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Navigating the 2024 Residency Match SOAP Process: What You Need to Know

Applicant being interviewed.

After tireless months of preparation and interviewing, every applicant's worst fear is "What if I don't match?". Receiving the news can be devastating; however, that doesn't mean your chances of matching are over just yet.

The SOAP, or Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program gives applicants another chance to match at programs with unfilled positions. If you are afraid that you may not match, it's important to learn about the SOAP Residency Match process so you can be prepared and understand how the process works.

In this blog, we will cover how you can prepare for SOAP and help you maximize your chances of matching.

who is eligible to participate in soap?

According to the 2023 NRMP-ERAS SOAP Applicants Guide, to participate in SOAP applicants must be:

"1. Registered for the Main Residency Match®.

2. Eligible to enter graduate medical education on July 1, 2024, as verified by the applicant’s medical school or the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), a member of Intealth.

3. Unmatched or partially unmatched on Monday of Match Week. There is no separate NRMP registration or fee for SOAP, and applicants do not submit a rank order list."

Please note that you will be notified if you are eligible to participate in the SOAP.

SOAP Eligibility 2024

How to prepare
  1. Be ready for any email and phone communications from programs. (Please note that the program will simply move to the next applicant if you do not respond promptly.)

  2. If possible, let your supervisors know of your situation and kindly ask to be excused from your responsibilities for the next few days.

  3. Use the time you have to become familiar with each program to which you’ve applied. If a program contacts you, your research will allow you to make a good impression.

  4. Keep an open mind. Being open geographically and to different programs you might not have considered before. Being flexible can help increase your chances of matching successfully.

Timeline for Soap

Monday, March 11th

10 a.m. ET: SOAP starts. Applicants learn if they've matched.

11 a.m.ET: SOAP applicants can start preparing applications.

Please Note: Applicants and their representatives cannot initiate communication with a program until the program receives an application and contacts either the applicant or the applicant’s representative during SOAP.

Tuesday, March 12th

8 a.m. ET: SOAP programs can begin reviewing applications and reaching out to applicants. SOAP applicants can continue to apply to programs with their allotted 45 applications.

11:30 a.m. ET: Programs begin creating preference lists in the R3 system.

Wednesday, March 13th

All Day: Applicants may continue to apply to programs. SOAP programs can continue reaching out to applicants.

Thursday, March 14th

9 a.m. ET: SOAP Offer Round 1 Starts. Applicants receive offers and can accept or reject via the R3 system.

11 a.m. ET: SOAP Offer Round 1 Ends. Applicant deadline to accept or reject Round 1 offers.

12 a.m. ET: SOAP Offer Round 2 Starts.

2 p.m. ET: SOAP Offer Round 2 Ends.

3 p.m. ET: SOAP Offer Round 3 Starts.

5 p.m. ET: SOAP Offer Round 3 Ends.

6 p.m. ET: SOAP Offer Round 4 Starts.

8 p.m. ET: SOAP Offer Round 4 Ends

9 p.m. ET: SOAP Ends.

Mistakes to Avoid

While it's completely understandable to be stressed and overwhelmed, it is important not to panic if you've found out you did not match. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

  • Do not contact programs directly. The NRMP prohibits applicants from initiating contact with programs. You can only communicate with a program after the program has initiated contact with you first. The same goes for your advocates/connections. They cannot make contact with the program until they have initiated the communication.

  • Try not to lose focus. While it can be very stressful and disappointing to find out you didn't match, it's important to stay focused. The SOAP is a very fast and strenuous process. To give yourself the best chance of matching, you'll need to remain focused on the task at hand: matching. This means researching programs, responding quickly to programs, and making a good impression.


At MD2B Connect, we are honored to work with applicants every year, whether its for rotations or on their residency applications. Because of this, we understand how stressful and important the residency match process is for many. We hope that this blog post helps you to better understand the SOAP process so that you can be well-prepared in advance in case you don't match. Even more so, we wish everyone their desired outcome for the match this season. Wishing you all the best!

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