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IMG Residency Match Forum International Medical Graduates (IMGs) discussing the residency matching process.

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Old 09-19-2013
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Communication Calling and emailing programs

I heard that some people call or email residency programs they applied to express their interest in the program. So my questions are how soon should I start contacting the programs? How often should I do that? Which is better...calling or emailing them? And what exactly should I say or write when I contact them?

Any ideas would be much appreciated!
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Old 09-19-2013
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Find a Reason
Many programs do not like to be contacted specially during this busy time of the season. In fact, many of them send out prophylactic emails to applicants saying "Please do not contact us, we are working on the applications".

Therefore, it's best to find a reason for calling or emailing other than just simply asking for an update. Examples of good reasons are:
- I uploaded new LoR, please download it
- I changed my PS, please download it
- I am currently doing a new USCE which is not mentioned in my ERAS therefore am updating you
- I have done Step 3, please download it

This is the Trick
The other super powerful way of contacting a program is that if you have a connection there such as a current resident. That resident can go and talk with the coordinator and see if your application is downloaded or not or if you are being considered or not.

Email vs Phone Call
In most cases, emails are trashed and not read. This is not because they don't respect you, this is because they are extremely busy and do not have time to read all emails. Perhaps, an email in November or December has higher chances of being read than in September or October for the that same reason.
Phone calls usually are picked up and can't be ignored and you have a better chance of talking to the coordinator.

How Effective is This?
I've talked to many coordinators and PDs. Most of them say, this does not actually work. Our decision is not changed by the fact that somebody is calling us. The only exception to this, is when an applicant got missed somehow (for example late application) then this contact might open the eyes to the applicant (specially in the case of a really strong applicant profile) and maybe we get a chance to invite the applicant if at all there are still slots available for interviews.

Beyond November
Some programs put weaker applicants on a waiting list. If stronger applicants that were shortlisted first cancel their interviews then the waiting list get a chance. This is actually very common, many applicants cancel their interviews for a variety of reasons, the most common reason is that they are already saturated with many interviews and they don't have the time, money, or interest to go to them all.
Also, programs do not know how strong is the applicant pool this year. So initially they aim high by setting higher score filters and maybe no-IMG filter but after few weeks they start to realize that their expectations have been higher than reality and their list of interviews is not filled or stronger applicants start to cancel and so they start to reconsider and change their filters as the season goes on.
So slots can open up later in the season, I'd say mid November and later. At that time, it might be prudent to give the program a call to see if you can be considered in the waiting list. But again, the best way to do that is via connections.

Contacting Program Director Directly
Theoretically speaking, this is the best shot of getting a decision maker to consider you. However, >90% of the time, your attempt get ignored. PDs are very busy people, they don't have time to look at 1000s of applicants individually and that's why they put up filters. Therefore, do not be surprised that if you send 100 emails and never get a reply. Again, the best way is connection in the program to reach the PD.

Non-IMG Friendly Programs
I've also noticed that programs that do not take IMGs (check their current residents list) usually do not reply to IMGs contacting them at all. If you call them, they'll say "Oh, yes we are still looking, if you are considered, we'll contact you". I think contacting such programs by IMGs is a total waste of time and they'll never consider you because they have never taken an IMG in the past and they will not do so.

Read More ...
This issue has been discussed several times in past threads and that's why we created "Program Communication" tag. Click on the link at the bottom of the thread to read more about this issue.

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