There are currently 2 different MATCHes you can participate in: the DO match and the MD match. The DO match is about 1 month before the MD match (and if you match into a DO program, you are locked in and cannot participate in the MD match).
Soon, none of this will matter as all programs will become ACGME (MD) accredited. However, there are a few things to be aware of:
DO programs: Do audition rotations! I didn’t get interviews at places I didn’t rotate at! Much of this process is based on how well programs know you/networking. Get letters of rec from former residents at the programs you want to go to or from known physicians in the osteopathic community. Also, go to osteopathic conferences (like the ACOOG conference held twice a year) to meet program directors. Make a portfolio and pass it out at said conferences. DO programs look at your holistically and try to get a good fit for their program. To be honest, my DO audition rotations (I had 2) were very challenging. At one rotation, there were 5 other students on service with me. At the other, there were 2 others. And because DO students tend to be super nice, helpful, smart people, it’s hard to compete with them. Everyone has a great personality. Everyone is a hard worker. Everyone is knowledgeable. Everyone knows everyone (especially on the East coast were a lot of DO residency programs are). I found that it helped if you knew one of the residents at the program (and had someone to vouch for you). Some programs really take the residents’ opinion into account when finalizing their rank list, others don’t. Also, some programs will require you to do a presentation – so be ready!
MD programs: Very much merit based – you’ll get an interview invite with high scores and grades. Many programs will not keep in touch with you after your interview so that all applicants have an equal playing field. My MD audition rotations were tricky because some programs don’t offer you an interview, even if you rotated there. Regardless, I think it’s really important to try for auditions. In the MD world, many people don’t do audition rotations, so when you show up with your DO, can-do, friendly, hard-working attitude, it makes a huge difference in the eyes of the program. One of the DO programs I interviewed at had an MD program director (who is awesome!) and she used to work for an MD program as the assistant program director. She actually stated that at her MD program (and as an MD), she preferred all the DO applicants! She said that they brought something more to the table and that they wanted to be there. I’ll also say this-one interview I got was because I sent an email to an MD program expressing my interest in it- so that (can) DO attitude really does go a long way.
I hope this helps you as make your decision on which programs to apply to and which programs to do auditions at!