Will someone please explain the Match to me?
The Match Explained
The first hurdle for TCOM students is to become aware of the four main tracks available which are AOA, AMA / NRMP, San Francisco, and the Military Match. There is also a Urology Match.
The AOA Match precedes the NRMP Match by approximately six weeks. An applicant who is successful in the AOA Match will be dropped from the NRMP Match. This avoids violation of the rank and match agreements which applicants sign. The Military has a match process all its own that takes place in December.
A "match" occurs when a program you rank also ranks you. If a match does not occur then you will participate in the "scramble," wherein you are notified of programs that have openings available.
Registration for the AOA Match is facilitated through the Office of Clinical Education. The process of getting you registered for the AOA Match begins in June with verification of senior students and their addresses.
The NRMP match registration is online. You are an independent applicant in this particular match. You must register for each of the match programs, example AOA and / or NRMP in which you decide to participate.
AOA accredits three types of internships (Traditional Rotating, Special Emphasis and Special Track); although all programs offered in the AOA Match are internship programs, the programs offered can be classified as two different types: internship-only programs or combined internship-residency programs.
Four categories participate in the NRMP Match:
- Categorical positions in programs that expect applicants who enter their first year of post graduate year to complete the training required for certification in that specialty.
- Advanced programs that begin in the PGY-2 year after a year of prerequisite training.
- Preliminary programs (one-year) beginning in the PGY-1 year that provides prerequisite training for advanced programs.
- Early Match -- a few specialties (AMA) hold an Early Match. These specialties include Neurotology, Plastic Surgery, Ophthalmology, and Child Neurology / Neurodevelopmental Disabilities.
If applying to one of these specialties, you will register for both the regular NRMP Match and the specialty Match. Registration forms for each of these matches are typically available in the Office of Clinical Education. Rules and regulations for the specialty matches vary from year to year. You can expect that all deadlines will be 4-6 weeks earlier than those in the regular NRMP Match. Plan everything early if you are interested in one.
The process of APPLYING is exactly the same as in the regular Match. Interviewing may be done in several ways; schedule your interviews together so you may investigate the areas for housing, schools, cost of living and transportation. If your schedules don't work out, you can always interview separately and compare notes later.
Ranking the programs is the only major difference of the couple's match. If you decide not to go through the couple's match, you may simply send in a regular match form instead of the couple's match form. The ranking process is fairly simple. Each person ranks the programs at which they interviewed and matches them with their partner's programs in the same area. If you and your partner did not decide to go through the couples match until late in the year and you interviewed in different areas of the country, the ranking process is harder and the chances of matching together are not very good.
You may choose to do one of several things; you may decide not to rank those places that you do not have in common with your partner; you could rank those programs with any of your partner's choices even if they are not in the same area (this probably would not work too well if you're married); or you may rank your program and your partner would rank "unmatched" for that particular choice. This means that at least one of you may match and the other would be unmatched since there was no suitable choice in the same city. Each match program has a complete and detailed explanation. For information about the Couple's Match, please visit the NRMP site here. In any case, we strongly recommend that both of you select the option to accept a singles match, if necessary. Again, this allows at least one of you to match and greatly simplifies the post-match ("scramble") process.
The Military Match is for those students participating in the Armed Forces Health Profession Scholarship Program who are required to apply to military residency programs.
Rank Order Lists (ROLs)
Both the AOA Match instructions, as well as the NRMP instructions provide a good explanation of the mechanics of the Match. There is no advantage in ranking a less desirable program higher than your top choice just because your second choice ranks (or says they will rank) you higher.
Submitting a Match program agreement and an ROL commits you to the program to which you match! Make sure you choose carefully. Don't list any programs that you do not want to attend.
Once You Match...
You are required to complete a medical board license application. It will ask for your medical school to verify your education. Please send your request to the Registrar's Office: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Helpful Match Links
- AOA Matching Algorithm explained
- AOA (NatMatch) Statistics...click here
- Click here for Couple's Match information
- Military Graduate Medical Education information
- San Francisco Match information is here
- Urology Match (AUA) information