Your chances of getting an interview after applying for a Medical Residency Program highly depend on the effort that you put while preparing for medical residency application. The medical recruitment has high stakes, and you need to make use of any available resources to stand out among other applicants. That is why we have prepared 10 great tips to help you while applying for residency of your dreams.
Getting accepted in the United States Residency program for International Medical Graduates may be even more difficult than for the United States Medical Graduates. This discrepancy happens because of different medical laws, standards, and the quality of education offered in different parts of the globe.
Here are some tips about applying for Residency Program that will help you stand out among other applicants.
Have an application plan
This is the first step. Having a well-laid strategy will help you know what to do, when, and how to do it. With a practical plan and clear objectives, you will save time. Once you come up with a plan do the following:
- Start taking your USMLE examination as soon as possible. The sooner you finish your exams, the higher your chances of getting accepted into a residency program.
- Take your examination seriously and get high scores especially in your USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 exams. Ensure that you score above the baseline, that is, a score of more than 230, to acquire an early Residency Match.
- Find a medical field that you have a keen interest in and devote yourself to building a proper CV. This will help you stand out in your Residency application substantially and will enable you to apply for the residency of your choice.
Choose a reasonable medical specialty
There is a vast variety of medical specialties that you can choose from. However, you need to apply for certain specialties to increase your chances of getting accepted. Here are some of the medical specialties that you should take into consideration:
- Internal Medicine
- Family Medicine.
If you are superbly educated and have excellent clinical skills you can try your luck in the following specialties, though the chances of getting accepted are much lower:
- Obstetrics and Gynecology
- Orthopedic Surgery
Keep up to date with the latest information
Make use of the internet and regularly visit the official websites to get the latest information about the application process. Once applying for residency, keep track of news from the field – it will give you valuable insight into what is relevant in the area.
There are also USMLE Forums that you can join where you can get more information about the application process.
Write a catchy Medical Residency Essay
Each year, thousands of International Medical Undergraduates apply for Residency Match. Always bear in mind that you are just one of many intelligent people from all around the world applying for Residency Program. It is a competition, and you need to work smart to best other applicants.
You need to do some research and write a personal statement that clearly outlines why you have an interest in medicine and not anything else. Also, state the reasons that prompted you to apply for the Residency Program in the US and not any other country.
An excellent Personal Statement that highlights the above points and why you are willing to undergo the rigorous application process will give you a better chance of getting accepted for an interview.
Publish your own, original articles
This may be a difficult task to do but, not impossible. Having your own scientific journals that are peer-reviewed and published will give you high chances of acquiring a residency program. This is because your publications show that you are dedicated, interested, well educated and that you have the skill set needed for practicing medicine.
Here are several tips that you can utilize to get your articles published:
- Join research institutes.
- Volunteer in various a clinical trial programs.
- Reach out to other doctors and research trainees.
If you did any original content, make sure to mention it while applying for residency, especially if it’s from a relevant field.
Do volunteer work
Working as a volunteer full-time or part-time will increase your chances of getting accepted into a residency program. Consider joining and working for non-profit organizations in the healthcare industry especially if you have few skills to mention in your personal statement.
Here are some ways that you can involve yourself as a volunteer:
- Participate in organizing medical camps
- Participate in creating public awareness events and seminars.
- Do surveys and participate in data collection and analysis.
Avoid making silly mistakes
Simple mistakes such as spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and poor formatting quickly create a negative impression of you. Remember that there are many applicants and you don’t want to lose your chances because of mistakes that you can easily avoid.
Here are several tips on how you can avoid common mistakes:
- Write your personal statement yourself. No one knows you better than yourself. Why would you let someone else write it for you?
- Proofread the statement and make sure that it is error-free and unique.
- Go over it after a good nights sleep to make sure that there are no errors, once again, and to ensure that you are satisfied with whatever you have written.
- Ask a colleague to go through your statement and ask him/her to give you their honest opinion.
- Let an experienced editor comb your work before you finally submit it.
Write nothing but the truth
This is obvious, isn’t it? Only write about the experiences and accomplishment that you can prove. Copying someone else’s statement will hurt you, in the long run. You could be denied a chance for an interview because of it.
Sometimes, you may copy a personal statement and get ‘lucky’ enough to pass unnoticed. However, you will get into trouble during the interview since you will have to elaborate on everything you’ve written about in your statement.
In short, write what is true and the truth will set you free.
Choose an IMG-friendly Residency Program
A perfect grade from the interview and a stunning application are not sufficient to get you into the program of your choice. Choosing the right residency matters, but what matters most is choosing the right place for the program.
According to 2018 NRMP Main Residency Match®: Match Rates by Specialty and State study, the Top 5 US Most Favorable States for International Medical Graduates (IMGs) to Match for Residencies are;
- New York
- New Jersey
Try to apply for as many residency programs as possible to increase the chance of getting accepted for an interview.
Getting to the interview
Once your application is received, you will get an invitation for the interview. Here is what you should do before it:
- Write a thank you note within two days of getting the invitation. This will show that you are really interested in the residency program.
- Go through your personal statement. By the time your interview arrives, you may have forgotten some details you wrote about. Going through your statement will make sure you know what you are talking about.
- Dress appropriately. Proper attire will not only help you look more professional but will also make you feel confident. Besides, you want to leave a good first impression.
The above tips will surely help you present yourself in the best light. Remember, your primary goal is to stand out from the crowd and leave a memorable impression.
There is a tough road ahead of you and we are here to help. Feel free to send us an email if you need any help with the process.