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For foreign medical graduates who are looking to be matched to a US medical residency program in 2018, the winter months of waiting for Match Day can feel just as hard as the application process — but you need to remember that there are still a few key deadlines you need to meet. If you are participating in the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP) Main Residency Match in 2018, there are several important dates that you should keep in mind as you look ahead to the new year.

January 15, 2018 — Rank Order List Entry Opens

In less than a month from now, the rank order list entry opens at 12:00 pm Eastern Standard Time. Even though there is another month after that before the rank order list entry closes, it is important to start thinking about your rank order list in advance. That way, you will be able to dedicate enough time to the development of a strong rank order list, and you won’t end up feeling rushed as the deadline approaches.

When you participate in the Main Residency Match, you will submit a primary rank order list that may include a combination of categorical, preliminary, and advanced programs. Depending on your interests and career goals, you may also decide to submit a supplemental rank order list of preliminary programs that are linked to more advanced programs, which would enable you to lock down a PGY-1 and a PGY-2 position at the same time. It is important to take the time to explore these options before and during the period in which the rank order list entry is open.

As we discussed in an earlier post, the number of programs on your rank order list may also matter if you are a foreign medical graduate. According to data collected by the NRMP after the 2015 Main Residency  Match, foreign medical graduates who ranked a larger number of programs within their preferred specialty area were more likely to be matched within that specialty area. Specifically, the average number of contiguous ranks for those who were matched was 6.3, as compared to only 2.5 for those who were not matched.

The NRMP also advises foreign medical graduates to include a combination of more-competitive and less-competitive programs on their rank order lists. Right now is a great time for you to start exploring the options and considering the competitiveness of your programs of interest, while also accounting for personal considerations, like institution locations. That way, by the time January 15 rolls around and the rank order list entry opens, you will already have a solid list of programs in hand.

February 21, 2018 – Three Major Deadlines

Five weeks after the rank order list entry opens on January 15, you need to have your list finalized. At 9:00 pm Eastern Standard Time on February 21, 2018, all rank order lists must be certified. Make sure yours is in by the deadline!

That same date — February 21, 2018 — is also the late registration for the 2018 Main Residency Match. The regular registration deadline was November 30, 2017, but if you missed it, you still have the opportunity to participate. Unfortunately, you have to a late fee of 50 dollars alongside the regular registration fee, but that is a relatively small price to pay if you are truly committed to pursuing a US medical residency in 2018.

This deadline also applies to Match withdrawals. If you elected to participate in the 2018 Main Residency Match but want to withdraw your application for any reason, you have to do so by February 21, 2018. Withdrawing your application from the Main Residency Match is a serious decision, considering all of the hard work you have already put into the residency application process, so you need to make sure you give yourself enough time to fully consider your options before the withdrawal deadline arrives.

Match Week: March 12 – March 16, 2018

Match Week starts on Monday, March 12, with the start of the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance (SOAP) program. At 11:00 am Eastern Daylight Time, you will find out whether you got matched. If not, you can participate in the SOAP until it concludes on Thursday, March 15.

Friday, March 16, 2018, is the day you’ve been looking ahead to for months — Match Day! At 1:00 pm Eastern Daylight time, Match results are sent to applicants by email and posted in the R3 system. On that day, you will find out if you made it into the program of your dreams and are on your way to a US medical residency program in July 2018.
If you’re a foreign medical graduate looking to make that dream a reality, FMG Portal is here to help you at every step of the process. Contact us today for more information about what we offer!