A complex question that should be given much attention in the early process of choosing a specialty and compiling a list of programs. FREIDA Online®, the American Medical Association’s Residency & Fellowship database allows prospective residents and fellows to search through more than 10,000 programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). You can search by comparing programs, saving lists, and view pertinent data relating to the programs (salary, benefits, residency and fellowship demographics, training specifics, etc.).
Some of their newer enhanced search features will allow students to compare their own United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) scores to that of current residents in that program, which is a helpful when determining your competitiveness for the specialty or specific program.
In order to avoid SOAP or worse – not matching – it is critical to understand the competitive nature of the specialty you choose and to position yourself best with a program list that includes attainable programs based on what your application will look like.