The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) is revising its annual residency match to improve how vacant residency slots are filled after ”Match Day.” Starting in 2012, the NRMP will administer a new system to link unmatched students with unfilled residency positions.
Called the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP), the system is designed to create a formal process for applying for unfilled positions. SOAP replaces the previous residency "Scramble," a highly competitive and disorganized process in which unlinked students contacted programs with unfilled positions in an effort to find a slot, often forcing students to accept the first offer they got on the spot. In 2011, most of the 1,060 available positions were filled within the first 24 hours.
As a result of SOAP, Match Day will move from the third Thursday to the third Friday of March. In 2012, Match Day will be on March 16.
On March 14, residency programs with unfilled positions will finalize their preference lists of applicants, and the NRMP will begin making offers to applicants.
All NRMP applicants will be notified about their eligibility for SOAP the Friday before Match Week. Unlike the Scramble, SOAP applicants could receive multiple offers in each round and will be able to consider their options before making a decision.
In 2013, the NRMP plans to implement a new All-In Policy, requiring residency programs to place all of their first- and second-year residency positions in the Main Residency Match. The NRMP is accepting comments on the change.
According to NRMP, there were 5,627 unmatched applicants and 2,288 unfilled positions in 2001. By 2010, the gap had grown to 8,794 unmatched applicants competing for 1,060 unfilled positions.
For more information, visit www.nrmp.org.