HELP, I Did Not MATCH… What is SOAP?

How to get into a US Medical Residency training position out of the NRMP Match!

Written by: Dr. Piya (FM, Geriatrics)
Board Certified in Family Medicine

The results are in and you did not Match. Now what? Is this the only way to get into a residency position and continue your dream of being a physician? Do you have to wait a full year to apply and match again? The questions are daunting and this can be a very disappointing moment in your life but it is imperative that you don’t lose sight of your goal. What is important is how you respond to the adversity, how fast your response is and how responsive you can be to available opportunities/open residency positions. Your dreams are still attainable!

A little known fact is that several thousand residency positions go unfilled each year in the NRMP match and programs are looking to fill these spots just as much as you are. There is a need for the work and they seek qualified candidates who can start right away when there is an “unfilled position.” Though this may not be the program or specialty you had your heart set on initially, it is a second opportunity to pursue an ACGME accredited Residency in the US whether it may be Preliminary General Surgery, Pediatrics, Family Medicine, Psychiatry or any one of the other 1000+ residency positions to go unfilled every year. The important thing is to look forward and act fast. Apply on the first day! Stay on top of daily offers and immediately respond to any invites or offers as they will not last long!

You must act quickly if you did not “MATCH.” If you applied to residency programs, then you are what’s known as SOAP-eligible. SOAP is the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program, the special program created by NRMP used to fill these spots. During this time, keep all lines of communication open with colleagues, previous rotation mentors, and your MedClerkships advisors. All of these valuable resources can help guide you in the right direction. A detailed schedule for SOAP 2016 can be found at Match Week Schedule – NRMP.

SOAP is a great opportunity but you can STILL get a residency position after. We will go into detail about this in our next series about opportunities outside of MATCH and SOAP.

Best of luck this upcoming residency season and cycle!