SJSM Tuition Increase and Warning about AICM

Here’s the news people, SJSM raised their tuition $300 for basic science and $350 for clinical science. Here is the news letter with the updated info. SJSM was known to be the cheapest medical school in the Caribbean that had descent accreditation but I guess that change. I hope loans come out soon and stay permanently otherwise students will have trouble paying so much for clinicals. In my opinion if you want to go to SJSM but you don’t have money then take 2 years and save up the money, of course by then the tuition can go up even more. SJSM is gaining good accreditation and it’s developing very fast if you look into it. People in Bonaire told me the new MD1 class has 90+ students plus more students from the pre-med group. I don’t know how they could fit so many people in those two campuses. My class had 50+ students and we felt crowded.

As I progress through the months, I realized that AICM could’ve been well optimized if and only if I was better prepared in Bonaire. AICM can be a good program if taught by certain teachers but it can be a waste if it was taught by other teachers; however, the same can be said with Kaplan and Falcon review courses as well. My biggest mistake was that I started to prepare late. I cannot emphasize enough on that enough. When you’re an MD4 use every second of your free time to prepare for the USMLE Step 1. Of course you have to keep up with the MD4 courses, and that should come first, because without passing those you’re not getting off the island. Preparation early is the best option, but the living conditions in Bonaire was horrible for me so I was tired and I was not motivated to study. In MD4 semester all I could think of is how much longer till I get off the island and get back to the beautiful United States of America. But anyways that’s my two cents for now.

Let’s Clear Up the 2 Semesters Tuition Bill Confusion

There is a rumor that’s circulating in online forums which confused some students and also kind of freaked some students out. The rumor is that tuition is to be fully paid for two semesters all at before the AICM 5th semester is over. Let’s clear this thing out and please take my word for it since I am in the 5th semester now and I already got my tuition bill which is due in 2 weeks.

This is how it works; students plan to take 6 to 8 months off after 5th semester to study for the USMLE Step 1. The reason is for some students the AICM semester is too fast paced and students cannot keep up with the workload. So, what’s the solution? Study for several months to self-prepare for the test. Now Saint James School of Medicine now requires students to pass the NBME with a 650 or above and an the ExamMaster final test with a 75% or above in order to take the test. You cannot just register and take the USMLE Step 1 whenever you feel like it; you must be given permission from a medical institute to the ECFGM/NBME for you to take it.

This is how the billing works, ever since I started Saint James, which is in the year 2009, the billing policy, has been the same; you pay for the tuition a month before the next semester begins. Now let’s look at an example, if you were to finish AICM in the end of Summer semester, you pay tuition for the next semester, which is Fall semester, 30 days before AICM is done. After AICM you would have to sit down and study for 7 months, so that falls in 2 semesters after AICM. And therefore 30 days before each semester you would have to pay for the tuition. There are 3 semesters in a year: Spring, Summer, and Fall, and 30 days before each semester you would have to pay your tuition.

Now you may ask why you would have to pay if you’re not taking classes, I don’t know, it’s Saint James School of Medicine policy, but whatever you pay it counts towards your clinical semesters. Therefore, you’re not paying anything extra, you’re just paying ahead of schedule but it will count towards your clinical semesters.

I hope this helps out.