Some talented IMGs will find themselves facing the toughest time of their USMLE to residency journey next month. They will be up against thousands of unmatched American graduates desperately trying to get the last few available residency spots in a period of five days. Programs will be on the lookout for these high value candidates who remained unmatched because of reasons like not having a complete application during match or not ranking enough programs or not going to enough interviews.
Everything you have heard about SOAP is true. It is difficult and unfair for non citizen IMG. But we here at AlphaIMG believe in giving our best shot at everything we do. Even if the bets are against IMGs on this one, we strive to be the BOSS at what we do.
Keep reading because I am breaking down exactly the actions you need to take and information you need to be the high value applicant that unfilled programs are looking for if you have to face SOAP.
# What is SOAP?– It is post match SUPPLEMENTAL OFFER AND ACCEPTANCE PROGRAM. Unfilled programs have a chance to fill their spots with unmatched candidates.
# Am I allowed to participate in SOAP?– If you have participated in the match and if you remain unmatched you are eligible. You will get an email on Friday before match week to let you know if you may be eligible in the event that you go unmatched. It does not mean if you matched or not.
So you can apply to unfilled programs during SOAP if
1: You do not match or only match to either prelim or advanced position without matching for both
2. You are ECFMG certified
3. You have signed up with NRMP
4. Did or Did not have an iv during the interview season
# What are my chances if I SOAP– as an IMG, the chances are not so great. In 2015, 13657 people (AMG+IMG) were eligible for SOAP. More than 40% of these applicants were non citizen IMGs. 25% were US citizen IMGs. Rest were AMG. 123 US IMGs were offered a position during SOAP and only 86 non citizen IMGs were offered a position.
# Can I apply to any specialty– yes, but look at your application and see if it is appropriate for the specialty. If everything fits medicines, applying to surgery will not help. Do not waste your 45 applications
# How do I prepare for SOAP– You have already submitted your application for match. You can only change certain parts of it. Like your personal statement and LOR.
# What if I do not match after SOAP- after the SOAP ends, you will have a list of unfilled programs and an opportunity of contacting them
# How much does SOAP cost? SOAP if free for eligible applications. You can apply to only 45 programs
6 things you can do to Be The Boss at SOAP
- SOAP can be stressful. Be mentally prepared.. You will be checking your email every few minutes and have your phone handy at all times. With each new round of offers, you will have to go through the list of unfilled programs, find the ones that you have a shot at, apply to the said programs and wait for offers.
- Have personal statements ready for other fields (IM, FM etc). Yes, you have only 45 applications. But, based on last year’s data, there will not be many programs in each field with open position. Each program will have multiple unfilled spots. So you will most likely be applying to other fields.
- If you have LORs in other fields that you have not submitted for match or have received it after match, keep them ready to submit as well. You will be applying to different fields, see above
- If your entire application is focused towards medicine, don’t waste your application on surgical fields. Programs are looking for high value candidates, not desperate candidates just trying to get in.
- If you see a program that you have applied to before or have interviewed at and they have an unfilled position, try other programs before you waste your application on them. They did not like you the first time, chances of them liking you now are much less
- Programs will generally schedule a short phone or skype interview before extending offers. If you do get an phone call, you don’t want to miss the chance. Here is what you need to do to perform your best on this interview.
Smile when you pick up the phone, it projects a friendly voice to the person on the other side. Imagine as if you are face to face with the person when you start talking. Do not keep your computer or any other screen in front of you, it distracts you and makes you appear frazzled on the phone. Have a copy of your personal statement and CV in front of you as the PD will ask you questions about your CV. Be prepared to answer odd questions (not common but it is possible): Why did you not apply to our program during match? why do you think you did not match?
If you do not get any interview or offers, do not worry my friend. There are things you can do for next year. Be proud of yourself, you gave it your best shot.