Skip to main content

Post-Match Scramble

What is the Scramble??
It refers to the two day period after the match, in which all those who failed to match try their luck and capabilities to get in to the programs. I must say that this is the most hectic, tense and frustrating period and unless its well managed/organized the chances of success are meager.

When do I need the Info??
You need it when you receive any of the three messages:
1) You didn’t match in any program,
2) You didn’t match in a preliminary program
3) You didn’t match in an advance program

Important Things to Remember
The most important thing is proper attitude with endless desperation. If you are not pumped up that day you might lose a position. You need to be very attentive, proactive, and well supported by your well wishers. Infact you should have 2-3 friends/well wishers working for you that day. You also need to prepare a soft copy of your documents including CV, mark sheet/transcripts (medical college and USMLE), ECFMG certificate, Medical School diploma, photograph, cover letter, Dean's letter, and LORs. You will require these for faxing and emailing your application to the respective programs. This brings forward 2 more things, a computer with a very good internet connection (which is not a big deal in US) and fax machine. You’ll also need 2-3 phones either cell phones, pc phones or landlines.

Before Match Day
During the whole residency period you’ll get to know what are your chances to get matched in the residency programs, even if you have ~10 calls there is some chance that you might go unmatched, so almost everyone prepares for post match (at least we all did). One week before the match day, APPNA contacts you regarding this issue; you should give them your info so that they can refer you to respective people who are in contact with PDs and other people. I believe this is an important step because one of my friends got his residency through this channel. So the crux of the matter is to use each and every resource you have, give it a last blow, give it your best effort, as after this day your might not be able to use your skills till the next year. 

Find A Resident and Electronic Residency
Find a resident is a sister website to ERAS, its good to register with them as programs advertise on this website and they can contact you through Find A resident, but I seriously doubt their usefulness. For the two days of scramble I didn’t see any internal medicine position being advertised on this site, only family medicine positions were there and that too were very few in number. It takes around $ 30 to register at their site; you can import all your application material from ERAS and make an updated application, so it takes less time then others. Although I am skeptical about its usefulness but at that time you never know what works out so go for it.

Electronic Residency.com is a private website which advertises during the residency period regarding the scramble and other services, although they have an impressive system of fax and email application but they are way too expensive, according to my friend they asked for $ 1200. I don’t think you need to register on this site but still we don’t have stats about it.

Post Match Day
As I said earlier, you need to be very well prepared. An ideal plan would be like the one given at the end of this note. On the post match day get up early, call your team (friends and well wishers) and get them ready for the game. Divide your work among your team. What we did was got ourselves on a conference call, as we were sitting at distances. Whatever the case may be, you need to divide your work. At 12 noon the list gets published at NRMP, take that list and start calling programs, lines would be busy but keep calling them. You can also ask your friends to talk to the Program Coordinators as you, this might be risky but it can help, as many people are calling at the same time. The list contains program contacts, so get the contacts and start calling, email them, fax them, call them, if you are close by meet them, do whatever you can to contact them, tell them how interested you are in the program. This is the time when the PDs are as desperate as you are, so use this opportunity. We were 4 people connected through msn and conference call, A (brother) was copying the list and sending to others, faxing the documents to programs, B (Unmatched guy) was talking to PDs and program coordinators on phone, C (brother) was seeing the list, choosing programs to contact, coordinating everyone and encouraging B, D (friend) was emailing the programs, checking find a resident and applying via ERAS. E (B‘s mom) was praying a lot. So everyone was working on same mission, equally desperate, equally responsible for getting B into the program.

ERAS
A very important and valuable source on the post match day. You just have 30 places to apply, and almost all the programs ask you to apply through ERAS, so what we did was to apply blindly to 15 programs right away, i.e.  Within 15 minutes of NRMP list, but after that, application was based on the programs being contacted and the response given by them. The server gets overloaded and thus very slow, so you need to be extra patient for that.

Importance of Contacts
This is another very important source, if someone goes to the program director and puts in a good word for you, it increases your chances a lot, an example of this is a person from APPNA contacted my friend on post match day and asked him why he didn’t match with such good scores (90’s in both steps), and then that person contacted a PD and told him about my friend, the PD himself contacted my friend, took an interview on phone and offered him a position, which of course was accepted.

If you find a program in your city that has unmatched positions, go to them and meet the PD. This can be your jackpot, as PDs always prefer meeting and seeing people rather than talking to applicants on phone. Same is the case with residents, if you know of someone in the program, call him and request him to go to the PD and put in some good words for you. Majority of people are helpful, and putting in good word is no big deal.

In the end I would repeat what I said earlier on, this is the time when nothing seems to be working for you. You need to make things work for you. Pray, be positive and work hard. The more desperate you are, the more are your chances to get a position. Remember most positions are given away within a few hours of the post match scramble period, so if you waste a single second you might be wasting a position. Good luck for the residency process!

The following is an extract from www.ecfmg.org/eras/index.html#88 , that is, the ECMFG website. It provides all the information that you will need to know if, God forbid, you do not match and have to take part in the Post-Match Scramble. Although the exact dates apply to the Match of 2005, they approximate those of the match week of later years.
A point to note – although the scramble does indeed apply to IMGs, the chances that an IMG will post match is very very low. Indeed, preference is given to US medical graduates. 

This General Information about the post-Match Scramble may answer your questions.
Please be aware that the Scramble involves three different organizations:
•    MyERAS, operated by the Association of American Medical Colleges www.myeras.aamc.org
•    The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP, or "the Match") www.nrmp.org
•    Your ERAS Crew at ECFMG, your designated Dean's Office www.ecfmg.org/eras
Who may apply?
All applicants who have not matched.
IMGs must have their passing results for all required exams reported to the NRMP in time to participate in the Match (refer to the NRMP website for complete information), but they do not have to be certified prior to the Match in order to participate.

When do I apply?
You may apply as soon as the list of unfilled positions has been posted at www.nrmp.org at 12:00 noon, Eastern Time in the United States, on Tuesday, March 15, 2005. This is also the site where the final Match results will be posted 2 days later.

To which programs can I apply?
You may apply to any program that has an unfilled position.

What if I have applied to a program earlier?
Let them know that they already have your application, and ask them to take another look at it. You cannot re-transmit your application.

How do I gain access to the list of unfilled positions if I did not register with the Match?
You need an NRMP / AAMC ID and a password.

How do I apply, via fax or ERAS?
Ideally, you will have contacted a few programs in advance to find out whether you should apply, and how each program wants to receive your application.
Since it will be difficult to reach the program directors and receive the answers you need during the Scramble, we suggest the following method:
Add up to 30 programs to the list of programs to which you have applied and try to follow up with these programs by phone, if you can. If a program prefers to receive your application by fax, you can still fax your application to them.

How much will it cost?
You may apply to a maximum of 30 programs during the two-day scramble. There is no charge for applying to programs during the scramble. However, to release your application, you must complete the payment process, even if the amount due is zero.
Any programs to which you apply after 12:00 noon, Eastern Time in the United States, on Thursday, March 17, 2005 will be charged at the regular rate.
For more information, see ERAS 2005 Application Fees on the AAMC ERAS website.

How long will the Scramble last?
Two days, from 12:00 noon, Eastern Time in the United States, Tuesday, March 15, 2005 to 12:00 noon, Eastern Time in the United States, Thursday, March 17, 2005. On Thursday, March 17, 2005, at 1:00 PM, the results of the Match will be announced.

Are there programs that participate in ERAS, but not in the Match?
Yes.

Are there programs that participate in the Match, but not in ERAS?
Yes.

Which programs are they?
We do not have this information.

Do I have to appear for interviews?
We do not know. The program directors will tell you.

Can I make any changes or updates to my application?
You may change any information that the software will allow you to change. You may change the information in MyProfile and you may reassign personal statements and Letters of Recommendation.

What will my ERAS Crew at ECFMG do for me during this period?
Throughout the season we check your files, on a daily basis, for any new information that would require an updated ECFMG Status Report to be transmitted to the programs. That new information could be a USMLE score or issuance of an ECFMG Certificate. Once a new Status Report has been created, based on any of these conditions, it will be transmitted automatically at the end of the day. There is nothing you need to do.
During the two Scramble days, we will login to the ERAS Post Office several times each day to retrieve your document assignments and program lists. We will process those lists and transmit your documents shortly thereafter.

What is the best strategy?
During the 48 hours of the Scramble, there is no time for manual processing. Your file must be ready for automatic processing by our system before the Scramble begins.
That means:
At least one week before the Scramble, you must apply to at least one program.
If you are planning to apply during the post-Match Scramble only, you must still apply to at least one program about one week before the Scramble.
You must also make sure that all of your documents have been received and assigned, so that we can attach and transmit them before the Scramble.
If you are sending us new or replacement LoRs, we must have them one week prior to the Scramble, so that we have time to attach them. If you have a new, additional LoR, assign it to one of your original programs. This gives us time to attach it before the Scramble. During the Scramble we will not have time to do it.
If you are sending us a replacement LOR from the same writer, attach a note to it that reads, "This replaces the previous LOR." Otherwise, we might mistake it for another copy of the one we have already scanned and discard it without scanning.
After that, your file is ready for the Scramble.


Note: This article has been derived from "Roadmap to Residency" authored by AKU graduates, with permission from few of the authors. Name of the original author, has purposely not been mentioned on request of one of the authors, for privacy reasons. If you are the original author of this article and want your name to be mentioned or wish this article to be modified/ removed from this website, please contact us and we would be more than happy to entertain your request. We fully respect your privacy, acknowledge your efforts put in authoring this article and appreciate your hard work involved in it.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.