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7 Ways for Medical Students to Move Forward After Not Matching

On Behalf of | May 27, 2024 | Firm News |

7 Ways for Medical Students to Move Forward After Not Matching

We acknowledge the disappointment, frustration and even embarrassment you may feel after not matching. All those feelings are understandable after years of hard work in school. We want to encourage you, though, to continue chasing your dream of being a medical doctor.

There are ways to pursue a medical residency, even after not matching, so keep reading.

Embrace SOAP

SOAP, or Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program, was developed by the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP) and the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) so medical students would have a list of remaining residency openings. To participate in SOAP, you must be 1) registered already in the NRMP’s Main Residency Match, 2) partially matched or unmatched by Monday of match week, and 3) ready to enter residency by July 1 of the current year.

Medical students often view going through SOAP in a negative light. But remember, your goal is to get to your next step of medical education, which is residency, and SOAP is an avenue to get there. Plus, many successful and highly respected doctors used SOAP for residency placement.

For more information on SOAP, see this article.

Stay In Contact With Your Medical School

This suggestion is an important one. In fact, several of the recommendations below are reliant on you maintaining a strong relationship with your professors and administrators in medical school.

While your first inclination may be to hide away because of embarrassment, you should do the opposite. Speak with professors and mentors about not matching and ask for suggestions and encouragement. Many have strong ties to doctors and medical facilities, and these connections may prove helpful when you go through the matching cycle again.

Be A Part Of Research

Your medical school professors are likely conducting research projects. Ask how you can get involved and be willing to help, even in a volunteer position. It’s crucial at this juncture to stay active in the medical field. Work in research shows residency program directors that you’re dedicated to the study of medicine and to your academics.

Find A Clinical Position

As with the research suggestion, taking a clinical position or enrolling in a training program is a way to stay active in the medical field while you wait for the next match opportunity. The saying, “If you don’t use, you lose it,” is true. You’ve learned a lot in the last four years of medical school so keep your skills sharp and always be learning. Plus, your work in a clinical role or in a training program will enhance your CV.

Take And Pass USMLE Step 3

Passing the U.S. Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) Step 3 is required during your residency, and many students choose to take it during their first year. Therefore, passing it while you’re between medical school and residency is an efficient use of your time. The information to be tested is fresh to you, and residency programs will appreciate your “passed” status when you apply.

Participate In Practice Interviews

Interview skills can always be improved. Use this time to keep answering questions…the tougher, the better. Ask friends and mentors to help you. The more you practice with interviewing the less nervous you’ll be when match week rolls back around.

Consider A Different Specialty

What you tried the first time didn’t work. So, be willing to do things differently for the next round. Consider more specialties and apply to more or different residency programs. Get specific recommendations from your medical school professors and mentors.

The Education Litigation Group Supports Medical Students

If you didn’t match this cycle, don’t lose heart. Use this time to strengthen your application for the next round and to find opportunities to grow and keep your skills sharp. Stay in touch with your mentors and professors as their connections and recommendations may be critical in the next match cycle.

We’re lawyers who help students, professors and organizations who feel they’ve been wronged in the education system. We hope you never need our services, but if you do, use this contact form to reach out or call us at 1 (800) 580-9167.

We’re cheering for you.