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Now that the 2020 Match Day is all done and dusted, another Residency application cycle is due to start really soon. Congratulations to everyone that matched. The journey to securing a residency program in the US for International medical graduates (IMGs) is a notoriously daunting one for many. And the process can be overwhelming and confusing if you don’t have the right information at hand.

Here’s a clear outline of the steps to take and when to take them to make sure you’re on track with all you have to get done and when you have to get them done.

April and May 2020

  • You should have taken most, if not all of your USMLEs at this stage. Keep in mind that USMLE exam scores can take between 4 to 12 weeks to be released.
  • NB: Unfortunately, because of the ongoing pandemic, all tests have had to be postponed and this will impact the process significantly for all involved. More info here and here. Keep up to date with the official announcements to make sure you get the next available test dates once this period is over. In the meantime, keep studying.
  • Decide on what specialty you want to pursue a career in.
  • Arrange for US clinical experience if possible to help strengthen your residency application.

June 2020

  • 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. 
  • According to the information here, during this pandemic period, “all ERAS services are continuing under normal operations with no adjustments to timelines and milestones.”
  • There are hundreds (if not thousands) of residency programs open for application. Now is the time to start researching the programs you’re interested in and shortlisting the ones you’re more likely to apply to. 
  • Start writing your personal statement.
ECFMG Homepage

July And August 2020

  • Use this period to conclude your personal statement, get it vetted by people or organizations 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 personalized. 
  • 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. 

September 2020 

  • In the first week of September, ERAS officially opens up for applicants to submit their applications to the residency programs of their choice. You’ll need to “certify” your ERAS application, but ensure it’s complete before you go ahead to “certify”. 
  • Residency programs 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.
Cottage Health

October 2020

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

November 2020

  • Don’t miss the deadline for NRMP early registration which will be sometime in the last week of November.
  • The interview season should be 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 programs you are yet to hear back from. 

December 2020

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

January And February 2021

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

March 2021 

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

May 2021 

  • ERAS application 2019-2020 season comes to an end! and another residency application season commences.

NB: Please keep in mind that these times are subject to change at any time. Always keep up to date with the announcements on the USMLE, NRMP, ECFMG, ERAS and AMA websites.

Featured image: CHS Buffalo

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, Medical Communications, and Web Design/Development. She is a part of the Medics Abroad team with the role of Chief Communications Officer. She is also a Medical Writer at 3D4 Medical and runs a Medical Communications and Children's books company (ODR Integrated Services/ ODR Books).  She is the author of the newly published children's book series "The Things Around Me".

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