International Medical Graduates Face Unique Challenges in Applying For Residency

Matching to a residency program through the NRMP® (National Resident Matching Program) is a competitive endeavor, especially for International Medical Graduates (IMGs), formerly called “Foreign Medical Graduates”. These applicants, who graduate from medical schools outside of the United States, face difficult odds. In 2009 only 47.8% of United States citizen IMGs obtained first year positions through the Match. Of those IMGs who were not U.S. citizens, only 41.6% matched (Source: Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates).

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Furthermore, some IMGs complete their third- and fourth-year rotations in locations that are geographically distant from their base schools. Therefore it is more difficult for them to attain application guidance through their institutions or through senior students who have experience with the process. Because of these challenges and the poor odds, a professional residency admission consulting has become increasingly important in optimizing residency applications for IMGs and improving the odds that these candidates get into residency programs Ki Residences.

Residency admissions consulting companies come in a variety of forms. Some are bigger businesses that focus on admissions to several types of graduate programs – not just medicine. Others are smaller and provide a medical focus, but have a pool of consultants of varying quality. Finally, elite companies offer both the medical focus and a highly experienced consultant who works one-on-one with clients. These professionals are ex-admissions officers from highly respected medical institutions. They have the inside knowledge of how residency admissions work, providing individualized guidance to optimize applicants’ personal essays, ERAS® and interview skills.

Because International Medical Graduates applicants can unknowingly undermine their chances of success with poorly compiled materials, underdeveloped personal statements and inadequate interview skills, a qualified, personalized admissions consultant provides a great advantage.

An expert consultant can offer a variety of services to improve a candidate’s application:

a) ERAS® editing. The Electronic Residency Application Service is a centralized program that transmits applications and other supporting documents from the candidate to residency directors using the Internet. Most residencies now use ERAS®; a few have individual applications. ERAS® and other applications include a section for describing all of an applicant’s activities. Ensuring that a candidate’s accomplishments are optimally-worded is essential for showcasing the applicant’s activities to residency admissions officers.

b) Residency personal statement. The ERAS® essay allows the candidate to demonstrate his or her distinctiveness as a residency applicant. Excellent format, organization, grammar, syntax and spelling are crucial.

c) Curriculum vitae (C.V.). The C.V. is a standardized medical resume that is offered to faculty to improve candidates’ letters of recommendation (LORs), highly important factors in the application process. The C.V. can also be used as a foundation for the rest of the applicant’s career.

d) Mock interviews. Few people would take the medical licensing board examinations without practicing first. But many IMG applicants mistakenly arrive at their interviews unprepared. Being coached by an experienced professional makes a huge difference in an applicant’s confidence and presentation to residency admissions members.

When choosing a residency admissions consulting company, an IMG applicant should verify the company’s references and research its consultants. Ensure the company provides tailored assistance to IMGs. Elite companies that offer both the medical focus and a highly experienced consultant who works one-on-one with clients offer a large advantage for IMGs, especially during these competitive times.