You can increase your chances of matching in a U.S. residency program by studying the underlying processes of the match. The system is structured around an algorithm that should guide your approach. With an understanding of how to tailor your application and a timeline for submission and prep, your chances of securing a match will see a dramatic increase.
Like most modern interview processes, the U.S. clinical residency match is directed by an algorithm designed to select the best qualified candidate through a set equation. The algorithm selects for three major criteria:
- USMLE scores
- Relevant clinical experience
- Interview Performance
Your USMLE scores are a fixed variable at the stage of the match process at which you are submitting documents. Therefore, your best strategy to increase your match chances are by presenting relevant clinical experience in the best light and going into your interview prepared.
The best way to make sure that your application lines up with the right criteria is by starting with a review of the NRMP Program Director Survey and Charting IMG Outcomes to uncover the areas of your application that matter the most based on your specialty, like personal statements, letters of recommendation, etc.
The residency match proceeds on a fixed schedule with late submissions being penalized by fees and decreased chances of acceptance. Your efforts throughout match season should line up tightly with the established match schedule.
- Clinical rotations should be completed before September or should continue into interview season
- Letters of recommendation should be finalized when applications are sent out to lower risk of program evaluating an incomplete application
- Personal Statements and other supporting docs should be finalized in August so that applications can focus on program selection in September
- ERAS applications and all other information should be finalized by September 6th if possible, but no later than September 15th
- Interviews are scheduled between September to February, with most most occuring in October and November
- Applicants who get less than 6 interview should prepare for SOAP
- All supporting documents should be updated and finalized the Sunday prior to SOAP