The postmatch scramble is a 48 hour period during which unmatched applicants contact programs with unfilled positions. It starts at noon on the Tuesday of the match week and ends at noon on the Thursday of the same week. The scramble is an organized process and has involved the same organizations that participate during the main match. Those eligible to participate in the scramble are applicants who didn't match into a residency position, who matched into a preliminary position but not into the corresponding PGY 2 position, and those who matched into an advanced position but didn't matched into a PGY 1. To all eligible applicants, the Dynamic List of Unfilled Programs will be available at the NRMP website the same time the scramble begins.

If you are going to participate in the postmatch scramble, you need to prepare yourself quite a bit. If any of your documents have to be updated, you must send them to ERAS with at least one week of anticipation to have it ready for the scramble. Once you have access to the list of unfilled positions, you must start calling, emailing, and faxing programs expressing your interest in the position and asking about the possibility of you getting it. Do not send your application until a PD or PC tells you so. You can send your application through ERAS, by fax, or by email and the program staff will specify which way to use. In this matter, ERAS will work during the scramble in a similar way that during the main match, with the exceptions that with ERAS you can only send your application to 30 programs and the ADTS won't work the first day of the scramble.

As described above, the scramble might sound easy, but it actually is a stressing process in which your opportunities to get the job are dim. It is no secret that PD's will give preference to AMG's and IMG's with citizenship or permanent residency. If you require a working visa your opportunities decrease considerably. The specialties that have more unfilled positions after the match are surgery preliminary and family practice, related to internal medicine or other more competitive specialties, and of course the chances to get a position is higher in those two. Based on these, you have to enter the scramble with an open mind and willing to accept any position offered no matter the specialty, location, or reputation of the program; you won't have the opportunity to choose. If you are lucky enough to receive one offer.take it!

For the scramble you will need a crew of people ready to work hard for 2 days, several telephones, at least 1 computer with broad band internet connection, a couple of fax machines, and tons of patience. You should expect rejections all day, so do not loose faith in the middle of the process.

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