MedEdits | Medical School Admissions Consulting

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Unsure of How to Rank Residency Programs? How About Communicating with Programs Before the Match?

The end of residency interview season is approaching so it is time to start thinking about how you will rank programs. The NRMP matching algorithm works in favor of the applicant so you should rank programs based on where you would like to train rather than where you have the greatest liklihood of matching.
You should also communicate with every program that you will rank either by doing a second look (and making sure the program director is aware) or by sending an email to the program director. 
The email to your first choice program should explicitly state that you will rank them first. For other programs on your rank list, don’t even mention the word ranking. Phrases such as, “I will be ranking you highly,” or “Your program is one of my top three choices,” tells the program director, indirectly, that they are not your first choice which is less than ideal. Instead, state something such as, “I would be honored to match with you.” 
Do these letters really make a difference? It is tough to know. All program directors want to avoid the scramble so they all try to rank enough applicants to fill their programs. Programs (especially those at prestigious medical schools) also like to boast when they “matched their top picks” which is why letters of intent can influence your position on a rank list.
If you are interested in working with me for the 2011/2012 application season, be sure to retain my services soon.

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