The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP)
The NRMP Match is a mechanism by which appointments to residency programs are made at a uniform time. It provides an impartial venue for matching applicants’ preferences for residency positions with program directors’ preferences for applicants. Each year approximately 16,000 U.S. allopathic medical school seniors compete for residency positions through the Match.
In the Match, all steps of the admissions process are carried out (by computer) at uniform times. ERAS is the Electronic Residency Application Service developed by the Association of American Medical Colleges to transmit via the Internet residency applications, personal statements, recommendation letters, deans’ letters, transcripts, and other supporting credentials from medical schools to residency program directors. Program directors decide on the order in which they will offer positions to candidates, and transmit their Rank Order List to the NRMP via the internet. Applicants decide on the order in which they will accept offers from programs, and transmit their Rank Order Lists to the NRMP via the internet also.
The Match obviates what can be possibly premature decisions and less than comfortable direct interchanges between program directors and applicants in the offering and acceptance or rejection of positions.
In the Match, applicants and program directors obtain their highest possible choices as determined by their Rank Order Lists. A position is “offered” to an applicant whenever his/her name appears within the quota of positions offered by a program. An applicant “accepts” (is matched to) a position in the program highest on his Rank Order List that “offers” him/her a position.
In the Match, the Confidential Rank Order Lists are the sole determinants of offers and acceptances of residency positions. The only reason an applicant does not “accept” an offer from a particular program director is that the applicant preferred (ranked higher) another program from which he/she also received an offer. The only reason an applicant does not “obtain” (match to) a position in a particular program is that the program director preferred (ranked higher) other applicants.
Top choices on Rank Order Lists can be made by applicants and program directors in the order of desirability - they should ignore probability of acceptance. When an applicant is “offered” his/her first choice position, the match is final. His/her name is removed from the lists of all other programs, and their Rank Order Lists are adjusted as necessary, to maintain their quotas by including the next person down the list. If an applicant matches to a lower ranked program, the match is tentative. The applicant’s name is removed from the lists of all programs ranked lower but is maintained on the lists of his/her higher- ranked programs. If the applicant should subsequently be included within the quota of a program he/she has ranked higher, he/she will be moved to the higher choice position. No matter how many top- ranked applicants “decline” offers from a given program, lower-ranked applicants who rank that program first will be matched to it as long as they are included in the program’s unfilled quota.
For the Match to work optimally applicants must list (rank) all acceptable programs to which they have applied and program directors must offer positions to (rank) all acceptable applicants. Applicants must, as in any admissions process, rank a range of programs on their Rank Order Lists including lower choices of less desired but satisfactory programs. Applicants who do not match tend to be those with shorter Rank Order Lists and those who list only highly competitive programs. Program directors that rank only a few more of their applicants than they have positions or concern themselves about “how far down” their Rank Order List they go do not understand the Match. If, on the average, each applicant were to apply to five programs, the average program director would have an acceptance from only one out of every five (5) applicants to whom he/she offered (ranked) a position.
NRMP Special Cases
Public Health Services Programs
Students on these scholarship programs are also required to participate in the NRMP.
Students on these scholarship programs are required to participate in the Armed Forces Residency Matching Program. This is conducted at an earlier time to allow students who are unmatched through the Armed Forces to secure a civilian position. Therefore, all students on Armed Forces scholarships are encouraged to enroll in NRMP as a backup.
Married/engaged/etc. couples may go through NRMP as a single unit through a special procedure.
Students whose academic progress has been altered such that they will not complete all requirements for the M.D. degree on schedule may need to make special arrangements with the Office of Student Affairs.
NRMP approximate dates
Spring, Junior Year
- Initial information regarding NRMP distributed.
July, Senior Year
- Letters of recommendation with individual faculty members arranged;
- Appointment made with Office of Student Affairs for writing the Medical Student Performance Evaluation (Dean’s Letter);
- Applications made to programs of your choice with interviewing appointments made
August, Senior Year
- Students sign up with NRMP and send in registration fee.
February, Senior Year
- Receipt of Applicant and Hospital Confidential Rank Order List by NRMP.
March, Senior Year
Letters of Recommendation
It is suggested that students not seek letters of recommendation for residency training until the end of the third year. Every residency will require letters of recommendation from the chair of the department of the specialty you wish to enter and, generally, from two additional faculty members as well. Each student will be required to have a Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE), which is prepared in the Office of Student Affairs.