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Match Week for Medical Students: What to Expect

The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) officially starts on March 14, 2022. The seven-day period is more commonly called Match Week, and is known to medical school students as the most stressful week of their entire career.

The week culminates in Match Day, which is the single day when every medical school student finds out where they will (or won’t) be completing residency training. While all students who graduate are considered Medical Doctors (MD), they’re not considered fully licensed physicians who can practice in clinical settings until they complete residency. Thus, the residency program that students get into on Match Day has an immense impact on the rest of their (hopefully less stressful) careers.

Match Day Rankings

Each year, some 50,000+ medical school graduates apply for 10,000+ residency and fellowship programs.

Despite having more than 10,000 potential programs to get into, competition and stress are fierce during Match Week. Not everyone gets accepted to a program — 44,959 registrants applied for only 37,256 available residency positions in 2020.

The NRMP uses an advanced mathematical algorithm to place all students who are accepted into programs. The algorithm is one of the most advanced used in academia, and the research conducted when developing it earned the 2012 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences.

All matched applicants and programs are automatically entered into a binding commitment once the algorithm matches them. Thus, applicants should carefully consider their top preferred programs.

Graduates who aren’t matched with a program can participate in the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP). This program lets unmatched graduates apply for unfilled residency positions, thus getting a second chance at securing the all-important residency.

Of course, SOAP positions generally aren’t as desirable as those assigned by the Main Residency Match (MRM). When faced with waiting another year or not attending residency, however, many unmatched graduates apply through the supplemental program.

Match Week

Match week is always the third week in March, which happens to begin on March 14th in 2022.

The start of the week is Black Monday, when students find out whether they are matched via email. Those who learn that they aren’t matched immediately know they’ll be applying through SOAP if they still want a residency position. Those who learn they are matched can breathe a little easier but don’t know whether they secured their preferred residency until Match Day.

Those who are accepted through SOAP find out at the end of this week whether and where they’re accepted, just as graduates who are matched through the MRM do.

At 12:00 p.m. EST on Friday — Match Day — all accepted medical school graduates receive an envelope that contains the hospital where they’re accepted (and now committed) to residency. Residencies last between 3 and 7 years, depending on specialty and program.

How to Celebrate on Match Day 2022

Match Day is a personal, intimate, and emotional day. Even though you’ll already know whether you’re accepted to a residency program, finding out which program brings feelings of elation to most students (although more mixed feelings to some).

However you feel about the residency program that you’re accepted to, you can celebrate knowing that you’ll be able to continue on toward the goal of practicing medicine in a clinical setting. You also now know your future for the next few years.

Tell family and close friends as you like, but also take time to let trusted mentors know where you’re accepted. They’ve invested a great deal in you and will want to know what your future beholds. This is also a time to say thank you, and tell them what they’ve meant to you.

You’ll remember this moment for a lifetime. Your mentors have helped you get here, and they want to enjoy the moment with you. They’ve invested in your work too, after all.

Good Luck to All From VISTA Staffing

If you’re applying to residency programs, you’ve accomplished a great deal already. We at VISTA Staffing can’t wait to see where you go next. Best of luck during Match Week!

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