You’ve heard the infamous phrase “location is key” well it certainly seemed to hold true in my experience applying for residency. During the application process most people discuss scores, AMG vs IMG, visa status, or year of graduation but rarely does anyone discuss location.
After I applied I kept a spreadsheet which I would religiously update everyday which tracked interview invites to applicants (from programs where I applied) along with those applicants stats as they reported them in the forums. Surprisingly the data revealed that location was a huge factor. I noticed applicants were receiving a significant number of interview invites from their resident states vs other out-of-state applicants with nearly identical (and in many cases stronger) profiles not receiving invites.
Of the 20+ interview invites I received a significant percentage were from IMG friendly programs in the state where I lived. There were many out of state programs where I did not receive invites from that were sending invites to local candidates with significantly lower scores or those requiring a visa.
And this makes sense as well, at many of the places I interviewed the program directors seemed very keen on having potential residents settle down in the area after residency – especially those programs located in more rural settings or under-served communities. Program directors may feel that a local candidate has a stronger connection to the particular community and the likely-hood of them staying around after residency being much more significant than an out of state applicant.
Another factor (which I had no insight into) might be the fact the applicant may have done an observership or externship at the particular hospital being local to it and may have left a positive impression. The obvious takeaway should be to definitely apply in your resident state as it could be a huge factor in receiving interview invites.