Student Doctors Preparing for Residency Match Guide

Match Guide

Charting your course

Navigating the Match

Finding a training program requires research, planning and patience. Understand the process and explore your options to make sure you find the right program for you.

For many people, the past year has been a year to forget, but for fourth-year medical students, it’ll be one they’ll always remember—the year they become physicians. To those students, we want to use the upcoming Match Day to make everything about YOU. When you get your Match results this Friday, have a loved one record your immediate reaction and share it with us by emailing to be featured in a celebration of your milestone! 

The Match places U.S. medical school students into residency training programs at teaching health centers across the country. Each year, thousands of osteopathic medical students participate in the Match.

The AOA, American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) and Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) have transitioned to a single accreditation system for graduate medical education through which DOs have the option of entering training programs with the distinction of osteopathic recognition.

Ready, set, match

Match process

Apply to residency programs

Submit your residency application materials, including the CV and personal statement you’ve crafted, to your chosen programs, using the ERAS online application system. The process of applying to residency programs is independent of the match and typically runs from July of your fourth year of medical school through the following January or February. Application deadlines vary, so check in with your desired residency programs.

Register for the Match

Decide which matching process(es) you want to take part in and register accordingly. Your options are:

Note that the NRMP offers a match option for couples.

Complete residency interviews

Once you’ve registered for the Match, it’s time to complete interviews to determine which programs might be a good fit for your interests and goals. Take advantage of this opportunity to learn as much about the program as the interviewer is learning about you.

Rank your top programs

After you’ve applied and interviewed at your top choice residency programs, you’ll rank them and they will rank you. Read expert tips on putting together your rank order list in The DO.

Get ready for Match Day

The NRMP match takes place in early March. If you don’t match, you can take part in the “scramble” to find open residency slots through:

For more tips on what to do if you don’t match on your first try, head to The DO.

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