Exclusive Residency Insights From the Head of the NRMP

Ryan Syrek, MA


December 07, 2018

Medscape: Do you have any advice for what students should do immediately after they Match?

Signer: Besides celebrating? Well, they need to start the onboarding process with the institution. Sometimes they'll get a congratulatory email on Match Day that tells them about the onboarding process, particularly if it's a remote institution, an institution away from where they currently live. They need to start thinking about moving and about obtaining a state medical license.

Most important, they need to be sure that they finish the academic year strongly, because with any kind of academic problem, the medical school is required to update the Medical School Performance Evaluation. They don't want anything to happen in those last few months of medical school—either academic or personal—that will be a problem in beginning their residency training.

Medscape: What about those who fail to match? Do you have advice for them?

Signer: Obviously, they should participate in the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP), where applicants who are completely unmatched or who are partially matched can try to obtain one of the positions that did not fill when the matching algorithm was processed. That's their first option. After that, it may be that their medical school can help them find a position or that there will be a position in their own medical school that is still available.

If that doesn't work out, they need to think about how they can enhance their qualifications for the next year's Match. That might be participating in research in their specialty of choice. That would be one option. It is always difficult when a student doesn't match. The number of students who don't have a position when SOAP concludes and after the first several weeks post-SOAP is really relatively small.

Medscape: Do you have a favorite Match Day story?

Signer: One of my favorites is from the University of South Florida. As you know, on Match Day each student receives an envelope with a letter from the NRMP that lists the program or programs where they matched. At this particular Match Day, included with that was a letter from a student's boyfriend proposing to her. Usually, the family is on the stage with the applicant. At the point she opened the letter, her boyfriend got down on his knee and had a ring for her at the same time she opened the letter. That is my favorite story.


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