Congratulations on Your Successful Match! Here’s What You Do Now
Updated: Mar 29
Match day represents the culmination of years and years of hard work and study. If you have successfully matched, congratulations! We wrote this post to outline what to do once you match.
It’s important to take the time to fully appreciate your successful match. We’re going to outline some next steps, but don’t get so wrapped up in these next steps that you don’t fully immerse yourself in this feeling.
Even if you matched at a program or a specialty that was lower on your list, it’s an incredible accomplishment to match into a residency program. It’s also an amazing vote of confidence that the Program Director and faculty believe that you have what it takes to succeed at their program. They are entrusting you with the care of their patients, and that’s pretty amazing.
2. Call or email the program
You’re about to embark on a 3 or 4 or 5-year relationship with this program and its leadership. It’s a nice gesture to start that relationship off on the right foot by expressing your appreciation for this opportunity.
Depending on the program and your relationship with that program, you may decide to either call or email. You might choose to reach out to the Program Director and the faculty with whom you interviewed. You should reach out to any faculty with whom you have a relationship at the program. If you have a relationship with the residents, you can reach out to them as well.
We also recommend reaching out directly to the program coordinator. You’ll probably be hearing from them shortly with paperwork requests, but it’s also nice to express your appreciation for their role in helping you through this process.
What do you say when you reach out? This is basically a note of appreciation and a note of enthusiasm. You are grateful for the opportunity to train at the program, and you’re excited by this opportunity. It’s nice to express that directly.
3. Contact your letter writers
It’s a lot of work to get to a successful match, and there are multiple individuals who helped you get to this point. This is the time to quickly email your letter writers, advisors, or any other individuals who helped you reach this point. Update them on match results and say thank you for their role in this accomplishment.
4. Keep an eye out for emails with residency paperwork
Get ready for a flood of paperwork. Depending on where you are training and other factors, you might need to quickly complete:
Medical licensure paperwork
Emergency contact information
So much more
Many of these items are time-sensitive, with important deadlines. If you miss these deadlines, you may not be able to start your residency.
Respond to all emails promptly, and make sure your program's contact information is in your email address book so that it never goes to spam.
5. Enjoy connecting with your fellow residents
Nowadays, many programs set up an introductory meeting so that your resident class can meet each other. This is wonderful, because you’ll be able to connect, obtain each other’s contact information, and share resources.
Enjoy this opportunity to meet your future colleagues. (On a personal note, I'm still friends with the wonderful dermatologists with whom I completed my residency, and I'm really grateful to Northwestern for bringing us together.)
6. Start planning your move now
If you’ll be moving to a different city, you need to hit the ground running. It can be challenging to plan out the logistics of moving, finding housing, and just generally starting a new life in a new city.
Oftentimes the program or its current residents can provide you some helpful guidance to get you started.
7. Make sure your clinical skills and training are up-to-date and as strong as they can be
This is an important question to ask yourself before day one of residency. Are there any areas in which you feel your clinical training or skills could be strengthened?
If you’re a current medical student, are there certain electives that will help strengthen clinical skills that might be helpful to you in your residency?
For example, if you'll be an emergency medicine resident, would it be helpful to take an anesthesia elective to improve your intubation skills?
If you'll be a pediatrics resident, would a pediatric dermatology elective be helpful?
If you are an international medical graduate, are there clinical rotations that would be helpful in strengthening your skills?
The bottom line:
The bottom line is that a successful match is the culmination of years of hard work. At the same time, it’s also the starting point of an incredibly exciting (and challenging) next phase of your career. Although it’s important to consider these next steps, we also want to re-emphasize how important it is to go back to step one in this list. Enjoy your accomplishments, and enjoy your celebration. Congratulations!
Dr. Rajani Katta is the creator of The Residency Interview 101, the online course that helps applicants quickly and confidently prepare for their residency interviews. She is also the co-author of The Successful Match: Rules to Succeed in the Residency Match and served as Professor of Dermatology at the Baylor College of Medicine for over 17 years.
Dr. Samir Desai is the author of 20 books, including The Successful Match and The Clinician's Guide to Laboratory Medicine. He has been a faculty member in the Department of Internal Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine for over 20 years and has won numerous teaching awards.