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How Our Candidates Found Their Match

This year’s Match season was unlike any other. The stakes are getting higher as the number of applicants increases but the number of positions remains the same. This year, there were only about 33,000 positions for just under 44,000 applicants.  It can seem impossible to land a residency nowadays, and many medical graduates feel the need to give up. Not you! Residents Medical is here to get you back on track.

This season, we were extremely successful in landing our candidates Pre-Match, Main Match, and SOAP positions. On Match Day 2019, our phones and LiveChat were ringing and dinging non-stop! This just goes to show how competitive the Match has become, and how successful Residents Medical candidates are in finding their Dream Residency. Most of our candidates were able to land a Main Match spot, while a few others secured SOAP positions later in the week.

Each of our candidates overcome their own unique obstacles and come to us for expertise and professional assistance. Whether you need a revamped CV, one-on-one tutoring to improve your USMLE, or personalized strategies to master the residency interview, we’ve got you covered. But what makes Residents Medical the crème de la crème is we not only provide those important preparatory courses, we can also integrate you into the residency program itself through our proprietary educational initiates. It is our Residency Placement Assistance Service, where we create a customized plan for you to make you a desirable candidate so that you can be a practicing staff resident. Residents Medical is well equipped to confront your challenges. We strengthened our current candidates’ applications so they could achieve their goals this Match season, and now it is time for us to help YOU.

Your next step after residency rejection is Residents Medical. We have access to Post-Match and Off-Track spots so you don’t have to find the needle in the haystack. Regardless of why you did not Match, this is NOT the end of your journey to practice medicine. We have options to help you revitalize your skills so that your dreams become a reality. Our track record speaks for itself: We help FMGs, IMGs, and U.S. graduates land their Dream Residency. Now, it’s your turn.

Are You Next?

So You Got Rejected From Residency – Now What?

Unfortunately, there is a very real chance that many medical students won’t match for a residency program. Due to the rising number of students in medical school but a stagnant amount of residency programs available, not matching with a position is becoming more common among students across the world. In 2017, over 4,000 U.S. and international students did not match with a residency program, leaving many to wonder if they will ever practice medicine and if they have a second chance.

At Residents Medical, we provide you with a second chance.

Through a network of residency programs affiliated with top U.S. medical schools and teaching hospitals in collaboration with The Everest Foundation, we are able to provide exclusive and premier services for students and graduates to prepare for residency. Our programs include education, preparatory, placement, and consulting services designed to boost your resume, interview skills, and provide you with research and placement opportunities.

A large reason why many applicants are rejected is due to a lack of clinical experience and poor interview skills.

While scientific research is important, it cannot substitute clinical experience. An admissions committee will be hesitant to accept an applicant that wants to pursue a career in medicine that has not spent time in a clinical area. While you prepare to apply to residency programs a second time, our counselors can connect you to clinical programs to boost your standing among other applicants.

If you were able to obtain an interview, showing strong interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence is essential, otherwise, programs may feel that the candidate will be unsuccessful in their residency. In order to prepare for a residency interview, practice a relaxed dialogue discussing yourself and explaining your motivated that influenced your decision to practice medicine.

Whatever the reason you didn’t find a match to a residency program, this is not the end of your journey to practice medicine. There are options to revitalize your skills and revamp your application so that your dream residency becomes a reality.

What Does the Residency Application Cycle Look Like?

Exams! Letters! Statements! Submissions! With so many elements to the residency application process, it can be difficult to keep track of what to do when. Staying organized and maintaining a sense of where you are in the application is critical in ensuring there are no missed steps. Because the process for international medical grads and foreign medical grads is a bit more extensive, it is especially important to mark deadlines and ongoing tasks on a long-term calendar. Below, we at Residents Medical have put together a timeline for you based on information from university websites and other residency blogs to check your application progress. Please keep in mind that this is a rough outline that is intentionally kept somewhat general to apply to all calendar years, but for specific dates and additional questions, you should check the ERAS, ECFMG, USMLE, and NRMP websites themselves.


Early June:

  • MyERAS begins; students can start registering and working on their application. International medical graduates must first obtain their ERAS token serial number from ECFMG.


  • Thoroughly research residency programs. This is the time to create a list of programs that are of interest to you and are focused on your desired specialty. As we’ve mentioned before, be sure to apply to a wide range of programs, from university to community-based, rural to urban, and low tier to high tier.
  • Schedule and complete USMLE Step 1, 2, and 2CS exams, preferably before the beginning of September when programs start accepting applications.

Mid July:

  • Deadline for standardized interview video (SIV) for emergency medicine candidates only. This year, the deadline was July 15th, 2018.


  • First things first, request letters of recommendation (a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 4) from potential letter writers through preferably in-person meetings. For more information regarding this, check our blog post about LORs.
  • Request your USMLE transcripts, and authorize their release before applying.
  • Request your Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) and medical school transcripts.
  • Fill out the ERAS application itself; this includes contact, biological, educational, training, experience, licensure, and research information.
  • Write your personal statement – for tips on this, read our personal statement blog.
  • Upload a high quality, professional photo of yourself onto the application.

Mid to late August:

  • Submit Online Applicant Status and Information System (OASIS) documents, preferably 2 weeks before applying to programs.

Early September:

  • Applicants can begin submitting their apps through ERAS to residency programs. Certify your ERAS application (only after it is absolutely FINALIZED), assign required documents to respective programs, and begin submitting applications. The date to begin submitting applications for this year will be September 5th, 2018, and applicants can apply to programs until September 15th, 2018.

Mid September:

  • Residency programs begin receiving ERAS applications.
  • National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) opens; register ASAP for the Match.

Beginning of October:

  • Residency programs begin receiving MSPE scores, this year on the first of the month.


  • Send follow-up emails from programs that you have not yet heard back from to confirm ongoing interest.
  • Prepare for and partake in interviews – learn more here about interviews here.

Late November:

  • November 30th is typically the last day to register for NRMP if you have not yet done so; otherwise, there is a $50 late fee.

Late December:

  • Deadline to take the USMLE Step 2 CS if you have not done so already.

Mid January-February:

  • For the next month or so, you will be able to create your NRMP Rank Order List (the window for this cycle is January 15th, 2019-February 20th, 2019).


  • You will receive your email confirming eligibility for the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP) (this cycle, it will be sent out on March 8th).
  • Match week takes place here, during which you will find out if you were matched, partially matched, or unmatched. Match week for this cycle will be March 11th-15th, 2019 with Match Day being March 15th at 1pm.


  • This concludes the ERAS application season; make sure you have copies of everything before it automatically gets deleted from the ERAS system on the 31st.



General Application Tips

When it comes to the residency application, how, where, and when you apply is just as important as the content in your ERAS app. You can start certifying and submitting your 2019 ERAS application on Sept 5th, which is just a few short weeks away, but worry not – continue reading to discover how to increase your chances at matching through being strategic with your application.


You should already be familiar with the three components of your application process. First, there’s the ECFMG (Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates), through which you applied for your USMLE exams, got your degree certified, began an application with ERAS, and transferred your letters of recommendation. Second, the ERAS (Electronic Residency Application System) itself is the application portal and includes education history, exam scores, research publications, medical experience, awards and accomplishments, hobbies/interests, and, of course, the personal statement. Finally, the NRMP (National Resident Matching Program) is the service that matches up rank lists and is essentially responsible for coordinating the Match process. As you’re going through your application, keep the following tips in mind:


  1. Apply to a variety of programs in order to increase your odds of acceptance. An often fatal error that’s all too common among international medical graduates is only applying to top-tier programs, and running the risk of receiving no matches. Instead, research programs that appeal to your specialty and interest, and rank a mix of top tier, mid tier, low tier, community-based, and university programs in diverse geographical regions.
  2. Some hopeful medical residents apply to up to 100 programs to get a match! While that may be a bit extreme, the fact remains that if cost is not too much of a concern, you should apply to (appropriately) as many programs as possible.
  3. There is no going back on the “Certify” button at the end of the ERAS application, so make sure that everything is absolutely finalized before certifying your application, which you should do prior to September 1st in order to apply to programs with an earlier acceptance date.
  4. Maintain good working relationships with everybody during this process! Those who recently graduated from your medical school and may currently be residents, for example, can serve as a great resource in gaining insight as to whether a certain program has a reputation for being more friendly towards international medical grads than others. Your program’s coordinator is often the middleman between you and the program director, so make sure you are particularly courteous when in communication with them.


The websites listed below under “Resources” provide detailed information and are worth checking out to learn about the logistics and deadlines for ERAS applications. For further guidance through this often overwhelmingly complex process as crucial dates get closer, schedule a free consultation with us today to achieve your Dream Residency!





Better Letters – All About LORs

(NRMP 2018 Director Survey)


Why Ask: Letters of Recommendation, or LORs, are unique in that they provide program directors with a third-party perspective about the kind of student, person, and potential resident you are. Use this opportunity to your advantage – there are many places for you to sell yourself on the ERAS application, but having those praises come from a highly regarded professional holds more weight. As can be seen in Figure 1 above, NRMP Director Survey results showed that letters of recommendation are ranked as the second most important factor in a residency candidate’s application.


Who to Ask: The cold hard truth is that letters from the US are regarded more highly than letters from foreign programs. Letters of recommendation obtained from the US demonstrate that you have experience within the US medical sphere and are thus well adjusted enough to that environment to make for a smooth transition into a US residency. Thus, the ideal letter writer would be someone who you have worked with personally in your US clinical experience, not counting observerships. A letter from someone who can vouch for your proficiency within your desired specialty is also preferred over one who can detail only your general clinical work. Additionally, try to get letters of recommendation from your 4th year in medical school to ensure that they are as recent as possible; having one letter from your 3rd year is valuable too. Keep your eyes out for potential letter writers early during your 3rd and 4th-year rotations, preferably one with experience in your specialty – under no exception should any letter be coming from your first two years of medical school.


How to Ask: You have the option on your ERAS Letter Request Form of whether or not to waive your right to view the letter prior to submission. Although knowing exactly what is being written about you provides peace of mind, allows you to tailor other parts of your application accordingly, and gives you the option of deciding which letters to send to which program, doing so also indicates lack of confidence and reliability to those reviewing your application. Thus, waiving your right is strongly encouraged. A better alternative is establishing expectations and desires about the letter beforehand. As with all correspondence, politeness and gratitude are essential, and the best way to discuss a letter of recommendation is through a face to face meeting, if possible (if not, a Skype call will suffice). When asking, make sure you emphasize that you would like to know if they feel comfortable writing a strong letter for you. Provide them with the ERAS Letter Request Form, deadline your CV, your personal statement, evaluations, information about your chosen specialty and schools, and guidelines on what you would like to be highlighted about you in the letter.


When to Ask: Asking potential letter writers as soon as possible is essential in making your intentions clear from the start and giving your letter writer time to begin observing you from a future residency lens. It is good practice to ask for a letter at least 4-6 weeks before the due date, and continue with follow-ups throughout.



How to Ace the Residency Interview

So you received a residency interview – congratulations! Reaching this step is a celebratory checkpoint, but it’s not the end. For International Medical Graduates, the interview can very well be the most daunting aspect of the residency application. Once you get an interview, that itself can be the most important factor in how you’re ranked to be matched. Read on for some tips on how to impress your program director, for whom this will be the first time meeting you in person.

Personality counts.

Remember that they already know you were a great student throughout medical school – this opportunity is to get to know you more as a potential colleague and as a person. As with the personal statement, convey qualities that are less tangible but are necessary to be a good resident such as the ability to work in a team, teachability, humility, innate curiosity, and reliability. Make sure to be polite, sell yourself in a genuine way, and ask questions. After all, remember that while scores and CV experiences speak for themselves, only you can speak for you.

Confidence is key!

The fact that you were chosen for an interview means you already impressed the program directors enough to make it past the most competitive step of the process. If you got this far, it’s because they are seriously considering you. Make sure you know all aspects of your application inside and out prior to your interview, from your specific duties in research to what you wrote about in your personal statement. Have detailed responses ready for general interview topics, such as why you are seeking this specialty, individual challenges you have faced during/after medical school and how you worked through them, accomplishments that you’re proud of, etc. Even if English is not your first language, keep calm, speak clearly, and respond to questions authentically. Avoid filler words such as “like”, “you know”, and “um”.

Maintain enthusiasm.

Keeping energy levels high for extended periods of time is a crucial part of being a doctor, so make sure your liveliness is present for the duration of the interview. Be excited when discussing your previous experiences, what you learned from them, why you’re interested in this program, and what your detailed future plans are. Remain alert, sit up straight, keep eye contact, and introduce yourself with a smile and firm handshake. Your passion will shine through, and that’s what counts here because in the interview, who you are is just as important as what you know.

Convey the fact that you are an international medical graduate as an advantage both for yourself and the program, not as a disadvantage.

You may be asked why you make a better candidate than an American-trained medical graduate. Discuss what makes your voice unique, how your experiences with different healthcare systems in different countries give you your perspective, and how you can bring in diversity. Make sure to focus on yourself, your qualifications, and your aspirations, as opposed to being critical of other groups.

Be professional (and gracious)!

As with all interviews, arrange travel and transportation ahead of time, get required paperwork in as soon as possible, be punctual, dress in business formal, and thank the program director for their time. Remember that the interview includes any and all correspondence and personal interactions starting from the time you receive the interview offer. On a final note, be sure to write a brief but genuine thank-you note (preferably handwritten) to everyone you interviewed with; often times, interviews are conducted on their days off.   



Writing a Standout Residency Personal Statement

With the ERAS application now open, now is the time to be vigilant about completing all requirements and organizing the needed documents. The personal statement is a crucial component of any residency application, as it provides program directors with a more multifaceted image of you as an applicant and future doctor. Recent studies have shown that nearly 78% of program directors think the personal statement is an important factor in determining who gets an interview. For international medical graduates, the personal statement is particularly important and needs to effectively showcase their unique talents to stand out against the steep competition when seeking a dream residency. Read on to learn some basic Do’s and Dont’s of how to write a personal statement to leave an impact without falling into common traps:


  1. DO open with a hook.

A strong personal statement must be concise, yet attract the attention of the reader in the first 10 seconds of reading it. Let your personality shine through as soon as possible here.

2. DON’T be too lengthy.

Short and sweet the key here – a maximum of 700 words is always a good rule of thumb for residency essays, and anything much over a page is a no-no. Make every word count!

3. DO include personal stories.

Okay, so you want to become a surgeon – so do a million other medical graduates. Highlight life experiences that make you unique, and that demonstrate the qualities you’d like to sell. Avoid clichés.

4. DON’T regurgitate your medical school personal statement.

Recruiters generally are only interested in what you’ve done during and after medical school, so starting from scratch is a better move than reusing elements from the personal statement you used to get into medical school. Also, medical school personal statements tend to be more flexible with regards to creative writing, whereas residency personal statements are more formulaic.

5. DO primarily answer the “why” question.

Why is this your dream residency? Why have you chosen the specialty you’ve chosen? Why do you believe yourself to be an outstanding applicant? Your sense of purpose is what will show selectors that you are a good match for their program.

6. DON’T speak in numbers.

Your ERAS application will already have your test scores, class ranks, and other statistics. Reiterating them in your personal statement only comes across as arrogant; this is the space to instead focus on less quantifiable qualifications. Applicants with lower USMLE scores who are able to convey their passion, soft skills, sense of teamwork, etc. are often chosen over candidates who only come across well on paper.


In your journey to residency, try to conceptualize the personal statement as an additional opportunity to showcase your ambitions and experience. We at Residents Medical offer personal statement readings and edits by top-notch PDs/Deans/Chief Residents.



The Importance of Medical Research for Residency Applications

(2016 NRMP Program Director Survey)


While not a requirement, having medical research experience certainly provides candidates, especially International Medical Graduates, with a much-needed competitive edge to obtain their dream residency. According to the 2016 NRMP Program Director Survey, as detailed by program type in the graph below, 44 percent of program directors surveyed across all specialties cited involvement and interest in research as an important component for selecting applicants to interview. Although factors such as personal statements, USMLE scores, and letters of recommendation are ranked higher with regards to importance, medical research is a worthwhile pursuit so long as it does not interfere with other areas of your application. Often times, when residency programs are facing a challenge in choosing between two otherwise equally competitive applicants, research experience can be a deciding factor. You will be doing research during your residency as well, so having a foot in the door and already being situated with some of the work will make for a smoother transition and even greater competitiveness if you decide to pursue a fellowship. Finally, benefits such as developing close professional connections, meeting strong potential LOR writers, and finding new talking points for future interviews are reasons to look into conducting or assisting with medical research.

What kind of research?

Although any type of research demonstrates strong initiative and time management skills to recruiters, generally it’s a good idea to find a lab that is geared toward your specialty. Clinical research and quality improvement research, both of which are more directly related to patient care, are regarded with more esteem than general science research as well. Quality of experience and institution matter, too – try to do hands-on work with a reputable, large organization or university. Research is more valuable the longer you stick with it, so if all other aspects of your application are on track, sticking with a research project for 6 months gives you a higher chance of being able to list a publication in your CV.

How do I get started?

Seeking out research opportunities can seem daunting, but fortunately if you don’t have a pre-existing project proposal and lab connection, there are still simple shortcuts to fill out the Activities and Publications section of the ERAS application. Analyzing data or generally assisting current researchers, doing case reports, and completing poster presentations are all relatively quick and low-effort ways to get involved with research.

So where do we come in?

At Residents Medical, we can help connect you to coveted, paid research fellowships at universities based in teaching hospital specialties, which in turn open doors for potential abstract/publication submissions in medical journals.


The Cost of Pursuing Your Dream Residency

For many, the dream of becoming a physician starts at an early age. However, turning the dream into a reality is a complicated process. Applying to US medical schools can be a daunting. Excellent undergraduate qualifications and high MCAT scores are a must, however, that may not be enough to get an acceptance to a US medical school. In fact, only 43% of applicants are actually accepted to US Medical Schools. This unsettling fact is a hurdle in many people’s dreams and has boxed out Students from US Medical schools and toward International Schools of Medicine. These schools are for-profit universities that have a much higher acceptance rate than American Medical Universities. While the curriculum is comparable to those American schools, and the tuition at these colleges is similar to their American counterparts.

There is a detrimental catch as the average student who attends these universities pays nearly $250,000 by the time they graduate. To add insult to injury, the graduates of these universities will be labeled as IMG’s. The rotations and electives are usually not graded and are usually not Green Book programs. So it will not come as a surprise to hear these students have a much more difficult time being placed into American Residency Programs. It is a difficult for any young (or not so young) person to land a dream residency. No matter the circumstance, it will be difficult, it will take patience, determination, preparation, and a bit of luck. So as a final thought, to what length will you go to reach your dream residency?

The Bias against International Medical Graduates and Foreign Medical Graduates

On September 15th of every year, thousands of medical graduates submit their application for residency within the United States. United States Medical Graduates (USMG’s), International Medical Graduates (IMG’s), and Foreign Medical Graduates (FMG’s), along with Osteopathic and Allopathic applicants make up the pool of potential residents. Although they all flock to the same website, Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS), to submit their application, their journey is drastically different according to which type of graduate they are. The consensus among the graduate medical community is that USMG’s are given leverage and favoritism when applying for residency. Graduating from a U.S. medical school and completing United States Clinical Experience, along with the notion that being trained in the United States makes a doctor more qualified are explanations as to why this is so. The next pool of applicants to consider are IMG’s, who are usually American born citizens travelling to for-profit institutions in the Caribbean. These schools usually have a weaker curriculum and accept students who were not able to get into schools here in the U.S. Foreign medical graduates are usually at the bottom of a Program Directors application pile, and they are much more scrutinized in regards to their exam scores and clinical experience.


However, there is a daunting issue within the United States. This trend is becoming known as “The Residency Bottleneck”. Although not touched upon in the media, this is a pressing issue that will affect all American consumers and international medical community in the upcoming years. Currently, there is an influx of medical school students. More schools are opening in the Caribbean while the number of residency positions in accredited programs are not enough to meet this influx. At the same time, due to the Affordable Care Act, millions who were previously uninsured will now qualify for healthcare. There will be a shortage of doctors by 2025, from estimates of 90,000 to 130,000 physicians. “U.S. medical schools have been expanding enrollment and are on track to increase capacity by 30 percent by 2016,” says Darrell G. Kirch, MD, president and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges. “But without an increase in federal support to create more residency slots, we will not be able to avert the expected shortage of 90,000 physicians by 2020.” The Census Bureau projects a 36% growth in the number of Americans over the age of 65, and as the aging and growing population requires healthcare, one-third of all doctors will retire in the next decade. This will also affect rural and inner-city residents; these areas have a health professional shortage already. Educating doctors’ takes up to a decade, therefore graduate medical education must be expanded now.


The simpler solution would be to make the system easier to penetrate for IMG’s and FMG’s. Since these doctors are already trained, it would not cost American tax dollars to fund their education. They possess skills and qualifications to potentially save lives and alleviate the daunting doctor shortage. These foreign trained doctors are more willing to pick up specialties American trained doctors are leaving such as primary care. Experts also point out that utilizing the skills of these foreign trained position would allow the medical labor force to grow much faster. However, the process of attaining a residency for these FMG’s and IMG’s is much more arduous and discouraging. The following is taken from an article in the New York Times: “The process usually starts with an application to a private nonprofit organization that verifies medical school transcripts and diplomas. Among other requirements, foreign doctors must prove they speak English; pass three separate steps of the United States Medical Licensing Examination; get American recommendation letters, usually obtained after volunteering or working in a hospital, clinic or research organization; and be permanent residents or receive a work visa (which often requires them to return to their home country after their training). The biggest challenge is that an immigrant physician must win one of the coveted slots in America’s medical residency system, the step that seems to be the tightest bottleneck. That residency, which typically involves grueling 80-hour workweeks, is required even if a doctor previously did a residency in a country with an advanced medical system, like Britain or Japan. The only exception is for doctors who did their residencies in Canada.”


IMGs play a role in filling gaps that USMG’s are void in. According to the AMA, a IMGs are distributed more evenly than USMG’s. IMG’s practice in disparaged areas where there are high infant mortality rates, lower socioeconomic status, higher proportion of non-white population, and rural county designation (Politzer, 1978) Another study found that IMG’s are concentrated in counties with the following characteristics: – An infant mortality rate of 8.9/1,000 live births – An average to below average socio-econimc status score – A per capita income of $16,800 – A non-white population of greater than 12.5% – A 65+population greater than 14.9% – A designation as a partially or fully health professions shortage – A non-metropolitan population of less than 50,000 – A physician to population ratio of less than 120/100,000 It is vital to keep in mind this data is fairly outdated. However, it cannot be denied that if IMG’s previously played a necessary and crucial role in America’s healthcare system, their untapped skills should be utilized in the upcoming doctor shortage. There is an upcoming healthcare disaster if the doctor shortage is not addressed. Because it takes almost a decade to train and educate doctors from medical school until residency, utilizing the skills of IMGs and FMGs who are willing to go into specialties that USMG’s will not can only benefit our healthcare system.


A chance must be given to IMGs and FMGs. The bureaucracy and politics of graduate medical education has not yet changed, but Residents Medical has an anecdote. For 20 years, we have been helping Medical Graduates from all over the world including domestically. IMGs and FMGs need top quality Curriculum Vitae’s and personal statements, while turning in an error-free ERAS application. They must also prepare for the Interview process, which can be daunting and difficult for those whom English is not their first language. In addition to the residency training they must undergo in their home countries, FMGs and IMGs must go through board licensing and training here. Residents Medical can help alleviate the confusion that comes along with the processes of practicing medicine in America. Brooks, Karen. “Jefferson Medical College Alumni Residency Program Limits: Can We Break the Training Bottleneck?” Jefferson Medical Alumni. The Jefferson Foundation, n.d. Web. 24 Jan. 2014. Politzer, R., and J. Morrow. “Foreign-Trained Physicians in American Medicine.” Medical Care Review (n.d.): n. pag. Web. 1978