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Match Week 2019 – What Happens Now?

March 11, 2019

Match Week 2019 – What Happens Now?

Match Week is finally here, with Match Day approaching on March 15. These events represent the culmination of the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) Main Residency Match®.

Match Week is a critical time when medical school students and graduates from the United States and around the world learn which U.S. residency programs they will train with during the next three to seven years.

NRMP created the objective program back in 1952 in order to provide a uniform time for both applicants and residency programs to make their training selections without pressure. In addition to the primary program, the NRMP also conducts fellowship matches for over 60 subspecialties through its Specialties Matching Service® (SMS®).

In 2018, the Main Residency Match program had 37,103 active residency applicants with 33,167 total positions available. Among last year’s applicants, 94.3% of U.S. allopathic seniors were matched to a post graduate year 1 (PGY-1) position, and three-quarters (78.3%) were matched to one of their top three PGY-1 choices. A total of 96.1% of the positions were filled.

The computerized mathematical algorithm behind the Main Residency Match program ensures that the process remains unbiased and objective for both the applying residents and residency programs. In fact, research on the NRMP algorithm was a basis for awarding the 2012 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences.

SEE How the NRMP Matching Algorithm Works (Video)

For applicants who do not match to a program, there are still options available, including the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program® (SOAP®) that begins on March 11. SOAP includes the positions that are left unfilled after the matching algorithm has been processed. These are then offered to eligible applicants through SOAP.

After months of research, applications and rankings, and verifications from soon-to-be medical school graduates, Match Week 2019 is now underway. Here are the main deadlines during this week:

2019 Main Residency Match® Week Calendar

MAR 11 - Match Week begins

  • Applicant “Did I Match?” and “Did My Program Fill?” information available at 11:00 a.m. ET
  • Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP) begins at 11:00 a.m. ET

MAR 14 - SOAP concludes at 11:00 a.m. ET

MAR 15 - Match Day!

  • Medical school Match Day ceremonies at 12:00 p.m. ET
  • Match results posted in the R3 system at 1:00 p.m. ET

*Information courtesy of the NRMP’s website, The Match.

What if you don’t match to a residency program?

The Student Doctor Network (SDN), a non-profit organization, advises unmatched medical school graduates to first go through the SOAP process. If that is not an option, they recommend deploying a plan that includes strong networking and a cold calling strategy.

Unmatched applicants can reach out to those in the medical community who may know of last-minute residency vacancies and openings. This can be done by cold calling, networking on professional social media sites like LinkedIn and reaching out to medical school contacts and faculty.

The American Medical Association’s Fellowship and Residency Electronic Interactive Database (FREIDA) website features a comprehensive Residency and Fellowship Database that you can use to build a list of programs to contact. This resource lists all graduate medical education programs in the United States that are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

A graduating medical student may want to create a simple script to use when calling residency programs. You can start with something as simple as: “Hello, my name is _____ and I graduated from ______ (medical school); do you have any post-graduate year 1 (PGY-1) positions available?”


Understanding Match Week

Final-Year Medical Residents Survey (2017)

MERRITT HAWKINS is the nation’s leading physician recruiting firm, placing physicians and advanced practitioners in jobs across the U.S. We also research and report on important trends in the healthcare workforce.


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