The Ins and Outs of Residency Matching

AmeriClerkships Medical Society offers assistance to overseas-trained medical students and graduates so they can more effectively compete with American-trained graduates for residency placements. Iranian medical professional Dr. Pedram Mizani founded AmeriClerkships after experiencing firsthand the difficulties associated with finding U.S.-based residency programs for foreign-trained doctors.

Matching residency candidates with placements can be a competitive and stressful process. If conducted through the National Residency Matching Program, candidates create a list of preferred residency programs and then submit an electronic application through ERAS, and the NRMP system uses an algorithm to match available residencies with willing candidates. Those applicants who are not matched to a residency through this system then experience what is known as “the scramble,” a period of time following Match Day where the unsuccessfully matched applicants “scramble” to locate and apply for whatever positions remain unfilled.

Some programs offer pre-matching agreements, where the candidates sign work contracts prior to match day. Others use programs to get the list of unfilled positions and spend their time working through the list in the hope of obtaining a contract. The list is typically revealed at noon on a day during match week, and candidates may contact residency programs immediately. In 2008, it was shown that more than half of the unfilled residencies had been filled within four hours of the list being released.


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