Step 3: Match

Getting Your Residency Match

Austin Kosier MD provides information about the residency match process
Austin Kosier MD provides information about the residency match process

Residency Match

I've Completed My Interviews, What's Next?

Congratulations! You have now completed your interviews, and the match process begins. 

What is the Match Process?

The Match begins once interview season is over. 

The Match is the process in which a medical student finds out which program they will attend for residency (which program they "matched" into), and residency programs will find out which medical students will comprise their incoming residency class.

Your Rank Order List

Once interview season is complete, you will prioritize your preferred residency programs by creating a list of the institutions you interviewed with starting with your top choice.

This list is known as your "rank order list".

Keep in mind that if you applied to a program but were not invited for an interview, then that program is highly unlikely to rank you on their list. 

Therefore, most students only rank the programs they interviewed with.

You could match at any program you rank.

Do not rank a program you are unhappy with or unsure about, unless you would prefer to be at that program rather than go unmatched. 

Once you match into a program, you are required to attend it. 

While you are not required to rank every program you interview with, you can only match into a program you rank.

Therefore, you want to make sure your rank order list is sufficient enough to match. 

Residency Program Rank Order List

While you are creating a rank order list of your preferred programs, residency programs are doing the same of their preferred applicants. 

Residency programs rank their preferred applicants, starting with the candidates they would most like to attend their program. 

The Match

Most matches occur through the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP).  

Once rank order lists are submitted by medical students and residency programs, then a computer algorithm compares all lists and pairs medical students with residency programs. 

While the algorithm is complex, it typically pairs a medical student to their highest ranked program that has in turn ranked them as an applicant. 

You are required to attend the residency program you match into, even if it is not your first choice.  

What Factors Should I Consider When Ranking?

There are many factors to consider when creating your rank order list. 

Some variables may include (but are not limited to) geographic location, interview experience, length of residency program, curriculum, proximity to family, overall impression of the program, etc. 

The best way to go about ranking your programs is to list the top 3 factors that are most important to you. 

For example, maybe geographic location, curriculum, and proximity to family is most important to you. 

Categorize the programs into which ones meet all 3 criteria, which ones meet 2 of the criteria, which ones meet 1 criterion, and which ones meet no criteria. 

You can then prioritize the specific programs within each group by considering your fourth and fifth most important factors. 

When is Match Day?

Match Week occurs the third week of March during your final year of medical school.

You will be notified Monday of Match Week whether you have matched or not. 

Match Day is the Friday of Match Week in which applicants find out which residency program they will be attending.  

Likewise residency programs find out which candidates matched to their institution. 

What if I Don't Match?

Unfortunately there are usually more applicants than there are available residency positions. 

As a result, some applicants do not match into a residency program. 

Unmatched applicants can enter the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP), in which they have the opportunity to fill an available position at a residency program who still has openings after Match Day. 

As mentioned above, you will be notified Monday of Match Week as to whether you matched or not. 

If you have not matched, you can start submitting your ERAS application later that day and programs will start offering positions. 

SOAP concludes on Thursday of Match Week. 

View information about the ERAS application below. 

How Does Couples Match Work?

Any 2 individuals who want to match at the same residency program can register for the Match as a couple. 

You will first enroll into the Main Residency Match system individually. Then one individual will send a couples request to the other who will then accept the request.

This will indicate to the Match system that you want to participate as a couple. 

You will list pairs of programs when creating your rank order list. 

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