International medical graduates (IMGs) search for friendly residency programs when it comes to applying for medical residency in the United States. Many residency programs have never accepted IMGs in the past, and many IMG friendly programs only accept US citizens, despite their ability 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 United States that offer chances of a match with his/her qualifications.
IMG friendly residency programs often receive thousands of applications and need to reduce this number to hundreds in some automated way. Programs use various approaches to achieve this goal. In general, the probability of a successful match increases with the total number of applications by apply to programs with all types of various filtering algorithms that are used. According to NRMP research, the probability of a successful match stabilizes after 100-170 programs, depending on IMG applicant qualifications and specialty. The maximum probability of a match and a corresponding minimum number of programs to reach this probability is unique for each applicant and depends on the specialty and the applicant's qualifications. In general, the more competitive the specialty, the more programs needed to reach this individual probability maximum. The weaker the applicant, the lower the number of reasonable applications, and the more focus that should be placed on friendly positions. Selecting programs by suitable admission requirements, US/non-US IMG friendliness, graduation preferences, etc., helps to find the optimal programs to apply to.
Unfortunately, applicants cannot agree with each other to reduce the number of applications. Candidates should apply for the same number of programs(that can consider application) as others to keep chances equal. According to our research, even the strongest IMG applicant needs to apply to at least 80 programs to have a good probability of a successful match. Mid applicants may need to apply to 120-150 programs. Weak applicants often try to apply to a large number of programs, but the number of programs with suitable minimum requirements is limited, and probability can't be essentially increased this way. Nevertheless, applying as wide as it reasonably possible can increase chances.
Many residency programs require US clinical experience and clearly mention this in their application requirements. Programs that do not require US clinical experience officially in their application guidelines may instead prefer applicants with prior US clinical experience. In reality, the probability of a successful match without US clinical experience is much lower than with US clinical experience. Without a doubt, 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. However, ready to use personalized lists not only save your time for researching program requirements but also increases the probability of a successful match.
IMGs usually apply to more than 100 programs in order to match into a U.S. medical residency. The application is not free. For example, applying to IMG friendly residency programs in 2021 costed $479 for the first 30 programs and $26 for each additional program. If you applied to 100 programs, it would cost you $2299. The personalized list helps you to apply for the right programs and often saves thousands of dollars that you could spend on gaining more USCE.