the pros and cons of attending AUC and some student and graduate reviews for this school. 

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.

AUC’s Match Data

In 2022, 96% of AUC’s graduates matched with residencies in 31 different states. Some also found placement in the Cayman Islands, Hawaii, and Canada. 

Most graduates of AUC match with residencies in New York, California, Michigan, and Florida. 

While the matches are very diverse and vary year to year based on the student’s GPA, experience, and scores, some graduates end up matching with residencies at prestigious institutions such as Rutgers, The Mayo Clinic, and UC San Francisco.   

Graduates primarily matched with residencies in Family Medicine, Internal medicine, and Pediatrics, although others matched with residencies in Anesthesiology, Surgery, Psychiatry, and Emergency Medicine. In 2021, most students went into Family Medicine, Emergency Medicine, and Anesthesiology. 

AUC Acceptance Rate

AUC’s acceptance rate is 47%, making them far less selective than most medical schools. This higher acceptance rate makes them an attractive choice for people who lack the transcript to get into US medical schools. 

Accepted students have an average undergrad GPA of 3.21 and MCAT scores of 492. 

Like many Caribbean schools, AUC’s acceptance rates are generally higher than those of US medical schools. However, I must mention that those who do not have the GPA and test scores to get into a US medical school may not be ready to attend a school like AUC — which explains this school’s higher attrition rate. 

Related: 8 Medical Schools With High Acceptance Rates

AUC Attrition Rate

According to US Financial Aid data, only 63% of AUC students graduate on time. Although AUC does not publish its graduation rate data, the estimated attrition rate is 20%, with most students dropping out or being dismissed within their first two years of school. 

While this rate is relatively high, it is significantly lower than the attrition rate of other Caribbean medical schools such as Ross and Saba, which both have estimated dropout and failure rates of over 35%. 

Despite this low graduation rate, 89% of students passed the NBMEs, while 93% passed the USMLE. That pass rate reflects only the students who graduated, though. So, even if you are one of the 63% of students who graduate, you might still fail the NBME. 

This attrition rate might make you feel like all hope is lost. However, it’s a reflection of AUC’s high acceptance rate. 

AUC accepts students with lower GPAs and less impressive test scores, but you must still perform like a high-achiever to pass through this school. Those who do not improve their undergraduate performance may not make it through AUC or any medical school. 

Therefore, you might be able to get into this school with lower test scores and a lower GPA than other medical schools, but you will need to prove yourself and work hard to pass. 

American University of the Caribbean Tuition

The American University of the Caribbean’s cost per semester rises every year that you attend due to lab costs and increasingly technical subjects. 

For the first five semesters, your tuition will be between $20,000 and $25,000. For the last five semesters, the cost is usually between $25,000 and $29,000. 

So, for tuition alone, you should expect to pay a total of $225,000 to $270,000 to complete an MD degree at AUC. 

Beyond tuition, housing on campus costs between $4,500 to $5,700 per semester, and you’ll also need to pay for books, labs, health insurance, and student government fees. 

Does AUC Accept AP Credits?

AUC accepts AP credits as part of your undergraduate transcript but not as transfer credits. Since AUC is a graduate school, they will accept your AP credits as proof of the completion of your degree. 

Although AUC will accept your AP credits, you cannot use them as transfer hours for any course at AUC. 

Does AUC Offer Scholarships?

AUC offers scholarships for first-year and current students. AUC offers twelve scholarships for prospective students, some of which cover the cost of tuition for all ten semesters of attendance. They also offer two awards for enrolled students. 

Some of the best scholarships at AUC include: 

  • The First-Generation Scholarship. This scholarship is for accepted students who will be the first doctor in their immediate families. The award covers $5,000 of your tuition for all ten semesters. 
  • Trustee’s Academic Excellence Scholarship. Suppose you have an undergrad GPA of 3.7 or higher and an MCAT score of 510 or higher. In that case, you are automatically eligible to receive three semesters’ worth of tuition funds which the university will divide to cover a portion of all ten semesters at AUC.
  • MERP Success Scholarship. This scholarship, worth $18,500 to $55,000, is for students who earned a score of 70% or higher grades in a MERP. The total sum depends on your score. 
  • AUC Sint Maarten Partnership Scholarship. This scholarship covers full tuition for legal residents of Sint Maarten. 

Although those are the highlights, plenty of other scholarships are available for prospective students. To learn about what AUC offers, you can find more information on their Scholarships page

AUC also accepts federal student aid, including Federal Direct Student Loans. 

AUC Accreditation

The American University of the Caribbean is a fully accredited institution within the USA. You can match with a residency in any of the 50 United States, Puerto Rico, or Canada with a degree from this school. 

As an affiliate of the US education system, AUC also takes Federal Student Aid and offers many residency matches in the USA. 

Is AUC Good?

AUC is good for self-starting students who want to study abroad and don’t mind paying more for a Caribbean school. AUC is a good fit for students who are committed to learning independently and reaching out for help from professors when they need it. 

AUC is not a good choice for students who prefer to do most of their learning in classes since their professors only give you an overview of the most complicated topics during lectures. 

You will learn the most general subjects outside class using textbooks, study groups, and independent research. This system, designed for Ph.D. students, works for some people who have strong self-study skills and are committed to earning their degree. You will have to do the reading and complete all of your assignments. If you get behind, you may not do well. 

However, many US students do not succeed under this learning model, increasing the attrition rate for AUC. 

Pros of Studying at AUC

  • Studying abroad makes it easier to focus on your studies since you will be in a new environment away from your family and friends at home. 
  • AUC has excellent match data. 
  • You have versatile opportunities to travel to various locations when doing clinical rotations. 
  • AUC is fully accredited, allowing you to find residencies in the US and outside of the US. 
  • AUC enables you to enroll for fall, spring, or summer, allowing you to get into medical school more quickly. 
  • Of those who pass COMPs and make it through AUC, 92% find a residency match. 
  • Sint Maarten is a beautiful place to study. 
  • You can get housing on campus. 
  • You’ll meet and study with the same peer group throughout your ten semesters, helping you form close friendships and contacts. 

Cons of Studying at AUC 

  • Going to school at AUC isolates you from your support network at home. 
  • You are dismissed from the school if you fail the COMP test three times. This policy makes it critical to study hard and test well, even from year one. 
  • The curriculum builds upon itself, so if you do not do well in one of your early courses, you will likely fail the next one. 
  • The cost of tuition and living expenses are higher than those of a US medical school. 
  • Self-study practices are critical since the professors do not cover most of the readings in class. 
  • The curriculum isn’t ideal for those who want to do research or job shadowing. 
  • Class sizes are large. 

Student and Graduate Reviews of AUC

Like most Caribbean colleges, AUC has reviews that reflect the attrition rate. Students who go into AUC as a last-resort option due to a lack of acceptance from US medical schools may fail here due to how AUC’s curriculum works. 

However, students with good independent study skills, a good track record of academic achievement, and a self-starting attitude will likely pass with flying colors.

Reviews from successful graduates recognize that AUC instructors won’t “coddle” you and give you more than two chances to pass exams. If you are a student who prepares for exams early and asks for help when needed, the professors will accommodate you and set you up for success.

Other students who receive low MCAT scores or have low GPAs might still do well at AUC but have a higher chance of failure. 

It takes the same studying to pass and graduate from AUC as any other medical school, but if you couldn’t get into any other medical school, you will either have to improve your study skills or face failure here. That’s what most graduates mean when they write that AUC is what you make of it. 

Those who fail at AUC express that the professors don’t care about their student’s success, and they regret spending the money to go all the way to Sint Maarten to return home within the year. If you suspect that you might be one of these students, and if you are applying to a Caribbean Medical school out of desperation, AUC will not be a good fit for you in the long term. 

As one graduate said best about her experience at AUC, “Medical school is a homeless guy searching for treasure in the middle of the rain and finding a bag of gold coins.” 

You’ll have to get through AUC medical school by working hard and searching for those coins alone in the rain. Still, if you are the kind of person who does not give up and if you are content with guiding yourself to success, you can do well at AUC and find yourself in a prestigious residency program. 

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