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Cost of Applying to Residency

July 28, 2011

How much does it cost to apply for residency?  If you are an IMG who “applies broadly” to lots of programs, it costs a lot.

Looking at the AAMC site for residency application costs, the fee schedule is broken down as follows:

Number of Programs Per Specialty: Up to 10 $75, 11-20 $8 each, 21-30 $15 each, 31 or more $25 each.  There are a total of 455 family medicine programs.  There are a total of

396 internal medicine programs.  If you interpret applying broadly as applying to all programs then the numbers are a little scary.

Family Med 455 x $25 = $11,375

Internal Med 396 x $25 = $9,900

Total for all $21,275!!! This of course does not take into account travel and lodging for the residency interviews.

I often hear of candidates applying to 140 programs.  For those who will apply for 140 programs total you are looking at 140 x $25 = $3055.  That of course is a small fortune for most of us.  I have always thought that applying for such a large number of programs makes little sense for anyone.  The vast majority of candidates do not have the credentials for most of the programs that they apply for.

So how do you decide where to apply?  Most programs post their requirements on their websites.  Importantly you can also look at their roster of accepted residents to see if there are any IMGs as the medical school is usually listed.  This will take some time of course but it is time well spent. See my post on IM Program lists for free lists of programs and programs that take a high percentage of IMGs. It is also helpful to apply to programs where people have matched from your school.

There are commercial sites out there that will tell you which programs your application data is likely not to be filtered out.  Some have lists for a particular circumstance (programs that require “No minimum Scores” for applications).  There are also special services that create a list where your USMLE scores, US clinical experience, visa requirements, years since graduation are compared against most programs. I don’t have a personal or business relationship with any residency list service and have not taken appropriate measures to ensure the correctness and reliability of their data.  I have not found an objective source to gauge the quality of the data provided. If you use a list service, I don’t think that you should spend more than $100.  I don’t specifically recommend you use a service, I just want you to be aware that the service exists.

The views expressed in this post are those of Kenneth Christopher, MD and do not necessarily reflect the views of Dr. Christopher’s employer Partners HealthCare.

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