The only applicants allowed by NRMP to accept positions outside the Match (prematch) are IMGs and DO candidates. For some, a prematch offer could be a dream come true. For others, it represents a tough dilemma – accept a prematch vs. go through the Match. Usually, the candidates with better overall applications are the ones facing this dilemma. There are many opinions about what candidates should do in this situation. It is a personal choice but keep in mind the following:
- Most prestigious institutions do not offer prematches so if you are competitive and have your eye on one of these, be prepared for this tough decision. Anticipate offers from lower-tiered institutions and decide in advance whether you would accept or decline.
- If a prematch comes from a program that would be lower on your rank list, decide whether you would prefer to go unmatched rather than Match or prematch at that program.
- If you turn down a prematch, it is possible that that program may not rank you as highly, but that is not the only reason to accept a prematch.
- If you have several choices, a prematch might be statistically more desirable than going through the match.
- If you have several interviews and wish to go through the match, try to avoid conversations about prematches at your interviews. If asked, be diplomatic in your answer (which hopefully you prepared) and reassure the program that you will still be ranking them favorably if you decline.
- If you accept a prematch, be familiar with NRMP regulations. You must withdraw from the Match. However, do not withdraw from the Match without written documentation of the prematch that you have accepted.
- You cannot accept a prematch and still participate in the Match. If any person does this, they will be at risk to lose both positions as well as be banned from participating in any future Matches.
Whatever you decide, make sure it is a decision that will be in your best interest, and not taking into consideration other peoples’ opinions. After all, you will be the one that has to live with the decision for the next 3-6 years!
by Jasmine Riviere Marcelin, Class of 2011