The top Match tips and advice from osteopathic physicians and students from the past year

The DO has collected our top tips and advice from the past year on what to do if you’re looking ahead to next year’s NRMP Match, hoping to land your pick this month or planning your audition rotations.


The Match season is an exciting, and also stressful, time for those planning to make the leap into the next step of their osteopathic medical career: residency. Match Day 2024 will take place on March 15, when students and DOs who are participating in the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) match will find out which programs they matched into. The NRMP uses a computerized mathematical algorithm to place applicants into residency and fellowship programs. The algorithm is based on both the applicants’ and programs’ preferences.

Below, The DO has collected our top tips and advice from the past year on what to do if you’re looking ahead to next year’s NRMP Match, hoping to land your pick this month or planning your audition rotations.

On program cultures: “Every specialty and residency program has its own culture and subculture. Your goal is for the program preceptors, resident physicians and staff to feel like you are already a member of the program by the end of your rotation (if you like the program). Find out as much as you can about the program’s culture: hours, dress, who talks first and structure of the team.

Some programs will have rounds of students and residents citing literature articles during rounds to debate next treatment steps. Other programs will have long hours in clinic and meetings for dinner and drinks to decompress. In some programs, especially in psychiatry, students do well observing all the details of a patient, and then asking a thoughtful question. This isn’t about changing yourself to fit each program; it’s very much like visiting a different country and being deeply respectful of the cultural norms.”

Miko Rose, DO (Three keys to crushing audition rotations:
Notes from inside ‘the room where it happens’

On open houses: “Read through the program’s website and prepare questions. Program websites provide a lot of information. Open houses are excellent opportunities to ask clarifying questions about the surrounding area and cost of living. When I was preparing for virtual open houses, I made a list of questions I wanted to ask residents and program leadership. I asked or listened for these questions during all the virtual open houses I attended. The responses helped me better determine if a program was a good fit for me.”

Jane Dalisay, DO (Learning about residency programs through virtual open houses)

On interview prep: “I primarily used Big Interview prep, along with outlining my answers with notes. I drilled down specific talking points for certain questions in a way that allowed for natural conversation.”

Frank Mele, DO (Matching into your top choice:
8 OMS IVs share their stories and advice

On finding your residency fit: “The essence of peak performance relies on this [fit and flow] concept. You have likely experienced times when you were so immersed in an activity, it felt like time stood still. You naturally knew what to do, formulated options and put solutions in place without awareness of the passage of time. After working for countless hours in these settings, you feel uplifted, energized and inspired, rather than mentally and physically exhausted. What residency trajectory paths ignite this spark in you?”

Miko Rose, DO (Finding fit and flow: How to choose a residency path)

On recommendation letters: “General letters are great, but programs want to know you’re serious about your goals and where you want to end up. They want to hear that you’d be a good fit for their specialty from their colleagues and peers. Keep in mind that some programs may not accept letters from residents and fellows. Double check first, so you don’t waste anyone’s time.”

—Reshma Pinnamaneni, OMS IV (Recommendation letters: A student experience)

On avoiding interview burnout: [When asked, “if you could go back through the match season, what would you have done differently?”]

“I would have reduced the number of places that I applied to/interviewed at. Interview burnout, even in the virtual setting, can significantly impact the way you perceive a program, so I wish I would have been more selective with which interviews I took.”

Erika Foerst, OMS IV (Matching into your top choice:
8 OMS IVs share their stories and advice

On preparing for audition rotations: “Getting all your materials ready is an important and time-consuming part of the application process. The list may include (but is not limited to): headshots, up-to-date immunizations, COMLEX Level 1 P/F report, transcripts, drug screens, proof of current health insurance, HIPAA/OSHA training and ACLS/BLS certification. The requirements may be program-specific as well—some programs request personal statements, while others might want recommendation letters. Starting early will give you plenty of time to prepare so you won’t feel like you’re rushing at the last minute.”

Reshma Pinnamaneni, OMS IV (Audition rotations: Tips for planning them)

On SOAP week: “It can be hard not to feel like you’ve failed. Especially after applying to medical school and working through all the challenges of school itself, plus piling on research, working for honors on rotations and other obligations, all to acquire a residency spot in your desired specialty. If you find out you didn’t match, your first priority will likely be getting through SOAP [Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program] week and landing a position that will work for you. But once that acute period is over, reach out to friends and family you trust. Talk to them about what’s going on. Seek out help from your medical care team. Seek out a counselor if you need to.”

Kaitlyn Thomas, DO (From unmatched to Intern of the Year: My SOAP experience)

On awaiting Match decisions: “For some, doing “nothing” may not sound appealing or remotely doable [after applications are submitted]. There will be very few times in your life in medicine where you won’t have anything you need to do to work toward the next phase of your career. This is one of those coveted times—enjoy it and have fun!”

Miko Rose, DO (From chaos to simplicity: The waiting game before Match Day)

For more Match advice, tips and stories, visit The DO’s monthly ‘Meet Your Match’ column here.

Editor’s note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of The DO or the AOA.

Related reading:

Audition rotations: Tips for planning them

Matching into your top choice: 8 OMS IVs share their stories and advice

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