Wednesday, March 14, 2012
This Week's News
SOAP replaces the scramble in this year's Match
Finding an open residency slot should be a more equitable process for qualified medical students and international medical graduates who weren't initially matched in the National Residency Matching Program's Main Residency Match this year with the advent of the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP).
Kicking off Match Week on Monday, approximately 31,000 applicants found out whether they had been matched to one of the 24,000 available residency positions.
In previous years, those who were not initially matched would then participate in what has been known as the "scramble." Upon learning of their unmatched status, applicants would scramble to contact residency programs, vying for unfilled positions during a free-for-all frenzy. Phone and fax lines for the residency programs would become clogged, and open positions would be filled haphazardly rather than based on applicants' qualifications and preferences.
This year, the SOAP takes away the chaos and provides a uniform, standardized process intended to help qualified applicants find an open residency slot that will be a good fit for them.
Under the new process, unmatched applicants may not contact residency programs with unfilled positions. Rather, the applicants on Monday received a list of the unfilled positions so they could research the residency programs before the programs began extending offers to their preferred applicants. Offers will be extended Wednesday through Friday. To accommodate this schedule, Match Day has been moved from Thursday to Friday this year.
As they would have already done when selecting their preferred programs prior to Match Week, most unmatched applicants are turning to the AMA's FREIDA Online® database to determine which residency programs they would accept an offer from.
The database is an invaluable source of information about more than 9,000 graduate medical education programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, as well as nearly 100 combined specialty programs. Applicants can easily search by specialty, location, size, setting and other criteria. FREIDA provides important details about each program, including faculty data, educational opportunities the programs offer in addition to residency training, average duty hours per week and employment benefits.
Whether before or during Match Week, FREIDA Online plays an integral role in helping medical students and international medical graduates identify residency programs that might be best for them.
Regardless of how they arrived at their positions—through the main Match or the SOAP—all of this year's new residents will celebrate on Friday, the new Match Day.