5+ Year Member
Aug 16, 2014
Medical Student
Question regarding programs with both categorical and advanced positions. How do programs decide which applicants match into advanced vs categorical? Is it generally that they first fill up categorical with more sought after applicants (ie higher on their rank list) and then go on to fill their advanced spots? So at a given program with both categorical and advanced positions it is easier to match into the advanced slots?


No Meat, No Treat
Staff member
10+ Year Member
Mar 6, 2005
Attending Physician
They decide based on who applies, interviews and who they like. There are lots of reasons that people would prefer one of those over the other. But in general, if they want you for their advanced program, they'll want you for their categorical one.


10+ Year Member
Jun 17, 2009
Attending Physician
I was also asked at many interviews which one I wanted/preferred; many places that do not have the #of intern slots as their rate limiting factor will be willing make you advanced if you have other plans for intern year, or categorical otherwise. A lot seems to depend on the program's funding/scheduling and how flexible it is. Obviously this doesn't always apply as many programs can't accomodate everyone who wants categorical- in these cases I think rank lists are generally similar for both a/c with exceptions for candidates who only want one or the other. Does that make any sense?


Pastafarians Unite!
10+ Year Member
Oct 11, 2006
Attending Physician
Programs with both advanced and categorical positions will create two rank lists -- one for each program. They will often place applicants on both lists. Sometimes the order on the rank list may be different -- someone who has already completed an intern year might be ranked lower on the categorical list (or not ranked at all on that list). People needing visas might be ranked higher on an advanced list, as then their visa is someone else's problem. In any case, you apply for the positions you're interested in, and then rank them in the order you want them. Don't worry about what might be easier or harder to match into.
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