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Hi folks, I've been fortunate to gain acceptance to several MD schools and am waiting to hear back from others. As I begin to evaluate school options, I've found myself perusing residency match lists -- a common pastime among premeds. I realize that I am not 100% sure how best to evaluate the lists. I've heard some people say that you should look for a residency of interest and qualitatively evaluate the prestige of the programs where students place. Others say to look at percents of students in a class placing into a given residency. Others say to avoid looking at competitive residencies altogether and instead evaluate IM residency placement, as these are more constant and less affected by class-specific idiosyncrasies.

For the record, I do not know what area of medicine I'd like to pursue. However, in the event that I wind up wanting to try to pursue a competitive residency (e.g. derm) it seems to make sense that I weigh the residency match history of the schools where I've been accepted. Any advice on how best to do that?
 

Dr. Anonymouss

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Looking at residency placement is so subjective because you have no idea what the motivation was for each student who matched. For example, I have no interest in pursuing academic medicine so matching at a place like The University of Michigan or UCSF, just as examples, is of no interest to me. The same can be said with match lists as well as specialties. Just because a school had 2 ortho matches one year doesn’t necessarily mean it’s because there weren’t competitive applicants, maybe they had stellar applications but wanted to do family medicine instead. Looking at match lists is like trying to figure out the stock market, it’s a fools game.

a better metric would be to ask yourself what you think you would like to pursue. If it’s something non competitive go to the cheapest school/the one you liked the most. If you are leaning towards something competitive then go towards the highest ranked school. School rank will open doors for you, just don’t rely too heavily on a match list because it is so subjective.
 
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Looking at residency placement is so subjective because you have no idea what the motivation was for each student who matched. For example, I have no interest in pursuing academic medicine so matching at a place like The University of Michigan or UCSF, just as examples, is of no interest to me. The same can be said with match lists as well as specialties. Just because a school had 2 ortho matches one year doesn’t necessarily mean it’s because there weren’t competitive applicants, maybe they had stellar applications but wanted to do family medicine instead. Looking at match lists is like trying to figure out the stock market, it’s a fools game.

a better metric would be to ask yourself what you think you would like to pursue. If it’s something non competitive go to the cheapest school/the one you liked the most. If you are leaning towards something competitive then go towards the highest ranked school. School rank will open doors for you, just don’t rely too heavily on a match list because it is so subjective.
Thanks for the insight. Do you have any idea regarding what level of rank makes a difference? For example, I currently have been accepted to two T30 schools and my two in-state schools, neither of which are T30. I realize that none of this is straightforward, but do you have any general thoughts on what rank (e.g. T5 vs T20 vs T30 vs Twhatever) is significant enough to make a difference in terms of opening doors?
 
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Dr. Anonymouss

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Just know that if you are accepted to an allopathic medical school, no matter which one, you can get into any specialty you want with enough hard work. The caveat to this is that some schools make it easier for you than others and this comes down to many factors. School prestige helps a lot yes, but what you should really be looking for is a home program with access to research. The change from step 1 to pass/fail has placed more emphasis on school prestige, but especially research. I am strictly refering to competitive residency spots. If you want family medicine just kick your feet up, but if you want ortho, derm, neurosurgery then you should be considering which school will make it EASIER for you to accomplish this goal. It’s really tough to compare your schools without specifics, but if I was in your shoes I would make a pros and cons list. First establish what is the most important thing to you when it comes to medical school. Is the absolute most important thing the cost of attendance, location, fit, or residency placement? If it’s residency placement that makes this conversation a lot easier. Look up which schools have home programs with some specialties you think you are interested in as well as the research available to students. You can then consider location, cost, etc. That’s how I would approach it.

Also, don’t get bogged down with a top 20 vs top 30 they will both take you where you want to go. Now if your state school is low tier vs those top 30s I’d say that’s a big difference. But you are in a position where if you pick a T30 you won’t be held back at pursuing your desired specialty.
 

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Hi folks, I've been fortunate to gain acceptance to several MD schools and am waiting to hear back from others. As I begin to evaluate school options, I've found myself perusing residency match lists -- a common pastime among premeds. I realize that I am not 100% sure how best to evaluate the lists. I've heard some people say that you should look for a residency of interest and qualitatively evaluate the prestige of the programs where students place. Others say to look at percents of students in a class placing into a given residency. Others say to avoid looking at competitive residencies altogether and instead evaluate IM residency placement, as these are more constant and less affected by class-specific idiosyncrasies.

For the record, I do not know what area of medicine I'd like to pursue. However, in the event that I wind up wanting to try to pursue a competitive residency (e.g. derm) it seems to make sense that I weigh the residency match history of the schools where I've been accepted. Any advice on how best to do that?
Trying to interpret match list is a Fool's errand. You have no idea whether or not a residency, even if it's at a major Center, is a good one.

The only way you can find out is to ask people who work in the field.
 
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Is looking at the % of a class that matches into particular fields helpful in determining if a specific school has a strong track record or affinity for placing students into that field ? For example, if school X places 15% of their students into emergency medicine and school Y places only 3% into that field, might that be an indicator of the strength of school X in the emergency medicine field ? Or is that too simple ?
 
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Is looking at the % of a class that matches into particular fields helpful in determining if a specific school has a strong track record or affinity for placing students into that field ? For example, if school X places 15% of their students into emergency medicine and school Y places only 3% into that field, might that be an indicator of the strength of school X in the emergency medicine field ? Or is that too simple ?
It's difficult because that could simply mean the school attracts and trains students who don't end up becoming interested in EM and thus never apply. Perhaps that class was disproportionately disinterested in EM. There are too many factors at play to determine why a certain percentage match to a field beyond the school's control.
 

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I would say look at 3-5 years residency match lists to get an idea. Going to T20 may make some difference and after that it may come down to regional preferences.
 
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Dr. Anonymouss

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Is looking at the % of a class that matches into particular fields helpful in determining if a specific school has a strong track record or affinity for placing students into that field ? For example, if school X places 15% of their students into emergency medicine and school Y places only 3% into that field, might that be an indicator of the strength of school X in the emergency medicine field ? Or is that too simple ?

absolutely not. It’s all subjective. There is no medical school out there that trains students specifically for one field. You go to a school with the best resources available for you to match into your desired specialty. This means research + home program + prestige.
 
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Is looking at the % of a class that matches into particular fields helpful in determining if a specific school has a strong track record or affinity for placing students into that field ? For example, if school X places 15% of their students into emergency medicine and school Y places only 3% into that field, might that be an indicator of the strength of school X in the emergency medicine field ? Or is that too simple ?
Yes it's too simple. Maybe that cohort didn't want to go into emergency medicine.
 
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Yes it's too simple. Maybe that cohort didn't want to go into emergency medicine.
@Goro Fair enough, but maybe you see that trend toward emergency medicine (my example) in multiple years at a given school to where it is not a single cohort, and not likely a random occurrence. It would seem that some schools (maybe due to some specific faculty in a given area, or a reputation in a specific field) do an outstanding job teaching and elevating students' interest in a particular field such that perennially they match a high percentage in that field.
 
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@Goro Fair enough, but maybe you see that trend toward emergency medicine (my example) in multiple years at a given school to where it is not a single cohort, and not likely a random occurrence. It would seem that some schools (maybe due to some specific faculty in a given area, or a reputation in a specific field) do an outstanding job teaching and elevating students' interest in a particular field such that perennially they match a high percentage in that field.
Might say something, might not.
 

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Thanks for the insight. Do you have any idea regarding what level of rank makes a difference? For example, I currently have been accepted to two T30 schools and my two in-state schools, neither of which are T30. I realize that none of this is straightforward, but do you have any general thoughts on what rank (e.g. T5 vs T20 vs T30 vs Twhatever) is significant enough to make a difference in terms of opening doors?
T30 means anywhere from T21-T30, which puts you in the territory of UCSD, Baylor, UNC, Case Western, Emory, UTSW, Wisconsin, OHSU, BU, and UVA.

If you can't match into your specialty of choice from one of these institutions, the problem isn't the school.

If you're in at a T5 then just attend the T5.
 
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Pull up Doximity (survey of all member docs in the specialty) or US News (survey of faculty) to get a rough idea who the biggest names are in the specialty. Compare with the last few match lists for the school.

People say it's hard to read match lists because there are random super-strong programs (e.g. Thomas Jefferson ophtho, Cincinnati peds) but something like Doximity captures that.
 
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You can get a general idea of them based on tiers. The top 10-20 schools have visibly impressive match lists with regards to the types of programs people match into. Just take a look at Harvard or Penn etc. It's hard however to interpret based on "X number of Ophtho/Ortho/Plastics" matches for example, because that is based on preference too. One year at my school matched 7 plastics integrated. The next year was 2.


Now all US MD schools can pretty much get you where you want to go, but school name does matter, both in terms of prestige as well as resources, letter writers, and how they can set you up for success. So some schools will make it easier than others.
 
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LaughingGas10

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Looking at the match lists for some of the T20 schools can be deceptive, based on how the reporting of the match lists is being done.

For instance if you look at the residency Match List for Yale, it looks terrible for a T20 school. The reason is because 2/3 of the graduates at Yale elect to stay for a 5th year of research, so some of them are not counted in the residency match, since they are not your "regular" graduates.

I know some people here love to trash the USNWR or the residency director ratings list or the doximity list, and i agree none of these are perfect, but in general are reasonably accurate. If you have a chance of being in a T20 school as compared to a school ranked 50th, you have a HIGHER chance of getting into a dream slot in your desired specialty. Not that the person in the school ranked 50th cant, he definitely can too. Unfortunately, the elite bias, exists everywhere to some extent, whether it is from Undergraduate to Medical school, medical school to residency or residency to fellowship.

So, in short if you can get into the T10 or T20 schools, you are more LIKELY to do better with every other factor being equal than if you go to a T50 school. There wont be much difference between a school ranked 25 or 35, that will be about the same. Most premeds who enter medical school, have no idea about which specialty they are completely committed to, but if you are planning to pursue one of the more desired specialties (orthopedics, ENT, opthalmology, dermatology, radiation oncology, neurosurgery, plastic surgery etc), go to the best school you get into.

If you have already decided on primary care , then it doesnt make a huge difference.
 
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I know some people here love to trash the USNWR or the residency director ratings list or the doximity list, and i agree none of these are perfect, but in general are reasonably accurate. If you have a chance of being in a T20 school as compared to a school ranked 50th, you have a HIGHER chance of getting into a dream slot in your desired specialty. Not that the person in the school ranked 50th cant, he definitely can too. Unfortunately, the elite bias, exists everywhere to some extent, whether it is from Undergraduate to Medical school, medical school or residency or residency to felllowship.
^^^^, I was surprised by too much ranking bashing here when I started reading SDN but we need some metrics to compare different programs and I typically keep seeing few saying goal should be to get into any medical school and shouldn't aspire to get into T20s.
 

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They are worth looking at. You should try to find multiple consecutive years if possible because there is tremendous variability between years.

It's not an exact science, but if nobody from school X has matched in derm in recent history then you should take note of that.
 
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KnightDoc

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^^^^, I was surprised by too much ranking bashing here when I started reading SDN but we need some metrics to compare different programs and I typically keep seeing few saying goal should be to get into any medical school and shouldn't aspire to get into T20s.
Maybe that's because the advice isn't written specifically for you, or your kid, or for me, but for everyone, and, in a world where there are only 20 (or, by some counts, 30 :)) T20s, and 60% don't get in anywhere, the best advice IS to just worry about getting into any school, and to not worry about T20. The people who have a realistic shot at T20 usually know who they are, and don't fail to have an opportunity because they take good, general advice on SDN too literally and don't apply. :cool:
 

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The people who have a realistic shot at T20 usually know who they are, and don't fail to have an opportunity because they take good, general advice on SDN too literally and don't apply. :cool:
Some don't know and seek advice on applying for T20 and then gets asked the question "Do you won't take if it's not T20?". Anyway, as I said earlier looking at match lists over 5 years span if you have any idea of specialty (even though "It's too early think about it") is a good idea and my kid is planning to do that.
 
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KnightDoc

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Some don't know and seek advice on applying for T20 and then gets asked the question "Do you won't take if it's not T20?". Anyway, as I said earlier looking at match lists over 5 years span if you have any idea of specialty (even though "It's too early think about it") is a good idea and my kid is planning to do that.
Yes, and for the 85-90% of people who will be admitted to a MD school, but not a T20, this is the correct advice. The advice won't apply to the remaining 10-15%, because they WILL be admitted to a T20! :cool: You need to think in general terms, and not always as any post applies to your kid. Why not take it a step further, and question why anyone would ever apply DO, since your kid didn't?

With respect to specialties, feel free to spin your wheels to your heart's content. Your kid is going to have several excellent options, and his residency options are going to be determined exclusively by his performance and his desires, NOT by which T10 he ends up attending. But free feel to study the last 25 years' worth of placements to try to determine where he's going to have a 0.0001% better chance of placing in a TBD specialty. :cool:
 
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EdgeTrimmer

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Yes, and for the 85-90% of people who will be admitted to a MD school, but not a T20, this is the correct advice. The advice won't apply to the remaining 10-15%, because they WILL be admitted to a T20! :cool: You need to think in general terms, and not always as any post applies to your kid. Why not take it a step further, and question why anyone would ever apply DO, since your kid didn't?

With respect to specialties, feel free to spin your wheels to your heart's content. Your kid is going to have several excellent options, and his residency options are going to be determined exclusively by his performance and his desires, NOT by which T10 he ends up attending. But free feel to study the last 25 years' worth of placements to try to determine where he's going to have a 0.0001% better chance of placing in a TBD specialty. :cool:
Here you go again :) I am just questioning the whole general advise of don't think about T20, match lists etc. even when Those 10-15% seek advice.

Based on what I observed over the years yes which school you attend will have some impact on residency matching (in addition to medical school performance ) but others could disagree.
 

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Here you go again :) I am just questioning the whole general advise of don't think about T20, match lists etc. even when Those 10-15% seek advice.

Based on what I observed over the years yes which school you attend will have some impact on residency matching (in addition to medical school performance ) but others could disagree.
Yeah, here I go again! You too!! :cool:

You are the parent of a kid in the top X% questioning the wisdom of advice that is meant for the vast majority, not for your tiny minority. You just need to look outside your bubble!

Nobody who posts WAMC with stats and ECs like your kid's is told not to bother applying T20, so exactly what are you talking about? The general advice is perfect -- most people will not have the opportunity to go T20, and EVERY SINGLE YEAR, people who don't attend T20 match into the most competitive specialties. So, given the choice between T50, 75, 100, whatever, and reapplying, what do YOU think the typical, successful applicant should do with no T20 options????

With respect to T20s for those lucky enough to have them as options, the standard advice is to grab them if one is looking for competitive specialties or academia. Otherwise, they just don't make a ton of difference in outcomes, so money, location and culture are generally deemed to be more important. Of course, YMMV.

For residency matches, within T20, or T10, or T5, the relative prestige of the school is not going to limit options, but, of course, feel free to chase the hypothetical, theoretical advantage, taking a moving, weighted 50 year average of residency placements. How else are you going to spend the next few months?? :laugh:

Just understand that at that level of school, matches are somewhat random year to year, depending on the strength of a particular class and the interests of the students, so JHU doing better than Penn one year in a particular specialty is as likely as not to be flipped the next. Whatever pattern you think you'll see over several years is just not going to be relevant to how YOUR son performs when the time comes.

Did not going to a T10 UG hurt him in this process? Do you honestly think going to #3, as compared to #6 or #10 med school is going to make any difference at all in a match, as compared to how he performs as measured against the pool of everyone, everywhere, when the time comes? If so, study the lists and make a decision!! If not, go for the best money, or location, or whatever else makes your kid happy. He will be FINE either way!!! :cool:
 

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Why is it always about my kid to you? My opinions are not purely based on his performance or reading SDN. I did say look at match lists of last 5 years, not 25 or 50 years.

I do think not going to H or S may have hurt him little bit with the certain schools but overall he is doing very well and no regrets about no going to T10. I also think going to #3 vs #6 or #10 may make some difference when it comes to residency. Again we don't purely go by mere rank and we have our own methodology when time comes to decide.

Let's not derail this thread and stick to match list discussion.
 
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The closest one can do to evaluate how well an MD class matches is not to look at specialty; that is entirely subjective, and based on individual students preferences that changes quite a bit over the years (as others have stated). Looking at US News is not very helpful for several reasons, either, but I will not go into that here.

a reasonable alternative can be to look at an individual specialty, such as IM, that consistently accrues a large number of graduating students every year, and evaluate them based on the number and % of students matching into top residencies. You can define "top" residencies by going to the IM boards; they go absolutely nuts every year debating it, but realistically the top ones never really change.

if you are interested in the true academic medicine/research success of a school's graduates (and not just match lists), you can take a page out of doximity, who published their own top 25 ranking of US medical schools a few years ago in the official aamc journal:


...Or, you can throw all of this american obsession with prestige, "top-ness" and status out the window; build up your own self-value outside of how other people view you; realize that both your clinical and academic successes will depend much, much more on how passionate, happy, and productive you are in medical school, and not where you go; and get offline, and back into lab/class/home to spend time doing what you actually love, without the burden of neurotic obsessions weighing down on you. I prefer this latter option, but it's just my $0.02.
 
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