This post is regarding the match process in the US.
I simply can't talk about the whole process in a fb post. I will break it down to multiple posts over the coming week or so. If your questions are not answered after the posts are completed, please don't hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm assuming here that you know about USMLE and I'm gonna skip that.
The big picture:
The match in the US is the only way to get into residency (except for few seats for grads with the Saudi passport, and that's arranged through the embassy in Washington DC). The match process goes through the following entities: ECFMG, ERAS, and NRMP. Each one has different responsibilities and requirements. ECFMG is responsible for certifying international grads (IMGs) to make them eligible to enter the match system. ERAS is the website through which you submit your CV and hospital/program selections. You'll receive the interview invitations through ERAS as well. NRMP will take your ERAS info and selections and will match it with the programs' rank of the applicants they interviewed. The NRMP will announce the final results on the Match Day.
The whole match thing starts in July of every year when ERAS opens for applicants to upload their CV, recommendation letters, and personal statement. The submission day is Sept 15th. The only requirements to submit your file is USMLE step1. However, not having a full application at the time of submission makes your chances very minimal even if you add the missing stuff few days after that. A full application means that you have the following: MBBS degree, USMLE Step 1 and 2, ECFMG certification, recommendation letters, and personal statement.
ECFMG certification is not required on Sept 15th (required in Dec of the yr u apply in) but it'll make your chances very low if you don't have it by the time you submit your application because program directors usually filter out applicants who are not certified by Sept 15 and don't send them interview invitations. ECFMG certification means that you have fulfilled the following: Step 1, Step 2 ck and cs, and you verified your MBBS degree. The degree verification takes about 4 wks (sometimes longer) and I highly recommend that everyone starts the process right after they get their degree. You basically fill 2 forms and make copies of you diploma and transcript and mail them to ECFMG. Then ECFMG will contact AU online to verify that this is your degree. Once AU approves it, your degree part of the process is completed. If you've taken your USMLEs before that, then you become certified. If you still have USMLEs to take, then the certification will be pending waiting for your scores to come out. Once the scores are out and you passed, you'll be immediately certified. You'll receive your official ECFMG certification via mail to the address you provide. Bottom line, get it done as soon as you get your degree.
Clinical and research electives:
I decided to write about this before writing about ERAS since I received this question from several people.
Clinical and research electives in the US are very important for your match application.
Research: This is generally easy to find and SPIRIT are doing a great job. It's not a must to have research in your app but it'll help a lot, especially in university programs. If you were to choose between clinical and research electives, of course choose clinical.
Clinical: Most hospitals in the US allow international students to rotate only in their final year of med school. In our case it's the internship yr. You need to apply early on to be able to secure few electives. I started applying for electives about 6 months before my first rotation started. Also, since TOEFL is required by most hospitals, it'll be wise to register for the test as early as possible. A good number of programs require about 2 months of US clinical experience to even call the applicant for an interview. The following is a list of places that take international students for rotations:
Free (with app fees):
Univ of Louisville
Univ of Texas for health sciences at San Antonio
Cook County Hospital in Chicago (only peds and anesthesia)
Univ of Kansas (but you have to apply super early)
Case Western Reserve
Univ of Wisconsin (you have to have 1 month of US clinical experience)
Cedar Sinai in California (you have to apply 1.5 yrs prior)
Harvard ($4,000 but you can apply for a waiver)
Univ of North Carolina ($2,000)
George Washington ($7,000)
Mount Sinai ($2,000)
Emory Univ ($3,000)
It stands for Electronic Residency Application System, and it's the only way you can apply to residency in the US (except for some positions secured by the Saudi embassy for Saudis). It opens in July when you can upload your info and stuff. The submission date is Sept 15th of each year.
The following are my thoughts on ERAS:
The most important thing you need to take into consideration is how you contract your resume on ERAS. Start writing your personal statement as soon as possible and let native speakers proofread it over and over. That also applies to other parts of your CV. A program director told me once that they pay attention to how the applicant writes their app to see how well they communicate their ideas and it plays a major role in sending an interview invitation or not. Proofread.. proofread.. proofread!
Once you start your app you can send invitations to your recommendation letter providers. You add their names and title and an instruction page will be generated which you email to that provider and they take it from there. Always waive your right to see the letter and that will make it more credible. You can upload as many letters as you want but you can only send 4 to a program. Once the letter provider uploads the letter to your ERAS it takes about 2 wks processing time before it shows up on your account. So start the process as early as possible.
Once we get closer to ERAS opening, I'll post examples on how to write the resume.
Dr. Senok should take care of uploading your MSPE and transcript.
ERAS application is expensive. You pay $100 for the first 10 programs you list and $26 for each additional program. IMGs usually list about 150 programs which costs $3,740.
That is what I can think of now. You're welcome to ask questions.
This is the last post about the match process for now.
After you go to your interviews, you rank them based on your preference in the NRMP website. The programs will also rank the applicants they interviewed. Then the system will match the 2 ranks and tell you if you matched or not on March 16th and where you matched on March 20. If you don't match, you'll get the chance to apply for the unfilled positions in the post-match scramble (or SOAP).