Repeat Applicants

January 21, 2012

I came across an interesting study in Academic Medicine called Participation in U.S. Graduate Medical Education by Graduates of International Medical Schools where investigators from the ECFMG, ERAS and the NRMP looked at the outcome of IMGs who applied to residency.

The study followed 10,328 IMGs certified by the ECFMG between July 1, 2005 and June 30, 2006. The authors stated the following:
“Of the entire 10,147 graduates without a residency in 2006, 5,407 (53%) failed to find a residency position in that year. Many applied again in 2007 and subsequent years, but with each passing year the success rate of the remaining graduates declined. Of those who remained in 2007, 41% were successful; in 2008 only 17% of those remaining were successful. After the close of the 2009 cycle, 76% of the original cohort had obtained residency positions, and it is likely that a few more will be successful in years to come.”

In the cohort ninety-one percent of US IMGs were successful, but only 73% of non-US IMGs were.

In a different study looking at ECFMG applicants from 1995-2004 the following was found: U.S.-citizen IMGs have lower pass rates on Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge than do IMGs who are not U.S. citizens. The study authors note that:
“given the array of factors that come into play in the selection process, U.S.-citizen IMGs, as a group, are still more likely to eventually obtain graduate training positions.”

So the message is apply again if you don’t succeed in this match. I would emphasize that especially if there is something in your application that you can improve. If you are applying again, rewrite your application using this document as a guide. I would add that it will be more competitive over the next 5 years compared to the 2006-2009 time frame as noted in a prior post.

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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