Policy FAQs: Applicant
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  • During my interview, the program director asked me about other programs to which I had applied and how I plan to rank them. Must I provide that information?
    • No. You may volunteer information about where you have applied and how you plan to rank programs, but programs CANNOT ask you to disclose the information. Any program that asks an applicant to disclose names, specialties, geographic location, or other identifying information about programs to which an applicant has or may apply is in violation of NRMP policy. If this happens to you, report the matter to the NRMP at (202) 400-2235 or at policy@nullnrmp.org.


  • What happens if I obtain a position and decide not to accept it? Can my program release me from my obligation to attend?
    • The Match Participation Agreement to which you affixed your password when you registered for an NRMP Match states that a match between an applicant and a program creates a binding commitment to accept a position if a match results and to start training in good faith (i.e., with the intent to complete the program) on the date specified in the appointment contract. For the Main Residency Match®, the same binding commitment is established during the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program® (SOAP®) if a program offers a position by listing an applicant on its preference list and the applicant accepts that offer.

      Under certain limited circumstances, the NRMP may grant to an applicant or program a waiver of the binding commitment if honoring the commitment would result in serious and extreme hardship. Programs cannot grant a waiver from a binding commitment.  Once a party has matched, or a position has been offered and accepted during SOAP, a waiver of the binding commitment may be obtained only from the NRMP. The NRMP encourages you to read about waiver review process.

  • As an applicant, how long must I remain in my program?
    • Applicants who give notice of resignation, resign, or vacate a position within 45 days of the start date specified in the appointment contract are presumed to have breached NRMP policy unless they can demonstrate, through the NRMP waiver process, that they entered into the program in good faith and the NRMP determines they have a reasonable basis to be released from the binding commitment to the program.

  • What is the process if I am investigated for an alleged violation of the Match Participation Agreement?
    • The NRMP solicits information from the applicant, program, and/or any other individuals with knowledge of the situation. A Preliminary Report documenting the nature of the allegation is prepared. If the results of the investigation indicate that a violation has not occurred, the case is closed. If the results of the investigation indicate a violation has occurred, the Preliminary Report is distributed to the subject of the investigation and any other parties who provided information material to the investigation for their review and comment. The case is then reviewed by a panel of the NRMP‘s Violations Review Committee, which determines whether a violation occurred and, if so, the appropriate penalty. A Review Panel Report is issued to the subject of the investigation, who will have ten business days to notify the NRMP of the intent to dispute the finding by initiating arbitration.

      All Match participants should review carefully The Policies and Procedures for the Reporting, Investigation, and Disposition of Violations of NRMP Agreements.

  • My academic, professional, and/or personal information has changed since I interviewed with programs. What should I do?
    • Section 4.4 of the Match Participation Agreement requires applicants to provide complete, timely, and accurate information to programs. Accordingly, changes to personal, academic, or professional information that could affect your eligibility for appointment or ability to obtain licensure must be conveyed to programs, even if you already have submitted your ERAS application and/or completed program forms or documents. Failure to provide complete, timely, and accurate information to programs at any point in the application, interview, and/or matching process is a potential breach of the Match Participation Agreement and could subject you to a violation investigation.

  • Am I allowed to share the List of Unfilled Programs in the secure R3 system?
    • No. It is a violation of the Match Participation Agreement for the List of Unfilled Programs to be copied, shared, or distributed to any individual not registered for the Match or posted or in any other way made publicly available by a Match participant to any website or non-NRMP-related matching plan. Match participants who share the List of Unfilled Programs could be subjected to a violation investigation and the levying of sanctions.

  • Can programs ask me to commit to a SOAP offer prior to the offer being extended to me through the R3 system?
    • No, program offers and applicant acceptances of unfilled positions can be executed only through the R3 system. It is a violation of the Match Participation Agreement for a program to suggest or inform an applicant that placement on the program’s SOAP preference list is contingent upon the applicant’s verbal or written statement of acceptance.

  • I have just learned that I am being investigated for a SOAP violation. Will I be sanctioned?
    • If you are investigated for a SOAP violation, it means you may have violated a SOAP policy, and the NRMP is authorized to levy sanctions if a violation of SOAP policy is confirmed. Those sanctions could include being barred from participating in SOAP during the next year’s Match.

  • How can I learn about violation investigations conducted by the NRMP?
    • The NRMP maintains an Institution and Program Violations Report in the Registration, Ranking, and Results® (R3®) system that is available to applicants who register for any NRMP Match. The report displays information about graduate medical education programs and sponsoring institutions that have violated the Match Participation Agreement and displays term limits of any sanction(s) imposed.

      The R3 system also includes an Applicant Match History that details whether an applicant has requested a waiver of the binding commitment and/or been involved in an NRMP investigation.