The Optometry Residency Match (ORMatch) is an application service and match that provides an orderly process to help applicants obtain positions of their choice, and to help programs obtain applicants of their choice. For many years, hospitals throughout North America have used a similar match in the annual recruitment of medical residents. Similar matches are also in use in other health professions, including pharmacy, psychology, dentistry and others.
How It Works
1. Apply to and Interview with Programs
With the Match, applicants must still apply directly to programs in which they are interested, and applicants and programs interview and evaluate each other independently of the Match. No offers are made by programs during the interview period. Applicants and programs can evaluate each other fully before the programs must decide on their preferences for applicants, and before applicants must decide on their preferences for programs.
2. Submit Your Rank Order List of Preferred Placements
Each residency site will offer one or more programs in the Match. A program refers to a type of position or stream of training at a residency site (e.g., positions with different start dates, or positions with different financial support, may be offered as separate programs).
After all interviews are completed, each applicant submits a Rank Order List on which the applicant lists the programs they desire, in numerical order of preference (first choice, second choice, etc.).
Similarly, each program submits a Rank Order List on which the program lists the desirable applicants for that program, in order of preference. Each program also indicates the number of positions available in the program.
Residency Sites offering more than one program can rank the same applicant on different Rank Order Lists, and assign a different preference ranking to the applicant on each program's list, if desired.
3. The Matching Algorithm is Run
The Match then places applicants into positions based entirely on the preferences stated in the Rank Order Lists. Use the following link to read an example and description of the Matching Algorithm.
4. Get Your Result
The result of the Match is that each applicant is placed with the most preferred program on the applicant's Rank Order List that ranks the applicant and does not fill all its positions with more preferred applicants. Similarly, each program is matched with the most preferred applicants on its list, up to the number of positions available, who rank the program and who do not receive positions in programs they prefer.
Applicants and programs do not receive information about the rankings submitted by other applicants and programs. Each applicant is given only the final result the applicant obtains in the Match. Each program is provided only with the final results of the Match, including the names of the applicants it obtains in the Match.
5. Post-Match Process
It is possible that all of a particular program's positions will not be filled in the Match, and that some applicants will be left unmatched. When the results of the Match are released, information regarding positions that remain available is provided by NMS to applicants who are not matched. Similarly, information regarding unmatched applicants is provided by NMS to programs with unfilled positions.
The filling of available positions in the Post Match Process is not done by NMS. Unmatched applicants and programs with positions available are free to contact each other and to negotiate directly with each other, independently of the Match, to fill available positions.
Advantages of the Match
Since all offers, acceptances, rejections and final placements occur simultaneously, the Match is an effective and fair means of implementing a standardized acceptance date. It allows programs and applicants to evaluate each other fully before determining preferences, thus alleviating the pressures to make premature decisions based on incomplete information. Furthermore, the Match alleviates many common adverse situations from the recruitment process, such as applicants hoarding multiple offers, and applicants or programs reneging on a prior acceptance in order to accept a more preferred program or applicant that has subsequently become available. Also, a program can be assured that it will not be matched with more applicants than it has available positions.
In the Match, both applicants and programs should list choices in order of preference, without consideration for how they will be ranked by the other party. Decisions by applicants and programs regarding rankings can be based on the applicants' and programs' true preferences for each other, without the need to speculate on the likelihood of subsequent offers being made or accepted.
In May 2012, the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) established ORMatch as a new program that operates within the ASCO structure. ASCO is responsible for setting the rules of the Match and for monitoring its implementation.
The administration and conduct of the Match is carried out by National Matching Services Inc. (NMS), on behalf of ASCO.