March brings a huge milestone for medical students. On the third Friday of the month, they’ll experience Residency Match Day. While it’s an important point in your journey as an IMG, understandably, a lot of students don’t fully understand how the medical resident match works. Let’s dive into some of the details!
How Medical Residency Match Works for IMGs
On Match Day, the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP) shares the results for all of the applications submitted for residency training within the United States for their desired specialties. In other words, this is when medical students learn what residency program they’re going to take part in. Finishing your program is so important because it’s required if you want to get your medical license.
Match Day was launched in the 1950s because spots were so competitive that it became necessary to have a concrete system for putting students in the appropriate programs. Today, that competition is alive and well! Students are able to start submitting applications on September 15th each year, using the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS). To position yourself as a desirable candidate, you need to submit your:
- Application for the ERAS.
- Letters of recommendation.
- Medical school transcript.
- USMLE/COMLEX-USA transcript (your licensing exam).
- Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE).
- Personal statement.
You can submit applications to multiple residency programs, but do note that quality is as important as quantity.
What Happens After Your Submit Your Materials for Residency Match?
The next step is the interview process! Between October and February, residency programs schedule interviews with desirable candidates. IMGs should plan to travel to these hospitals, tour the facilities, and meet with the program members. (The pandemic meant that a lot of these interviews became virtual. Check with the individual programs you applied to!)
From here, you’ll create your Ranked Order List (ROL), as will the program directors. The NRMP uses these results, along with the R3 (Registration, Ranking, and Results) to ultimately match medical students and residency programs.
Unfortunately, there will be some applicants who don’t match. However, this isn’t the end of the road. The Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP) is another opportunity to match that happens between the Monday and Thursday of Match Week. This is when any unfilled positions will be offered to students who still need to enroll in a residency program.
Tips for a Successful Residency Match
This is a stressful time for future physicians! Here are a few simple tips to help you along the way.
- Keep your options open. Apply to a few different residency programs and attend all interview opportunities.
- Keep tabs on the American Medical Association (AMA) Open Residency & Fellowship Position page.
- Start your application materials early. Give yourself plenty of time for things like your personal statement. This is yet another opportunity to shine.
Do you need extra guidance and support with your residency match? C.H.H.A is here to help IMGs build a competitive U.S. residency application and prepare for their interviews. Contact us today to learn more about how we can work together.