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* To Old Graduates: Don't Loss Hope
 #803242  
  oakramble - 03/21/15 08:18
 
 
I am an old graduate, 2001. I matched at the first attempt to categorical internal medicine to my first choice, which was a university program.

I’d like to highlight some of my experience, hopefully to help other “old” and “not so old” applicants for future match(es).

My scores were about average but recent, i.e. closer to application time; low 240s step 1, low 230s step 2 CK and CS passed, all at first attempt. Did only minor USCE for about 2 months in a local clinic where I got a good LOR. I did not need a visa. Prior to coming to US, I was in a residency in home-country other than IM, that I left before completion.

I believe the biggest pump to my application was the research I did after getting MPH, were I worked 5 years in clinical research and had 7 publications. I also got strong LORs (assuming strong because I waived my right to see them) from influential American physicians. It took me that many years because I was the main provider to my family and kids, supporting my spouse getting into dream residency, which was achieved.

I applied to 200 programs in all states except California because I didn’t have the letter, and PR because I don’t speak Spanish. The application cost was little above $5000.
I received 11 interviews in IM from mid to low-level programs; 3 university programs and 8 community hospitals. I ended up attending 10 interviews, the cost of which was about $3500.

The biggest drag to my application was the “year of graduation”. YOG from the medical school plays a big part in filtering applications by programs. Chances of getting interviews are markedly reduces if YOG was more than 5, or even 3 years ago. Because programs were getting thousands of applications each year there must be a mechanism of “filtering”, and YOG is one way for that, among others (scores); while scores can be improved in upcoming steps, YOG cannot be changed. Programs prefer "fresh" graduates.

What I want to say is that don’t be discouraged about your YOG; yes it affects you, but if I was able to make it, you can make it. Play the game and play smart!

Lessons I learned:
1) Make contacts. I cannot stress this enough, and I mentioned that in my prior comments in this forum. Expand your network, be social and amiable, and show compassion about getting into residency. Why? Through this I was able to get good LORs from American practicing physicians at strong positions. Strong LORs are VITAL to your application. They can mend the weakness of the YOG. Reach out to your friends already in residency. I reached out to many; only 3 helped to slip my aamc id to PDs and subsequently got interviews, although I didn’t end up putting these progs high on my list; but it added to my list of IVs. Many others told me my YOG sucks – I know it.
Remember, in USA rules can be bent by people in leadership. But in order to be bent there has to be an exception, and the exception is your outstanding CV and dedication.

2) Apply broadly. Don’t be limited by a geographic location. We “old” graduate are at a disadvantaged situation already.
70% of my interviews were at programs that “required” graduation within 5 years! And were from unexpected programs. This gives indication that some programs really don’t stick to their website rules. This is a tough call, I understand; why would I apply to program that don’t accept applicants graduated >5 years ago. But it was a risk I took, and got me few more interviews.

3) High scores matter. If you are currently studying for steps aim for the highest scores as much as you can. You need to show your clinical knowledge is up to date and on par with other more fresh graduates. This is especially true for programs that don’t filter based on YOG, or those where your contacts help with.

4) Do well on the interview. Make the program WANT to have you. Not because you are Einstein, but because you are a very nice person. The biggest fear of PDs of old graduates is that we “don’t mix with the crowd”; show that you do. Its true, the crowd is younger; in most my interviews I was the only one to raise hand when one asked who has kids? lol. Show PDs that you are willing to learn and advance in your residency, even if your upper level was younger. The PD could be younger than you are. Show your professionalism, high ethics and communication skills. Talk to the residents and mix with them, and show them you care. Show compassion and dedication to the specialty. Show genuine interest in the program. Turn your weakness into strength. But be careful not to exaggerate. An example, my spouse residency hosted one pre-interview “social” event at our place; one applicant mentioned beating Alcohol problem before med school; that applicant was not ranked. BTW, I didn’t get interview from my spouse residency hospital, nor did I get any help through them.

5) Save money if you can. The application and interviews are reaaaaaallllly expensive.

6) High-end and more competitive programs will not look at us. unfortunately. But maybe if you do research or observorship and collect all your muscles in such programs they would give you a chance in an interview. They may not rank you high, though.

7) Make matching to residency your ultimate and every-day goal. It is the ONLY achievement that will give you that self-satisfaction you’ve been yearning to for so long. Once a physician you can’t be anything else other than a physician. I worked in many jobs, some were lower-end and some were higher-end; none gave me that “high” of content. It’s only when I learned that I matched that I felt “alive” again.

8) Never quit

I know that IMGs who come to this great Country are best of the best. I whole-heartedly wish all hard-working IMGs, especially old graduates (because I feel your pain), to match the next year in your dream residency. Peace.




 
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* Re:To Old Graduates: Don't Loss Hope
#3201343
  vauselea - 03/21/15 10:25
 
  Congratulations! Thank you for sharing your story with us and for all the great advice. I would like to get in touch with you. Can you please contact me at angelique.demar@gmail.com? Thank you so much!  
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* Re:To Old Graduates: Don't Loss Hope
#3201362
  swapno - 03/21/15 11:05
 
  Wow!!! That's amazing!! I'm so happy for you.
My story is almost similar to you.can I please ask some question? My email is kanamama01@gmail.com
Thanks
 
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* Re:To Old Graduates: Don't Loss Hope
#3201725
  seseraza - 03/22/15 08:09
 
  Oakramble,
I'm an old grad with great scores ( all 1st attempt and recent, including step 3). My story is quite similar to yours. I have kids too. I didn't match this time ( my first match ) and am desperate to add some meaningful experience to my resume for next year. I am a U.S. citizen.

My mistakes :
focused all experience on Obgyn ( prior residency experience in it in my home country 10 yrs back). Didn't get a single interview in it.
Didn't apply broadly.
Only externships at local Obgyn clinics in US ( 6 months)
No research.
Got 4 IVs: 1 IM, 1 psych, 2 peds. ( at all IVs, they pointed out I had no experience in the field).

I plan to switch to IM as my scores are good . Plz advice me what to work on and how To go about making my resume strong for next match. If you can suggest any place/ person I can talk to, I would really appreciate it. My email: seseraza@gmail.com, Skype: Seeme.Raza
 
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* Re:To Old Graduates: Don't Loss Hope
#3377460
  indi123 - 01/09/19 20:30
 
  Congrats.

I'm an old foreign graduate, did my medical graduation in 1988. I have a green card. Please help by telling me if I should go for USMLE path or not. I'm 55. Is it too late for me to pursue medicine in USA? Will I get a residency after doing USMLE? Or I should consider doing something else? Please help. Thanks and kind regards.
 
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* Re:To Old Graduates: Don't Loss Hope
#3377461
  indi123 - 01/09/19 20:31
 
  Congrats.

I'm an old foreign graduate, did my medical graduation in 1988. I have a green card. Please help by telling me if I should go for USMLE path or not. I'm 55. Is it too late for me to pursue medicine in USA? Will I get a residency after doing USMLE? Or I should consider doing something else? Please help. Thanks and kind regards.
 
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* Re:To Old Graduates: Don't Loss Hope
#3377463
  indi123 - 01/09/19 20:32
 
  Lots of congrats.  
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* Re:To Old Graduates: Don't Loss Hope
#3377489
  sepidehsnb - 01/10/19 14:38
 
  Thanks for your post and congratulations
Can you please tell me how you found your research job?

 
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