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. 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 90-95% of 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 use the same number of friendly programs as others to keep chances equal. The number of friendly programs (that can consider candidate's application) correlates with interview chances and probability of the match. This correlation is linear for small numbers but essential saturation point exists if the number of friendly programs is high, and the probability near stabilizes after reaching of the certain number of applications. 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 applying to a large number of programs, but the number of programs with suitable minimum requirements is limited and probability can't be increased to high levels even by applying to all programs. Weak applicants should strive to apply to all suitable programs but not just to a big number of programs.
The blue graph shows that applicants who applied to 100 programs have best chances, in average, but this does not mean that particular applicant need to apply to 100 programs to have the best chances. This just mean that highly qualified applicants are majority of those who decided to apply to 80-100 programs.
Previous match statistics and minimum requirements are the key.
Basic list filters programs by minimum requirements and reduces the number of programs as much as it possible. If the number of programs is close to the one you wish to apply to, the BASIC list can be an optimal choice.
Using statistical data to increase the probability is a powerful tool in many fields. Our Advanced list uses common statistical methods designed by PhD mathematician to order programs by probability. Overall number of residents, percent of US/Non-US IMGs, percent of residents from your geographical area and your country of graduation, your scores, and many other factors are taken into account. By selecting programs from the top and middle of the ranked part of the list, you can cover a high percent of really friendly positions with a reasonable number of applications.
First, the personalized list helps to apply to the right programs and increases interview probability.
Also, personalized list saves time you can spend on other preparations and finally increases the chance of a successful match.
Additionally, filtered list often saves thousands of dollars that you could spend on gaining more USCE, for example. 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 2023 costs $519 for the first 30 programs and $27 for each additional program. If you applied to 100 programs, it would cost you $2409. Next 100 programs cost another 2700$.
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.