I have been participating in many forums dedicated to IMG problems. My main interest is the area of Internationsl Medical Gradiuates looking for postgraduate training in the US.
Here is one important observation that I noticed when browsing ALL IMG forums. Typical audience of the forum are people looking for residency. They share their general experience and vision, compare their scores trying to find how many interviews people with similar profiles have received. All this works well until one starts generalizing the answers. It is easier to demonstrate on a simple example.
Forum question: Please share IMG Friendly programs, so that I can choose the ones where I stand the best chance.
Apply anywhere in New York and New Jersey, most of them are IMG Friendly.
I am positive that whoever that asked the question won't get the results he is looking for. There are two reasons:
1. He did not provide any specifics about his application, so a program being IMG friendly is just a part of the equasion.Indeed most of NY/NJ primary care programs are IMG friendly. But most of them also have no problem with hiring IMGs on H1/J1 visa. So, if the one who asked the question does not need a visa, he looses his advantage at these programs and is going to compete with a much larger number of fresh graduates with really high scores.
2. Whoever answered the question is typically one that either heard or read somewhere on the Internet about IMG friendliness. He is sharing the information of his good heart. But does he really help the guy that asked the question and thousands others that will read the answer?
Everybody's profile is different. There just cannot be "one size fits all" approach. Medical graduates cannot be comoditised as less skileld workers and evaluated bases on a simple set criteria. This is why whatever worked for one applicant can rarely be extrapolated to everybody's situation. This is why many people are making same mistakes year after year.
It is also interesting to see how the level of understanding and maturity of forum topics grows as the match season wraps up. This also brings unevitable overconfidence and authoritative tone from the posters that managed to secure a good number of interviews. Now they start extrapolating their own experience to everybody's situation. But things that worked for a double 99 won't work for the 70's guys and vice versa. Same thing across the specialties. What worked for IM may and will not work for FM.
Anther good example is a post like "I participated in the last year scramble. Got no calls whatsoever. Guys, do not waste your time on the scramble, prepare for the next year's match". Many people reading a post like this give up. But the poster did not tell anything about his application. He wasn't even aware that in the 2007 Scramble ERAS had technical problems and the documents were not available to the programs until next day. Unfortunately there are too few posters that do not write a prescription but rather share their opinion.
What is this article all about? You, the reader is a smart guy/gal. You definitely have high IQ, otherwise you wouldn't be in this profession. Remember about possible side effects when blindly applying forum posts to your case. Don't loose your grip on the situation and don't flow with the current. Make your own path.