SOAP 2019: what to Expect based on past Match results




During Match Week, unmatched residency applicants will have the opportunity to apply for positions in unfilled programs through the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP®).


Introduced in 2012, this will mark the eighth year of SOAP, a process that was designed to bring order to the previous system which was known as the “Scramble.”


Let’s review the 2018 SOAP results with a focus on applicant numbers and positions available with respect to different specialties. This knowledge will provide a better understanding of overall odds of success and guide decision-making as to how best to prepare for the SOAP.


  • Over 13,000 applicants were SOAP-eligible in 2018, of which 16% were seniors from U.S. allopathic medical schools, 28% were U.S. citizen IMGs, 40% were non-U.S. citizen IMGs, and 9% were students or graduates of osteopathic medical schools.

  • Nearly 1,200 positions in residency programs representing different specialties were unfilled and then made available through SOAP.

  • Slightly over half of the available positions were preliminary (one-year) positions in general surgery and internal medicine. Positions in surgery exceeded those available in medicine nearly five-fold (462 versus 99).

  • In terms of categorical positions, the largest numbers of unfilled positions were available in internal medicine (171), family medicine (117), pediatrics (53), pathology (28), anesthesiology (27), and psychiatry (12).


As you may expect, seniors of U.S. allopathic medical schools fared best in the SOAP with 55% of positions being filled by these applicants. Of note, there has been a significant decrease in the percentage of positions filled by allopathic seniors (68% in 2013 versus 55% in 2018) over the past 5 years.


Other notable findings:

  • The percentage of positions filled by students or graduates of osteopathic medical schools has increased twofold from 10% in 2013 to 20% in 2018.

  • There has been a rise in the percentage of positions filled by both U.S. citizen (11% versus 8%) and non-U.S. citizen IMGs (9% versus 6%) from 2013 to 2018.

In an upcoming post, we will discuss what you can do to improve your odds of landing one of these unfilled residency positions.

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