2017-18 Post-Match SOAP Season

Welcome to the 2018-19 Post-Match SOAP Season

With Rank Order Lists looming and Match Week a few short months away, it may be time for some residency candidates to begin thinking about the next step in the residency application process: Match Week and the Post-Match SOAP. While even considering the possibility of not matching into a residency program might seem painful, and maybe even a little scary, the most prepared residency candidates know that they should be ready to face whatever may happen on the Monday morning of Match Week. And, part of being the most prepared is to learn about the Post-Match SOAP.

The Post-Match Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP) hosted by NRMP® gives residency candidates who are either:

  1. Unmatched – Did not receive any residency program positions.
  2. Partially Matched – Matched into a preliminary (one year) program or an advanced program (starting at the PGY-2).

The chance to compete for the residency positions that went unfilled during the Main Residency Match®. Typically, +13,000 residency candidates apply for +1,000 positions across a variety of medical specialties. It is one of the final steps in the residency application cycle and can be overwhelming to face alone, especially if you are already in shock after learning your match results.  

It is important to understand that the Post-Match SOAP moves at lightning speed and condenses an entire application season into only a few short days. In fact, most of the action happens on the Monday of Match Week. The Post-Match SOAP takes place throughout Match Week and generally follows this timeline:

  • Monday: Learn Match status, (if SOAP eligible) receive List of Unfilled Programs from NRMP, research and choose 45 residency programs to apply to, log in to your ERAS account, and between 12 and 3 pm (EST) apply to the programs you have chosen.
  • Tuesday: Wait to hear from residency programs. Programs you applied to may contact you to hold short phone or Skype interviews to get to know you.
  • Wednesday: Offer Rounds 1 and 2 are held. The Offer Rounds are 2-hour windows where programs may submit residency position offers through NRMP. Once an offer round has concluded, any existing offers will expire.
  • Thursday: Offer Round 3 and SOAP concludes. After the final Offer Round ends, NRMP will release an updated List of Unfilled Programs that will also include unfilled residency programs that did not participate in SOAP. At that time, any residency candidate is allowed to contact the leftover programs to ask if they are still accepting applications.

As you can see, the Post-Match moves quickly, so understanding the process and preparing in advance can be crucial to successful participation.

As the Post-Match SOAP approaches, Electronic Residency will be updating existing articles or posting more informational articles to help residency candidates learn what they need to know about the Post-Match. There are additional Resources pages for more tips on how to prepare, more details about the SOAP process, and SOAP statistics available on the Electronic Residency website.

You are also welcome to reach out by sending an email to support@electronicresidency.com or calling (858) 299-2003.

Post-Match SOAP 2017

What You Should Know Before the Post-Match SOAP

The Post-Match SOAP begins with a whirlwind of activity followed by 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 the SOAP to begin with. There are small things residency candidate can take care of and keep in mind to make the SOAP process go more smoothly. Below are some final suggestions candidates can do in the days before the Post-Match to improve the process.

Last Minute Post-Match Tips

  • You might need to be prepared to apply to more than one specialty as the number of unfilled positions per medical specialty varies every year. For example, you may be prepared to apply to Pediatrics, but there were only 12 unfilled programs in Pediatrics last year which would leave you with 33 out of your 45 SOAP applications left to apply to. So, what do you do?
    • Make sure you have dedicated Personal Statements for at least two, if not three or more, specialties to ensure you can properly utilize all of your SOAP applications. You REALLY do not want to end up in a position of applying to General Surgery with a Family Medicine Personal Statement or vice versa. See an analysis of the unfilled positions per specialty at: http://blog.electronicresidency.com/…cal-specialty/
    • Additional, specialty-specific Letters of Recommendation are ideal, but difficult to get on short notice. If you cannot get a hold of more LoRs, at least try to use LoRs that are similar to the specialty. For example, using Internal Medicine letters for Pediatrics since they are both primary care specialties

 

  • Be sure to 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
    • At an absolute minimum, you will want to be available Monday, but ideally, it is best to be free through the Thursday of Match Week

 

  • Make sure your contact information is correct
    • Your voicemail should be professionally appropriate and set up. Without a voicemail, programs that try to call you may immediately move on
    • Use a 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
    • Read more about SOAP interviews at: http://blog.electronicresidency.com/post-match-soap-interviews/

 

  • Choose the programs you apply to very carefully. Programs still have minimum requirements during SOAP, so you will need to review the requirements for each program to make the right choices.
    • For example, if you are an International Medical Graduate (IMG), you do not want to waste any of the 45 maximum SOAP applications on a program that does not accept IMGs. Or, if you need a visa, you will not want to apply to a program that does not accept J-1 or sponsor H1-B visas.

 

  • Do not rush you initial SOAP applications. The NRMP Unfilled List of Programs will become available at 11 a.m. (EST) to start researching programs. Then, you will have from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. (EST) to continue researching, selecting programs and applying. It makes no difference whether you apply at 12 p.m. or wait until 2:45 p.m. as ALL submitted SOAP applications will be released to programs at the same time (3 p.m.). So, take enough time to ensure you are applying to the right programs with the correct supporting documents.

 

  • If you get an offer, don’t let it go. The Post-Match SOAP is not a good time to be picky, and you might not get a second opportunity. Since an application is binding, do not apply to any programs you absolutely cannot see yourself being a part of.

 

  • 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.

 

  • (Optional) 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

 

  • In this last few days, take care of yourself. Try to do stress-relieving activities such as reading, watching TV, or whatever you do to relax.

Of course, in the last days before the Post-Match SOAP, the absolute best thing you can do to prepare yourself is to gather as much knowledge about the SOAP as you can.

(Content updated March 7, 2018.)

 

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 support@electronicresidency.com or calling 858-299-2003 opt. 1.   

 

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 12, 2018. 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 16th. However, if the second option happens, you will be thrown into the Post-Match SOAP without a life vest. (Remember, unmatched means you did not obtain any residency position and partially matched means you matched into either a preliminary position or advanced position.)

Summarizing the First Four Hours

Time

What Residency Candidates Should Be Doing

11 a.m. to 12 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
12 p.m. to 3 p.m. (EST)

The Golden Hours

  • Search the programs you have chosen from the List of Unfilled Programs within ERAS when it opens at 12 p.m. (EST)
  • 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 (While you can technically apply to programs from 12 p.m. to the end of SOAP, it is highly suggested that you apply before 3 p.m. to be among the first group of applicants). 
3 p.m. (EST)

Application Release

  • Continue applying to the 45 programs that you assigned documents (ERAS® will release the prepared applications at 3 p.m.)
  • 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 four 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 a maximum of 45 applications. You will need to squeeze a month’s worth of research into the first three hours in order to make the most of those 45 applications.

SOAP Case Scenarios 

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 a 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.

(Content Updated: February 9, 2018)