(compiled by Dr. Graham McMahon)

The Match

The Match is a centralised computer program that matches a physician's highest ranked residency program with a hospital that ranks them highly.
It is organised by the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP) . Not all of the available spots are listed in the Match, and some of the more competitive specialities participate only in the "Early Match". See the NRMP site for more information. As an international applicant, you must register as an 'independent applicant' before December 1st of your year of application at the latest

What happens in the Match is .....
(1) You apply to the programmes in the hospitals that interest you
(2) those programmes that are interested in you will invite you for an interview
(3) after the interview, the hospital ranks you among all those they've interviewed
(4) After all your interviews, you rank the programmes that you want and
(5) on a certain date in March (March 20, 2003 is next), all of these preferences are chewed on by a computer and the hospitals are matched with the applicants.

Those that do not 'Match' are notified two days before the official results and can participate in the 'Scramble' where unmatched physicians telephone unmatched residency programs in an attempt to find jobs.

You will optimise your chances of matching by...
(1) Being organised and ready
(2) having good grades, USMLE scores and references
(3) performing well at interview
(4) having done an elective at the hospital you're applying to
(5) knowing about your visa plans