Not Matching into Residency

Match Day is one of the most nervous and exciting days for Medical Students. But one thing most people don’t talk about is what if they don’t match into a Residency Program?

That’s when the Scramble comes in, aka The SOAP (Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program). The SOAP starts 1-hour after Medical Students find out if they are matched into a Residency Program and will end on a Friday.  The SOAP is a second chance at securing a position.

After the “The Scramble” and things did not work out, note that not matching will not make or break their career; it’s only a little setback that makes them work harder. 

Options exist if you don’t match into Residency

One of those options is to go into a Research Fellowship. Doing this helps build their resume, plus it allows them to make connections with established physicians within specialties. It won’t be easy because research takes a lot of time and hard work. They will be reviewing tons of data, writing multiple papers, and doing all the administrative work.

Here are some other resources for securing other positions:

How to support your partner who did not Match into Residency?

During this time, offer tons of support to your partner and do the little things without asking. They will appreciate your calmness and composer during this time.

We know multiple great, bright, and intelligent doctors who did not match into a Residency Program the first and second time of applying. It surely brought them down, but in the end, everything worked out, and they got accepted to their specialty of choice!

Be supportive to your partner who is applying to Residency. Don’t think of it as rejection; there are 45,000 well-trained medical students applying for only 31,000 residency positions, according to the National Residency Matching Program. If your partner doesn’t get accepted, it’s now more important than ever to be supportive and stay positive. In the end, it’s your support that will make the difference in whether things will turn out the way it should.

Jake also did not match into a Categorical Position on Match Day. He instead matched in a Preliminary year in Surgery. This was a very stressful year for us because of uncertainty, but to be honest, it actually worked out very well in the end. He realized he did not want to do Orthopedics and pursued a career in General Surgery.

If you are the one who didn’t match, do not take it out on your partner; use this time to talk about your stress and the uncertainty about the future together. Topics to explore to discuss if another year goes by without matching: figure out finances (moving, student loans, marriage, children, etc.) and what other options there are that could secure a residency position.

How to talk about finances when not matching into Residency?

We also know that becoming a physician in the US is a long one, especially when considering which specialty you choose. This also leads to high student loan debt. When Jake finished medical school in 2021, he had over $400,000 in student loans. When he started residency, he only made $45,000 a year, and each year he was lucky if he got $5,000 annual raises. And not to mention, when they graduate from Residency and become staff, their salaries are nothing like you think they will be, plus, say hello to higher tax brackets. Don’t just expect that your partner is going to be rich overnight and you can quite your job. They also likely have student debt to pay back each month.

A great reference when it comes to debt, basic student loans, and debt principles is the BICOP Physician on Fire Guide. This guide provides strategies on how physicians pay down debt as well as begin to build wealth while managing student loans.

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