Plan B: What To Do If You Did Not Match

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The residency match process can be extremely stressful, even more so if you find out you did not match. Naturally you will be feeling disappointed, but it is important to take a step back and assess what factors may have led into not receiving a match so that you can be better prepared for the next match. How were your test scores? Did you rank enough programs? Were there things you could have improved during your interviews? What was your first choice specialty? Depending on how you answered those questions, there are different options you can consider to move forward.

Search Unfilled Positions

The Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP®) is tool created by the NRMP to assist unmatched applicants with finding a residency position. If eligible, it’s recommended to use this service first as it operates in multiple rounds where applicants must respond within a certain timeframe.

AAMC’s “Find A Resident” (FAR) service is also helpful, as it allows program directors to post vacant resident positions.  FAR is available year round, however it is only meant to be used if you were ineligible or unsuccessful with the main match or SOAP.

Focus on Your Specialty

Discussing a transitional year with your medical school can be beneficial, particularly in instances where you applied to a competitive specialty. A research fellowship will also expand your experience and strengthen your application. No matter which route you take, the key takeaway is to take actions that will make you more competitive than other applicants.

Obtain Another Degree

Furthering your education and earning a different degree can help you if you simply want a career change, or when you reapply. Not all applicants will be able to say that they also have the operational knowledge necessary to manage a hospital. The most relevant degrees are the Master of Public Health Administration (MPH), Master of Business Administration in Healthcare (MBA), and Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA).

Sierra Kennedy
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