Monday, June 4, 2012

First year of the new medical residency scramble, SOAP

I've written before about the new Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP), and the National Resident Matching Program has now released a report on its first year of operation.

There were 1,100 unfilled first year positions at the end of the main match, and 815 unmatched seniors graduating from U.S. medical schools (and many more unmatched applicants when foreign medical schools are included). Most of the unmatched positions were in family medicine and in "preliminary" rotations in surgery and internal medicine.

After the first day of the SOAP exploding offer process (i.e. after two rounds of exploding offers), only 267 positions remained, and 98 of these remained unfilled. So, most of the action happened the first day.

Medical schools complained that students were asked to "commit" to programs prior to receiving an offer, and thought that rounds should be longer. Residency programs thought rounds should be shorter.

In line with the criticisms of the design offered earlier (see here), I anticipate that next year more students will be asked to "commit" before receiving an offer (even though it's against the rules), and that even more of the action will be concentrated in the first day and the first round, with more of the market shifting out of the formal scramble, either officially or de facto, through the offline "commitment" process....

As I was quoted saying last year (see here), "If it's really, really tempting for people on both sides to break the rules," says Roth, "often the rules get broken."

HT: Nikhil Agarwal

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