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Multiple specialties

July 16, 2011

Another great question from email:
Backup application: I am totally committed to internal medicine but a lot of my friends say that I should also apply for other specialities such as family practice or pediatrics also as a backup. Is this required? Does this increase my chances?

Chances depend on the quality of the candidate and where they did their clinical rotations / observerships. No one is guaranteed a residency spot, many people wont match who are talented enough to do the job. There are a lot of intangibles that you cannot control.
If you have not done any pediatrics and you have no clinical experience in it you will not be a competitive candidate.

Family practice may be easier to get a match but remember that you can’t do a fellowship after family practice. I see candidates that apply for categorical, preliminary, primary care, neurology all at the same time. I don’t see those candidates as focused on what they want to do.

The best thing you can do is make sure your application is perfect, your personal statement is clear and original, your contacts are ready and able to support you, your letters are in on time. Look at the particular programs you are interested in to see if they have any IMGs in their class, if not then it is not a place where you will succeed in getting matched. Most programs that take IMGs will list their criteria on their web site.

University programs that are not IMG friendly will state something like “International medical graduates must apply for residency through ERAS by contacting the ECFMG. IMGs should also consult our webpage for IMGs before applying.” If this is all the program says then it is likely not IMG friendly.

On the other hand, if the program says something like what you see below, it is most certainly IMG friendly.
“We are pleased that you are interested in our program.
Our program sponsors both H-1b and JI Visas. Applications are to be filed through ERAS.
In order to apply, you must have
USMLE scores > 85 AND at least one of the following:
1. 3 months of U.S. clerkships with patient care experience, OR
2. Internal Medicine residency in another country, OR
3. Advanced degrees (MPH, PhD).”

Categories: Application
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