• A spreading gap has developed between available pediatric level 1 positions and those filled through the National Resident Matching Program. To define which variables enhance a program's ability to match, we surveyed program directors of all categorical pediatric training programs. An 82% response rate showed that ability to match was positively associated with larger program size and offering of shared residency positions. A negative association was found between many benefits and ability to match. The call schedule and number of call-free elective months had no measurable effect. Factors that we were unable to investigate, such as geographic location and academic reputation, may also play a role. Our results emphasize the irrelevance of enhancing benefits as a way of making programs competitive. Our energies need to be directed at attracting junior medical students to a career in pediatrics rather than competing for fourth-year students applying to pediatric programs.