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Guest Post: How I matched

April 28, 2015

The following is a guest post from an IMG who would like to remain anonymous but wants to be of help to the IMG community.

Hello everyone, I matched into an academic internal medicine residency program this year and I wanted to share my experience with you, in hopes that it would provide some insight into the competitive nature of internal medicine for IMGs.

Just to provide some context, I’m an IMG from Asia with a US citizenship. My scores were: Step 1 – 260s, Step 2 CK – 250s, Step 2 CS – Pass. I graduated in 2014. I had 2 months of USCE in the form of electives at two of the three Harvard affiliated hospitals and I got 3 US LoRs out of the experience. In addition, I have a relatively strong background in clinical research with > 10 publications and posters.

I had a bit of an issue when I was submitting my applications. My step 2 CK score was reported 2 weeks after September 15th and my ECFMG certification came shortly afterwards. I am unsure if applying 2 weeks late to programs had any significant impact on my application process, but I strongly feel that if you can find a way to have everything ready by the 15th of September, then you should do that instead. I sent about 1/3rd of my applications on the 16th, 1/3rd after my CK score was reported and the rest when I was ECFMG certified. I did this based on the specifications reported on the individual program’s website, but I believe most websites have outdated pages for their IMGs.

I submitted my application to 108 programs all across America, mainly focusing on university programs with community programs as safety programs. I received interview invites from 16 places and attended 12 interviews.

My interview list was:

  1. Massachusetts General Hospital
  2. UTSW – Dallas
  3. Program that I matched into for Internal Medicine Residency
  4. Case Western Reserve University
  5. Mayo Clinic, Rochester
  6. Tufts University
  7. University of Louisville
  8. Rutgers NJMS
  9. Icahn School of Medicine – St Lukes/Roosevelt Program in New York
  10. North Shore LIJ Health System
  11. Wayne State University/Detroit Medical Center
  12. Albert Einstein/Montefiore Community Program in New Rochelle, NY

I ultimately matched into the 3rd program on my list and am very happy.

Of all the IMGs I met in the process, I believe, 1 of them matched at their #1. I think that the interview process is rather erratic for IMGs. Just looking at my interview list should give you an idea of the diversity of programs that I applied to and the broad rejections I received from programs in various tiers. There are so many IMGs applying with similar credentials, that it is simply too difficult for programs to properly filter applications in a meaningful way. It, therefore, falls to the applicant to have something unique enough to warrant consideration for bigger programs. If you stay focused on your goal and plan ahead, I believe this is possible.  For the sake of anonymity, I have limited some details in this post.

The views expressed on this post are those of Kenneth Christopher, MD and do not necessarily reflect the views of his employer Partners HealthCare, his hospital, department or division.

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