Posts Tagged 'National Resident Matching Program'

Advice for the National Resident Matching Program (Part II: Tips)

In the previous post, we talked about the importance of the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) and the algorithm that determines resident placements. In this post, we’ll discuss some of the best strategies to assist medical school graduates in succeeding in the Match.

Do your research: Although it goes without saying for many dedicated medical students, it is extremely important to learn as much as you can about potential residency programs in the United States. Each program has its own specialties, procedures, and personnel, which can have a profound impact on the medical residency experience. Similarly, you can maximize your efficiency and chances of success by identifying those programs to which you are most likely to earn admission.

Prepare for interviews: After you submit your applications, residency programs may decide to invite you in for an interview. The interview is your last chance to make a good impression on residency program directors, so it is important to be well prepared. Learn as much as you can about the history and operations of the program, as it will demonstrate a willingness to take initiative and go the extra mile. Emphasize the significance of your accomplishments without boasting and describe your resume in terms of its applicability to the position at hand.

Carefully consider your rank order list: The Match algorithm relies on rank order lists submitted by applicants and residency programs. Take into account all types of factors when deciding which programs to include. Although several applicants have attempted to “game” the system in the past, it is best to submit an accurate list with your true preferences represented. If you do not wish to attend a particular residency program, do not include it on your list. However, it is important to include all residency programs that you would attend if accepted. Keep in mind that the inclusion of additional residency programs has no bearing on the likelihood of gaining acceptance to programs higher on the list.

Be prepared for the Scramble: On Tuesday afternoon of Match week, unmatched applicants have the opportunity to contact residency programs with vacant spots and attempt to secure a position. Although the majority of students receive a match the first time around, it is nevertheless important to be prepared for the possibility of having to participate in the Scramble. Waste no time in contacting residency programs, as positions are likely to fill up quickly.

To learn more about the National Resident Matching Program, visit the website at


Advice for the National Resident Matching Program (Part I: About the Match)

Every March, medical school seniors and graduates across the world eagerly await the results of the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP). Better known as the Match, the NRMP is a nonprofit organization that assigns candidates to open slots in American residency programs. Established in 1952 as a way to improve upon the decentralized matching process, the Match now receives full support from organizations such as the Council of Medical Specialty Societies (CMSS), the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), and the American Hospital Association (AHA).

Because the Match is the only way for students to earn positions in graduate medical education (GME), competition among applicants is often fierce and requires months, if not years, of advance planning. Students begin the Match process by identifying the residency programs they would like to attend and completing applications for those hospitals. Although many schools require candidates to participate in the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS), a common medical residency application, a small number of programs maintain their own distinct application procedures. After candidates complete the application process, residency programs review the applications and select students to invite back for interviews. After interviews are complete, candidates are ready to enter the Match.

The Match uses an algorithm based on rank order lists, submitted by both residency programs and medical school graduates. The algorithm proceeds by analyzing each student’s list of preferences and attempting to place him or her with the highest-ranked residency program on the list. If a residency program also includes a candidate on its list of preferred candidates, the student will be tentatively matched with the program; otherwise, the algorithm will try the same thing for each of the other schools on the student’s list. The Match will continue to match students with their desired residency programs until they fill up, at which point a student who ranks higher on the program’s list than another student will take his or her spot, bumping the bottom candidate from the list and causing the algorithm to start over again for that student.

If students do not earn a match, they must participate in a process known as the Scramble, where candidates attempt to secure a spot at a residency program with an open position. Because there is a great deal at stake during the Match, it is extremely important to prepare well and utilize the most optimal strategies when composing rank-order lists. Check out the next post for some tips to chances of success in the Match.

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