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Thread: The Truth About Our Lady of Fatima

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    The Truth About Our Lady of Fatima

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    I write this message to warn all incoming first year American students. Don't do it!

    And if you recently finished your first or second year - get out, these will be the only classes that can possibly transfer in to other graduate programs. Save yourself the time and heartache.

    I graduated from Fatima a few years ago with a Doctor of Medicine. Afterwards I spent the next year and a half prepping and I did well on USMLE Step 1, Step 2CK and Step 2CS. I applied for every residency that was international friendly via the match program for two years. I was not given a single interview, nor were my classmates from what I had heard.

    I spent the following year working at as a practical nurse with insurmountable loans, applying to jobs and other graduate schools and I finally got in to a Physician's Assistant program recently and feel like I have new lease on my medical aspirations.

    The one thing I am happy about is my experience and the great friends I made, nothing else. I graduated from a batch of students that was 45 students strong, most of them Americans. None of them us are licensed physicians, maybe 10 of us actually took the USMLE exams not that it's mattered. I wouldn't even put M.D. behind my name.

    Here is how the place works

    You have a bachelor's degree, you're willing to pay a donation fee, you're willing to pay 200% greater than Filipino student tuition and you are in, spproved, you're in medical school, yah!

    During first year, you join an eager group of international students, all planning on taking the USMLE. Then it begins, long hours of mundane lectures sprinkled with some awful laboratories. You take 1-3 daily exams called shifting exams. Then comprehensive exams. If you have the right connections, which you or your peers will develop, you'll find the best sources to procure exam copies. After the school year is over (this time of year), 50% of the students find out they have to take 'remedials' over the summer. You pay a fee and they cram a few topics on each subject in to as little time as possible and everyone passes.

    Some students are able to over this remedial phase either by academic performance or by other means (connections, money, back-door deals). And they continue to do so throughout their medical school lives and from what I gather this sort of thing is still happening.

    2nd year starts. So you move on, you start 2nd year with longer, more mundane lectures, same as the first year. At the end of the year, now a full 75-85% of the students find they are in remedial classes and spend that following summer taking remedial classes. Remedial or no remedial, all us eager first year students had no intention of taking USMLE anymore because we simply didn't have the education to pass the exam. And the few that thought they were ready in my batch, were not permitted to take the exam. Everyone ponies up to pay their remedial fees, school makes more money, we move on to third year.

    3rd year get's more clinically oriented, but very specialized, more in a block format. Some are reasonable, some are verbatim sample copies, some are impossibly difficult, some are for sale. School year ends, 75%-85% of the students pony up for remedials, schools gets more money, on to the final year.

    4th year some students pay big money to (both the school and to clerkship companies) to take rotations in the US that they set up via clerkship agencies. I chose to my 4th year in the Philippines. I did get a lot of clinical experience and I feel I became a proficient clinician during my 4th year. Nonetheless, 4th year in the Philippines is like a year long fraternity hell week. 72 hour shifts, unsanitary conditions, very limited quality control in hospitals, no organized structure, hell year. And the school will find some creative ways to get a few more thousand dollars out of many before you are allowed to pay the very large graduation fee.

    Graduation time, everyone pays a large graduation fee and gets a Doctor of Medicine degree. A lovely group of speeches about how you are the doctors of tomorrow and a lovely ceremony.

    After that, you are home free, study like a mad-woman to do well on the USMLEs, or like most of my former classmates, try for a few months and never take the exam. In my case, never failed a class, I passed the USMLE one exam at a time and was not able to match.

    So I qualified somehow to take the practical nursing exam, and worked for the last 2 years in major university hospital, a blood bank and as a researcher certainly not enough to make payments on the loans I had taken.

    Light at the end of the tunnel - I recently begun a graduate program in the U.S. that has all the qualities a medical institution should have, it's the polar opposite of Our Lady of Fatima. Not technology or a clear path to licensing, but instructors and staff that care about the future of their students. It's not medical school, but it trumps everything that Our Lady of Fatima had to offer.

    I stay in touch with my classmates from Fatima and we were recently talking to a current student, Fatima College of Medicine has not changed one bit. They don't care about you while you are in school, they are profiteers and after you've graduated you are total fodder that the registrar wants nothing to do with.

    I'm still in tears that I got in to a program I did after Fatima hell.

    If you've read this and you plan to enroll in Fatima or are enrolled and plan to continue beyond your first year, that's what you can expect.
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    Mass Effect is offline Newbie 511 points
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    Quote Originally Posted by GiChel2017 View Post
    I write this message to warn all incoming first year American students. Don't do it!

    And if you recently finished your first or second year - get out, these will be the only classes that can possibly transfer in to other graduate programs. Save yourself the time and heartache.

    I graduated from Fatima a few years ago with a Doctor of Medicine. Afterwards I spent the next year and a half prepping and I did well on USMLE Step 1, Step 2CK and Step 2CS. I applied for every residency that was international friendly via the match program for two years. I was not given a single interview, nor were my classmates from what I had heard.

    I spent the following year working at as a practical nurse with insurmountable loans, applying to jobs and other graduate schools and I finally got in to a Physician's Assistant program recently and feel like I have new lease on my medical aspirations.

    The one thing I am happy about is my experience and the great friends I made, nothing else. I graduated from a batch of students that was 45 students strong, most of them Americans. None of them us are licensed physicians, maybe 10 of us actually took the USMLE exams not that it's mattered. I wouldn't even put M.D. behind my name.

    Here is how the place works

    You have a bachelor's degree, you're willing to pay a donation fee, you're willing to pay 200% greater than Filipino student tuition and you are in, spproved, you're in medical school, yah!

    During first year, you join an eager group of international students, all planning on taking the USMLE. Then it begins, long hours of mundane lectures sprinkled with some awful laboratories. You take 1-3 daily exams called shifting exams. Then comprehensive exams. If you have the right connections, which you or your peers will develop, you'll find the best sources to procure exam copies. After the school year is over (this time of year), 50% of the students find out they have to take 'remedials' over the summer. You pay a fee and they cram a few topics on each subject in to as little time as possible and everyone passes.

    Some students are able to over this remedial phase either by academic performance or by other means (connections, money, back-door deals). And they continue to do so throughout their medical school lives and from what I gather this sort of thing is still happening.

    2nd year starts. So you move on, you start 2nd year with longer, more mundane lectures, same as the first year. At the end of the year, now a full 75-85% of the students find they are in remedial classes and spend that following summer taking remedial classes. Remedial or no remedial, all us eager first year students had no intention of taking USMLE anymore because we simply didn't have the education to pass the exam. And the few that thought they were ready in my batch, were not permitted to take the exam. Everyone ponies up to pay their remedial fees, school makes more money, we move on to third year.

    3rd year get's more clinically oriented, but very specialized, more in a block format. Some are reasonable, some are verbatim sample copies, some are impossibly difficult, some are for sale. School year ends, 75%-85% of the students pony up for remedials, schools gets more money, on to the final year.

    4th year some students pay big money to (both the school and to clerkship companies) to take rotations in the US that they set up via clerkship agencies. I chose to my 4th year in the Philippines. I did get a lot of clinical experience and I feel I became a proficient clinician during my 4th year. Nonetheless, 4th year in the Philippines is like a year long fraternity hell week. 72 hour shifts, unsanitary conditions, very limited quality control in hospitals, no organized structure, hell year. And the school will find some creative ways to get a few more thousand dollars out of many before you are allowed to pay the very large graduation fee.

    Graduation time, everyone pays a large graduation fee and gets a Doctor of Medicine degree. A lovely group of speeches about how you are the doctors of tomorrow and a lovely ceremony.

    After that, you are home free, study like a mad-woman to do well on the USMLEs, or like most of my former classmates, try for a few months and never take the exam. In my case, never failed a class, I passed the USMLE one exam at a time and was not able to match.

    So I qualified somehow to take the practical nursing exam, and worked for the last 2 years in major university hospital, a blood bank and as a researcher certainly not enough to make payments on the loans I had taken.

    Light at the end of the tunnel - I recently begun a graduate program in the U.S. that has all the qualities a medical institution should have, it's the polar opposite of Our Lady of Fatima. Not technology or a clear path to licensing, but instructors and staff that care about the future of their students. It's not medical school, but it trumps everything that Our Lady of Fatima had to offer.

    I stay in touch with my classmates from Fatima and we were recently talking to a current student, Fatima College of Medicine has not changed one bit. They don't care about you while you are in school, they are profiteers and after you've graduated you are total fodder that the registrar wants nothing to do with.

    I'm still in tears that I got in to a program I did after Fatima hell.

    If you've read this and you plan to enroll in Fatima or are enrolled and plan to continue beyond your first year, that's what you can expect.
    Thank you for sharing your experience. I was recently accepted to Fatima COM but also to a program in the Caribbean (SGU). I've considered Fatima for quite awhile due to the tuition savings and the ability to do the fourth year in the US. I'm a Fil-Am living in CA but don't speak tagalog.

    Can you tell more about your post-grad experience when you were trying to match to a residency? Here are my questions for you:

    1. What specialty, USMLE scores, number of programs did you apply to, and how many times?
    2. Was the Fatima COM registrar or dean helpful with the ECFMG process (the MSPE and ECFMG document certification)?
    3. Why do so little of the graduates take on the USMLE? Are they intimidated and feel that they can't pass it using First Aid, UWorld, and Pathoma?
    4. How much did the remedial exams cost every semester? That's a high failure rate, too high!
    5. Did you go when US Stafford loans were still available?

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    Thank you for sharing your experience.


    I was recently accepted to Fatima COM but also to a program in the Caribbean (SGU). I've considered Fatima for quite awhile due to the tuition savings and the ability to do the fourth year in the US. I'm a Fil-Am living in CA but don't speak tagalog.


    I am a Fil-Am as well and I speak Tagalog, it helps during your 3rd and 4th year, otherwise it doesn't matter. Getting in to OLFU requires a Bachelor's degree in anything. You can be a Bachelor's of Arts in Dance from anytown college - you're admitted.

    If you go to SGU and do everything right, I think the match rate there is about 50% chance of matching in to residency - you'll have to check on that. That is the one question you should ask an administrator before enrolling in to any foreign medical school "Approximately what percent of your graduates match in to residency?" If the school doesn't have an answer or say we don't keep track of that, cross them off your list.

    At OLFU, with the few batches of students I was familiar with, I don't know of anyone that has matched in to a M.D. residency program in the US, maybe they have.


    Can you tell more about your post-grad experience when you were trying to match to a residency? Here are my questions for you:

    1. What specialty, USMLE scores, number of programs did you apply to, and how many times?


    I applied to match in to Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, and Pediatrics rograms with about 150 residency programs - I had picked IMG/FMG friendly residency programs with the help of an agency. I scored above the national average and above average for the specialties I applied to on both USMLE Step 1 and USMLE Step 2CK. I did a 6 month internship with an ivy league research team and became published in a respected journal.

    The agency I worked with had success helping a number of Filipino docs match in to residency in the past and while I was in the match and scramble during two periods. It was very expensive and very heartbreaking.


    2. Was the Fatima COM registrar or dean helpful with the ECFMG process (the MSPE and ECFMG document certification)?

    They will sign the basic paperwork for ECMFG but not much more than that. Once they are done milking their students of all the money they can, once you graduate, you become an afterthought. They will blatantly avoid talking to you on the phone for simple routine requests and forget about getting an email reply. I had made 2 trips back to the Philippines after I graduated to get simple things done.

    3. Why do so little of the graduates take on the USMLE? Are they intimidated and feel that they can't pass it using First Aid, UWorld, and Pathoma?

    Because they are too busy going through Fatima hell. 40-60 hours of week in long mundane powerpoint lectures to study for their poorly written tests with a teaching staff that constantly threatens you with failure. t 2-4 exams daily for which you will spend the rest of your time preparing during the school year. Then over the summer, you have no time because you will likely be in 2 or 3 remedial classes, again a constantly threatened by teachers that you will be held back.

    Anticipate being treated like a child for 4 years at OLFU. You will get yelled at, you will be patronized, you will sit in a seat that is the size of your elementary school desk.

    I memorized First Aid during medical school and used BRS Pathology among other prep books, but the key to passing the USMLE is mastering the question banks like UWorld. Students in the schedule simply don't have time to do question banks to prep for the USMLE. It's like the only thing holding you back from getting the education you need to pass the USMLE is the curriculum you are getting from OLFU.

    It can be done and has been done by students during medical school but they are in the single percentile. In hindsight I could have done it if I didn't take the daily Fatima routine as seriously and focused more on USMLE prep material. Regardless, even the few students that did pass USMLE Step 1 in my batch during their time at Fatima have not matched and have moved on.


    4. How much did the remedial exams cost every semester? That's a high failure rate, too high!


    The fail rate is a quota system, a round number of students will fail. The cost isn't that much - It $500 a class while I was there or $2000 or so a class if you negotiate a deal to avoid the remedial. After every school year, remedial lists are posted. Shortly afterwards, a few names are removed from those lists, the students that pay/negotiate their way out of remedials class. It's pretty blatant and open, I had never paid to get out of a remedial class and it really ticked me off that certain students did.

    5. Did you go when US Stafford loans were still available?

    Yes I did and they are deferred once again and accumulating interest. But I am on a path right now that gives me hope for a brighter future with earnings enough to pay them off. I also am in debt to my family members for supporting me when I needed help.


    My opinions of Our Lady of Fatima may seem biased, but it's the god honest truth as I know it. If any other graduate or student from Our Lady of Fatima College of Medicine wants to share a different opinion or would like to refute anything I have said, feel free to do so.
    Last edited by GiChel2017; 06-10-2014 at 12:39 PM.

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    Mass Effect is offline Newbie 511 points
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    Quote Originally Posted by GiChel2017 View Post
    Thank you for sharing your experience.


    I was recently accepted to Fatima COM but also to a program in the Caribbean (SGU). I've considered Fatima for quite awhile due to the tuition savings and the ability to do the fourth year in the US. I'm a Fil-Am living in CA but don't speak tagalog.


    I am a Fil-Am as well and I speak Tagalog, it helps during your 3rd and 4th year, otherwise it doesn't matter. Getting in to OLFU requires a Bachelor's degree in anything. You can be a Bachelor's of Arts in Dance from anytown college - you're admitted.

    If you go to SGU and do everything right, I think the match rate there is about 50% chance of matching in to residency - you'll have to check on that. That is the one question you should ask an administrator before enrolling in to any foreign medical school "Approximately what percent of your graduates match in to residency?" If the school doesn't have an answer or say we don't keep track of that, cross them off your list.

    At OLFU, with the few batches of students I was familiar with, I don't know of anyone that has matched in to a M.D. residency program in the US, maybe they have.


    Can you tell more about your post-grad experience when you were trying to match to a residency? Here are my questions for you:

    1. What specialty, USMLE scores, number of programs did you apply to, and how many times?


    I applied to match in to Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, and Pediatrics rograms with about 150 residency programs - I had picked IMG/FMG friendly residency programs with the help of an agency. I scored above the national average and above average for the specialties I applied to on both USMLE Step 1 and USMLE Step 2CK. I did a 6 month internship with an ivy league research team and became published in a respected journal.

    The agency I worked with had success helping a number of Filipino docs match in to residency in the past and while I was in the match and scramble during two periods. It was very expensive and very heartbreaking.


    2. Was the Fatima COM registrar or dean helpful with the ECFMG process (the MSPE and ECFMG document certification)?

    They will sign the basic paperwork for ECMFG but not much more than that. Once they are done milking their students of all the money they can, once you graduate, you become an afterthought. They will blatantly avoid talking to you on the phone for simple routine requests and forget about getting an email reply. I had made 2 trips back to the Philippines after I graduated to get simple things done.

    3. Why do so little of the graduates take on the USMLE? Are they intimidated and feel that they can't pass it using First Aid, UWorld, and Pathoma?

    Because they are too busy going through Fatima hell. 40-60 hours of week in long mundane powerpoint lectures to study for their poorly written tests with a teaching staff that constantly threatens you with failure. t 2-4 exams daily for which you will spend the rest of your time preparing during the school year. Then over the summer, you have no time because you will likely be in 2 or 3 remedial classes, again a constantly threatened by teachers that you will be held back.

    Anticipate being treated like a child for 4 years at OLFU. You will get yelled at, you will be patronized, you will sit in a seat that is the size of your elementary school desk.

    I memorized First Aid during medical school and used BRS Pathology among other prep books, but the key to passing the USMLE is mastering the question banks like UWorld. Students in the schedule simply don't have time to do question banks to prep for the USMLE. It's like the only thing holding you back from getting the education you need to pass the USMLE is the curriculum you are getting from OLFU.

    It can be done and has been done by students during medical school but they are in the single percentile. In hindsight I could have done it if I didn't take the daily Fatima routine as seriously and focused more on USMLE prep material. Regardless, even the few students that did pass USMLE Step 1 in my batch during their time at Fatima have not matched and have moved on.


    4. How much did the remedial exams cost every semester? That's a high failure rate, too high!


    The fail rate is a quota system, a round number of students will fail. The cost isn't that much - It $500 a class while I was there or $2000 or so a class if you negotiate a deal to avoid the remedial. After every school year, remedial lists are posted. Shortly afterwards, a few names are removed from those lists, the students that pay/negotiate their way out of remedials class. It's pretty blatant and open, I had never paid to get out of a remedial class and it really ticked me off that certain students did.

    5. Did you go when US Stafford loans were still available?

    Yes I did and they are deferred once again and accumulating interest. But I am on a path right now that gives me hope for a brighter future with earnings enough to pay them off. I also am in debt to my family members for supporting me when I needed help.


    My opinions of Our Lady of Fatima may seem biased, but it's the god honest truth as I know it. If any other graduate or student from Our Lady of Fatima College of Medicine wants to share a different opinion or would like to refute anything I have said, feel free to do so.
    Wow! I appreciate your honesty about your experience there. The worst part of this testimony is that you seem to have applied correctly in the Match, had good USMLE scores, and research experience at a US institution but still weren't able to match. My plan is to ace the Steps and get US clinical experiences with solid letters but it sounds like the curriculum at Fatima really bogs you down to the point where it's impossible to study the question banks. I'm going to have to reconsider my idea of going there. I've asked these things directly with Jose Ramos and Josie Santiano but they have never answered the questions directly or as honestly as you have.

    I think you will make a great PA, especially with having passed the Steps. In my eyes, you are good enough to be a doctor but it's unfortunate that a residency program didn't pick you up.

    Another question, do you know of ANYONE matching from Fatima in the last five years? The students I've asked on the Facebook group don't know and recent alum who has. Disconcerting!

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    Wow! I appreciate your honesty about your experience there. The worst part of this testimony is that you seem to have applied correctly in the Match, had good USMLE scores, and research experience at a US institution but still weren't able to match. My plan is to ace the Steps and get US clinical experiences with solid letters but it sounds like the curriculum at Fatima really bogs you down to the point where it's impossible to study the question banks. I'm going to have to reconsider my idea of going there. I've asked these things directly with Jose Ramos and Josie Santiano but they have never answered the questions directly or as honestly as you have.

    Thank you. I wanted to post my experience for many years now and I echo the sentiment of a pretty much every single one of my former batch mates and i'm sure other alumni. As I post this, I discredit over 4 years spent at Fatima Medical School earning the Doctor of Medicine, and the years after dealing with them, especially dealing with Josie.

    I am just happy I am free of Fatima hell and there is nothing they can do to me now.

    And if anyone reads this and decides to enroll in OLFU special class, you deserve what you get.


    I think you will make a great PA, especially with having passed the Steps. In my eyes, you are good enough to be a doctor but it's unfortunate that a residency program didn't pick you up.

    Thank you, I am in a great program now and so excited. Dedicating thousands of hours in doing question banks, reviewing and practice for the USMLE steps makes me condifent I can handle anything in my current PA program. I plan to make the most of this opportunity and make my school very glad that they accepted me.

    But even more, it feels real like I am in an academic institution for real health care professionals in training where students, teachers and administrators are all in it together to make us great P.A.'s. It's a feeling I didn't have at Fatima. Fatima was a struggle, with like a students versus the teachers/administration feeling.

    I had a number of interviews for various graduate programs and I feel my transcripts from OLFU and degree was actually a strike against me when applying. The majority of classes I took I received a US grade equivalent of B- to C- in equivelancy translation. When I first started applying, I defended that school and painted a rosy picture, but what got me accepted in to my current program was the truth. My last round of admissions essays all addressed the (lack of) ethical structure at Fatima. It seems kind of twisted, but my experiences at/with Fatima has made me a better person.


    Another question, do you know of ANYONE matching from Fatima in the last five years? The students I've asked on the Facebook group don't know and recent alum who has. Disconcerting!


    Possibly, but no one that I know of, ask Josie.
    Last edited by GiChel2017; 06-10-2014 at 11:43 PM.

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    Hey Gichel, I'm sorry you are having such a bad time post grad and residency matching. What year did you graduate so I'm curious if I know you or have met you before? I know it's tough but you shouldn't have used an agency in the first place since IT is possible to match into a program with using a middle man. Second of all, which states did you apply into? If you've been applying to programs in california, I am telling you right now, you are wasting your money. Cali is a no IMG zone. Beggars cant be choosers, when we signed to go to an international medical school, we knew what we were getting ourselves into. suburban hospitals in boondocks states has a higher chance of IMG acceptance rate. I know a couple of people who matched from fatima, but it has been a long time.

    I am not defending Fatima and I can understand your annoyance towards the school. I had my few shares of aggravation as well. I never failed any courses and never really utilized the remedial removal path, but I know several that have. I think its roughly 5000 pesos or 120 dollars for the exam currently. Still shady though but cant really do anything about it. Currently there are a lot of strong students graduating this year and the next and would be interesting to see the match rate for fatima for the upcoming years.

    If you could PM me your name FB or yahoo etc, I would love to talk to you, just to see whats going why you are having trouble matching.

    Currently with the batch I am in 2014, a lot of the students took the USMLE since it is now required for us to do so, although not sure about the grades a lot have passed. Furthermore, 70 percent of us are rotating in the US, some of which are extending in order to try to apply to california. each state requires specific amount of clerkship than others. Anyways looking forward to hearing from you.

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    In the US, if you are an itnernational medical student, whatever school you went to, you are still an IMG. I know a lot of students this year who came from philippines and match this year, and will be starting residency this july. must be doing something not right and im curious as to what,

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    Since I just saw the charting outcomes for the 2013 match, I'm going to share with you some numbers for applicants who went to med schools in the Philippines.
    Not sure where your school stands among med schools there, in 2013, 65 USIMG applied in the match and only 23 were successful (35%). And 52 out of 135 non-US IMG matched (38.5%). So last year, the total of 75 applicants from the Filipino schools matched.

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    Quote Originally Posted by medic101 View Post
    In the US, if you are an itnernational medical student, whatever school you went to, you are still an IMG. I know a lot of students this year who came from philippines and match this year, and will be starting residency this july. must be doing something not right and im curious as to what,

    I had completed my 4th year in the Philippines and completed a 3 month externship in the US following graduation. I had not submitted a residency application to any California hospital and a few states that are known to follow California guidelines. The firm I worked with work with many IMG/FMGs and are good at their jobs. After my lack of success in the matches and scrambles, they worked with me for free for years after, stuck with me, and helped me find a job which was a major contributing factor to the application of my current graduate program.

    If Fatima is doing more with USMLE preparation and helping students set up rotations in the US, that's a step in the right direction.

    I can not be certain how valuable doing 4th year rotation in the US is because many of my classmates had done so and none have become residents, although a good number of my classmates did not even attempt Step I after doing rotations. About 1/2 of my batch completed rotations in the US while at Fatima, 3 months, 12 months, longer. I would suggest you keep your focus on what is important right now for the match: USMLE and working with reputable US M.D.s to get quality LORs for your residency applications. When you are all done and have applied for match, don't sit on your laurels waiting and hoping, create an alternate career path as a backup i.e. prep for GRE, teaching, research opportunities, other health professions, other graduate schools.

    If you would like to know how successful the residency match has been for previous years at OLFU, then ask the registrar. They receive match results for OLFU graduate applicants through the NRMP.

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    Quote Originally Posted by medic101 View Post
    In the US, if you are an itnernational medical student, whatever school you went to, you are still an IMG. I know a lot of students this year who came from philippines and match this year, and will be starting residency this july. must be doing something not right and im curious as to what,
    Figure out what they are doing right and follow their lead!

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