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The 2019-20 USA Residency Timeline

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The journey to securing a residency program in the US for International medical graduates (IMGs) can be a long and daunting one. From preparing for the various exams to choosing a residency program to getting US clinical experience and so on. It doesn’t help that the process can also be a tad bit confusing. There’s loads of information about residency program applications on the internet and that’s awesome but what would really help is a clear outline of the steps to take and when to take them to make sure you’re on track.

So here a timeline for you:

May 2019

  • You should have taken most if not all of your USMLE exams at this stage. Keep in mind that USMLE exam scores can take between 4 to 12 weeks to be released. More info here and here.
  • Decide on what specialty you want to pursue a career in.
  • Arrange for US clinical experience to help strengthen your residency application.
Medicine and the Military

June 2019

  • ERAS 2020 season begins.
  • ERAS tokens become available for IMG residency applicants via the ECFMG’s OASIS platform. You will have to apply and pay for a token, then use information from the token to register for MyERAS which is the platform where everything happens basically. 
  • There are hundreds (if not thousands) of residency programmes open for application. Now is the time to start researching the programmes you’re interested in and shortlisting the ones you’re more likely to apply to. 
  • Start writing your personal statement.

July and August 2019

  • Use this period to conclude your personal statement, get it vetted by people you trust, get feedback, and have it ready for submission. 
  • Request for letters of recommendation from senior colleagues you have worked with, preferably ones that know you well enough to write letters that are less generic and more personalised. 
  • Request for a Dean’s letter and medical school transcript from your medical school. 
  • Request for your USMLE transcript.
  • Start populating your MyERAS application with the information you already have, while you wait for the ones you don’t.
  • If you’re applying to emergency medicine programs, then you’ll have to record and submit your Standardised Video Interview at some point in the middle of July. More info here.
  • Aim to have all documents ready before the end of August to avoid any lapses and delays in your application. 
US News and World Report

September 2019 

  • In the first week of September, ERAS officially opens up for applicants to submit their applications to the residency programmes of their choice. You’ll need to “certify” your ERAS application, but ensure it’s complete before you go ahead to “certify”. 
  • Residency programmes will start receiving your applications sometime in the middle of september. Before then, crosscheck and crosscheck again, ensuring no errors were made and everything is in the right place. This is around when NRMP opens as well. 
  • Register with NRMP. More info here.

October 2019

  • Applications will still be on-going. You should start hearing back from programmes you applied to at this stage. Schedule interviews. 
  • Also, use this time to follow up with and possibly visit programmes you are yet to hear back from. 

November 2019

  • Don’t miss the deadline for NRMP early registration which will be sometime in the last week of November.
  • Interview season should be in picking up at this stage. Sort out flights and accommodation for interviews. 
  • No interviews still? Use this time to follow up with and possibly visit programmes you are yet to hear back from. 

December 2019

  • Interview season will still be on-going. 
  • Results for Military residency match applications become available. 

January and February 2020

  • Create your Rank Order List. More info here.
  • Results for Urology residency match applications become available sometime in January. 
Fierce Healthcare

March 2020 

  • Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP) commences. This is for those applicants who were unable to match to any of the programmes they applied to. 
  • Results for all residency match programmes become available. 
  • This is when Match week 2020 happens! 

May 2019 

  • ERAS application 2019-2020 season comes to an end! 

Featured image: Framepool.com

Dr Wendy Evans-Uhegbu

The author Dr Wendy Evans-Uhegbu

Dr. Wendy Evans-Uhegbu is a graduate of The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, with experience in Connected Health, Medical Technology, Clinical Research, Medical Education, and Web Design. She is a member of the Medics Abroad team with the role of Chief Communications Officer. She also runs a Medical Communications and Publishing business, and is the author of the newly published children's book "The Things Around Me".

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