Post-Match SOAP 2017

What You Should Know Before the Post-Match SOAP

The Post-Match SOAP is a whirlwind of activity combined with long periods of waiting. It can be a very confusing and overwhelming time for residency candidates, especially if they were not anticipating being a part of SOAP.

Below are some final suggestions for navigating the Post-Match:

  • Set aside time for the Post-Match SOAP
    • Ask for time off work well in advance
    • Take care of anything that might get in the way such as laundry, work, or grocery shopping
    • You will want to be available Monday through Thursday of Match Week
  • Make sure your contact information is correct
    • Appropriate voicemail set up
    • Professional email address
  • Be prepared for a phone or Skype interview
    • Have Skype downloaded
    • Have a clear, clean, and quiet area set aside
    • Have an interview outfit picked out
  • Choose the programs you apply to very carefully. Review the requirements for each program to make the right choices.
  • If you get an offer, don’t let it go. You might not get a second chance
  • Get a support system in place. This is a good time to call in any favors and get all hands on deck to help you this week.
  • Leave one slot for potential opportunities.
    • If you know you have connections within a residency program (family, friend, or colleague), contact that person to keep an eye out for vacancies for you and hold an application for that program just in case   

With the Post-Match SOAP just around the corner, the best thing you can do to prepare yourself is to gather as much knowledge about the SOAP as you can.


Selecting Programs During the Post-Match SOAP

Selecting Programs During the Post-Match SOAP

At 11 a.m. (EST) on Monday, March 13th, residency candidates who participated in the Main Residency Match® through NRMP® will fall into one of three categories:

  1. Fully Matched – You have received a position that will give you full training for licensure (usually a Categorical position or Preliminary/Advanced combination)
  2. Partially Matched – You have received a position that will only partially complete your training for licensure (usually a Preliminary or Advanced position)
  3. Unmatched – You have not received any residency positions

If you are Fully Matched, congratulations! Your medical residency application season is over until 1 p.m. Friday, March 17th when you will learn where you have been placed. This is a good time to celebrate.

If you are Partially Matched or Unmatched and SOAP® eligible, you will be entering the Post-Match SOAP. Also at 11 a.m., those who are eligible will gain access to the List of Unfilled Programs from the NRMP® R3® system. Candidates will have 3 hours to pick and research programs– but selecting programs can prove to be very tricky. Not only do you want to ensure you qualify for the programs, but you will have to navigate through how to prioritize the 45 programs you are allowed.

To provide a little guidance, you can focus on programs in the order listed below:  

  1. Programs you have interviewed with in the past – It helps to have established prior history with a program, the better they know you, the better your chances of obtaining an offer during SOAP.
  2. Programs you have connections with – If you have any friends or family in a residency program, now is the time to politely ask if they might recommend you to the program if that program has a vacancy. Other types of programs you can consider are programs you have past history with such as programs you completed rotations or volunteer work in.   
  3. Fresh programs – These are programs you have not applied to this application season.
  4. Programs you have applied to in the past – These are programs you have applied to this season but did not receive any word from the program.

You should avoid:

  1. Programs you were rejected by during the Main Residency Match Season
  2. Programs you do not qualify for based on your professional background and the program’s requirements

It is incredibly important that you only apply to residency programs with requirements you fulfill. Some requirements to consider are USMLE exam scores, IMG vs US medical graduate, Visas, Time Since Graduation, etc.

You only get 45 maximum application opportunities to use during the Post-Match SOAP, and the most important part of the battle is selecting the most compatible programs. If you require any research assistance during the Post-Match, contact Electronic Residency by emailing or calling 858-299-2003 opt. 1.   


Post-Match SOAP Interviews

Post-Match SOAP Interviews

A common question many residency candidates may have about the Post-Match SOAP® is whether or not programs conduct interviews throughout the week of the Post-Match.  

The answer is yes.

After submitting your 45 applications, programs have three main ways of interviewing potential candidates throughout SOAP:

  1. In person (only for those who are local to the program)
  2. Over the phone
  3. Skype/other types of video chat

Most of the time, programs will contact residency candidates they are interested in through email first, so it is very important that you check your email (including your Junk/Spam Folder) often during the early part of Match Week.**

** Remember: Residency candidates are prohibited from initiating first contact with programs. Programs must initiate first contact.

Phone interviews are fairly straightforward. They are usually about 15 to 20 minutes with the same content and questions that are covered in regular interviews. The only real difference is you will not be able to read the interviewer’s body language and tone could be hard to interpret.

Tips for phone interviews:

  • Have your application materials printed out and on hand for quick reference
  • If you aren’t confident on the phone, practice with a friend to increase your comfort and skill
  • Make sure you have a quiet place to talk–  eliminate all distractions like the television
  • Be sure to take time and listen to your interviewer before speaking, don’t cut them off until they are done asking the question
  • Dress for an interview to put yourself in the right mindset, even if they can’t see you
  • Keep pen and paper around to write notes and stay focused
  • Just before the interview, drink some tea with honey or water to clear your throat
  • Do not hang up without establishing your next step.

Phone interviews are a little scary, but easy enough to manage if you are prepared. On the other hand, Skype interviews are a fairly new way of conducting interviews and some can find it intimidating to sit in front of the computer, on camera, trying to talk to a future employer.

Tips for Skype interviews:

  • Practice, practice, practice to gain familiarity in front of the camera
  • Remember, look at the camera, not the screen
    • If it helps, tape googly eyes next to the camera to know where to look interviewers in the “eyes”
    • Move the view window that shows the interviewer nearer to the camera
  • Have your application materials printed out and nearby but don’t be too obvious about looking at them
  • Have Skype downloaded beforehand with a professional username and icon
  • Pick a clean, quiet and well lit place to have the interview. Don’t forget what might be in the background!
  • Close all background programs on your computer
  • Right before the interview, take time to freshen up your hair and check your teeth
  • Dress for an interview, even if they can’t see your pants, it helps put you in the right mindset

For both interviews, do not forget to email a Thank You after the interview!

You might feel out of sorts because of the overwhelming nature of the SOAP, but it’s important to remember, SOAP interviews are similar to Main Match Season interviews in protocol. Prepare for the interview like you would any other interview, use your common sense, and you will be just fine.


Changes to the Post-Match SOAP

Changes to the Post-Match SOAP 2017

While the Post-Match SOAP® has been established since 2012, each year NRMP® and ERAS® make changes to the policies and procedures to ensure the SOAP continues running more smoothly with optimal results for residency candidates and residency programs.

This year was no exception.

The 2017 Post-Match SOAP will see a big change.

There will only be three Offer Rounds.

By far the biggest change residency applicants will encounter this year is the reduction from five total Offer Rounds to three.

Traditionally, NRMP has held six Offer Rounds. This number was reduced to five for the 2014 Post-Match SOAP. However, with a majority of positions being offered during the first two Offer Rounds, NRMP decided to eliminate the final two Offer Rounds.

How does this affect SOAP timing and residency candidates?

While the change is big, the impact is fairly minimal. The Post-Match SOAP will now conclude earlier at 11 a.m. (EST) Thursday, March 16, 2017. The final update for the List of Unfilled Programs will follow at 12 p.m. (EST).

In case any candidates are worried that less Offer Rounds means less offers, as long as there are positions to be filled, programs can easily adapt to less offer rounds. Therefore, there shouldn’t be any difference in the amount of offers.


10 Important Match Policies

10 Important Match Policies

The Post-Match SOAP® can be a difficult and frustrating few days. You wouldn’t want to make a tough situation worse by unwittingly breaking any of NRMP’s® policies. Below is a list of NRMP Policies to be aware of which affect residency candidates during the SOAP and the Main Residency Match®.

**Please Note: Breaking NRMP’s policies can lead to a violations investigation and subsequent 1 to 3 year, or permanent ban from NRMP. Candidates who are flagged by NRMP suffer greatly during following Match seasons.  

  1. You must be eligible for SOAP in order to participate.
    • Review eligibility requirements at:
    • SOAP-ineligible applicants may not apply to SOAP programs until after Thursday, March 16th at 11 a.m. (EST)
  2. Residency candidates may not initiate contact with programs
    • Programs must initiate first contact with candidates
    • Those acting on behalf of a residency candidate may not contact programs as well. For example, a medical school may not talk to a program to promote their student.  
  3. Those who are granted access to the List of Unfilled Programs MAY NOT SHARE THE LIST with any SOAP-ineligible    candidates
  4. SOAP participating candidates may not apply to programs outside of SOAP until after 11 a.m. Thursday, March 16th.
  5. If extended an offer during an Offer Round, you have two hours to Accept or Deny— after those 2 hours, or the offer will disappear.
  6. Accepting a residency position through the SOAP is a binding agreement to begin training at the residency program July 1st the year of The Match®
    • Unless you obtained a waiver
    • See NRMP for waiver requirements
  7. All SOAP residency program applications must go through ERAS®
  8. All applicants must provide complete and accurate, personal and professional information through their application
  9. Applicants cannot apply, discuss, interview with or accept any residency position outside of NRMP after the Rank Order Deadline (Feb. 22nd)
  10. Do not initiate a chargeback for any of NRMP’s fees. Applicants who attempt to chargeback NRMP will be banned from The Match

These are only the policies most relevant to the Main Residency Match® and Post-Match SOAP for residency candidates. Be sure to review the full Match Participation Agreement to make sure you fully understand what is expected of you as a residency candidate.

Tackling the First 4 Hours of Match Week

Tackling the First 4 Hours of Match Week

While you can click to view the full timeline for the Post-Match SOAP® here, it’s truly important residency candidates understand the tricky timing and limited nature of the Monday of Match Week.

One of two things with happen, Monday, March 13, 2017. Either you will be Fully Matched, or you will remain Unmatched/Partially Matched. If the first option happens, you can pop open a bottle of champagne and kick back until Match Day on Friday, March 17th. However, if the second option happens, you will be thrown into the Post-Match SOAP without a life vest.

To Summarize:

Time What Residency Candidates Should Be Doing
11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (EST)

Research Time

  • Check your Match Status
  • If not Fully Matched: Review the List of Unfilled Programs on NRMP’s® R3 System® and decide which programs to pick based on personal preferences and fulfillment of program’s criteria requirements
2 p.m. to 3 p.m. (EST)

The Golden Hour

  • Assign documents to your chosen programs
  • Review your 45 program application choices and make sure they are STRONG**
  • Apply to programs when you are sure you’re ready
3 p.m. (EST)

Application Release

  • Continue applying to the 45 programs that you assigned documents (ERAS® will release the prepared applications)
  • Continue checking your phone, email, NRMP, and ERAS accounts throughout Match Week

**STRONG program choices are those in specialties you have the right, specialty specific documents for (Personal Statement, Letters of Recommendation, etc.) and you fulfill the program’s application requirements.

As you can see, the first 4 hours of the first day of Match Week are time sensitive and limited. Unlike the Regular Match Season with unlimited program applications, you are only allowed 45 applications. You will need to squeeze a month’s worth of research into the first 3 hours in order to make the most of those 45 applications.

For Example:

Applicant A is an IMG who did not Match in the Main Residency Match®. They are prepared to apply to preliminary Internal Medicine programs and Family Medicine programs by having the right, specialty specific documents. Hypothetically, there are 40 programs in Internal Medicine and 60 programs in Family Medicine. This is far more than they are allowed to apply to so Applicant A must make their choices wisely. Applicant A wants to focus on IMG friendly programs that they have the right credentials to apply. But, there is NO WAY for Applicant A to visit 100 program websites and assign documents to their program choices in the time allotted. Applicant A ran out of time to research and applied randomly. They were immediately filtered out of 10 of their program choices and their SOAP chances were hurt very badly.

Applicant B is also an IMG participating in SOAP and aiming for preliminary Internal Medicine programs and Family Medicine programs. However, Applicant B was aware of the time sensitivity and decided to seek professional research help. Applicant B registered for Electronic Residency and activated the Internal Medicine and Family Medicine specialties. By simply searching with the 10-digit ACGME code or surfing by specialty, Applicant B was able to identify 45 strong, compatible programs to apply to in plenty of time.

With limited amount of program applications you can send out, each program choice you make must be golden. But, it is almost impossible to make well-informed choices in the time allowed and many applicants end up applying blindly to incompatible programs. Fortunately, services exist to help you complete your program research instantly.

Check out Electronic Residency to learn more about the SOAP, and see what the power of the right help can do to relieve stress and strengthen your Post-Match chances.



Letters of Recommendation for SOAP

Letters of Recommendation for SOAP

If you are reflecting on your Residency Application Season so far and you’re dissatisfied with the results, it may be possible that your application supporting documents were not doing you justice. While preparing for the Post-Match SOAP®, there are some aspects of your residency application that are worth revisiting to ensure your application is as strong as it can be. Two of the most important documents you can refresh, rewrite or replace are your Personal Statement and Letters of Recommendation.

Of course, the first step is to review data from last year’s SOAP to get an idea of which specialties might have vacancies and which specialties probably wont. This way, if you have the specialty specific documents already, you can just edit or revise them. Or, if you don’t have the documents, you can put them together.

For example, the specialties with the most vacancies in 2015:

  1. Preliminary General Surgery (448 positions)
  2. Family Medicine (155 positions)
  3. Preliminary Internal Medicine (94 positions)

Be sure to carefully compare the documents you have in hand to the specialties you are considering applying to in the Post-Match. It is especially important you start thinking about your Letters of Recommendation now because these can take time to ask new letter writers and for the writers to craft their letters.  

Almost every specialty likes to see at least one specialty specific Letter of Recommendation. If you do not have a Letter of Recommendation in the specialties you have identified from the previous SOAP year’s data, you should be sure to secure at least one per specialty. This will give you a great advantage over those who come into the Post-Match unprepared for the contingencies.  

Even if you already have Letters of Recommendation in your chosen specialties, it is most certainly worth the effort to refresh them. When it comes to Matching in the Post-Match, residency candidates cannot afford to leave any stones left unturned.

Addressing your Letters of Recommendation now will not only strengthen your overall application but also give you an edge over other residency applicants who are not as prepared.   


Post-Match SOAP Results Match 2016

Post-Match SOAP Results Match 2016

Now is a good time to begin reflecting on your season, and start making hard decisions based on the number of interviews you have (or have not) received. Depending on how well you perceive your residency application season to be going, you may want to start learning about the Post-Match Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program® (SOAP®). The Post-Match SOAP allows eligible candidates to apply to programs with unfilled positions.

Post-Match preparation starts with a few simple questions. One of which is: Are you prepared for any additional specialties you might be interested in applying to?

Wise residency candidates know they need specialty specific documents such as Letters of Recommendation or Personal Statements while applying to programs for the Main Residency Match®. However, this simple principle tends to get forgotten in the mad Post-Match rush. It is very important to assess the resources you have now and compare what you have to what you may need in order to successfully approach the Post-Match.

For example, a residency candidate prepared for and applied to Emergency Medicine programs for the Main Match. Unfortunately, the candidate only received one interview, so they think they may have to go through the Post-Match. The problem is there were no unfilled positions during the 2016 Post-Match SOAP. As an alternative, the candidate may want to consider applying to preliminary Internal Medicine unfilled positions which had 94 positions. That means, this candidate will want to prepare a fresh, Internal Medicine specific Personal Statement and try to get specialty specific Letters of Recommendation.

By reviewing the data from NRMP’s® Results and Data 2016 Main Residency Match®, those looking to participate in the Post-Match can better prepare to make the most out of the Post-Match.


(PGY-1) Participating Programs – 20

Positions Available – 51

Filled Programs – 17

Filled Positions – 48

(PGY-2)Participating Programs – 11

Positions Available -34

Filled Programs – 10

Filled Positions – 43


Child Neurology

(PGY-1) Participating Programs – 4

Positions Available – 5

Filled Programs -2

Filled Positions – 3

(PGY-2) Participating Programs – 10

Positions Available -11

Filled Programs – 1

Filled Positions – 1


Emergency Medicine

Participating Programs – 0

Positions Available -0

Filled Programs – 0

Filled Positions – 0


Family Medicine

Participating Programs -73

Positions Available -155

Filled Programs – 69

Filled Positions -150


Internal Medicine

(Categorical) Participating Programs -25

Positions Available -88

Filled Programs -23

Filled Positions -67



Participating Programs -43

Positions Available -94

Filled Programs -41

Filled Positions -92


Neurological Surgery

Participating Programs -1

Positions Available -2

Filled Programs -0

Filled Positions -1



(PGY-1) Participating Programs – 2

Positions Available – 3

Filled Programs – 2

Filled Positions – 3

(PGY-2) Participating Programs – 4

Positions Available -5

Filled Programs – 2

Filled Positions – 3



(PGY-1) Participating Programs – 8

Positions Available – 11

Filled Programs – 8

Filled Positions – 11

(Categorical) Participating Programs – 5

Positions Available -6

Filled Programs – 5

Filled Positions – 6



Participating Programs -14

Positions Available -24

Filled Programs – 14

Filled Positions -24



Participating Programs -8

Positions Available -14

Filled Programs – 8

Filled Positions -14


Physical Medicine & Rehab

(Categorical) Participating Programs – 1

Positions Available – 2

Filled Programs – 1

Filled Positions – 2

(PGY-2) Participating Programs – 4

Positions Available -5

Filled Programs – 4

Filled Positions – 5



Participating Programs -5

Positions Available -7

Filled Programs – 5

Filled Positions -7



(PGY-1) Participating Programs – 6

Positions Available – 10

Filled Programs – 6

Filled Positions – 10

(PGY-2) Participating Programs – 22

Positions Available -33

Filled Programs – 22

Filled Positions – 33


Radiation Oncology

(PGY-2) Participating Programs – 1

Positions Available -1

Filled Programs – 0

Filled Positions – 0



(Categorical) Participating Programs – 2

Positions Available – 2

Filled Programs – 2

Filled Positions – 2

(PGY-1) Participating Programs – 132

Positions Available -448

Filled Programs – 117

Filled Positions – 431


Transitional Year

(PGY-1) Participating Programs – 11

Positions Available – 42

Filled Programs – 10

Filled Positions -41


What is Post-Match SOAP?

What is the Post-Match SOAP?

The Post-Match Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program® (SOAP®) is a service offered by NRMP®, with applications transmitted through ERAS®. The Post-Match is an opportunity for residency programs to fill any vacant spots they may have after the Main Residency Match® and for residency candidates to fill those empty positions.

Simply put, the SOAP takes the whole residency application process and condenses it down to a mere few days.

For those who are unable to Match, or only partially Match to a preliminary or advanced position, the Post-Match SOAP can act as the next step to completing the Match Season and your requirements for full medical licensure in the US.

A Brief Overview:

The Post-Match SOAP takes place during Match Week from Monday until Thursday. You will receive an email the Friday prior to Match Week letting you know whether or not you are Post-Match SOAP eligible (this email does not indicate if you have Matched or not). Those who have conducted less than 10 interviews or have any other concerns about their chances to Match should make sure they fulfill the requirements for SOAP eligibility.

On Monday morning of Match Week, SOAP-eligible applicants will first learn their Match Status on NRMP. Then, they will be given the chance to view the List of Unfilled Positions provided by NRMP and select a maximum of 45 programs after researching each program for greatest compatibility. Finally, SOAP applicants will go to ERAS to prepare and submit their 45 applications for the programs they choose from the Unfilled List.

After candidates have had a chance to apply, programs will have the remainder of Monday and Tuesday to review applications and contact applicants. (Please note: Applicants are not allowed to initiate first contact with programs beyond submitting their ERAS application.) Starting Wednesday, NRMP will begin conducting a series of 2-hour long Offer Rounds where candidates will have a chance to Accept or Deny possible offers from programs.

The Post-Match SOAP will end at 11 a.m. (EST) Thursday, March 16th. NRMP will release a final, updated version of the List of Unfilled Programs to include non-SOAP participating programs.

The Road Ahead:

The Post-Match SOAP can be the most stressful part of the residency application process– especially if you are overwhelmed by the confusion of the SOAP process. You will need to prepare yourself in advance to have the best chance of Matching during the Post Match.

Electronic Residency is dedicated to answering your questions and helping you make the most of the Post-Match. Follow our info blog for tutorials, tips, and in-depth explanations.

If you have any questions about the Post-Match SOAP, be sure to contact the Post-Match experts at Electronic Residency by calling 858-299-2003 ex. 1 or emailing