Applying for residency through the National Resident Matching Program can be scary. With so many applicants vying for the same spot failure is possible. If you don’t get matched to a residency program on your list, don’t worry! There is still a chance that you could match into an unfilled program. That’s where the NRMP’s SOAP program comes in!

SOAP stands for Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program. This program allows NRMP applicants who are not matched into one of their ranked programs to be matched to spots that are unfilled. The negative here is that an individual does not receive their preferred residency position. The positive is that they still have the chance to obtain residency and stay on track to become a practicing physician in the U.S. It should be noted that entering this program does not mean you are guaranteed a residency position, but more on that later.


The Friday before Match Week applicants of the NRMP receives a notification if they are eligible for SOAP. That Monday, individuals are notified if they have matched. Those who are not matched can enter SOAP. To be eligible individuals must have:

  • Registered for the NRMP
  • Graduated Medical School
  • Be unmatched or partially matched

The deadline to confirm participation in SOAP for the 2020 Match is January 31st. Applicants who are interested in the prospect of SOAP should elect to participate before this deadline to ensure they have a fallback.

For a more complete list of eligibility requirements for SOAP, click here.

Applying for SOAP

To become matched, you must apply through your ERAS account. This is where NRMP’s list of unfilled programs is housed. Individuals are able to apply for up to 45 programs, including programs an individual has already applied to and or has been turned down by.

SOAP Offers

There are three rounds of SOAP. This allows most individuals to be matched and most programs to be filled. Rounds one and two take place on Wednesday of Match week and round three takes place on Thursday. During each round, programs will reach out to applicants and make offers. An individual may receive multiple offers that they can reject or accept. Before round 3 takes place all unmatched SOAP applicants who have not yet applied to 45 programs can view the open program list again and apply for available spots.

For a more full outline of the timing for each SOAP round, check out the NRMP’s 2020 SOAP Schedule.

2019 Data

In 2019 there were 1,652 positions unfilled residency spots. At the end of the three rounds of SOAP 1,310 residency positions had been filled. 229 of these filled spots were taken by those who identified as IMGs. For more data from the 2019 SOAP, click here.

Interested in applying for a residency position in the U.S. in order to complete your application you will need letters of recommendation (LoRs). AMO can help with this! When you complete a clinical experience with AMO you are eligible to request a LoR from your supervising physician.

Create an account to explore and apply for a USCE with AMO today!