NRMP Rank Order Lists: Some Important Considerations
You’ve interviewed with residency programs, reflected on these experiences, and now it’s time to take your list of possible training programs and rank them with the National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP®). This is the final step in the application process and you will want to know all the facts to optimize your chances of being in the program that is the best possible fit for you.
Your rank order list for the NRMP Main Residency Match® (“The Match”) allows you to indicate your program preferences among those you have applied to and wish to attend. Rank order lists for The Match are submitted to the NRMP electronically through the NRMP's web-based Registration, Ranking, and Results® (R3®) system. Access to the R3 system requires registration with the NRMP, which is separate from your registration with the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS®). You must register for each new Match in which you participate. During registration you will create an R3 username and password.
You should list programs in the order in which you would most like to attend them, with your most preferred program in the top spot and your least preferred program at the bottom. You should not include any programs you are unwilling to attend, as it is possible to match with any program you include on your rank order list. It is not recommended that you rank programs you did not interview with, as programs usually only rank those applicants they have interviewed during the application season.
Certifying your rank order list
When you have entered all of your program ranks into the R3 system and you are confident your list is in order of true preference, you must certify your rank order list for it to be used when the matching algorithm is processed. This is the last step in submitting your rank order list. If you decide to change the order of the programs in your list, or add or delete programs, you must do so before the Rank Order List Certification Deadline, and you must recertify your list for it to be used in The Match. The R3 system does not keep previous versions of rank order lists, even if they were certified; the list available when you log in is the only version on file in the R3 system. The NRMP will not add, delete, or reorder programs or in any way modify a rank order list. The deadline for submitting and certifying your final list is 9:00 p.m., Eastern Time in the United States, on February 26, 2020.
The final preferences on rank order lists, as submitted by you and programs registered with The Match, will determine which applicants are matched to positions. Your primary rank order list could include preliminary, transitional, categorical, and advanced programs. Supplemental rank order list(s) are used if you are ranking advanced (PGY-2) positions on your primary rank order list and also want to secure a first-year (PGY-1) position. It is possible for you to match to an advanced position, but not to a first-year position, which would make you “partially matched.” If this occurs, you are committed to the PGY-2 position, and then must seek a PGY-1 position through the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program® (SOAP®) or after Match Week.
The Match creates a binding commitment to attend a program, if you are matched. You must sign the NRMP Match Participation Agreement during registration that states you and your matched program(s) are bound by The Match results. Once you are matched, programs are committed to offer an official appointment to each matched applicant who has met their prerequisites and institutional appointment conditions. Likewise, applicants are committed to enter the positions to which they have matched.
Communicating with programs
During the time leading up to submitting your rank order list, programs may reach out to you to let you know about their interests or ranking intentions. While programs are permitted to share how they will rank an applicant, programs are not permitted to ask an applicant how they will rank their program. The same applies for applicants. You can share your interest in a program and how you will rank a program, but you cannot ask how a program will rank you. Doing so is a violation of the Match Participation Agreement.
Your decision on how to rank a program should not be influenced by whether a particular program will rank you high, low, or not at all. The position of a program on an applicant's rank order list will not affect the applicant's position on a program's rank order list; these lists are confidential for both parties. You should not feel compelled to take a program’s comments into consideration when ranking programs. Additionally, where you are ranking a program is not something you are obligated to share with a program.
Need more information?
The NRMP has more information that you’ll want to check out, including: