The High Stress World of the Residency Match

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Session 125

Session 125

What is a MATCH?

  • How you as a medical student gets selected to a residency you applied to
  • You go through similar application process and they look at your Board Scores
  • With MATCH, you have some time to create a rank list and you rank to what programs (however many) are best suited for you.
  • A computer algorithm then takes the rank list from residency programs and matches it to the rank list from all the applicants. The computer then generates the results according to your match.
  • A couple days later, you get the envelopes and you find out where you matched.
  • It’s a “dual” recruitment, they are recruiting you and you are recruiting them. You get to wine and dine with them and let them get to know you. You also need to rank them as they need to rank you.
  • Strict rules about the process: You’re not allowed to solicit information from the program and the programs are not allowed to solicit information from you.


Did you know that…

The people that created this algorithm won the Nobel Prize in Economics for this.

What happens if you didn’t match?

You will find it a couple days before the regular match and you have to SCRAMBLE into an open spot where you will go into a website and apply for programs that are still open. Ask assistance from your advisers and mentors to help you out.

What the hosts think…

Ryan thinks it’s cruel. Allison thinks it’s ingenious.

Out of thousands of medical students in the country and thousands of  residency programs in all different medical specialties, somebody has to figure out how to get the applicants into the programs that they want most. And for the most part, it is successful.

Different presentations vary from school to school:

  • Some schools open the letter together, usually at noon where where a lot of schools across the country throw a party (and they open the letters together)
  • Other schools make you stand in front of the stage and announce where you matched publicly.

Couple’s Match

The algorithm puts both you and your spouse or partner together in a way that they take your rank list and your partner’s rank list and match them together line by line.

SCRAMBLE is now being called SOAP

SOAP stands for Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program

So what happens?

On a Monday, you get an email that says either “Congratulations! You’ve matched.” or “Sorry about your luck you haven’t matched.”

So students who did not match at noon have access to a website that shows them all of the unfilled spots so they could start applying to the spots a couple hours later. It’s “free for all” from there.

The students that matched will wait till Friday noon and everybody opens their letters.

Ryan says…

If you apply to a medical school and get an interview with them and it’s the only school that you’re accepted to and you’re upset? Don’t apply to that school. And the same goes for residency.


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