Editor's note: This post was originally published March 13, 2017 and has been updated for Match Week 2018.
The Match is something every doctor remembers. Years of school, intense study and preparation lead to this moment when medical students learn where they will spend their next three to eight years or more in specialty training.
Match Week 2018 is around the corner, with Match Day on Friday, March 16th. To all medical students heading into Match Week — congratulations! No matter what happens, you’ve worked hard to get here and should be proud of your accomplishments.
What to Expect from Match Week
You’ve probably heard your share of stories about The National Resident Matching Program (better known as The Match). It’s a week of excitement and nerves, culminating in celebrations as med students find out if they were matched to a residency program (or programs)— and make critical decisions about their futures.
- On Monday of Match Week, applicants will find out if they were matched during the Main Residency Match.
- If there isn’t a match then, there’s still a chance to match to a program through SOAP — the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program — from Monday through Thursday.
- All matches are announced on Friday — Match Day! This includes SOAP matches along with applicants matched in the Main Residency Match.
Getting Through the Scramble…
Many students will not match to a position immediately, which is why SOAP takes place during Match Week. SOAP participants assess programs with open positions through eight rounds of offers, and it’s likely there will be several desirable positions still available. It’s simply untrue that only “bad programs” have positions left after the Main Residency Match.
Keep in mind that positions fill up quickly at this time. However, accepted offers create binding commitments—so try to avoid making a hasty decision. Be thorough in your consideration before accepting any program offer.
You may find yourself faced with some tough decisions after you rip open your envelope. The Match could mean accepting a position in a specialty other than your first choice. For many graduating students, matching means relocating. Be sure to talk to your dean’s office if you need counseling on any specifics of The Match.
Best of luck to all medical students! Happy Match Week!