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Record Number of U.S. Medical School Seniors Apply to Residency Programs

Match Participation by International Medical Graduates Continues to Rise

Washington, D.C., March 15, 2007—Today, more than 15,000 U.S. medical school seniors will participate in "Match Day" ceremonies nationwide to learn where they will spend their years of residency training following graduation. The record number of seniors applying for residencies through the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) this year, nearly 200 more than in 2006, reflects recent increases in medical school enrollment.

Results from the 2007 Match also showed a significant increase (9 percent) in the number of participants who are graduates of non-U.S. medical schools.

Despite increases in the number of international medical graduates (IMGs) applying to U.S. residency programs through the Match, U.S. medical school seniors were more likely than other applicants to successfully match to a residency position of their choice. The success rate for U.S. students, about 94 percent, has remained unchanged for the past 25 years. Forty-five to 50 percent of IMGs typically match to a residency position.

In addition to more applicants, the number of available residency positions was the highest in Match history. This year, 27,944 applicants vied for one of the 21,845 first-year residency positions available; 15,206 of these applicants were U.S. medical school seniors. Other applicants included previous graduates of U.S. medical schools, U.S. citizen and non-U.S. citizen IMGs, and osteopathic doctors (graduates from schools awarding the D.O. degree).

Conducted annually by the NRMP, the Match uses a computer algorithm, designed to produce favorable results for students, that aligns the preferences of applicants with the preferences of residency programs in order to fill the thousands of training positions available at U.S. teaching hospitals. Of the 14,201 U.S. medical school seniors who matched to a residency position this year (93 percent of all seniors who applied), 84 percent matched to one of their top three choices.

Match results can be an indicator of career interests among graduating medical school students. Highlights from particular specialties include:

  • The number of family medicine residency positions available in the 2007 Match (2,603) continued to decline this year-100 fewer positions available than in 2006, and more than 500 fewer than were available in the 2000 Match. This year, 88 percent of the available positions in the Match were filled; 42 percent of those positions were filled by U.S. medical school seniors, with the remaining positions filled by IMGs, osteopaths, and other types of applicants.
  • More than 98 percent of available internal medicine residency positions were filled this year, continuing a three-year increase. 56 percent of those positions were filled by U.S. medical school seniors.
  • General surgery continues to be a very competitive specialty. All but two of the 1,057 available positions were filled-826 of those positions (or 78 percent) were filled by U.S. medical school seniors.
  • Interest in obstetrics/gynecology residencies has been increasing over the past few years. In the 2007 Match, 99.5 percent of the available positions were filled; nearly 73 percent of those positions by U.S. medical school seniors.

Although Match Day is celebrated today as results are revealed to applicants, the Match is actually a week-long process. On Monday of this week, NRMP applicants were informed whether they had been matched to a residency program of their choice, although the name of that program was not revealed. On Tuesday, in what is known as "the scramble," the locations of remaining unfilled residency positions were released to unmatched applicants, who then had the opportunity to contact the programs about the open positions. Today, matched applicants learn where they will spend at least their first year of residency training. For U.S. medical school seniors, this news will be delivered and celebrated during Match Day ceremonies at the nation's 125 U.S. medical schools.

"Match week is an anxious time for fourth-year medical students, as they wait to learn where they will spend their years of residency training," said Mona Signer, executive director of the NRMP. "Medical school Match Day ceremonies are emotional and exciting celebrations of this rite of passage that students can share with their families, classmates and professors."

The Match was established in 1952, at the request of medical students, to provide a fair and impartial transition from medical school to residency.

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The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) is a private, not-for-profit organization established in 1952, at the request of medical students, to provide an orderly and fair mechanism to match the preferences of applicants to U.S. residency positions with the preferences of residency program directors for those applicants.