• Understanding the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program

    On Monday of Match week, you'll learn if—but not where—you matched. If you didn't match, there's still an opportunity to match to a residency program through the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program® (SOAP®). SOAP matches are announced along with applicants who matched in the Main Residency Match on Friday.

    What is the SOAP?

    The SOAP is a National Resident Matching Program-run system that takes place during Match week to match unfilled residency positions with eligible unmatched applicants. There are typically eight rounds of offers in the SOAP from Monday through Thursday.

    Unmatched applicants can find a list of unfilled programs in the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS®). Programs and applicants participating in the SOAP are required to use this service to express interest and to make and receive offers for positions. Any contact outside of ERAS during the SOAP is considered a Match violation. 

    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.

    Why don’t some programs 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.

    How many applicants match in the SOAP?

    Nearly all remaining residency positions are filled during the SOAP. See what happened in last year’s SOAP. Get the latest numbers in the AAFP’s Strolling Through the Match to learn how many applicants typically match through the SOAP.

    Although the odds of matching in the SOAP are very good, they are dramatically lower for applicants who skip the main residency interview season and opt for a SOAP-only approach.

    What should I do if I don’t Match?

    Your dean’s office is prepared to counsel students who do not match. Stay in contact with mentors and advisors, and find ways to build on your education by participating in research or working in a volunteer or employed position in a medical setting. Continue to build your curriculum vitae as you re-strategize for next year’s match.