What is the National Resident Matching Program? | PCOM Match Day
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What is the National Resident Matching Program or The Match?

March 12, 2024

Smiling medical student holds sign announcing she has matched to a residency program.Scheduled annually, the National Resident Matching Program©, also known as The Match©, is a uniform system of matching graduating medical students to residency programs in the United States. A private, non-profit organization, the NRMP was established in 1952 to provide a fair system of matching residents to programs.

Students who apply to residency programs in the military, ophthalmology or urology matches participate in placement programs separate from the NRMP, however the majority of residency programs utilize the NRMP match system.

What is Match Day?

Match Day, the primary day students find out where they will spend their next three to five years, usually occurs on the third Friday in March. According to Tina Woodruff, EdD, PCOM’s senior advisor to the provost, Match Day is a culmination of many months of work on the part of students and residency program directors. And the work continues for applicants who may still be looking for a graduate medical education position and for program directors who have remaining open positions.

How does Match Day work?

The system works this way: Medical students, who anticipate graduating before July 1 of a program year and plan to pursue a specialty, register to participate in the NRMP placement system for the approximately 39,000 funded residency positions in the United States. Students who delayed pursuing a residency program in previous years may also register to match.

According to the NRMP website, the students pay a fee to rank a certain number of programs. For an extra fee, students may rank additional programs up to a maximum of 300. Students apply for residency positions in their specialty of choice and are invited to interview with the residency directors and others either in person or online. Students then rank programs in order of their preference and the programs rank the students they have interviewed.

Using a mathematical algorithm, students and programs are matched. Students who are not matched receive notification the Monday before Match Day. In some cases, students choose not to enter the NRMP.

What happens if medical students don’t match?

Students desiring a residency program get to work with their school’s advisors who will receive information about unfilled residency spots. This process is called the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program or SOAP. The students then apply directly to the programs they are interested in, interview either in person or online and match to their program of choice.

Students who enter the SOAP may consider specialties that weren’t originally on their list. A major factor impacting students matching to their top choice is that while medical schools have increased the number of students they accept and as more medical schools have opened, the number of residency programs have not increased at the same pace.

Do DOs match to the same residency programs as MDs?

Yes. All medical school students apply for the same residency positions. Prior to 2020, separate matches and residency programs existed for some osteopathic students (DO) and allopathic students (MD). Now all medical students compete for positions in the same programs.

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  • About PCOM Georgia

    Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a branch campus of Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM), a private, not-for-profit, accredited institution of higher education with a storied 125-year history dedicated to the healthcare professions. Located in Suwanee (Gwinnett County), PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy and physical therapy. Graduate degrees are offered in biomedical sciences, medical laboratory science and physician assistant studies. The campus joins PCOM South Georgia in Moultrie in helping to meet the healthcare needs of the state. Emphasizing "a whole person" approach to care, PCOM Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service to the community. For more information, visit pcom.edu or call 678-225-7500. The campus is also home to the Georgia Osteopathic Care Center, an osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic, which is open to the public by appointment. For more information, visit pcomgeorgiahealth.org.

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    Jamesia Harrison, MS
    Assistant Director, News and Media Relations
    Email: jamesiaha@pcom.edu
    Office: 678-225-7532 | Cell: 470-572-7558

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