This year’s Match Day is Friday, March 18, when thousands of graduating medical students will receive their magic envelope.
In that envelope will be a letter dictating their medical specialty and where they will spend the next three to seven years of their lives in residency training.
The National Residency Matching Program (NRMP) will post the official Match Day results at 1 p.m. Eastern time on that Friday. Here is a guide to the week leading up to that climactic day:
Monday, March 14: Matched or Unmatched?
At noon Eastern time, students will learn whether or not they matched to a residency program. This will be sent by email 11AM Eastern Time. For students who matched, there is nothing to do but wait until Friday, when the matched programs are revealed. Students who did not match are eligible for the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP) and will spend the next few days applying and interviewing for unfilled positions through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS).
Tuesday, March 15: Unfilled programs start ranking unmatched applicants
At 11:30 a.m. Eastern time, programs with open residency positions begin ranking their SOAP applicants. These programs can contact unmatched applicants for a brief interview.
Wednesday, March 16: SOAP offers begin
At noon Eastern time, unfilled programs begin sending out offers every three hours during business hours to previously unmatched applicants. Applicants have two hours to accept or decline an offer. If an offer is accepted, the open residency spot is removed from the list. However, if an offer is declined, the program will send out an offer to the next candidate on their preference list in the next round. This process continues through Thursday and Friday, with rounds at 9 a.m., noon, and 3 p.m.
Friday, March 18: Match Day!
Match results are posted at 1 p.m. Eastern time. Most schools have their own Match Day traditions, where students learn their fates alongside their fellow students, friends, and families.