Selecting Programs During the Post-Match SOAP

Selecting Programs During the Post-Match SOAP

Thinking about the Post-Match SOAP 2022? At 9 a.m. (EST) on Monday, March 14th, 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

Partially Matched or Unmatched candidates who are SOAP® eligible should consider participating in the Post-Match SOAP.

If you’re eligible, you’ll receive the List of Unfilled Programs from the NRMP R3 system. Candidates will have 23 hours to research programs. This can prove to be very tricky. Not only do you want to ensure your applicant criteria (USMLE scores, visa requirements, time since graduation) are aligned with programs’ requirements, you should prioritize the 45 programs you can apply to.

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 – Consider programs you have past history with such as programs you completed rotations or volunteer work in. You cannot contact them, but it’s possible they will remember your name and the time you spent there.
  3. Fresh programs – Programs you have not applied to this application season.
  4. Programs you have applied to in the past – Programs you applied to this season but did not interview with.

You should avoid:

  1. Programs that send you rejections 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 application opportunities to use during the Post-Match SOAP. The most important part of the process is selecting the most compatible programs. 

This is where Electronic Residency’s Program Compatibility Search (PCS) can help. You can compete in the Post-Match SOAP with our residency program compatibility search engine. It helps you select residency programs during the Post-Match with speed and accuracy. Simply search programs’ ACGME numbers (obtained from NRMP’s List of Unfilled Programs) in the PCS system for instant compatibility results.

If you aren’t confident about your Personal Statement (which should be specialty-specific), we can help with that too. Simply visit us at for assistance editing and optimizing your Personal Statement.

If you require any research assistance during the Post-Match, contact Electronic Residency by emailing or calling 858-299-2003

Post-Match SOAP Interviews

Post-Match SOAP Interviews

What You Need to Know about Interviews During the Post-Match SOAP

One of the most common questions many residency candidates may have about the Post-Match SOAP® is whether or not residency programs conduct interviews during Match Week for the Post-Match SOAP.   

The answer is yesAfter submitting your maximum 45 SOAP applications, programs may reach out to request a virtual interview.

Most of the time, programs will contact residency candidates they are interested in through email, so it is very important to check your email (including your Junk/Spam Folder) often during the early part of Match Week. However, programs can also contact you directly over the phone or through your ERAS account, so be sure to keep an eye on not only your listed email but also your phone and ERAS account.

** Remember, residency candidates are prohibited from initiating first contact with programs. Programs must initiate first contact.

Post-Match Virtual Interviews

Today, virtual interviews have become the norm. If you don’t have much experience interviewing virtually, you’ll want to practice in the days leading up to the SOAP.  You can do this with a trusted friend or family member. Also, consider signing up for our Interview Prep package, which includes detailed AI feedback on your performance during a recorded sample response.

Tips for Virtual 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
  • Be familiar with all your application materials
  • Have Zoom/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! If there are going to be other people around, let them know you will be having an important interview
  • Close all background programs on your computer
  • Right before the interview, take time to freshen up your hair and check your teeth
  • Dress professionally

Post-Match Phone Interviews

Phone interviews are fairly straightforward. As such, they are usually about 15 to 20 minutes with the same content and questions that are covered in virtual residency interviews. So, 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. This includes your MyERAS Application, Personal Statement, and any Letters or Recommendation you may have on hand (that you did not waive the right to see)
  • 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, music, or outside noise
  • 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

Also, if you have either type of interview, do not forget to email a Thank You message after the interview!

So, you might feel overwhelmed by the quick pace of the SOAP. But remember, SOAP interviews are similar to Main Match Season interviews in protocol. Prepare for the interview like you would any other interview and be confident! For additional tips on interviewing, check out Match A Resident’s YouTube channel and watch our Interview Prep Series!

Finally, for help navigating the SOAP, including this year’s timeline and information about our Program Compatibility Search, visit us at!

(Content Updated: March 4, 2022)

Post-Match SOAP 2022 - Important Changes and Updates

Post-Match SOAP 2022: Important Changes and Updates

As a Match applicant, you’re hoping to receive good news on Monday, March 14. Finding out that you’ll begin residency in July will feel like a dream come true and is truly the culmination of years and years of dedication. The reality, though, is that not everyone will Match–even well-qualified applicants. If you had a small number of interviews (or none at all), feel your interviews did not go well, or just suspect you might not Match, the smartest decision you can make is being prepared for the Post-Match SOAP.  Knowing all about the Post-Match SOAP 2022 – Important Changes and Updates is key to your success.

In this article, we’ll provide a basic overview of the SOAP process and highlight some changes to the timeline from previous years.

Post-Match SOAP: A Brief Overview

Residency candidates who do not Match during the Main Residency Match® have the opportunity to participate in the Post-Match SOAP. The Post-Match SOAP gives eligible residency applicants a second chance to find a residency position. Throughout Match Week, SOAP candidates will access the List of Unfilled Positions through the NRMP®, research and apply to programs through ERAS®, have interviews, and participate in Offer Rounds.

Post-Match SOAP 2022: Important Changes and Updates

Unfilled Program Announcement/Program Research

In previous years, the SOAP took place rapidly. Applicants had just 4 hours to review the List of Unfilled Positions, complete program research, and apply. This year, there’s a bit more time for this important part of the process.

You’ll have 23 hours to review the List of Unfilled Positions, complete program research, and apply (from 9 a.m. EST on March 14th through 8 a.m. EST on March 15th).

Then, at 8 am EST on Tuesday, March 15th, programs will begin reviewing submitted applications. It is crucial that you have submitted all 45 of your applications before 8 am EST on March 15th.
While not required, this strategy increases your chances of success in the SOAP.


After all 45 applications are submitted, residency candidates must wait for programs to contact them for interviews. Do not contact programs yourself. Interviews are generally held over the phone or through a video chat system like Zoom.

The interview part of the Post-Match SOAP begins on Tuesday, March 15, at 8 a.m. EST and lasts until Thursday, March 17th, at 9 a.m. EST, which is when Offer Rounds begin.

Last year, interviews began at 3 p.m. EST on Monday, just 3 hours after the system opened to candidates.

Offer Rounds

Offer Rounds are two-hour windows of time when programs submit residency position offers for candidates to Accept or Deny.

There are four Offer Rounds, and they all happen on Thursday, March 18th. If a candidate misses an offer or chooses not to reply, the offer will disappear at the end of the Offer Round. After the fourth Offer Round, SOAP will conclude and the List of Unfilled Positions will update to include programs not participating in SOAP. For a detailed breakdown of the Offer Round timeline, visit us here.

Historically, Offer Rounds were completed over a 2-day period.

The Post-Match SOAP officially concludes after the last Offer Round, ending at 9 p.m. EST on Thursday, March 17th.

Now that you know how the Post-Match SOAP works, head over to Electronic Residency for more information on how to best prepare for success in the SOAP.

Electronic Residency wishes all applicants success in the Match! We hope you’ve found this article insightful and are happy to answer any questions you may have about the Post-Match SOAP. Simply email us at

The Post-Match Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP) is not an option most residency candidates want to consider until they absolutely have to. And, that is very understandable! Thinking about the Post-Match may feel like thinking about the possibility of not Matching through the Main Residency Match®— which is a very scary thought. However, Post-Match SOAP Preparation is important. Here, we'll share 4 Steps to the Best Post-Match SOAP Preparation 2022.

4 Steps to the Best Post-Match SOAP Preparation 2022

The Post-Match Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP) is not an option most residency candidates want to consider until they absolutely have to. And, that is very understandable! Thinking about the Post-Match may feel like thinking about the possibility of not Matching through the Main Residency Match®— which is a very scary thought. However, Post-Match SOAP Preparation is important.
Here, we’ll share 4 Steps to the Best Post-Match SOAP Preparation 2022.

If you have less than 10 programs on your Rank Order List, like it or not, it may be time to at least consider Post-Match SOAP preparation. So, if you deem the Post-Match might be a part of your future, the best thing you can do for yourself is start getting ready well ahead of time.

4 Steps to the Best Post-Match SOAP Preparation 2022

1. Make sure you are eligible:

  • First, register for NRMP by the Rank Order List Deadline at 9 p.m. (EST)  on March 2nd, 2022.
  • Be able to enter a program July 1st, 2022.
  • USMGs – Your medical school must clear your graduation qualifications.
  • IMGs – You must have your USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK scores, OET, and Alternative Pathway approval completed by the week before The Match.

Also, look at data from the 2021 Post-Match SOAP and start considering which specialties you will be applying to. For example, prelim General Surgery and prelim Internal Medicine both had many available positions while Pediatrics and OBGYN did not.

Post-Match statistics are made easy at Electronic Residency!

2.  Review important NRMP policies like these:

  • Remember, applicants may not initiate contact with programs during SOAP; all communication must come from the programs themselves.
  • Contact Information – Make sure your contact information is up-to-date and reliable. Essentially, you don’t want programs calling you to discover you’ve listed an old phone number or your voicemail is not set up.
  • All SOAP applications must go through ERAS to SOAP-participating programs. So, do not apply to programs outside of SOAP until after 9 p.m. Thursday, March 17, 2022
  • Importantly, do not share the SOAP Unfilled Programs List with any other candidates

3. Review, update, and/or add to your applications materials.

  • Letters of Recommendation (LoRs) – If you didn’t receive many interviews, there may have been a problem with your LoRs. So, consider getting fresh LoRs, preferably from US Clinical Experience. Make sure they are specialty-specific to the specialties you may be applying to in the Post-Match. Residency Experts can help you edit and optimize your LoRs!
  • Personal Statement – If your Personal Statement was generic, or you did not receive professional assistance, your Personal Statement could have cost you some interviews. Just like with LoRs, make sure your statement is fresh, unique, and specialty-specific.

4. Start preparing to pick the right programs when the Unfilled Programs List is released.

  • Remember, you will only be allowed 45 applications total; each program you choose to apply to should be GOLD.
  • You will only have 23 hours to research, pick, and apply to programs.
  • Use Electronic Residency during the Post-Match to instantly find out if you qualify for a program’s requirements within the first SOAP hour.

By following this advice, you will be well ahead of the curve for Post-Match SOAP preparation. So, although it is not what anyone is looking forward to, knowing you have the tools and professional assistance to succeed is vital.

Electronic Residency wishes all applicants success in the Match! We hope you’ve found this article insightful. We are happy to answer any questions you may have about the Post-Match soap. Simply email us at



SOAP 2020

What You Need to Know About Post-Match SOAP 2020

Beginning Monday, March 16th, 2020, residency applicants find out their Match status – matched, partially matched, or unmatched. Those who are partially matched and unmatched may have the opportunity to participate in the NRMP’s Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP 2020). 

This is a highly competitive period to help Match candidates into Unfilled Positions. SOAP begins on Monday at 11a EST (when the List of Unfilled Programs is released by the NRMP) and concludes at 11a EST on Thursday, March 19th. 



Preparing for SOAP 2020

Make sure you are SOAP eligible

All applicants must have registered with the NRMP before the Rank Order List Deadline of February 26th, 2020. Additionally:

US Medical Seniors 

  • Will be sponsored by their medical schools
  • Must be able to start an ACGME® residency program on July 1st the year of The Match
  • Will be verified for graduation by their medical school

International Medical Graduates 

  • Must be able to start an ACGME® residency program on July 1st the year of The Match®
  • Must have their USMLE® Step 1, USMLE Step 2 CK, and USMLE Step 2 CS verified by ECFMG
  • Must have their credentials fully verified by ECFMG® by the week before The Match® (ECFMG communicates with NRMP® weekly to update candidate verification.)

Independent Candidates 

  • Includes previous US Medical Graduates, Canadian, DO, and Fifth Pathway
  • Must be able to start an ACGME® residency program on July 1st the year of The Match
  • Will have their credentials verified by their medical school

All applicants will receive their SOAP eligibility status on Friday, March 13th, 2020 (this is NOT your Match status – simply if you qualify for participation in SOAP or not). 


Additional Preparation Before Match Week 

  • Review, certify and submit your MyERAS application
  • Make sure your Personal Information (Contact Info especially) is accurate and up to date
  • Upload or add new personal statement(s) or letters of recommendation (LoR) for specialties you may apply to during SOAP 

Be sure to read: What You Should Know Before the Post-Match SOAP


ERAS Fees During SOAP

According to the AAMC:

“Applicants who have applied to at least one residency program (for ERAS 2020 season) by Monday, March 16 at 11 a.m. ET will not pay any application fees during SOAP.

Applicants who have not applied to at least one residency program through ERAS by Monday, March 16 at 11 a.m. ET and are SOAP-eligible, will be charged a fee of $99. If you have not sent your USMLE or COMLEX-USA transcripts, a fee of $80 per transcript will apply.”

Once SOAP 2020 Begins

At 11a EST, Monday, March 16th, Unmatched and Partially Matched applicants gain access to the NRMP’s List of Unfilled Programs. Applicants have only 1 hour to begin researching programs  – then, at 12p, ERAS opens and allows applicants to begin assigning documents for their 45 total SOAP applications (no one gets any more than these 45 applications). Then, at 3p, ERAS begins sending these applications to the programs.

Programs begin reviewing applications immediately and start contacting applicants. DO NOT reach out to programs during Match Week if you are SOAP eligible (unless they have already contacted you first)

There are 3 Offer Rounds – two on Wednesday, and the final on Thursday. See the full schedule breakdown here.

SOAP concludes at 11a EST, Thursday, March 19th.

What If I’m Still Not Matched After SOAP Concludes?

According to the NRMP, “Once SOAP concludes at 11:00 AM ET on Thursday of Match Week, you can contact unfilled programs directly using the information listed in the R3 system.” 


-Apply to 45 compatible programs before 3p EST on Monday
-Do NOT contact programs first during Match Week (only if they’ve contacted YOU first)
-Do NOT share the List of Unfilled Programs with any other candidates


Check Out These Other Helpful SOAP Resources 

NRMP and ERAS SOAP Guide for Applicants

ERAS Applicant Checklist for SOAP

ERAS Applicant SOAP FAQs


Want to maximize your chances during the Post-Match SOAP 2020? Be sure to reserve your access to Electronic Residency’s Program Compatability Search system where you’ll be able to get instant compatibility results for positions found on the NRMP List of Unfilled Programs.

Enough Interviews

Not Enough Interviews, Should I Panic?

Getting enough interviews is every medical residency candidate’s goal, and it’s a challenge for many. If you are wondering if you have enough interviews, it is reasonable to summarize that most successful candidates have 10 or more interviews before matching.

However, if you have only a few or no interviews, you may be wondering, “Do I have enough interviews? Should I panic!?”

Of course, the reality is that the best thing to do is to remain calm and work to understand your situation.

Ideas To Consider

1) Think about what you have and have not done. Is your application complete? Were there any missing components? 

2) Did you receive professional help with your application materials as well as targeting compatible programs? 

3) How many programs and how many specialties did you apply to? 


What To Do

If you feel like you do not have enough interviews and you have already applied, there are a few approaches you can take to help boost your chances of success. 

1) Make sure all elements of your application are present and nothing was omitted by mistake. Additionally, verify that application components have been correctly assigned to programs. 

2) Consider updating your Personal Statement. If you did not receive professional help, it is very possible you incorrectly or inappropriately addressed potential red flags in your application. 

3) Apply to MORE programs. If you are having trouble getting enough interviews, it only makes sense that you need to apply more broadly. You may consider including programs from backup specialties in order to broaden your program selection.

Please note: make sure you do not apply to programs past their deadline. 

4) Finally, be sure you are following up with the programs that you have applied to. Learn about recommended practices to Follow Up With Programs


In Summary

Basically, in order to get enough interviews, you can only do a few things (come mid-application season…). Review your application, update all documents you can, apply to more programs, and follow up. 

If you still do not have enough interviews by January, you will need to start seriously considering preparing for the Post-Match SOAP. Take action by preparing yourself before it is too late: What You Should Know Before the Post-Match SOAP.

SOAP 2018

Post-Match SOAP 2018 Results per Medical Specialty

Post-Match Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program® (SOAP®) preparation starts with residency candidates asking themselves a few simple questions. One of the most important questions is:

Are you prepared to apply to additional specialties beyond what you applied to in the regular residency application season?


To prepare for the Main Residency Match® season, most residency candidates know they need to gather specialty specific documents such as Letters of Recommendation or Personal Statements while applying to programs. However, this simple principle tends to get forgotten in the mad rush of applications at the start of the Post-Match as residency candidates end up applying to any available programs in any medical specialty using their supporting documents meant for a different specialty.

For example, a residency candidate prepared for and applied to Family Medicine and Psychiatry residency programs during the regular residency application season. Then, during the Post-Match SOAP, after they used as many of their 45 SOAP applications as they could in those two specialties, they still had a number of applications left. In their hurry to apply to more programs, they ended up having to use their Family Medicine and Psychiatry documents to apply to specialties like preliminary General Surgery or Internal Medicine programs which did not make the best impression on those programs.


Know the Data 

By reviewing the data from NRMP’s® Results and Data 2018 Main Residency Match®, those looking to participate in the Post-Match can see which specialties generally have more positions available and which do not (based on SOAP 2018), allowing them to better prepare for the Post-Match with more supporting documents in a variety of specialties.


Results of the Post-Match SOAP 2018 per Specialty


(PGY-1) Participating Programs – 9

Filled Programs – 9

Positions Available – 27

Positions Filled – 27


(PGY-2) Participating Programs – 8

Filled Programs – 5

Positions Available – 16

Positions Filled – 8


Child Neurology

(PGY-1) Participating Programs – 3

Filled Programs – 3

Positions Available – 3

Positions Filled – 3

(PGY-2) Participating Programs – 2

Filled Programs – 1

Positions Available – 2

Positions Filled – 1


Combined Medpeds

Participating Programs – 5

Filled Programs – 5

Positions Available – 5

Positions Filled – 5


Emergency Medicine

Participating Programs – 7

Filled Programs – 6

Positions Available – 10

Positions Filled – 8


Family Medicine

Participating Programs – 67

Filled Programs – 64

Positions Available – 141

Positions Filled – 138


Internal Medicine

(Categorical) Participating Programs – 51

Filled Programs – 45

Positions Available – 171

Positions Filled – 162



Participating Programs – 41

Filled Programs – 33

Positions Available – 99

Positions Filled – 88


Neurological Surgery

Participating Programs – 0

Filled Programs – 0

Positions Available – 0

Positions Filled – 0



Participating Programs – 9

Filled Programs – 9

Positions Available – 12

Positions Filled – 12


(PGY-2) Participating Programs – 2

Filled Programs – 2

Positions Available – 4

Positions Filled – 4



(PGY-1) Participating Programs – 6

Filled Programs – 6

Positions Available – 10

Positions Filled – 10


(Categorical) Participating Programs – 4

Filled Programs – 4

Positions Available – 6

Positions Filled – 6


Orthopedic Surgery

Participating Programs – 1

Filled Programs – 1

Positions Available – 1

Positions Filled – 1



Participating Programs – 20

Filled Programs – 17

Positions Available – 28

Positions Filled – 25



Participating Programs – 20

Filled Programs – 18

Positions Available – 53

Positions Filled – 51


Physical Medicine & Rehab

(Categorical) Participating Programs – 0

Filled Programs – 0

Positions Available – 0

Positions Filled – 0


(PGY-2) Participating Programs – 0

Filled Programs – 0

Positions Available – 0

Positions Filled – 0



Participating Programs – 5

Filled Programs – 5

Positions Available – 12

Positions Filled – 12



Participating Programs – 1

Filled Programs – 1

Positions Available – 1

Positions Filled – 1

(PGY-2) Participating Programs – 0

Filled Programs – 0

Positions Available – 0

Positions Filled – 0


Radiation Oncology

(PGY-2) Participating Programs – 1

Filled Programs – 1

Positions Available – 1

Positions Filled – 1



(Categorical) Participating Programs – 3

Filled Programs – 3

Positions Available – 5

Positions Filled – 5


(PGY-1) Participating Programs – 145

Filled Programs – 114

Positions Available – 462

Positions Filled – 412


Transitional Year

Participating Programs – 17

Filled Programs – 15

Positions Available – 65

Positions Filled – 63


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:…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:


  • 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.)


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.


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


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)