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Contingency Planning

OSA will work with each of you to achieve your personal and professional goals. However, we will be clear with you regarding the likelihood of matching based upon your academic record, your chosen program of study, and the specific programs to which you have applied and ranked.  

All applicants should consider the following strategies:  

  • Apply to a range of programs in terms of competitiveness. 
  • Ideally you will interview at 12- 14 programs (the number of applications you should submit to receive this many interview offers varies by specialty and applicant). 
  • Consider ranking all programs you interviewed at unless you would rather go unmatched than go to that program.
  • Be proactive in contacting OSA and your faculty advisors if you are not receiving adequate invitations for interviews to allow for some intervention and modification of plans before the end of the application process (such as applying to preliminary programs). This may mean the need to apply to preliminary programs and/or less competitive specialties to get your recommended number of offers. 
  • Use the MedScope Interview tracker and stay up to date; this allows us to monitor your offers and acceptances for proactive intervention. 

For students applying to specialties a little beyond their academic reach – OR-  

For any student applying to a competitive subspeciality:

  • Consider a dual/parallel application to: 
    • A second, less competitive specialty such as Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine or Pediatrics 
    • A preliminary program in internal medicine or general surgery (Note, you may also consider an OBGYN preliminary program but there are few of these and this is NOT a reliable back up option). 
  • Consider taking an additional/gap year before applying to improve your credentials. 
    • Be clear about what you can do to improve your credentials.
    • A research year may be beneficial depending on your specific situation/specialty. 
    • A master’s year may also be considered. 

For students with significant geographic constraints:  

  • Consider applying to a second specialty or a back-up preliminary year. 
  • Consider away rotations in that geographic region.
  • Communicate your geographic preferences to programs.

For students applying to advanced programs:  

  • Consider listing your preliminary programs at the end of your primary rank order list. 

Entering the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP) for a position should be the ultimate contingency and not the first plan. Generally, there are very few unfilled programs available for students to secure positions in SOAP. Specialties that have had availability in the last few years include categorial Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine and Pediatrics, and preliminary Surgery and Internal Medicine.