Last Updated on January 19, 2023 by Team College Learners
Is Ross University a good medical school? Learn the Ross Medical School acceptance rate, admissions requirements, and strategies to get accepted
Part 1: Introduction
If you’re thinking about attending a Caribbean medical school, chances are you’re already familiar with the Ross University School of Medicine. While some Caribbean medical schools have a bad rap, Ross stands out among the rest for graduating well-trained physicians who place into U.S. residencies and continue on to successful careers in medicine.
Generally considered one of the best medical schools in the Caribbean, Ross Medical School appeals to many students with low stats who couldn’t get accepted to U.S. med schools—which are increasing in competitiveness—but who are still determined to practice medicine. The good news is, even if it wasn’t their first choice, many excellent physicians have used Ross as the starting point for accomplished medical practices.
Ross University School of Medicine has been educating doctors for over 40 years and boasts an alumni network of more than 14,000 physicians. Graduates are able to practice medicine in all 50 states and in 900 countries throughout the world.
If you’ve applied unsuccessfully to U.S. MD and DO programs and are looking for an alternate route to earn a medical degree, Ross University School of Medicine offers a chance to continue pursuing your dreams of becoming a physician. But before you apply, it’s important to be aware of the differences you’ll experience at Ross versus a U.S. medical school.
Here, we’ll evaluate the merits of Ross Medical School to determine if it’s an option you should explore. Then we’ll show you how you can increase your odds of getting accepted, from meeting the admissions requirements to acing the Ross Medical School interview.
Learn everything you need to know to get into medical school.
Get our free 102-page guide: Get Into Medical School: 6 Practical Lessons to Stand Out and Earn Your White Coat SEND ME THE GUIDE
100% privacy. No spam. Ever.
Part 2: Is Ross University a good medical school?
It’s no secret that attending a Caribbean medical school is less desirable than training in U.S. medical schools. But Ross University School of Medicine poses a challenge to the stereotype. Accredited by the Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and Health Professions (CAAM-HP), Ross Medical School teaches the same curriculum taught in U.S. medical schools. Students actually complete their clinical rotations in the U.S. at one of Ross Medical School’s affiliated hospitals, and its graduates can qualify for licensure in all fifty states after completing their residencies.
But before we evaluate if Ross University is a good medical school, you should know a few of the most important factors to consider when looking at Caribbean med schools in general:
- USMLE pass rate
- Residency match rate
- Student attrition rate
These data points reveal how well each med school trains its students and prepares them to successfully begin their medical careers. Let’s look at how Ross Medical School measures up to U.S. med school programs.
Ross University School of Medicine USMLE Step 1 pass rate
In 2019, first-time test-takers from U.S. MD programs had a 97 percent pass rate for the USMLE Step 1. DO students’ rate was nearly as high at 96 percent. And while IMGs or foreign medical graduates had an 82 percent pass rate overall, Ross Medical School reported a much higher USMLE Step 1 pass rate of 96.7 percent for its students.
Why is success in the USMLE Step 1 so important? Because it’s one of the primary factors used to evaluate residency placement applications. If you want to match into a good residency, you need to score highly on Step 1.
(Note: The USMLE will be scored on a Pass/Fail basis beginning in January 2022.)
Ross University School of Medicine residency match rate
Completing a residency is a requirement to become a licensed physician in the U.S. A med school’s residency match rate is the most important indicator of whether they’re achieving their main objective: graduating students who become doctors.
In the 2020 NRMP Main Residency Match, U.S. med school seniors (MD and DO combined) had a residency match rate of 92.9 percent. Graduates of international medical schools, also known as IMGs, matched into residencies at a rate of 61 percent. How did Ross compare?
Like many Caribbean medical schools, Ross reports a “first-time residency attainment rate”—in 2020, that rate was 95.2 percent. However, bear in mind that, like the overall IMG match rate, this figure isn’t limited to only current seniors, but instead includes all Ross graduates (for instance, those who needed more time to pass Step 1). On top of this, it almost certainly also includes Ross graduates who gained residency positions outside of the NRMP Match, such as through SOAP week. So, without knowing how many Ross seniors or grads successfully matched in 2020, comparing Ross’s residency attainment rate to either of the figures above is a bit of an “apples and oranges” situation.
Nevertheless, we can say that while matching into a residency will be certainly be more challenging from Ross Medical School than from U.S. med schools, particularly right out of medical school, it’s likely that you’ll still have better chances coming from Ross than from many of the other international med school programs.
Ross University School of Medicine attrition rate
The attrition rate refers to the number of students that drop out of a program. The average attrition rate at U.S. medical schools is about 3 percent. However, at Ross University School of Medicine, the attrition rate is near 20 percent. And Ross has faced criticism for this. As a for-profit university, critics accuse Ross of accepting medical students who struggle academically, even though those students don’t have a strong chance of making it to graduation.
It’s worth nothing that every year, Ross enrolls over 900 new students, which is a much larger class size than most U.S. med schools. It means students receive less individualized attention from professors and face-to-face guidance from advisors. Receiving less academic and professional support makes it more challenging for students to be successful.
On the other hand, you have to remember that most students who attend Ross weren’t able to get accepted at U.S. medical schools. Since they struggled academically in the first place, it makes sense they have a harder time completing the challenging program. Therefore, Ross Medical School offers a bridge program to its lower-achieving applicants in an effort to better prepare them for the rigorous curriculum.
The Medical Education Readiness Program (MERP) is a 15-week program for conditionally-accepted students at Ross Medical School. Its goal is to provide additional academic preparation for students likely to struggle in their medical studies. Students who participate in MERP strengthen their basic science foundations, learn proven study techniques, and build support networks among other entering Ross students.
MERP is a helpful program for students who are passionate about medicine but need extra academic preparation to be able to survive the journey to becoming a physician. Students who complete the program, despite having lower undergrad stats, are able to achieve similar GPAs and graduation rates as the rest of the Ross Medical Student body.
So while the attrition rate of Ross University School of Medicine is a concern, remember that 80 percent of its students do indeed complete the program. And the majority of those students match into residencies. If you’re able to work hard and advocate for yourself to get the necessary support, you can be successful at Ross.
However, you should prepare to experience additional hurdles when it comes to matching into the specialty residency placement of your choice.
Ross University School of Medicine residency matching specialties
As we said above, Ross Medical School has a fairly strong residency attainment rate. But it’s important to note that, in 2020, 71 percent of Ross graduates entered residencies in a primary care specialty. Ross students—and Caribbean med school students in general—have a much harder time matching into competitive specialties than their U.S. med student counterparts.
In 2020, of the 597 Ross Medical School students who matched into residencies, only four students matched into highly competitive specialties—two students into radiology, one student into neurosurgery, and one student into orthopedic surgery.
So if you’re planning to pursue a residency in a primary care specialty, you have a fairly good chance of doing so as a Ross student. But if you had your heart set on a competitive specialty, you’ll find it extremely difficult to obtain a residency placement.
For this reason, the answer to the question “Is Ross University a good medical school?” depends on the applicant’s unique situation. We always recommend that our students apply to MD and DO programs in the U.S. before turning to Caribbean medical schools. But, if after one or two unsuccessful application rounds you’ve been unable to gain admission into U.S. programs, Ross University School of Medicine could be a “good medical school” for you.
Be prepared to work harder and navigate through med school with less academic support. Focus on your goal of matching into a residency. Remember, once you’ve completed your residency and become a licensed physician, where you earned your degree matters less.
Part 3: Ross University School of Medicine programs
Ross Medical School MD programs
There are a few different options to earn an MD from Ross University School of Medicine.
- Four-and-a-half-year MD (five semesters of classroom instruction and four semesters of clinical rotations)
- Four-year MD (accelerated track—students must academically qualify for it during the first semester)
- MD/Master’s of Public Health
Ross Medical School costs
The 2020–2021 base tuition at Ross University School of Medicine is $48,340. With the costs of room and board, supplies, transportation, and other indirect expenses added, the total cost of attendance comes to $77,302 per year.
This price is higher than you’d find at many U.S. med schools—which is another con for attending med school in the Caribbean. But students at Ross Medical School are eligible to receive U.S. federal aid in the form of non-need-based loans. This is a significant feature that distinguishes Ross from many other Caribbean medical programs.
Ross also offers various merit-based scholarships to its students—ranging up to the cost of tuition for one semester. In addition, students enrolling in the MD/MPH program can apply for a scholarship to cover 100 percent of their total tuition costs.
Part 4: How hard is it to get into Ross University School of Medicine?
Ross University School of Medicine acceptance rate
The Ross University School of Medicine acceptance rate is 42.7%. Of newly accepted students, 48% are male and 52% are female. 98 percent of all students are citizens of the U.S. or Canada.
Ross Medical School offers three different start sessions each year—in September, January, and May. The September start brings in the largest number of new students, so applicants who would prefer smaller cohort sizes can choose to enroll in May or January.
Ross University School of Medicine academic statistics
While not required by all Caribbean medical schools, taking the MCAT is one of the Ross Medical School requirements. Here are the average stats of students accepted to Ross:
- Median MCAT: 493
- Median total GPA: 3.22
Ross University School of Medicine requirements
Applicants must have taken the MCAT within five years of the semester they plan to enroll at Ross. Applicants who attended non-English institutions must also submit TOEFL scores to be considered for admission.
Here is a list of the Ross University School of Medicine requirements to be included with the application.
- Ross online application or a PDF version of your AMCAS or AACOMAS application
- Official transcripts from all colleges or professional schools attended
- Minimum of two letters of recommendation
- One letter from a premed professor
- One letter from a physician (preferred) or an employer
- MCAT scores
Even though the Ross Medical School requirements for GPA and MCAT scores are lower than what you find at U.S. med schools, it’s important to note that admission isn’t guaranteed. When applying, you still want to consider the type of student Ross is looking for in order to make yourself a strong candidate.
Ross University School of Medicine wants to enroll students who share their priorities of improving global health and making positive impacts in underserved communities. The ideal med student at Ross has a commitment to making medicine accessible and practicing as a primary care physician in an area experiencing a healthcare shortage. If this describes your values, you’ll have an edge over other Ross Medical School applicants.
And of course, even though Ross wasn’t your first option, you don’t want to lead with that in your essay. You can use your personal statement to prove you have what it takes to succeed at Ross and to boost their reputation by having a prosperous career in medicine.
Over 90% of our students get into med school—the first time.
Get our free 102-page guide to help you with every step: Get Into Medical School: 6 Practical Lessons to Stand Out and Earn Your White Coat SEND ME THE GUIDE
100% privacy. No spam. Ever.
Part 5: Ross University School of Medicine personal statement (example included)
The application for Ross University School of Medicine requires one personal statement instead of multiple secondary essays. While you can’t apply through AMCAS, you are able to use your AMCAS medical school personal statement for your application to Ross.
If you choose not to submit an AMCAS personal statement, Ross Medical School provides its own prompt for you to answer. Below, we’ll offer you suggestions to craft a strong personal statement and include an example for you to consider.
Prompt: In 300 words or less, state why you want to become a physician and what you can bring to the world of medical health in today’s multicultural society.
As you can see, this prompt isn’t starkly different from the “Why do you want to go to medical school?” AMCAS prompt. But you’ll notice the essay prompt for Ross Medical School has a unique angle that aligns with its values for promoting global health. If you didn’t address this perspective in your AMCAS personal statement, consider writing and submitting a new essay for your Ross application—it’ll help you stand out as a student highly-suited for the Ross curriculum.
When writing your Ross University School of Medicine personal statement, you have to address both topics included in the essay prompt: your motivation for being a doctor and the unique contribution you can make serving as a doctor in diverse communities.
Remember, Ross is looking for students who want to be primary care physicians in underserved areas. This is your perfect chance to show you fit the mold.
Approach this essay by first choosing the personal quality you want to demonstrate in your statement. With a 300-word limit, you won’t have the opportunity to share long or detailed stories, but you should include two brief anecdotes—one relating to each part of the prompt. You can’t just say you have a unique contribution to give to the world of medicine, you have to prove it with a story.
Here’s an example personal statement for Ross Medical School:
My brother Steven’s cleft lip introduced me to the medical field. Even though I met many impressive surgeons and specialists involved in his care, it was our rural, small-town doctor who impressed me and sparked my interest in becoming a physician. Dr. Miller provided vital support to our family throughout Steven’s treatment. She patiently answered all the questions my parents had been too intimidated to ask the surgeons. That’s why I want to become a primary care doctor in a small community—so I can build connections with my patients and support them when they need a medical guide to trust.
My passion for supporting patients and their families was strengthened when I worked in an autism treatment center. One of the parents I helped, Katrina, was a recent immigrant, so she was unfamiliar with the American medical system and nervous to bring her son for treatment. I knew in order to help them, I first had to earn her trust—no easy task. I spent several visits carefully and simply explaining the intervention process before she trusted me enough to speak freely and share her concerns. Despite our slow start, I helped Katrina develop the skills to play an active role in her son’s care. Supporting her through this challenge further solidified my dream to pursue family medicine.
I understand the mindset of people who don’t trust doctors. I grew up in a town filled with them. I know the importance of taking the time to educate them and talk on their level. I understand how to navigate the obstacles preventing them from trusting and seeking medical help. And I’ve seen the powerful impact a physician who takes this painstaking approach can have on a community. It’s what keeps me striving for a career in medicine every day.
This personal statement works because the theme of educating and helping people who are nervous around doctors is clearly woven through both stories. Both qualities are desirable for future physicians practicing in underserved areas. The theme resonates well with Ross Medical School’s priority of training its students to improve medical accessibility in areas with poor healthcare access.
By including personal stories and details, the applicant makes this statement unique to them and gives the admissions committee a better feel for who they are. Since this is the only essay you include in your application to Ross, you want to make sure you stand out and avoid submitting a generic statement that could have been written by anyone.
A strongly written essay—combined with competitive stats—is the best way to secure yourself an admissions interview.
Part 6: Ross University School of Medicine interview
After submitting your application to Ross Medical School, the admissions committee will evaluate your credentials on a rolling basis. If your stats and experience impress them, you’ll be invited to a personal medical school interview with an admissions representative held at one of Ross’s regional offices throughout the U.S.
To prepare for the interview, it’s important to research Ross Medical School thoroughly and be ready to discuss what features of the program appeal to you. Interviewers know Ross isn’t the first choice for many of its applicants. But they still want to accept students who are enthusiastic to attend Ross and grateful for the opportunity to continue pursuing a medical career after being turned away by other med schools.
Be prepared to discuss your past rejections from U.S. MD and/or DO programs. But you should aim to present them in a way that demonstrates your maturity. Consider what you have learned about yourself and how you have grown through those painful experiences. Get ready to discuss how facing obstacles has strengthened your commitment to medicine and your resolve to become a physician.
You can read through the “Interview Feedback” for Ross Medical School on their Student Doctor Network page to explore what types of questions students are asked in their interviews and prepare your own answers. As with every medical school interview, be prepared to discuss your extracurricular experiences and explain any red flags on your application.
Remember, your interview is the greatest opportunity you have to make a strong impression on the admissions committee and increase your odds of getting accepted to Ross University School of Medicine.
If you’ve applied unsuccessfully to MD and DO programs in the U.S. but remain committed to pursuing medicine, Ross University School of Medicine can provide you with an alternate route to a medical career, particularly in primary care specialties.
If you think attending Ross Medical School is the necessary next step in your medical journey, you can use the strategies in this guide to submit a competitive application and improve your admissions odds so you can pursue your dreams of becoming a doctor.