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IMG Considerations

IMG residency candidates have to understand and tackle many factors throughout their unique residency application process.

USMLE® exams must be taken early enough to apply to programs and/or qualify for the Main Residency Match and Post-Match. Scores for Step 1 and Step 2CS typically take 3-4 weeks to receive. Additionally, depending on the specialty of choice, certain score levels are required.

Many programs require (or at least prefer) to see some amount of hands-on clinical experience completed in a US medical environment. This can be completed in the form of Externships, Clerkships, Internships, Sub-Internships, and/or any clinical rotations performed in the US.

In order to have the strongest ERAS® residency application, IMG residency candidates must obtain Letters of Recommendation that are recent (within a year of application), specialty specific, and from US clinical experience. Other Letters of Recommendation may be considered, but not as strongly.

Writing the perfect Personal Statement is vital for an IMG’s residency application as the document serves as an introduction to Program Directors and Residency Interview Committees. The right Personal Statement focuses on dedication to one specialty and demonstrates strong English proficiency, medical knowledge, and positive skills and personality traits.

Letters of Recommendation and Personal Statements are very important considerations for the overall strength of any IMG’s ERAS® application. However, IMGs should not underestimate the significance of the other supporting documents included in the residency application. Other documents include the MSPE, Medical School and USMLE® Transcripts, the MyERAS Application, and more.

The MyERAS Application is composed of several important sections that allow you to share details about your background. You’ll be asked to write about your membership in Honorary/Professional societies, any relevant awards you’ve received, your work, research, and volunteer experiences, your hobbies, and more. Do not underestimate the importance of these areas of the application! Take advantage of the allowed word count and provide thorough explanations of your accomplishments and interests.

Finally, take the time to ensure every section of your application is 100% error free. Once you certify your application, it is locked and you cannot make any changes. For help optimizing your ERAS® Common Application, connect with Residency Experts!

Conducting proper research can be the key to an IMG’s success in obtaining interviews and Matching. IMGs must research IMG friendly states, IMG friendly medical specialties, and most importantly, IMG Friendly Residency Programs. IMGs are expected to research individual programs to ensure those programs meet their potential visa needs, ECFMG® Certification timeline, USMLE® scores, and more. By researching programs, IMGs increase their chances of getting interviews to Match.