Ranking Programs in the Main Residency Match

After registering for the Match and completing interviews, applicants submit to the NRMP a list of programs, ranked in order of preference, where they wish to train.

Program directors also submit to the NRMP a list of applicants, ranked in order of preference, whom they have interviewed and wish to train. It is the final preferences of applicants and program directors, as expressed on their rank order lists (ROLs), that determines the Match outcome.

ROLs are created and certified electronically in the NRMP Registration, Ranking, and Results (R3) system. As you create your list, keep these important considerations in mind:

  • ROLs can include up to 20 unique program codes on the primary ROL and up to 20 unique program codes on all supplemental ROLs combined before extra fees apply.
  • No more than 300 ranks can be placed on any ROL.
  • If a rank order list is certified with more than 20 ranks, extra fees will be due at the time of certification.
  • Extra rank fees are NOT REFUNDABLE if a shorter list is certified at a later time.
  • ROLs must be saved after each change.
  • Only the most recent version of a ROL is saved. 
  • ROLs cannot be imported on a mobile device.

Guidelines for Creating a Rank Order List

Important Tips for Ranking Programs

  • The matching algorithm attempts to place you in the most preferred program possible, so be sure to rank programs in order of your true preference and not where you think you will match. Go for your “reach” program.
  • Rank only those programs where you are able and would be happy to train. Putting a program on your ROL creates a binding commitment if a match occurs, so review carefully each program’s eligibility requirements and the contract you will be expected to sign.  You should receive that information from programs during the application/interview process.
  • Do not rank programs where you did not interview. Programs do not rank candidates they have not interviewed, and no match will occur.
  • Be realistic about your competitiveness and the competitiveness of your preferred specialty (review Charting Outcomes in the Match). Consider creating a ROL that includes a mix of competitive and less competitive specialties and programs, and be sure to include at least one “safety” program.
  • Do not wait until the last minute to enter your ROL in the R3® system. The servers may be overloaded and working slowly.

Ranking Advanced Programs?

Applicants listing Advanced PGY-2 positions on their primary ROL have the option of creating and certifying a supplemental ROL where they can identify Preliminary PGY-1 positions to achieve a full course of training.

Certifying a Rank Order List

When a ROL is complete, it must be certified to be included when the matching algorithm is processed. The “Certify List” button in the R3 system prompts applicants to enter their unique R3 system password to confirm certification. By certifying a ROL, applicants are entering a binding commitment to train at any program with which they match.

Applicants can confirm that the list is certified in two ways:

  • The “Applicant Status” field in the R3 system will change from “Ranking” to “Certified”
  • A confirmation email will be sent to the primary email address on file in the R3 system.

Enter and Certify a Rank Order List support guide

Changing and Re-Certifying a ROL

Changes can be made to a ROL after it has been certified; however, if a certified ROL is changed in any way, the new version must be re-certified to be used in the Match. The R3 system does not retain previous versions of a ROL, regardless of whether it was certified.

ROL Certification Deadline

Changes cannot be made after 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time on the day of the applicable Rank Order List Certification Deadline, and only certified lists will be used in the Match. The NRMP will not add, delete, or move programs or in any way modify a rank order list at any time.