The final stage in the residency process is the Match. You will need to register for a place in the Match through the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP®) before you start the interview process.

After interviews, you will rate all of the programs that you had interviews with in a rank order list from the most desired to the least desired. At the same time, programs will provide a rank order list of all of the candidates that they interviewed. Applicants are then matched by computer algorithm to the highest-ranking program on their list that offers them a position.

The order that you rank programs in is a critical step in the process. Make sure that you put careful consideration into your list. The Match is binding, so you cannot decline the residency you match into for another position. If you are unsure about any of the programs that you interviewed for, you may want to decide upfront if you would rather be unmatched than match into a residency that you don’t want.

If you don’t match, don’t despair! Not everyone will match into a position, and not every position that is left open is undesirable.

Applicants that do not match, and residency programs that have unfilled spaces can participate in the Match Week Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP). Candidates can try and find open slots in their chosen specialties, or consider changing specialties to a less competitive one with more openings. Candidates can also decide to take a year to gain experience that will make their applications more competitive for the next Match, including finding a transitional year program or focusing on research.