What is SOAP and why should you care?

Mar 5, 2019 by Osmosis Team

SOAP® stands for the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program®, and is part of Match Week which occurs the third week of March each year. As many know, Match Week consists of a grueling process of...waiting. This is a time that truly tests one’s patience.

In order to understand SOAP, and why you should care, let’s start from the beginning.

What is the NRMP® Match?

The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) Main Residency Match® is a process of “matching” applicants with residency programs, and spans from September to the following March of every year.

Here’s a brief overview of the 2019 Match timeline for reference:

  • September 15, 2018: Electronic Residency Application Service® (ERAS®) registration opens. Applicants can now begin to submit applications to residency programs.
  • October thru February: Applicants are invited for interviews.
  • February 20, 2019: Deadline to submit Rank Order Lists.
  • March 11, 2019 : Every applicant is notified IF they matched, but not where. Partially or fully unmatched applicants, who are eligible, can participate in SOAP®.
  • March 14, 2019: SOAP® ends.
  • March 15, 2019: Match Day! Applicant match results are now available and applicants find out which residency programs they will be joining in July.

I didn’t match. What do I do?

On March 11, if you receive a report that you are a partially or fully “unmatched applicant”, don’t despair. The Friday before Match Week, be prepared just in case by checking your eligible to participate in SOAP®.

SOAP eligibility means:

  1. You are registered for the Main Residency Match.
  2. You are eligible to graduate medical education (GME) on July 1.
  3. You are partially matched or fully unmatched on Monday of Match Week.

What is SOAP?

The SOAP is your opportunity to try to obtain an unfilled residency position. It consists of three rounds lasting 2 hours during which you can reject or accept any offer you may receive. Not every residency program is filled using the Match algorithm so many programs choose to participate in SOAP. The NRMP will have a list of programs that you are eligible to apply to. You can complete as many as 45 applications in each round using AAMC’s ERAS. Programs will choose which applicants to interview and will send notifications by phone or email. Interviews will typically be done by phone, but programs are able to set their own process for interviewing applicants. It’s important to note that applicants cannot contact any program unless the program initiates contact first. Based on interviews, programs create a preference list to whom they want to offer a position.

Here’s a timeline of SOAP during Match Week:

  • Monday, March 11: Applicants are notified if they are partially or fully unmatched. Eligible participants can begin submitting applications to unfilled programs using ERAS.
  • Tuesday, March 12: Applicants submit applications and programs conduct interviews
  • Wednesday, March 13: 1st and 2nd offer rounds at 12pm and 3pm EST.
  • Thursday, March 14: 3rd offer round ends at 11am EST.

I did not receive an offer during SOAP. What should I do?

There will be programs that remain unfilled after the Match. Once SOAP ends, the NRMP will release a final list of unfilled programs which you can contact directly and inquire about their unfilled positions.


Applying to residency timeline

Match Calendar

SOAP for applicants video