International Medical Graduates (IMGs) face an uphill battle to match. IMGs are generally considered lower tier candidates, only because of the medical school they attend. However, you can take steps to help make you more competitive! IMGs are often more resilient and more capable of dealing with hardship than their US counterparts, which makes them able to be stronger and better doctors. The main key is to master IMG matching!
Sadly, about 50% of IMGs will not match. This is not because they are incapable. Rather, it is often because they do not know how programs view their files.
IMGs are much more likely to match into primary care fields. This is because there are more available spots in these fields and because non-primary care specialties tend to have very competitive applicants from US schools. Therefore, IMGs should apply to internal medicine, family practice, or pediatrics—even if just as a backup.
Also, remember to be realistic about your school performance. If you have average scores, then you need to realize that some programs may not be open to you.
Strategically Plan Your Rotations
Although many IMGs do not have control over their schedules, it is still very important to know where your school offers rotations, and if those rotations have faculty that can actually help you. It is important to know in advance who is on the faculty at a particular facility and to attempt to rotate when they are on service.
You should seek out counseling from the student clerkship coordinators and pertinent questions about the staff you will be rotating with. Are they well respected? Are they on the residency committees? Have they written strong letters for IMG matching in the past?
It does not do you any good to get a rotation and then find out that faculty is off service or on vacation. When planning your rotations, do your homework and seek out challenges.
Select IMG Friendly Residency Programs
Research residency programs that are IMG friendly. Ask residents who are former IMGs about their experiences and any challenges they’ve had to overcome. Also, ask the student coordinators what their experiences are. These personal testimonies are invaluable.
Stand Out with MedMatchPlus+
MedMatchPlus+ is a new way to help you get the edge you need. Get noticed beyond the first round of application review through our video services that link you to program coordinators. It is an innovative way to help put a face to the application, and it will help you achieve your goals.