How Many Residency Programs Should I Apply To?

The answer to this posts title widely varies based on several factors. The most important factor is whether you are an American Medical Graduate (AMG) or International Medical Graduate (IMG). Other important profile factors include USMLE Step scores, US clinical experience, visa sponsorship needed, years since graduation, etc. Asides the aforementioned factors, your budget for application fees may also be a limiting factor

Its no secret that as an AMG the median number of programs you need to apply to is far less than the number IMGs need to apply to in order to be offered the same number of interviews to ultimately match. The number of AMGs that match every year ranges between 92-95%, whereas for IMGs it is 50%, according to NRMP Match Data.

In order to make an informed decision on the number of programs you should apply to we will look at some data trends across various specialties based on the 2015 NRMP Applicant Survey

Family Medicine

AMG-Applicant-Data-for-Family-Medicine
A resounding 75% of programs offered an interview invite to AMGs that applied to Family Medicine (those who matched)

IMG-DO-Applicant-Data-for-Family-Medicine
In comparison, only 15% of programs offered an interview invite to IMG/DOs that applied to Family Medicine (those who matched)

Internal Medicine

AMG-Applicant-Data-for-Internal-Medicine
52% of programs offered an interview invite to AMGs that applied to Internal Medicine (those who matched)

IMG-DO-Applicant-Data-for-Internal-Medicine
In comparison, only 8% of programs offered an interview invite to IMG/DOs that applied to Internal Medicine (those who matched)

Pediatrics

AMG-Applicant-Data-for-Pediatrics
60% of programs offered an interview invite to AMGs that applied to Pediatrics (those who matched)

IMG-DO-Applicant-Data-for-Pediatrics
In comparison, only 19% of programs offered an interview invite to IMGs that applied to Pediatrics (those who matched)

Neurology

AMG-Applicant-Data-for-Neurology71% of programs offered an interview invite to AMGs that applied to Neurology (those who matched)

IMG-DO-Applicant-Data-for-Neurology
In comparison, only 15% of programs offered an interview invite to IMGs that applied to Neurology (those who matched)

On average, across these 5 specialties 65% of programs will offer an interview invite to AMGs that have applied. In contrast, on average only 14% will offer an interview invite to IMG/DOs. This means IMG/DOs will need to apply to significantly more programs in order to yield the same number of interviews.

Based on my own experience I think you should aim for 10 interviews in order to maximize your chances of matching. In theory all you may need is one interview invite and for that program to rank you high in order to match. But in reality the more interviews you are offered and attend the higher your chances of matching.

In light of this data from NRMP and my personal experience in the match, Non-Caribbean IMGs should should apply to a MINIMUM of 100 programs to be safe. My stats were IMG/Step1: 250s/Step 2: 260s/No Visa needed and I applied to over 200 programs and received about 20 interviews (10%). With over 400 Internal Medicine, over 500 Family Medicine, over 200 Pediatrics, over 200 Psychiatry, and almost 150 Neurology programs, it is very important to be selective in where you apply. You should only apply to programs whose criteria you meet.

MyResidencyList.com will generate a list of programs matching your unique profile including your scores, whether you are an American Medical Graduate, Caribbean IMG, Non-Caribbean IMG, clinical experience, years since graduation, etc. Their database is based on information collected from various sources including phone calls to the programs, program websites, prior match results and more.

 

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