The Match process is a uniform system by which residency candidates and residency programs simultaneously “match” to fill first-year and second-year post-graduate training positions accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). The National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP®) instituted and maintains The Match system.
The Match provides a uniform process in that all the steps of the process are completed in the same fashion and at the same time by all applicants and participating institutions.
Almost all first-year positions in ACGME-accredited training programs participate in The Match. Candidates for residency positions in some subspecialty programs will participate in other matches. However, these candidates must also participate in the NRMP in order to secure a preliminary position for each of those specialties.
Read the AAFP In-Depth Analysis: Match Results in Family Medicine »
Matching to a residency program is a very involved process that lasts nearly a year.
Students create a personal profile in the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS®) system.
Residency programs create a profile in ERAS.
Residency programs receive student applications and select candidates for interview.
Onsite interviews are conducted.
Students rank their preferred programs in ERAS.
Residency programs indicate how many residency positions they will fill for the next academic year.
Match Day (3rd Friday in March)
Students "match" to residency programs as they receive invitations from residency programs via ERAS.
Download a detailed Residency Application Timeline and Checklist »(103 KB PDF)
All students seeking a residency position should enroll in The Match. Once enrolled, you are bound to abide by the terms of the NRMP process. However, if you are offered a position by an institution not participating in The Match (such as an osteopathic position or an unaccredited position) your dean of student affairs can withdraw the you before The Match deadline for changes.
Keep in mind that if at least one of the institution’s residency programs participates in The Match, all programs in that institution must offer positions to U.S. allopathic medical school seniors only through the NRMP or another national matching program.
Now is the time to begin learning about the details of The Match, the tasks you'll need to complete, and how to make the most out of this milestone in your career. The AAFP has helpful information available for each step in the process.
Learn more about:
For a comprehensive guide from start to finish of the Match process, including the timeline, process, and tips on ranking programs, download this all-in-one resource.
On Monday of Match week, you'll learn if you matched and to which program(s). If you didn't match immediately, there's still an opportunity to match to a program through the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program® (SOAP®).
The SOAP is an NRMP-run program that takes place during Match week to match any unfilled residency positions with unmatched applicants.There are eight rounds of offers in the SOAP from Monday through Thursday of Match week. SOAP matches are announced along with applicants who matched in the Main Residency Match on Friday. Positions fill quickly in the SOAP, and accepted offers create a binding commitment. If you participate in the SOAP, be honest, thorough, and critical in your assessment of programs and their offers before accepting.
Not everyone will match to a position, and it is not true that only “bad” programs do not fill. A program may not fill if its rank list is at odds with the applicants who ranked it, or if it is too short. There will likely be several programs with unfilled positions that you would find desirable. In some cases, it may mean accepting a position in another specialty that you were considering as a second choice or were considering as preparation for the next year’s Match. Your dean’s office is prepared to counsel students who do not match.
Learn more about the SOAP process on the NRMP website.(www.nrmp.org)(www.nrmp.org)
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Medical School & Residency
The Match Process