Match Day has come and gone, and if you are one of the fourth-year foreign medical students who was not matched, it can be hard to figure out what to do next, after working so hard during medical school and counting on a residency in the United States. But there is no reason to despair! You still have a variety of options for next year.
Participating in the Post-Match Scramble
Even now, almost a month since Match Day, there are programs with open slots. You’re most likely to find a residency in family medicine, but other specializations are also available, especially if you’re willing to keep you options open in terms of location. By being flexible and reaching out to programs that are still looking for residents , you could find yourself starting your residency this July after all.
Preparing for Next Year
Another option for students who were not matched is to wait for next year’s match process. That can give you time to strengthen your application and increase the likelihood that you will be matched the second time around. Here are some things that you may want to do:
- Complete a clinical externship. One way to increase your odds of getting matched next March is to complete a clinical externship. Not only does this provide excellent clinical experience and boost your resume, but you can also get letters of recommendation.
- Take clinical electives. Like externships, electives are a great way for non-matched foreign medical students to get ready for next year’s match process. In these courses, you can get a better understanding of the American medical system and make connections that can help you strengthen your application for next year.
- Seek additional education. Although additional clinical experience is usually the best way to show residency programs that you have what it takes when it comes time to get matched next year, you can also expand the breadth of your experience by completing a non-medical degree or certificate program. Many graduate programs are available in part-time and online formats, which can be helpful for aspiring physicians with multiple time commitments.
- Get a research job. Research is an important part of many residency programs, whether at the basic science, translational or clinical level. You may be able to find full- or part-time medical research opportunities in labs at universities or in industry, which is another way to supplement the clinical experiences that you may want to pursue between now and next year’s match.
Overall, whether you decide to search for an open residency spot or focus on strengthening your application for next year, not getting matched is not the end of the world. If you take control of the situation and go after what you want, your medical career can still get off to a great start.
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