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at my interview at a midwestern state school, this arrogant CA girl asked about the school's match list. the deans responded angrily to her question and basically said it did not matter. they said the only reason the match list is made available so USNews and other ranking companies have some tangible info to use to rank schools. they said something about, as of ~5 years ago, AAMC does not allow schools to release their match lists? and, because of that, match lists no longer matter. I know I did not phrase that correctly but I'm sure it's enough info for at least someone on SDN to give the correct info.

the deans' point was that you can be matched to any residency from any med school. they said med school opportunities are all based on what each med student makes of them. if you're at the top of your class at any US allopathic school and have a high STEP1 score, then you'll more or less get your first match choice for residency.

your thoughts?
 

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At one of my interviews an M4s told me that he had a friend who was in his first year of med school and realized that his school never matched well with California residency programs...

At all the schools I've interviewed at, they make a big deal about their match lists...and hand out the lists for the past few years...so I doubt that schools aren't allowed to give them out anymore. Who knows though.
 

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at my interview at a midwestern state school, this arrogant CA girl asked about the school's match list. the deans responded angrily to her question and basically said it did not matter. they said the only reason the match list is made available so USNews and other ranking companies have some tangible info to use to rank schools. they said something about, as of ~5 years ago, AAMC does not allow schools to release their match lists? and, because of that, match lists no longer matter. I know I did not phrase that correctly but I'm sure it's enough info for at least someone on SDN to give the correct info.

the deans' point was that you can be matched to any residency from any med school. they said med school opportunities are all based on what each med student makes of them. if you're at the top of your class at any US allopathic school and have a high STEP1 score, then you'll more or less get your first match choice for residency.

your thoughts?

Match lists are released by all med schools -- I'm not sure about this AAMC rule you describe. However in your second paragraph, I find the dean's point quite honest, albeit a bit exaggerated about "first match choice". The school isn't going to get you a good match, YOU are going to get you a good match. This is a road you travel independently -- schools just give you the basics (and all all schools do this fairly well), the rest is up to you. In terms of "first match choice", that's dependant on what you choose. There are limited spots in certain specialties at certain programs, and so obviously there will be folks at the top of their class with comparable Step 1 scores vying for the same uber competitive slots. Thus, you are never guaranteed your first choice no matter how good you are -- there will always be other people equally good wanting the same limited spots.

As has been discussed in numerous other threads, match lists are probably of limited use to premeds, however. You cannot realistically interpret a match list without knowing a whole lot more info you won't know as a premed. First, you don't know with certainty what specialty you are going to be going into. Second, you don't know what programs are the best for various specialties. Do you know what the best program is for neuro, OBGYN, peds, Derm? They aren't all the same. Some of the big name places actually have quite malignant programs in certain specialties. And you don't really know whether a school only put 2 people into rads because that's all that were able to get in versus that's all that wanted it. So you can't even just count specialties, because the couple dozen folks who get into a ROAD specialty might actually be dwarfed by the other 30 people who could have gotten into those fields but preferred IM or surgery, etc. And did the person go to X program in Columbus instead of Mass General because s/he didn't get into Mass General or because some family reason made Columbus a better selection? So I'd say match lists are a waste of time, because 9 times out of 10, they don't tell you what you think. Bad, misinterpreted data is worse than no data at all. I'd steer clear of this -- it only confuses, and doesn't really help, the typical premed.
 
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Match lists only matter to those who actually matched on that list.
 

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They don't matter to me. You will get where you want if you put in the individual work needed to get there. Just because a school matches a bunch of people into a competitive specialty doesn't mean they prepare you better for that residency.
 

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I think STEP1 information is far more useful. However, some schools may make several years' match lists available. This may be useful in determining general trends of where students end up.
 

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agree with Law2Doc. Match lists are pretty meaningless, but schools do like to provide them... I think the AAMC rule isn't about match lists, but that the NRMP will no longer release how many students at a given school matched into their 1st choice, 2nd choice, etc... Up until a few years ago schools would boast about "96% of our students got into one of their top 3 ranked programs". not sure what led to the rule change but don't think it's important.

match lists are nice to look at to see what kind of careers people end up choosing, but do not reflect any of the complex steps that led up to that list being finalized nor should they really be considered a reflection of a school. a match list is purely a reflection of the student's personal interests.


at my interview at a midwestern state school, this arrogant CA girl asked about the school's match list. the deans responded angrily to her question and basically said it did not matter. they said the only reason the match list is made available so USNews and other ranking companies have some tangible info to use to rank schools. they said something about, as of ~5 years ago, AAMC does not allow schools to release their match lists? and, because of that, match lists no longer matter. I know I did not phrase that correctly but I'm sure it's enough info for at least someone on SDN to give the correct info.

the deans' point was that you can be matched to any residency from any med school. they said med school opportunities are all based on what each med student makes of them. if you're at the top of your class at any US allopathic school and have a high STEP1 score, then you'll more or less get your first match choice for residency.

your thoughts?
 

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What about Step 1 scores? Do all schools provide the same level of preparation necessary to do well on Step 1? I've heard from one med student at very good med school that there're so many details asked on board exams that are not covered in class that it's simply impossible to know all those things and for this reason very hard to do well unless you specifically sit and learn all material not covered in class on your own...is this even true?
 

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Match lists are released by all med schools -- I'm not sure about this AAMC rule you describe. However in your second paragraph, I find the dean's point quite honest, albeit a bit exaggerated about "first match choice". The school isn't going to get you a good match, YOU are going to get you a good match. This is a road you travel independently -- schools just give you the basics (and all all schools do this fairly well), the rest is up to you. In terms of "first match choice", that's dependant on what you choose. There are limited spots in certain specialties at certain programs, and so obviously there will be folks at the top of their class with comparable Step 1 scores vying for the same uber competitive slots. Thus, you are never guaranteed your first choice no matter how good you are -- there will always be other people equally good wanting the same limited spots.

As has been discussed in numerous other threads, match lists are probably of limited use to premeds, however. You cannot realistically interpret a match list without knowing a whole lot more info you won't know as a premed. First, you don't know with certainty what specialty you are going to be going into. Second, you don't know what programs are the best for various specialties. Do you know what the best program is for neuro, OBGYN, peds, Derm? They aren't all the same. Some of the big name places actually have quite malignant programs in certain specialties. And you don't really know whether a school only put 2 people into rads because that's all that were able to get in versus that's all that wanted it. So you can't even just count specialties, because the couple dozen folks who get into a ROAD specialty might actually be dwarfed by the other 30 people who could have gotten into those fields but preferred IM or surgery, etc. And did the person go to X program in Columbus instead of Mass General because s/he didn't get into Mass General or because some family reason made Columbus a better selection? So I'd say match lists are a waste of time, because 9 times out of 10, they don't tell you what you think. Bad, misinterpreted data is worse than no data at all. I'd steer clear of this -- it only confuses, and doesn't really help, the typical premed.

Law2Doc, didn't we both answer this very same thread last year about this time? :)
 

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What about Step 1 scores? Do all schools provide the same level of preparation necessary to do well on Step 1? I've heard from one med student at very good med school that there're so many details asked on board exams that are not covered in class that it's simply impossible to know all those things and for this reason very hard to do well unless you specifically sit and learn all material not covered in class on your own...is this even true?

(1) There will be questions on step 1 that you have never studied for, guaranteed.

(2) Most med school curriculums cover *more* detail than what your study resources will cover for step 1.

(3) The real question is, did the curriculum/educational style help students build a good knowledge base to study for step 1, or did they feel like they were starting from scratch when they studied for step 1?
 

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(1) There will be questions on step 1 that you have never studied for, guaranteed.

(2) Most med school curriculums cover *more* detail than what your study resources will cover for step 1.

(3) The real question is, did the curriculum/educational style help students build a good knowledge base to study for step 1, or did they feel like they were starting from scratch when they studied for step 1?

So Step 1 structure is really simular to MCAT then? Looks like it's the same approach: you need basic science knowledge, but also you have to know how integrate and apply your knowledge to solve a particular problem... and then there are these few questions out of nowhere which you basically have to guess... Are there any key differences from MCAT (except for topics covered obviously)?
What's the best time to start preparing for Step 1? 1st year? 2nd year?
 

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They don't matter to me. You will get where you want if you put in the individual work needed to get there. Just because a school matches a bunch of people into a competitive specialty doesn't mean they prepare you better for that residency.

They don't matter to me either. I never pay them any mind either, but a lot of people seem to place a lot of stock in them. :confused: I just figure, as long as I can actually *get* into a medical school, everything post is up to me... it'll pretty much take hard work at any school. It's not like by getting into school X, I'll automatically get into a great residency, and if I end up at school Y, I'm doomed. It'll be all up to me...
 
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So Step 1 structure is really simular to MCAT then? Looks like it's the same approach: you need basic science knowledge, but also you have to know how integrate and apply your knowledge to solve a particular problem... and then there are these few questions out of nowhere which you basically have to guess... Are there any key differences from MCAT (except for topics covered obviously)?
What's the best time to start preparing for Step 1? 1st year? 2nd year?

The MCAT doesn't really require you to integrate the same way the Step does -- the Step is far more often multiple step knowledge and integration and in far more detail than anything you saw on the MCAT. The MCAT has about as much similarity to the Step as the SAT had to the MCAT -- meaning none. The only similarity is that both are multiple choice and both require you to study. Consider your MCAT over and useless once you get into med school -- it was not good prep for the Step, nor does it give you any insight into that test, sorry.

In truth the first two years of med school are your initial prep for Step 1. Most people then devote most of the summer after second year to really hammer down all the details for that test.
 

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Match lists only matter to those who actually matched on that list.

Mostly true.

I liked seeing the list of the classes ahead of me, so I could see where friends were going. However, I still couldn't properly interpret those lists.

I'll give ortho as an example, since that's what I paid attention to:
Eg. The class of 2007 had something like 10 people match into ortho. I think 1 person didn't match. And one of my friends who did match ortho, did not get anywhere near his top choice.

The class of 2008 had 5 people match into ortho, and I was told by a person from that class that 1 person had to scramble, and probably shouldn't have tried to get an ortho spot because that person wasn't competitive.

This year, there are about 15 people going for ortho. It'll be interesting to see who matches and where. I also know more about my class in general than the other classes, so I have a better idea of who's applying to what. I know my class is super-competitive and applying to a broad range of competitive things over-represented compared to previous years. (And if everything goes according to what everyone wants, I'm anxious to see what the pre-meds will think of my school's match list after it's posted up in the 2009 match list thread here in pre-allo.)
 

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As has been discussed in numerous other threads, match lists are probably of limited use to premeds, however. You cannot realistically interpret a match list without knowing a whole lot more info you won't know as a premed. First, you don't know with certainty what specialty you are going to be going into. Second, you don't know what programs are the best for various specialties. Do you know what the best program is for neuro, OBGYN, peds, Derm? They aren't all the same. Some of the big name places actually have quite malignant programs in certain specialties. And you don't really know whether a school only put 2 people into rads because that's all that were able to get in versus that's all that wanted it. So you can't even just count specialties, because the couple dozen folks who get into a ROAD specialty might actually be dwarfed by the other 30 people who could have gotten into those fields but preferred IM or surgery, etc. And did the person go to X program in Columbus instead of Mass General because s/he didn't get into Mass General or because some family reason made Columbus a better selection? So I'd say match lists are a waste of time, because 9 times out of 10, they don't tell you what you think. Bad, misinterpreted data is worse than no data at all. I'd steer clear of this -- it only confuses, and doesn't really help, the typical premed.

I think a match list can be very useful in some circumstances. The first step is to get multiple acceptances. Then you have to rank all the schools similarly (though I am not sure you can get a clear picture of the school during a short interview). Then comes the cost of attendance. If all these properties are similar, then you have the privilege to look at match lists. I know that there are medical schools that turn out a good number of specialty students, while others mainly concentrate on primary care. More than one I have seen threads by unhappy students who are trying to get experience in their own specialty, but their school doesn't have a good program because it is mainly for primary care. Thee students also end up doing a lot of scutwork, as the school doesn't take care of them well. Some of the best students from these schools find it much harder to get into competitive specialties compared to similar students in other schools known for their specialty preparation (ask lord jeebus). So yes, matchlists do have their uses. Even if you are going to change your specialty in the future, it doesn't hurt to attend a school that matches well. Some med schools turn out NS residents almost every years. Others haven't produced a single one for many years.

Sometimes a school with better match lists may be worth the extra cost. We can argue that residency depends on what fields the students choose to go. I'll argue that if no student wants to go to NS, for example, for many years, then that school will not be known to NS residency directors. Nor will it have much reputation. You can still make it out of that school, but you'd have to have better grades and higher step scores than someone from a better known school for that particular specialty. This is why you can somtimes get into Harvard from a state schools if you have close to 4.0 and maybe are disadvantaged, but you can get there with much lower scores and no special circumstances if you have attended a well-known undergrad. Works the same way higher up.

It will be also helpful to know whether the schools you want to attend will help you get into the geographic location you want. Some schools send many residents to CA, others don't send any.
 

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It seems like pre-meds who use match lists to pick a school are the kind of people who expect a handout for being part of some special club.
 

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Individual year match lists aren't too usefull, but the "summed" lists that have the last four or five years do give you a pretty good picture of where students from a specific school end up. I think that its always an interesting thing to consider...
 
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Individual year match lists aren't too usefull, but the "summed" lists that have the last four or five years do give you a pretty good picture of where students from a specific school end up. I think that its always an interesting thing to consider...[/QUOTE


This IS an annual question and Law2Doc is all over it. As an Admissions Officer I too advise applicants of the information similar to the first post in this thread. Each match list are of minimal value in selecting a medical school. We do not know anything about the student's match list ranking, desires, or history. We do not know how that match applicant ranked each program, where family may be, clinical/research influences, applicants to medical school do not know that some of the top residencies in certain specialties are in places that would seem less desirable. A match list, or set of match lists are of little value to an applicant to a medical school program. A minor point is made in that some schools have different missions and do not match well into non-primary care specialties, you should know this and heed it if you are fairly sure that primary care is not your interest. Summed match lists would be better for general information on how a school matches in specialties --- the MSAR provides a 3-year view of this information in it's annual update.

An additional point is that med school is going to be costly unless you find a rare sweet deal. Student debt is rising rapidly to a shocking number -- you are going to be paying off that debt over a long term and there really wont be a lot of difference if you owe $200k or $250k. Unless you get that rare sweet deal, AND THE PROGRAM FITS YOU AND YOUR END GOALS, then cost should not be a significant factor in your final decision. Many other factors are of much higher significance than cost.

Two factors which are not high on why to select a medical school program are cost and the individual match lists.
 

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... some schools have different missions and do not match well into non-primary care specialties, you should know this and heed it if you are fairly sure that primary care is not your interest. Summed match lists would be better for general information on how a school matches in specialties --- the MSAR provides a 3-year view of this information in it's annual update.
...
:thumbup:
That's what I meant that in some cases match lists can be very helpful. Since MSAR provides multiple year match lists (I didn't know), then it's problem solved. I guess it's easier to distinguish primary vs specialty school compared to one specific specialty vs another specific specialty school. The latter characteristic might not even matter.
 

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:thumbup:
That's what I meant that in some cases match lists can be very helpful. Since MSAR provides multiple year match lists (I didn't know), then it's problem solved. I guess it's easier to distinguish primary vs specialty school compared to one specific specialty vs another specific specialty school. The latter characteristic might not even matter.

Yeah, but you generally can get this info directly from the school and not have to bother with poring over a match list. If a school's focus is primary care, it generally says that 6+ times on its website. Beyond that, you aren't going to get any additional info out of the match list except to fool yourself into drawing some conclusions that aren't supported by reality, because premeds don't do a good job of reading the underlying motivations that drive a match list.

Too often folks go to the conclusion that is the opposite of reality. Eg Did X match into primary care because the school wasn't strong enough in the specialties, or did X match into primary care because the school does a fantastic job of inspiring folks to choose primary care over other things. Same result, opposite driving force; the latter case might actually be a better school to attend for many. I'd actually say MOST of the time premeds come out on the wrong side of this kind of conclusion -- they assume things based on the match list that simply aren't true.

It is pretty accurate to say that any US allo school is an adequate launching pad for any specialty. You can get there from any school, if that's what you choose. But the hard part is going to be up to you. Reading a match list shouldn't give you any solace or concern -- you don't get to be those people. You get to be you, who may or may not do as well as those people, may or may not have those motivations, reasons, etc.

So it probably pays to steer clear of all this. Garbage in always equals garbage out, and in the hands of a premed trying to draw conclusions, a match list is garbage in. Bad or misconstrued data is always more dangerous than no data.
 

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I mean... however you slice it, knowing the match list can be another little piece of useful info in a very big puzzle.

Sure, what you make of yourself in those 4 years matters a whole hell of a lot more than a match list, but if you work just as hard at a school with a better reputation among residency directors then you're that much better off. So yes, it is worth knowing IMO.

The fact that the dean got so infuriated by that question would be a bit alarming to me. He could have calmly explained the same information, that question does not demand such a response. These are important decisions being made here, and if med schools get to know everything good and bad about us we should know the same.
 

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I mean... however you slice it, knowing the match list can be another little piece of useful info in a very big puzzle.

Um no. It can be a hugely misleading bit of info that has no business being part of your big puzzle. Misconstrued/misunderstood data is WORSE than not having the data. "No matter how you slice it", garbage in is garbage out. You are simply better off not spending any time on this.
 
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Does anyone have a link to the MSAR 3-year residency summary for each school that is talked about above? I find some other data on AAMC's website but not that list. Thanks!
 

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I mean... however you slice it, knowing the match list can be another little piece of useful info in a very big puzzle.

Sure, what you make of yourself in those 4 years matters a whole hell of a lot more than a match list, but if you work just as hard at a school with a better reputation among residency directors then you're that much better off. So yes, it is worth knowing IMO.

The fact that the dean got so infuriated by that question would be a bit alarming to me. He could have calmly explained the same information, that question does not demand such a response. These are important decisions being made here, and if med schools get to know everything good and bad about us we should know the same.

That's exactly how I feel. Med schools reject applicants for all sorts of valid reasons, but also for subjective reasons or reasons that aren't readily apparent for how it will affect your progress as a doctor. Therefore, after I have considered all important and relative factors for what makes a good med school for me, after I have struggled with that thorny concept of "fit," I feel entitled to decide on whatever I want, be it a match list or be it whatever I want.
 

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Some of the best students from these schools find it much harder to get into competitive specialties compared to similar students in other schools known for their specialty preparation (ask lord jeebus).

?

I agree that people at some schools have an easier time getting into competitive fields, particularly those in the middle of their classes, but I don't know what schools are known for "specialty preparation."

I do think rank lists have some, but limited utility. A few schools have very high-powered rank lists - Stanford and Harvard for instance - but I also doubt that anyone would be surprised by which schools do.

I don't think there are many schools where a look at the rank list will give you substantial information beyond the general prestige of the school which should be pretty apparent by talking to people or even stooping as low as looking at USNews rankings (which I think are crap beyond rank #2).

More interesting may be looking at rank lists from the residency program side - which schools their residents came from. For instance, in Neurosurgery the prestigious Barrow Neurosurgical Institute takes a very disproportionate number of its residents from Columbia, and they're in Arizona so it's not an issue of local bias.
 

TupacalipseT96

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Um no. It can be a hugely misleading bit of info that has no business being part of your big puzzle. Misconstrued/misunderstood data is WORSE than not having the data. "No matter how you slice it", garbage in is garbage out. You are simply better off not spending any time on this.

Data is only misleading if you are mislead by it... I made no indication of how people should interpret the data, simply that all data relevant to a med student's life and future at a particular school should be available.

The dean here had an opportunity to construe this data in whatever manner he wanted. If it is often misunderstood, he could have commented on what aspects of the match list are relevant (ie. "Primary vs. Specialist focus of our school lends to our match list trend", or "students are all over the board but we have had students in every field they desired", or whatever other qualifier that could help applicants better understand the data). Simply turning red and insinuating the CA applicant's arrogance for inquiring about such data is not constructive.

PS. I don't personally look at match lists beyond the "94% of our applicants get one of their top 3 choices". And even that I use primarily for entertainment purposes. I do, however, look at and care about the residency director scores for ranked schools. But I argue for all data to be available. I will always argue against censorship.
 
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Match lists are pretty irrelevant for two reasons:

1) Self-selection. Top students going to top schools will match well because they'll ace the USMLE.

2) We cannot read them. Besides a few of the big names (ie - MGH, Mayo, Cleveland Clinic), what the hell do you or I know about what good matches are? Any idea what the top-25 hospitals are for ob-gyn? For psychiatry? No. Me neither. Trying to decipher whether or not the school is worthwhile based on match lists is patently pointless.
 
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Does anyone have a link to the MSAR 3-year residency summary for each school that is talked about above? I find some other data on AAMC's website but not that list. Thanks!

I just gave a quick look at the www.aamc.org/medicalschools.org and selected FACTS and did not find what I wanted there. I have only seen this data in the printed MSAR version. They give 3 years of residency data which shows how many matched into the various specialty category.

I too agree that the Admin should not have been uptight about such a question. I usually make this a point of discussion if the subject is not broached by an applicant during an interview day. It is a good discussion with pertinent information regarding the general irrevelance of match lists since few really know what a good match list is --- you do not know the intent of the applicants to residency.

If you look at those who respond and their "experience" on SDN and in this "business," they all seem to think it is not a category that should be of huge concern to applicants to medical schools. It is difficult to understand this until you experience being a medical student and in the match process. What should be of some concern is whether that school seems limited in their mission or focus that might affect your possible future residency intentions.
 

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Yeah, but you generally can get this info directly from the school and not have to bother with poring over a match list. If a school's focus is primary care, it generally says that 6+ times on its website. Beyond that, you aren't going to get any additional info out of the match list except to fool yourself into drawing some conclusions that aren't supported by reality, because premeds don't do a good job of reading the underlying motivations that drive a match list.
...

It is pretty accurate to say that any US allo school is an adequate launching pad for any specialty.
...

I don't think that schools listing on their website what they specialize in is a systematic way of gathering data. Some schools may have that information posted 10 times, others might not even mention it. Some may mention it twice and you might not see it... That's why it would be much better to simply look at some numbers rather than rely on website text. And adequate does not necessary mean good.

Finally, I would imagine that most people searching for match lists and other data would be smart enough to make informed decisions. And if there is something they hesitate about, I think that they'd ask about it on this forum so that the experienced med students can fine tune their findings. I know I myself would ask a question even if I am somewhat confident about my choice. It's always pays to get your opinion confirmed by those with more experience. This doesn't mean that there may be some number of premeds who are misled by the data, but that's not a good reason to preclude everyone else from using the data.
 

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I agree that people at some schools have an easier time getting into competitive fields, particularly those in the middle of their classes, but I don't know what schools are known for "specialty preparation."

I do think rank lists have some, but limited utility. A few schools have very high-powered rank lists - Stanford and Harvard for instance - but I also doubt that anyone would be surprised by which schools do.

I don't think there are many schools where a look at the rank list will give you substantial information beyond the general prestige of the school which should be pretty apparent by talking to people or even stooping as low as looking at USNews rankings (which I think are crap beyond rank #2).

More interesting may be looking at rank lists from the residency program side - which schools their residents came from. For instance, in Neurosurgery the prestigious Barrow Neurosurgical Institute takes a very disproportionate number of its residents from Columbia, and they're in Arizona so it's not an issue of local bias.

Jeebus, I was referring to one of the posts you had made some months ago where you said how the top students at your class didn't make it into some residency and you said that it had to do with the school. That was the first post I had seen like that from a med student/resident and it made an impression. Basically the same what you're saying in this post.

A question: how do you find out which residency programs (for example, NS) are highly regarded? I guess once you figure that out, you have to contact the programs themselves to get the ranking list? Or is that available online?
 

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Finally, I would imagine that most people searching for match lists and other data would be smart enough to make informed decisions.

It's not an issue of being smart enough. It's that the raw data does not say what most people may think it says, because you don't really have all the data -- you get the end result without knowing what transpired to get there. You can be brilliant, but if you get fed bad data, your conclusions will be bad. It's like computers -- garbage in always results in garbage out -- doesn't matter how smart the computer is.

Did people simply end up with these match results, or did they choose them? Was a match list exactly what people chose, or a default? I'd suggest that a match list most people would consider objectively not that impressive might be THE best match list IF the folks at that school all ended up with exactly what they wanted -- while a match list which objectively looks like a lot of fancy cushy specialties might be a horrible match list if everyone basically defaulted into their fourth choices and have to move to a city in which they may not have wanted to end up. But how can you tell? You can't. It's like trying to read a code without your decoder ring. So it's just bad data. You will never know if you are construing it the right way. Doesn't matter how smart you are.

I would suggest, being further down this road, that premeds almost always construe it wrong. Not because they aren't smart, but because they don't have the same vantage point of folks seeing residency. Once you get to that point, you will see some of what goes into these decisions, and will stop overemphasizing things like prestige and will start realizing that the analysis is more about what you WANT to do with yourself for the next 45 years of your life. Family/SOs also play a role in location/specialty too -- moreso than at the med school application level. Folks are 4 years older and a lot happens in many people's lives in those 4 years (marriage, babies, longterm relationships, divorces). Since you can never really get this kind of info from the list, you can't know if people got their goals, or simply did their best despite not getting them. So again, you are trying to read code without the decoder ring. I'd suggest you can't. I think it's telling that most of the med students and beyond on this thread take this (don't bother with match lists) view, while it's largely premeds who extoll the values of the match list. This is something premeds will change their tune about. I actually did. (In my early posting days, I thought the match list was more useful. But I was wrong and ate my hat. A lot of you guys will too. Doesn't make you/us less smart, just less informed).
 
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Jeebus, I was referring to one of the posts you had made some months ago where you said how the top students at your class didn't make it into some residency and you said that it had to do with the school. That was the first post I had seen like that from a med student/resident and it made an impression. Basically the same what you're saying in this post.

A question: how do you find out which residency programs (for example, NS) are highly regarded? I guess once you figure that out, you have to contact the programs themselves to get the ranking list? Or is that available online?

That's a great question! If the data can't be understood because we don't have the knowledge, then lead us to the knowledge ;)
 

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A question: how do you find out which residency programs (for example, NS) are highly regarded? I guess once you figure that out, you have to contact the programs themselves to get the ranking list? Or is that available online?

You find out which programs are highly regarded by word of mouth. So once you know what field you want to go into, you absolutely need to get yourself a good mentor in the field, who can give you the scoop. Whether a program is good versus malignant is often dictated by the personalities in charge (not the school affiliations), so someone who is in the loop in the field should know who is a tyrant vs a great teacher. I don't know that you can get the "ranking list" from residency programs -- this is a matter of close kept secret and a violation of the match program to reveal. But you can probably get a list of the schools residents came from (you won't know how they were ranked). This is something programs will give out to 4th year med students when they are applying/interviewing.

I wouldn't ask for it as a premed, it will come off badly. You need to go into med school with an open mind, and then decide on a specialty after seeing other things on rotation. I've seen attendings get really down on premeds who suggested they "knew" they wanted to go into a surgical field without yet doing a surgical rotation. A lot of third year isn't what you expect, and you will end up loving some of the things you think you will hate, and hating a lot of things you think you will love. So take it one step at a time. Get into med school. Then do what you can to see as many fields (in rotations and through shadowing) during med school. Then snag a good mentor in whatever field you pick. And only then start worrying about specific residencies. It may seem fun to jump to the end of this, but I don't think it's particularly productive, and I don't think it has as much bearing in your choice of med schools as a few of you seem to think.
 

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That's a great question! If the data can't be understood because we don't have the knowledge, then lead us to the knowledge ;)

See my above post. You get this knowledge from a good mentor in the field you ultimately decide on, usually during third or fourth year of med school. Since it's largely word of mouth and based on knowledge of the players involved, it's not something you can find objectively. You pick a mentor. You tell him you want to go into X field in Y city. He either knows that city, or through his participation in national meetings knows people who know that city. He gets the scoop and passes it on to you. Then you know what programs are good vs malignant, which ones are doing great things and which ones will scut you out and treat you like crap. Which ones are led by tyrants vs great resident-friendly teachers. So nobody can really lead you to the knowledge. When you get deeper into med school, you can find someone who will be your mentor and work with you on this. As a premed, you are kind of SOL, but that's cool because you don't really need the info until you get deeper into med school and make an informed decision about specialty (after having other rotations). Until you pick a specialty all this is moot.
 

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nevercold

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That's a great question! If the data can't be understood because we don't have the knowledge, then lead us to the knowledge ;)

Blind leading the blind, hun. People in the specialities who are involved in the running of the residency programs know which programs are "stronger" than others, but there is no hard and fast information on that at all. It's hard to even get more than a general gestalt even when you're a 3rd year and 4th year medical student trying to figure out where you're applying to. That being said, there are certain specialties that are weaker at an otherwise strong institution and vice versa. Even that balance can weigh in to your decision.

Most of the people in my graduating class applied to and ranked residency programs according to location and personal preferences. Countless people ranked esteemed programs lower than slightly less esteemed programs because of their impression of the people or the area when they interviewed. The general mantra is this: (1) you're gonna be working your butt off for several years and you need to be somewhere you really like being and (2) if you're interested in a fellowship program after residency, you need to be somewhere that will give you a reasonable chance at a good fellowship opportunity (or that will leave you well prepared when you go out on your own). The first narrows things down a lot, but the second doesn't narrow things much further at all.

The overall idea is that a match list from school represents the degree to which that school has prepared the students to be competitive. Seems like a rather simple point, but this is untrue. Personal preferences, whether it be style, setting, or location, are the major factor in ranklists. People choose specialties *largely* based on personal interest. The number of people choosing "ROAD" specialties varies a lot even year to year in the same medical school. The match list represents the individual selections of 100-200 individuals, only slightly influenced by their competitiveness within a specialty and their competitiveness among programs. And as another person stated, the top achievers before med school are more likely to be top achievers during med school, too.

What you really need to ask is this:
(1) How much did students feel like their medical school experience kept them from choosing a more competitive specialty?
(2) How much did students feel like their medical school experience kept them from applying to more competitive institutions?
(3) How much did students feel like their medical school experience helped them to become competitive applicants in whichever field they chose?
(4) What percentage of students in less competitive specialties were able to match to one of their top 2 choices?
(5) What percentage of students in more competitive specialties were able to match to one of their top 3 choices?
 

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Did people simply end up with these match results, or did they choose them? Was a match list exactly what people chose, or a default? I'd suggest that a match list most people would consider objectively not that impressive might be THE best match list IF the folks at that school all ended up with exactly what they wanted -- while a match list which objectively looks like a lot of fancy cushy specialties might be a horrible match list if everyone basically defaulted into their fourth choices and have to move to a city in which they may not have wanted to end up. But how can you tell? You can't. It's like trying to read a code without your decoder ring. So it's just bad data. You will never know if you are construing it the right way. Doesn't matter how smart you are.
...

Why complicate things? I agree with what you say, but I am saying that generally it can be helpful. If you have two schools you like equally and the cost is similar, you look at the match. One school has not had anyone in any competitive specialties for the last three years. The other one has had at least one every single year. Now, this is the important part: you can say that maybe that other school has students who didn't want to go into ROAD or that all of them had a sick grandma preventing them to pursue their goals, but this is irrelevant. I don't care about the reasons why the other school didn't match. What I do care about is that other schools DID have people matching so I can't be wrong with that decision. It's as simple as that. On top of that, I would ask the advisers and med students on this forum before making any such decisions to weigh in their opinion. Any $200 investment is worth to be completely vetted.
 

Excelsius

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You find out which programs are highly regarded by word of mouth. So once you know what field you want to go into, you absolutely need to get yourself a good mentor in the field, who can give you the scoop. ...

Another reason that I can think of why a school that deals with specific specialties more often would have a better mentor.
 

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Most of the people in my graduating class applied to and ranked residency programs according to location and personal preferences. Countless people ranked esteemed programs lower than slightly less esteemed programs because of their impression of the people or the area when they interviewed. ... if you're interested in a fellowship program after residency, you need to be somewhere that will give you a reasonable chance at a good fellowship opportunity (or that will leave you well prepared when you go out on your own)
...
What you really need to ask is this:
(1) How much did students feel like their medical school experience kept them from choosing a more competitive specialty?
(2) How much did students feel like their medical school experience kept them from applying to more competitive institutions?
(3) How much did students feel like their medical school experience helped them to become competitive applicants in whichever field they chose?
(4) What percentage of students in less competitive specialties were able to match to one of their top 2 choices?
(5) What percentage of students in more competitive specialties were able to match to one of their top 3 choices?

Or another reason for not choosing esteemed programs is that some know that they are not going to match there anyway and they want to avoid the Scramble by not matching anywhere. And the fellowships seem to put even more pressure on trying to get the best residency spot possible. I didn't know that.

Those are great questions. I just don't know who would honestly answer them. Probably no school keeps track of data like that (except maybe the ones who match very well?). I would add a coupe more questions, like

6) How do students feel about the competency, helpfulness, and friendliness of their ROADs mentors
7) How well does their school take care of them in terms of making sure that they get enough clinical experience in any of the ROADs rotations without being forced to do a lot of scutwork
8) And whether they believe that their matching ability was in any way affected by their medical school.

Among others...

Anyone have suggestions as to how one can find out the answers to these? I was thinking that you'd contact the school and ask if you can be in touch with couple of students to get some information about the school. If they give you their contact info, you could contact the students (preferably meet them in person) and ask. The only other option I see is to post school specific threads on SDN and hope that people respond (and not be too sarcastic).
 

nevercold

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Or another reason for not choosing esteemed programs is that some know that they are not going to match there anyway and they want to avoid the Scramble by not matching anywhere. And the fellowships seem to put even more pressure on trying to get the best residency spot possible. I didn't know that.

Those are great questions. I just don't know who would honestly answer them. Probably no school keeps track of data like that (except maybe the ones who match very well?). I would add a coupe more questions, like

6) How do students feel about the competency, helpfulness, and friendliness of their ROADs mentors
7) How well does their school take care of them in terms of making sure that they get enough clinical experience in any of the ROADs rotations without being forced to do a lot of scutwork
8) And whether they believe that their matching ability was in any way affected by their medical school.

Among others...

Anyone have suggestions as to how one can find out the answers to these? I was thinking that you'd contact the school and ask if you can be in touch with couple of students to get some information about the school. If they give you their contact info, you could contact the students (preferably meet them in person) and ask. The only other option I see is to post school specific threads on SDN and hope that people respond (and not be too sarcastic).

Oh, you'd never get answers to my questions from the administration/admissions department. You have to ask these questions of the students there - especially upper level students. And just like an interviewer asking an interview question, you expect a canned answer, but it *really* stands out then when you get a sincere positive or negative answer. And I'd extend your ROAD questions (#6 and 7) to whatever specialty you're interested in. Really try and find out what the experience is like there in everything, but especially those things you're interested in - which again will fall on the upper level students moreso.
 

What up doc

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the only way you will get into a good residency program is if you come from a sick medical school. everybody knows that. I have spoken.

oh lawd, cant wait 2 see what this troll has to say. hopefully nothing too incendiary till you get banned lol
 

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Match lists should not matter when you apply to medical school. Once you get accepted than Match Lists suddenly may become useful in a few circumstances. If you have a few places you got accepted to and if you are interested in getting into a competitive field then comparing the match results of a few schools are useful. Otherwise, they only matter when you apply to programs in your third year of medical school. For example, if a program didn't have anyone from your school match there for 5 years then it usually isn't worth applying there. If a program accepted 10 guys from your school last year, then it is worth applying there. :luck:
 
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