Selection    Applying    Fees    Personal Statement/Resume    Letter of Recommendation/Dean's Letter

Med School Transcript/California Medical Board Evaluation letter    Experience    Duration of Residency



Congrats! So finally you have crossed the main hurdle of passing the exams. Now it’s the time to put everything you have done so far in right place to get what you have desired for long i.e. to be a Doctor in US. Preparing the application is another big task that you must accomplish to get into a good residency-training program. We have tried to discuss the various issues pertinent to the applications like selection of specialty, programs, and different components of the applications like online payday loans.


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Selection of the Specialty  

Choosing the right specialty is one of the biggest decisions of your life that you must make correctly. Making a wrong decision and to live with it for another 35 years is not what you would like to do. We strongly suggest that one should read as much as possible from different sources and by speaking to the peers to get enough information to come to the right decision. Don’t let the glamour of any specialty attract you, choose what you really like to do. Read the book “How to choose a medical specialty - Anita Taylor”. Know enough about the specialty to exhibit your commitment towards it in your application, personal statement and during the interview. It is one of the important components assessed during the interview. If you are an average applicant than choosing a specialty where the competition is weakest, selecting a geographical area where US graduates do not want to work or live is helpful.


  Selection of Programs

The first question that arises is how many programs is enough. The answer is as many as possible but since money is a constraint one should find out the basic requirements of the programs (like scores, visa, US experience, year of graduation etc.). Select programs by matching its requirements and your profile. We suggest applicants to apply to lot of schools to have the benefit of many interviews leading to increased chance of getting matched.


The Graduate Medical Education Directory published each year by the AMA, contains list of all the training programs approved by the Liason committee on Medical Education (LCME). It is called "Green Book". It contains the following information: Program directors name, address, telephone number, Fax and email, Sponsoring institution, Number of training years, total number of positions, Program ID number.

FREIDA (Fellowship and Residency Electronic Interactive Database Access)  - This database is available on internet and CD-ROM as well. Each program sends out information about its program to the database. Following information is available on FREIDA : General program information, educational environment, work environment, compensation and benefits, clinical environment, patient population, medical benefits and specialties in institution.

Program’s website – has information about the program and the sponsoring institution. Individuals must visit the program’s website if planning to send the application.  

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  When to apply?  

Correct timing is critical for an IMG applicant. Earlier the better is the key. At the beginning of the interview season the programs have liberal criteria and would send interview calls liberally. As the interview spots starts filling up the programs become stricter in offering interview calls to the applicants. Mid-August to early September is usually a good time in order to get lot of interview. More the number of interviews higher the chance of getting matched.

  Application Form

Universal Application Form (Inexpensive) – it’s a universal paper application created by NRMP that was used by applicants for applying to different specialty. Unfortunately now most of the residency programs have adopted the expensive Electronic Residency Application Services (ERAS) as their standard application form. Nevertheless there are still few programs that are shaded in gray in the ERAS diskette, which would accept universal application. It is certainly a good idea to send in your universal application to those programs also if they meet your requirements.


Electronic Residency Application Services ERAS(Expensive) – With the implementation of ERAS one of the limiting factors for IMG is the amount of money involved in the application process. ERAS has been developed by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) to transmit residency applications, Dean’s Letters, transcripts, Letter of Recommendation and personal statement to residency program directors via the Internet. ERAS is available to IMG through ECFMGSM, which serves as their designated Dean's Office. Upon receipt of the non-refundable application fee ($75), ECFMG will mail the Student Workstation (computer diskettes and instruction manual) to applicants who have graduated or will graduate from a foreign medical school. Complete the Common Application Form (CAF) and select the desired programs from the list and return the Student Data Diskette and photocopies of supporting documentation to ECFMG. ECFMG will scan the necessary documents, attach them electronically to the application, and transmit the application with the necessary documents to the ERAS Post Office. Once ECFMG transmits this information, the individual program directors periodically download transmitted applications and documents from the ERAS Post Office till their deadline of application has reached.

ERAS will be available to applicants applying for PGY-1 and PGY-2 positions in Diagnostic Radiology, Emergency Medicine, Emergency Medicine/Internal Medicine, Family Practice, Internal Medicine, Internal Medicine/Family Practice, Internal Medicine/Pediatrics, Internal Medicine/Physiatry, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Orthopedic Surgery, Pediatrics, Pediatrics/Emergency Medicine, Pediatrics/Physiatry, Physiatry (Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation), Surgery, and Transitional Year programs.

Any IMG that have been assigned a USMLE™/ECFMG Identification Number can apply for ERAS service. ECFMG certification is not required to apply for ERAS services, (Smart IMGs have applied to programs after passing one of the exams and got matched – success story) although IMG must obtain ECFMG certification before starting a post-graduate training program.

ECFMG certification requirements- Passing USMLE Step 1 and Step 2, an English Language Proficiency Test, and the Clinical Skills Assessment, receipt of the final medical diploma and other specific requirements should be fulfilled (like verification of credentials from the school etc). Please refer to Requirements for ECFMG Certification in the ECFMG Information Booklet for detailed information on ECFMG certification or visit the website ECFMG

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ECFMG Application Fee - $75

AAMC Processing Fee - $60 on completion of the application. This fee covers registration and includes application to up to 10 programs in each discipline. Beyond 10 programs the fee schedule is: $6 each for 11-20 programs per discipline, $12 each for 21-30 programs per discipline, $25 each for 31 or more programs per discipline.

Payment must be made in U.S. dollars by credit card or by check or money order made payable to ECFMG. Send your check or money order with your disk to ERAS Diskettes at PNC, P.O. BOX 820010, Philadelphia, PA 19182-0010. Payment should not be sent in cash. Funds may also be wire transferred through most banks in the United States (Fedwire) to the ECFMG account number 8611080982 at PNC Bank, N.A., routing / transit number 031000053. The check, money order or wire transfer must be identified with the applicant's full name and USMLE / ECFMG Identification Number.  

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Personal Statement / Statement of purpose  

 Personal statement is one of the important component of your application which basically expresses about your background, your reasons for selecting the specialty, extracurricular activities and your career plans. This is a great opportunity for you to express your uniqueness and the way you will be an asset to the program. In personal statement you can distinguish yourself from your fellow applicants who might also have similar credentials. We firmly suggest that one should be honest and lay a strong emphasis on the personal statement to get into a competitive program. Do not copy your CV in the personal statement. If changing specialties or any gap in your medical career than this is your chance before the interview to explain the reasons for it. Revise it carefully and get a second opinion. Make it simple and clear, try limiting it to one page only. If applying to multiple specialties (Internal medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry etc.) than prepare in accordance to the specialty you are applying, be sure to reflect your commitment to the specialty. Read the book ” Resumes and Personal Statements for health professionals”. James W Tysinger PhD. Also see successful Personal Statements


Resume / Curriculum Vitae 

Curriculum Vitae is a word representation of yourself and is generated automatically by the ERAS from the information supplied in the common application form. Following information is present in the resume; medical education, undergraduate education, medical school honors/awards, previous residencies, employment, research experience, publications, volunteer experience, language fluency, other accomplishments, hobbies/interests. With ERAS only programs that do accept paper applications will be requiring a well-organized CV  

Letter of Recommendation    

Letter of Recommendation is a very important part of your application and might play a critical role in your success for getting into a residency. Desirably it should be from a physician working in US who knows you well and can write you a glorifying letter explaining your clinical and communication skills and knowledge of medicine appropriate for your level of training. A maximum of 4 letter of recommendation can be sent via ERAS to the programs. Choose your writer wisely. If the letter is from a physician outside US provide him with a template of LOR explaining him its importance in getting a residency program. Many IMGs would involve in an observership / externship or work as a research assistant in order to become oriented to the US health care system and getting a strong letter of recommendation to pursue residency training in a competitive program. While requesting the US physician for a LOR provide him a copy of your CV and Personal statement. A strong letter of recommendation can get you into a really competitive program especially if the program knows the person writing the letter. Since it is important and helpful to be documented by a US physician about your intellectual strength and personal compatibility. Important thing to note is that getting a strong glorifying letter from nobody (not well known) is better than getting an average letter from someone who is well known in the field. A strong letter should be on an official letterhead, lengthy, should contain description of medical knowledge, clinical skills and have frequent personal references with unrestricted praise.


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Dean’s letter  

It is a vital component of your application. Since many of the deans of IMG schools might not know the kind of information that have to be provided in this kind of letter it is advisable that you provide them a template and the type of information generally expected in the dean’s letter. The components that are usually expected in the dean’s letter are: personal background information, statement regarding, academic evaluations and research experience, extracurricular activities, interpersonal skills and personality descriptions.


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Medical school transcript    

           Medical school transcript contains grades obtained in the medical school. Since different schools have different ways of evaluating their students , it is good to provide information such as the class average, maximum grades and number of students in one class (especially when writing statements like achieved “the best student of the year”).    

California Medical Board Evaluation Letter

          California evaluation letter is a prerequisite for applicants applying to residency programs in California must obtain this letter in order to be eligible for the training.  

This letter is required by all the programs to start residency training in California. It consists of two forms, General Form about the Medical School and another form about the clerkships in Medical school, which includes the Basic sciences rotations. One specific feature is accounting the time for all these rotations in weeks to the correct decimal. These two forms are yellow in color and need to be attested by the Dean of the Medical school.

Given below are the list of documents and things to be done to obtain this letter.

 Medical school transcripts

 Medical Degree 

 Premedical degree or Certificate 

 USMLE score reports 

 ECFMG certificate 

License to practice in native country (if available) 

Black and white photo in two different sizes (2 ¼" x 3" and 3 ½" x 5")

 All documents must be submitted in original to the Medical Board

For schools with documents in vernacular, notarized translation along with the original need to be submitted.


Notarize the required sections.

For candidates who have changed their name, enclose marriage certificate or legal documents to show the maiden or previous name and present name.

It usually takes about 90 business days to get the evaluation letter. For requesting the application please contact California State Medical Board on the web or by calling 916 – 263-2499.



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US experience  

Although US experience is not critical for an IMG application. However if along with an externship or observership the applicant had letter of recommendation from the supervising physician indicating that the IMG has demonstrated acceptable clinical knowledge and judgment appropriate for a residency training program would assure the program director of the clinical skills of the IMG.



Research Experience  

 Any publications generated from the research activities are quite assuring to the programs of the intellectual strength of the applicant. While expressing the research activities one should explain the key role played by the IMG in the project. A letter of support from the supervising physician illustrating about hard work, communication skills, reliability, and medical knowledge of the IMG increases the strength of the application.

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Duration of the residency programs according to the specialty  


1 (yr)





6-7 (yrs)