International medical graduates (IMGs) search for friendly residency programs when it comes to applying for medical residency in the United States. Many residency programs never accepted IMGs in the past, and many IMG friendly programs accept US citizens only despite able to sponsor or accept visas. Additionally, all residency programs have their own criteria to shortlist candidates. As a result, it is very important for an IMG to have a personalized list of IMG friendly residency programs in the USA that offer chances of a match with his/her qualifications.
According to NRMP research, in general, the probability of a successful match increases with the number of applications but stabilizes after 100-170 programs depending on applicant's qualifications and specialty. It is because programs often receive thousands of applications and need to reduce the number to hundreds in some automatic way. Programs use a different but limited amount of "cut off" approaches. The probability increases if to apply to more programs and stabilizes with the increase of the probability to apply to all types of different filtering algorithms that residency programs can use and to cover enough positions that can be friendly. The peak value of the probability of the match and a corresponding minimum number of programs to reach this probability is unique for each applicant and depends on specialty and applicant's qualifications. In general, the more competitive the specialty and weaker an applicant, the more programs needed to reach the maximum of probability. The probability is just low if a very weak applicant tries to apply to a huge number of arbitrary programs, the same low as if such an applicant applied to the right programs only. It is important to cover as many friendly positions as possible by applying to programs you most likely satisfy minimum requirements for the interview consideration. According to our research, even the strongest IMG applicants with hundreds of programs in the personalized list need to apply to at least 80 programs to reach the maximum probability of the match. Mid applicants need to apply to at least 80-120 programs. Decreasing the number by 20% can reduce the probability just by 5%, but lower numbers can essentially reduce the probability. Weak applicants often try to apply to a huge number of programs, but the number of programs with suitable minimum requirements is limited. For example, the probability can be low with just 50 programs on the list, but it can't be increased if other programs have stricter admission requirements.
Many residency programs require US clinical experience and clearly mention this in their application guidelines. Other programs that do not require US clinical experience officially in their application guidelines may also prefer applicants with prior US clinical experience. In reality, the probability of the match without US clinical experience is much lower than with US clinical experience. It is right to say that USCE is absolutely mandatory for competitive specialties and for applicants with low USMLE scores. For IMGs, it is highly recommended to have as much USCE as possible.
Researching residency programs and their requirements often takes an enormous amount of time. Ready to use personalized lists not only save your time for researching program requirements but also saves your time by increasing the probability of the match.
IMGs may apply to more than 100 programs to reach their goal. The application is not free. For example, applying IMG friendly residency programs 2020 year costs 459$ for the first 30 programs and 26$ for each additional program, over 30 programs. Applying for 100 programs costs 2279$. The personalized list helps you to apply for the right programs and often saves thousands of dollars for your limited budget that you may spend on gaining more USCE, for example.