ERAS Residency Application 2021 Match Highlights (NRMP Data)

Match Day is one of the most exciting days of any medical student’s career.  It is the culmination of countless hours of work and dedication and marks both the end of one journey and the beginning of another. Read about the 2021 Match highlights below.

In 2021, the Match looked different than it ever had before. Essentially, the Covid-19 pandemic meant applicants faced many changes and adjustments including delays in USMLEs, the cancellation of Step 2CS, and the introduction of virtual interviews. Despite all this, it was truly a phenomenal year for the Match!

Let’s take a look at the 2021 Match Highlights:

  • The NRMP® reports 2021 was the largest match in its history
  • 36,179 of 38,106 positions were filled – record highs for both categories
  • The number of first-year residency positions offered in 2021 increased by 928 (up 2.7% compared to 2020) to 35,194
  • 1,927 positions were left unfilled at the beginning of the Post-Match SOAP, a 3.6% decline from 2020

2021 IMG Match Trends

  • 7,843 IMGs Matched in 2021 – resulting in 21.7% of Matched candidates being IMGs
  • ECFMG reports the participation of 13,238 IMGs applying for PGY-1 positions – an increase of 1,164 IMGs compared to 2020
  • 7,508 IMGs applying for PGY-1 positions Matched out of the 13,238 total – resulting in a 56.7% PGY-1 IMG Match rate

Top 5 IMG-Friendly Specialties


Specialty % Matched by US IMGs
Family Medicine 16.2%
Internal Medicine 13.3%
Pathology 11.5%
Psychiatry 9.2%
Pediatrics 7.7%


Specialty % Matched  by Non-US IMGs
Pathology 37.8%
Neurology 25.0%
Internal Medicine 24.5%
Child Neurology 13.8%
Pediatrics 11.3%

See Full Data: NRMP | ECFMG (infographic)

Step 2CS Updates

With the permanent discontinuation of USMLE Step 2CS, the ECFMG has verified plans to continue and to expand the ECFMG Alternative Pathways from the most recent cycle. Accordingly, there are 6 Alternative Pathways available for the 2022 Match.

Celebrating the Success of Matched IMGs

Congratulations to those IMGs who persevered and Matched in 2021! The road is never easy, and your success serves as an inspiration to all future IMG applicants.DD

Would you like to learn more about how to succeed in Matching as an IMG? Hear all about it straight from successful residency applicants just like you. Watch some of our IMG Success Story Interviews – now available on YouTube!

We hope you enjoyed learning about the 2021 Match Highlights. Keep reading for information on how to succeed in this year’s Match.

Support Options

If you are applying for the 2021-2022 Match Cycle, now is the time to start planning ahead. From editing Personal Statements and reviewing Letters of Recommendation to polishing your written sections of the MyERAS Application, Residency Experts is there to support you every step of the way: Planning Ahead for Residency Application Success – Residency Experts. You can also check out Residency Experts’ helpful tips for Letters of Recommendation by reading Your Complete Residency Letter of Recommendation Guide.

Access for the 2021-2022 Match Cycle is now available through Match A Resident. We compare your unique applicant criteria (USMLE scores, years since graduation, USCE, and visa status) to programs’ requirements and preferences, saving you countless hours of research. Explore your Customized List of residency programs today!

If you have questions, contact us at 858-221-8510 or email us your question or phone number at and we will be happy to assist you!

The NATIONAL RESIDENT MATCHING PROGRAM®, The NRMP®, SUPPLEMENTAL OFFER AND ACCEPTANCE PROGRAM®, and SOAP® are registered trademarks of National Resident Matching Program. THE MATCH™ is a trademark of National Resident Matching Program. ResidencyPrep, LLC and this page are not sponsored by, endorsed by, or affiliated with National Resident Matching Program.

Next Article2021-2022 Residency Application Cycle: Complete IMG Timeline and Checklist