APCCMPD Responds to NRMP- Proposed Voluntary Rank Order List (ROL) Lock 

April 2023

The APCCMPD was been asked to respond to The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) regarding the utility of a proposed Rank Order List (ROL) Lock functionality for programs. The APCCMPD’s response to the NRMP was be based on our member’s collective feedback. 

The APCCMPD submitted two joint letters:

  • One letter with Program Director representatives from the IM-Subspecialties: Association of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Program Directors (APCCMPD); Association of Program Directors in Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism; Sleep Medicine Fellowship Program Directors Council, American Academy of Sleep Medicine; American College of Rheumatology, Committee on Rheumatology Training and Workforce Issues; and the Education & Training Committee of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA); Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA). Click here to review.
  • One from the APCCMPD. Click here to review.


What is the Program Rank Order List Voluntary “Lock” Functionality:

  • A program could implement the voluntary “lock” any time after the ROL opens and before the ROL Certification Deadline.
  • Applicant visits would occur after the program initiates a voluntary lock and before the ROL Certification Deadline. Allowing the applicant to visit programs before submitting their ROL by the certification deadline.
  • Applicants would be assured that the ability or interest in making an in-person visit to a program would not affect their rank since the list would already be “locked” before the visit period.
  • The NRMP Match Timeline, specifically the Rank Order List Certification Deadline, would not change.

What unintended consequences has NRMP identified:

  • Programs could rush to complete their recruiting and ranking processes prematurely, weeks before the usual certification deadline, regardless of whether they intend to offer in-person visits.
  • A mandatory early ROL certification deadline for programs could differentially impact applicants who have not completed USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Examination), COMLEX, ECFMG certification, or visa requirements by that deadline.
  • Impact on medical education curricula: It is foreseeable in the Main Residency Match that large numbers of senior medical students would leave rotations simultaneously to travel and participate in the two-week visit period, disrupting the fourth-year curriculum.
  • While medical schools may limit the number of visits and time away from the curriculum allowed for their students, this would introduce disparity between applicant types as independent applicants such as international medical graduates (IMGs) would not have similar restrictions.
  • Impact on clinical rotations: Residents participating in the match would leave clinical rotations or other residency training assignments to travel and participate in the two-week visit period.
  • With specialty matching being more distributed throughout the year, there is less impact at once, as can be expected with medical students. However, there would still be scheduled and coverage considerations for programs and residents.
  • IMGs may experience inequitable opportunities due to an inability to participate in the visit period if not currently in the United States.

Click here for more background information.