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Match on My Mind Archives

The weeks and months that lead up to Match Day can be stressful. That’s why the Career Development team has put together a weekly guide to Match Day and residency: Match on My Mind. The weekly tips go out each week in MD Student News and are archived on this page.

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[su_spoiler title=”March 11, 2019: Welcome to Match Week!” open=”no” style=”default” icon=”plus-circle” anchor=”031119″ class=””] 
Congratulations to you all! You all worked very hard to get here and should be very proud of all you have accomplished. All of us in Medical Student Affairs applaud you and wish you a very successful Match.
If you received an email from the NRMP today informing you that you did not match, we are ready to help you through the SOAP process. One of the Medical Student Education’s deans has been assigned to you personally to help guide you through the process. If you are in Indy, come to Med Sci room 164 or room 118. However, you do not need to come to Indy for help! Call 317-278-2820 and we will connect you with your designated dean.
We look forward to celebrating with all of you at the Match Day ceremony on Friday, March 15!
Campus Center 4th floor. Doors open at 10:30am. Envelopes open at Noon!


[su_spoiler title=”February 25, 2019: SOAP Information and Preparation.” open=”no” style=”default” icon=”plus-circle” anchor=”022519″ class=””]
All students will receive an email on Friday, March 8, 2019 at noon EDT stating you are eligible for the SOAP process. DO NOT PANIC! This does not mean that you did not match. It only means that you are properly registered for the match and are eligible to participate in SOAP if needed!

We hope you all have a very successful match! IU historically has a good match rate. However, just so you’re prepared, here are a few tasks you should complete before Match Week.

Complete these tasks in ERAS before Match Week.

  • Log in to MyERAS
  • Make sure your MyERAS application is complete. You must certify and submit your application before you can apply to programs.
  • Keep your Personal Information (including your NRMP ID) updated in MyERAS.
    • You can update or add a new personal statement(s). Many residency specialties will have very few positions available.
  • Consider a parallel plan for SOAP!
    • You can have additional personal statements that are specialty specific for your parallel plans.
    • If you want the programs to be able to speak with one of us, list Indiana University School of Medicine and the phone number to MSE Deans office 317-278-2820 in your personal statement.
  • Consider obtaining additional letters of recommendation before Match Week.
    • Make efforts to get letters specific to you parallel plan.
    • You can request letters from new writers, or ask old letter writers to make you current letter specialty non-specific. It is fine to use your old letters if you choose or are unable to secure new letters.

What happens if I don’t match or am partially matched?

You will be notified by email, or you can look in the R3system, on Monday, March 11, 2019 at 11 am EDT.

Come to Med Sci room 118, or call the Career Development team at 317-278-2820 for assistance in the SOAP process. Get in contact with the team early! SOAP opens at noon (12 pm EDT)


[su_spoiler title=”February 4, 2019: Rules for Making a Rank List.” open=”no” style=”default” icon=”plus-circle” anchor=”020419″ class=””]
1. First and foremost, rank all the programs where you interviewed. Unless there is some compelling reason you would not want to train there, every program should be ranked. Applicants who rank more programs have a higher probability of matching.

2. Rank the program you really want #1. Rank all the programs in the order that you prefer them without regard to your perceived chances of matching there.

3. Do not try to “game” the system. The Match algorithm will to give you the highest program on your list possible. It will continue to try until your top choice is full. Then it moves on to your second choice, and so on. It gives priority to the student’s top choice, not the program’s top choice.

4. The Match list is confidential. Programs do not know where they were on your list, and you will not know where a program ranked you.

5. Remember the Match is a binding contractual agreement! Never rank a program that you are not willing to attend.

For other tips, see the AAMC Careers in Medicine page on creating a rank order list.


[su_spoiler title=”January 28, 2019: Getting verified for Match.” open=”no” style=”default” icon=”plus-circle” anchor=”012819″ class=””]

Did you get a notice from the NRMP stating that you needed to be verified for the Match and are wondering what you need to do? You do not need to do anything! The NRMP sends this same notice to the Registrar’s Office. The Registrar will make sure everyone is verified!

Remember you must be registered with the NRMP to participate in the Match. Your rank list must be verified by February 20!


[su_spoiler title=”January 22, 2019: Alternate Paths to Surgery.” open=”no” style=”default” icon=”plus-circle” anchor=”012219″ class=””]

Did you apply to surgery programs? Are you concerned that you did not receive enough interviews to have a competitive chance of matching?

The AAMC data suggests that successful applicants to general surgery residency programs ranked about 13 programs. If you received less than 13 interview offers, and are concerned about your probability of matching, consider applying to the IU preliminary surgery program!

The IU preliminary surgery program is a one-year (PGY-1) training program in general surgery. You get the same first year experiences as someone who matched in the categorical general surgery program! This program can count as your first year of residency, and makes you eligible to apply for a restricted PGY-2 spot in surgery the following year. This preliminary year will give you experience and will allow you to get additional letters of recommendation from surgeons, and the residency program director.

You can only be considered and ranked for the IU preliminary surgery program if you apply in ERAS. It is not too late! If you decide to apply, please send an email to Jennifer Choi, MD, the surgery program director at And remember to put the IU Preliminary Surgery Program on your rank list!


[su_spoiler title=”January 14, 2019: What happens if I don’t Match?” open=”no” style=”default” icon=”plus-circle” anchor=”011419″ class=””]

Interview season is wrapping up. What happens if I don’t match? What is this SOAP thing I’ve heard about?

SOAP stands for the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program.
You can also check out a video explaining SOAP

SOAP starts on the Monday of Match week. It is three rapid fire rounds of apply/interview/offer and concludes on Thursday. Applications are made via ERAS. Interviews are conducted via email, phone or video chat. You do not make a rank list. Programs extend offers at the end of each round, and you will have about two hours to accept or decline.

If you do not match in the regular Match, you will be notified via email at 11 am on Monday, March 11. If you find out that you did not match, come to the Medical Student Affairs Office in the Van Nuys Medical Sciences Building room MS 164, or contact your lead advisor immediately. We have a team ready to help you through this process!


[su_spoiler title=”December 17, 2018: Choosing a Program.” open=”no” style=”default” icon=”plus-circle” anchor=”121718″ class=””]

Now that you have some interviews under your belt, it’s time to begin to seriously scrutinize each program. To do this effectively, you need to have a definite system of evaluation. Here are some suggestions to ensure that you collect and analyze the material needed to make informed decisions.
  • Don’t overlook the obvious. Think about your career goals and what you value most; then reexamine the criteria you used to select those residency programs you applied to in the first place. What are the key factors that caused you to rate a program high initially? Now that you’ve actually interviewed with the program, have these ratings changed?
  • Collect both qualitative and quantitative information. Use an evaluation tool that allows you to record important facts and personal impressions as well as assign rankings to key factors (e.g., curriculum, faculty, facilities, benefits, etc.). Be sure to record how you felt at each program and assign a value to your “fit”.
  • If you find that your initial evaluation methods are too complex or confusing, find ways to simplify the process, such as a single grid with columns labeled “strengths,” “weaknesses” and “questions.”
  • Revisit earlier program evaluations. As you continue the interview process, review your notes from earlier interviews. You may find that you ranked these programs either too high or too low as you gain a broader perspective. Feel free to make adjustments in these earlier rankings. It is important that these evaluations reflect your true opinion of each program and provide accurate comparisons.
  • Check out the Career Development Office’s residency selection resources.


[su_spoiler title=”December 10, 2018: Important Update from Statewide Class Leadership.” open=”no” style=”default” icon=”plus-circle” anchor=”121018″ class=””]

For this Match on My Mind Update, the Class of 2019 statewide Graduation Planning Committee (class officers and statewide reps) have some updates and action items to share. Keep an eye on the newsletter for more information to come!

1) Match Day T-Shirt Sign Up – Deadline January 4
The Class of 2019 is excited to sponsor FREE Match Day T-shirts, as a gift to the class. Please submit your size and style preferences by January 4!

2) Class of 2019 Award and Graduation Speaker Nominations – Deadline January 21
Here is the opportunity to nominate outstanding faculty from all stages of our medical school training for well-deserved awards. Categories have been expanded this year to include resident educators and clerkship coordinators. Final voting will take place in the spring, based on preliminary nominations.

For the first time, administration would also like students to nominate a student speaker for our graduation ceremony! All nominations will be considered by the Graduation Planning Committee (class officers and statewide Representatives), with a final list presented to administration for final selection.

3) First Day of School Photo Upload – Deadline March 1
In an effort to capture how far we have come…please submit your “first day of school picture!” A slideshow of these photos will be rolling at Match Day, so be sure to submit yours by March 1 to be included! While you’re home over the holidays, raid those old photo albums and submit a digital version of your first day of school photo!

Directions: Save the photo as a digital file with your name in the title, and include it as an attachment in an email at the link here → Photo Upload.

4) More Upcoming Announcements to Keep an eye out for…

  • ​Match Day Party – March 15, 7 pm – 12 am at the Biltwell Event Center
    • RSVP and guest ticket sales coming soon!
  • ​Senior Toast – May 10, 6 – 10 pm at the Indianapolis Public Library
    • Information coming soon!

5) Also, check out the student feedback for the recent Mock Interview Sessions!


[su_spoiler title=”December 3, 2018: Consider taking a second look.” open=”no” style=”default” icon=”plus-circle” anchor=”120318″ class=””]

A second look is an opportunity to go back and visit a residency program on a non-interview day. Some programs offer candidates the opportunity to go back and take a second look. Sometimes the second look will be a very formal invite, and in other cases casually mentioned during the interview day. Take advantage of the opportunity for a second look only if you think it will help you in your decision making about ranking programs.

In reviewing your notes, you may discover several vital questions that were not answered during the interview. It is perfectly acceptable to call back for more information, particularly if one of your interviewers — frequently a resident — has invited you to contact him or her for more information. If you are considering a second look, ask if returning for a second look is acceptable.

That being said, some programs discourage second looks and interpret it as an insult if you request one. In other cases, programs will interpret your interest in a second look as an indication of your enthusiasm for the program. Second looks can be expensive and time consuming. Only consider taking a second look if you need more information about a program to determine your rankings. Only make a second visit if you are invited, and have it set up in advance. Residency programs dislike having to prepare for uninvited guests!

Not sure if you should take a second look? Reach out to Sacha Sharp.


[su_spoiler title=”November 27, 2018: What do I do if I need to cancel an interview?” open=”no” style=”default” icon=”plus-circle” anchor=”112718″ class=””]

I need to cancel an interview. Is this ok to do?
Yes, schedules change, conflicts arise, and sickness and emergencies happen. You might have scored an interview at your top program(s) and are less enthusiastic about programs where you’ve already scheduled. Or you were simply offered more interviews than you can or want to attend. In fact, programs expect some canceling and rescheduling.

There is an Etiquette for Cancelling
To cancel or reschedule in a professional manner, defer to the program’s interview policies and instructions. If a program provides no instruction, follow these general guidelines:

Amount of Notice
Contact the program as soon as you know you need to change plans, preferably, at least two weeks in advance. Canceling with less than a week’s notice should be limited to cases of true emergency, such as a death in the family.

Communication Method
Regardless of how far in advance your cancellation occurs, contact the program coordinator by email or phone. If you call, you might consider sending an email to confirm the cancellation.

If you’re canceling at least two weeks in advance, an explanation is unnecessary.

If you’re canceling because of an emergency, if possible, provide an explanation that indicates the nature of the emergency (e.g., a death in your family, you’re sick with the flu) but without too much detail (e.g., “I’m vomiting every hour”).

If you remain interested in the program, provide an explanation and supporting documentation if possible, affirm your continued interest, and ask if it’s possible to reschedule.

Under no circumstances should you be a no-show, that is, fail to attend a scheduled interview without prior notice to the program.  Academic medicine is a small community. Canceling at the last minute with no explanation and no-showing can negatively affect both your reputation and future opportunities.

Accepting an interview slot that you later cancel, especially with little or no notice, means holding or wasting a slot another candidate could have filled.

Happy interviewing!


[su_spoiler title=”November 19, 2018: Don’t forget to register for Match” open=”no” style=”default” icon=”plus-circle” anchor=”111918″ class=””]

Don’t forget to register for the 2019 Main Residency MatchThe deadline is November 30, 2018 at 11:59 pm EDT. After this deadline, students will be charged a $50 late registration fee. Programs will not be able to rank candidates that have not registered for the match.


[su_spoiler title=”November 12, 2018: Should I send a thank you note?” open=”no” style=”default” icon=”plus-circle” anchor=”111218″ class=””]

I had a great interview. Do I need to send a thank you note?
Yes! Absolutely! It is social convention and your mom will be proud! Be sure to send a thank you note to the program director and the coordinator! It is even better to send one to everyone with whom you have a meaningful interaction during the interview day. This would include anyone who interviewed you. Make them all different and try to personalize each one with something you discussed during the day. Be sure to express your interest in the residency program!

Should I send cards, emails, e-thank you’s?
Traditionally, hand written cards are the gold standard. In the age of technology,e-cards like these are a great option! Several platforms are available. If you do not have addresses for everyone, send them to the coordinator and they will take care of getting them distributed.


[su_spoiler title=”November 05, 2018: Should I go to resident/applicant only events?” open=”no” style=”default” icon=”plus-circle” anchor=”110518″ class=””]

Should I go to resident/applicant only events? Yes! Most residency programs offer an evening event the night before (or after) interviews. Make every effort to go! This is a great opportunity to interact with residents away from the residency leadership. Most interviewers and the residents are truly interested in getting to know you, so be yourself! Show interest in the other person and be sure to listen. You can ask them real questions about the program. If you do choose to have an alcoholic drink, limit it to one. You want to maintain your faculties and present yourself in the best light possible!

General interview day tips: When you get invited for an interview, it is because they want to meet you! You are academically qualified. Do not feel like you have to prove your qualifications again. During the interview day, treat everyone you come into contact with as though they are a rank list decision maker. This includes the coordinators, all the program leadership, and the residents. Everyone! Remember the Golden Rule and treat others the way you would like to be treated. They all likely have a voice in the final rank list decisions!


[su_spoiler title=”October 22, 2018: It is too late to apply to more programs?” open=”no” style=”default” icon=”plus-circle” anchor=”102218″ class=””]

At this point in interview season, you may be asking yourself: Is it too late to apply to more programs? The answer to this question is no. Every residency program has their own timeline of application review, extending invitations and conducting interviews. Although, more offers for interviews are extended in October than any other month, most programs continue to review applications into November and invite applicants based on available interview spots. The deeper into interview season, the fewer the positions left to interview.

When looking for additional programs keep the competitiveness of programs in mind. Generally speaking, the coasts are more competitive than the central US, and university/academic programs are more competitive than community-based programs. If you have any questions about additional applications, speak with your specialty career mentor or the Career Development Office.


[su_spoiler title=”October 15, 2018: Learn about the new MSPE process.” open=”no” style=”default” icon=”plus-circle” anchor=”101518″ class=””]

This year, the Student Affairs Career Development Office has instituted a new process to increase your chances of matching into one of your top choices for residency. With the help of school of medicine deans across the state, you now have more support during interview season. In addition to reviewing your MSPEs, statewide deans are available for interview coaching and advice leading up to Match Day.

You will also receive a series of check-in emails from the dean that edited your MSPE to offer help and suggestions. This is to make sure that you are successful along the way. The first email was sent in early September and included a checklist for applications. The next email will provide helpful tips and check in with you about your interview progress. We are very excited to offer this high level of support and we believe this new process will better assist you in successfully meeting your match goals.


[su_spoiler title=”October 08, 2018: Interview tips.” open=”no” style=”default” icon=”plus-circle” anchor=”100818″ class=””]

Residency applications have been submitted. Now it’s time for interviews! The Career Development team is here to help with some interview tips.
  • As you prepare, be sure to practice your interview skills with these Career Mentoring Office interview trail etiquette resources and AAMC interview resources. Also, remember the STAR interview method (discuss the Situation, Task, Action, and Result) for behavioral interview questions.
  • When scheduling interviews, be sure to remember to request time away. You should also consider your financial aid and housing needs. Check out the HOST program for opportunities to stay with IU School of Medicine alumni when you travel for interviews.
  • After each interview, use the AAMC program evaluation guide to evaluate the program and see if it is the right fit for you.


[su_spoiler title=”September 17, 2018: Preliminary Match Q&A.” open=”no” style=”default” icon=”plus-circle” anchor=”091718″ class=””]

​For students applying to competitive specialties: remember you are not only competing with other strong US graduates who are entering competitive specialties that require a prelim/TY year, but non-US grads as well.

To set yourself up for success, you will need to apply to, and interview at, numerous preliminary or transitional programs. Please keep these important facts in mind when applying to programs. Successful students apply to an average of 16 programs and interview at eight or more.