The Post-Match SOAP in a Nutshell

What is the Post-Match SOAP?

The Post-Match Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program® (SOAP®) is an opportunity for eligible residency candidates who go unmatched or partially matched during the Main Residency Match® to apply to residency programs with unfilled positions. The Post-Match SOAP spans the Monday through Thursday of Match Week and can be very confusing for residency candidates who have never gone through it before.

Preparing for the Post-Match

Residency candidates can increase their chances for success during the Post-Match SOAP through a few steps.  

Step 1: Get registered. You will need both an ERAS® account and NRMP® account to participate in SOAP. All residency candidates will need to be registered with NRMP by the Rank Order List Deadline on February 21, 2018, in order to be eligible for the Post-Match. You will also need your ERAS application completed in advance.

Step 2: Know if you are eligible. In addition to being registered with NRMP, US Medical Graduates will be cleared to participate by their medical schools. International Medical Graduates (IMGs) will need to have their USMLE Step 1, Step 2 CK and Step 2 CS verified by the week before The Match®.

Step 3: Refresh any supporting documents such as your Personal Statement or Letters of Recommendation. If you found you were struggling during the application and interview part of the residency application process, there may have been a weakness in your documents. Fresh Letters of Recommendation can revitalize a candidate’s application. Revising or rewriting your Personal Statement could clear up any potential mistakes and provide the perfect place to mention any new experiences you have completed after certifying your MyERAS Application.

Step 4: Clear your schedule and get everything in order. The first few hours of the Post-Match SOAP are intense and are not easily taken care of using your smartphone. If possible, it is best to take some time off of work to dedicate yourself to tackling the Post-Match. Throughout the entire week, it is extremely important to stay connected to your email, phone, ERAS account and NRMP account. (If a program tries to contact you, and you do not respond immediately, you may miss out on an important opportunity.)

Step 5: Learn about SOAP and important SOAP policies. The more you know about SOAP, the better your chances will be. If SOAP may be in your future, do all you can to learn the ins and outs of the process. Also, be aware of the key NRMP policies to do with the Post-Match SOAP such as:

  • Residency candidates or anyone acting on their behalf is not allowed to contact residency programs during the Post-Match. Programs must be the ones to initiate the first contact.
  • Only SOAP-eligible residency candidates can participate in SOAP.
  • If you are a SOAP-eligible candidate, you may not share the List of Unfilled Programs with SOAP-ineligible candidates.  

Participating in the Post-Match

The Post-Match SOAP takes place over the course of Match Week from March 12th to March 16th. Please note, all times are in Eastern Standard Time (EST).

Monday: At 11 a.m. (EST) residency candidates who are registered to NRMP® will find out of they are Matched, Partially Matched or Unmatched. Those who are Partially or Unmatched and are SOAP eligible will receive the List of Unfilled Programs from the NRMP® R3® System.

From 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. (EST) SOAP candidates will have time to research programs from the unfilled list. Candidates are allowed a maximum of 45 applications, so it is vital to choose programs wisely. For example, if you are an IMG, you would not want to accidentally waste an application on a program that does not accept any IMGs.

At 12 p.m. (EST) ERAS will open and allow candidates to begin submitting applications. Candidates will be allowed to submit up to 45 applications throughout the rest of the SOAP, however, it is highly suggested to use all 45 applications before 3 p.m. on Monday to be among the first group of candidates residency programs review during the rushed and hectic Post-Match.

At 3 p.m. (EST) ERAS will begin releasing submitted applications to residency programs for them to begin downloading and reviewing.

Tuesday: All of Tuesday, programs will be reviewing applications and reaching out to residency candidates. Residency candidates should be connected to their email, phone, ERAS account and NRMP account to keep an eye out for potential interviews.

Wednesday: From 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. (EST) Offer Round 1 will commence. Offer Rounds are 2-hour windows where programs can submit position offers to residency candidates through the NRMP R3 system. Residency candidates who receive offers will be able to Accept or Deny any offer during the Offer Rounds. All unanswered offers will expire after the Offer Round ends. If an offer is received at any point, it is highly suggested to Accept the offer as SOAP offers are rare and another opportunity may not come along.

From 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. (EST) is the second Offer Round.

Thursday: From 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. (EST) will be the third and final Offer Round. SOAP will officially conclude at 11 a.m. An updated List of Unfilled Programs will be released by NRMP at 12 p.m. (EST). At that point, residency candidates are free to contact any of the remaining unfilled programs directly to see if they are still accepting applications.  

How Match A Resident Can Help

As you can see, the majority of the Post-Match SOAP happens very quickly during the first four hours. The most difficult part of the Post-Match SOAP is using the limited research time to pick 45 compatible programs to apply to. Members with active Match A Resident Customized Lists can use their list of compatible programs to select programs to apply to during SOAP.

How To Use Your Match A Resident List during the Post-Match SOAP

  1. Have your NRMP® List of Unfilled Programs open, and your Match A Resident account open in a separate internet browser tabs.
  2. Look through your NRMP® List of Unfilled Programs and choose a program that you want to crosscheck.
  3. Search the program on your Match A Resident list, keeping in mind that your list is created with compatible programs.
    1. If the program is on your list, it is a compatible program and a good choice to apply to
    2. If the program is NOT on your list, then there is a program criteria that you are not compatible with and the program is not a strong choice to apply to
  4. Complete selecting 45 programs and prepare to apply to these programs starting at 2 p.m. (EST) Monday, March 12th.

Post-Match SOAP FAQ

How much does SOAP cost? If you applied to any programs during the Main Residency Match Season, SOAP applications do not cost any additional fees. If you did not apply to any programs previous to SOAP, you will be expected to pay a $99 fee to ERAS.

When can I apply to programs? You can apply to programs starting from 12 p.m. (EST) Monday, March 12, 2018. Applications will remain open throughout the remainder of SOAP, but it is highly suggested to apply as soon as you can to make the most out of SOAP.

Beyond submitting my application, can I contact programs to express my interest further? No. Candidates and anyone speaking on their behalf is not permitted to initiate contact with residency programs. First communication must come from the programs.

If I am not ECFMG certified, can I still participate in SOAP? Technically, yes. Bearing in mind that some IMG applicants may not graduate until June the year of The Match, IMGs do not need to be fully certified. However, they must have their USMLE Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 2 CS verified by ECFMG by the week before Match Week in order to participate.

If I did not have any interviews/did not enter a Rank Order List, am I eligible? Yes. You do not have to enter a Rank Order List to be eligible for the Post-Match SOAP.

What do I do if I am not SOAP eligible? Unfortunately, if you are not Post-Match SOAP eligible, you are prohibited from applying to or contacting Match-participating programs. You MAY apply to and contact non-Match participating programs after 3 p.m. on Monday, but may not accept a position until after 12 p.m. Wednesday.

(Content Updated: February 16, 2018.)

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