After studying for the USMLE exams, participating in the Match is likely one of the most stressful periods of a medical student’s career. At this point, you’ve completed all of your interviews, you hope they went well, and now you have to make the decision: where do I really want to complete my residency? That question will have different meaning depending on a student’s situation. If you had many interviews, you may have a lot of thinking to do. If you had very few interviews, it’s more straightforward. Either way, you have to create and submit a rank list to facilitate the computer deciding where you end up. How can you maximize your chances of matching at the program of your choice?

  1. Don’t forget to register for the Match through the NRMP website! You will need to have registered for ERAS and obtained an AAMC number.
  2. Keep in touch later in the interview season to let your programs (especially your top) know that you are still interested. Update them on any changes to your CV.
  3. Do not be afraid to tell your #1 that they are your #1. Although many people do it, it’s not a good idea to tell multiple programs that they are your #1.
  4. Compose your rank list according to YOUR preferences, not where you think you will be ranked highly. The Match algorithm actually works in YOUR favor. It will try to match you with your most preferred program FIRST.
  5. Rank all programs vs. only rank programs where you are willing to work: ultimately you have to make the decision whether you will prefer to go unmatched rather than match at an undesirable residency. If the former applies to you, rank only those you like. If you fall in the latter category, rank all programs where you interviewed.
  6. You can modify your rank list as often as you wish before the deadline, but remember to CERTIFY your rank list EVERY TIME you modify it.
  7. Remember that you must have completed Step 1, CK, and CS with reported scores by the Rank list deadline or you will be automatically withdrawn from the match.

After the rank list deadline, everything is now out of your hands, so worrying about it will only stress you out. Take a break, focus on your rotations, and await your fate in three weeks.

by Jasmine Riviere Marcelin, Class of 2011