SDN members see fewer ads and full resolution images. Join our non-profit community!

How can you tell how strong a matchlist is?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by gobears, Mar 16, 2002.

  1. gobears

    gobears Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 17, 2001
    When I'm at an interview and they give me a sheet with last year's matchlist, I just glaze over and stare. I have no idea about the different strengths of matchlists. How do you tell?

    Do you look for the prestige of the hospitals or the number of people going into particular specialties? Is the strength of the residency correlated with strength of medical school? Is it correlated with strength of the US News hospital rankings? Am I way off?
  2. SDN Members don't see this ad. About the ads.
  3. LizardKing

    LizardKing Veteran Member 7+ Year Member

    Aug 6, 2001
    I think all of those factors are important. The ranking of the hospital where the residency will take place is probably more important than the ranking of that particular medical school. I also think that it speaks a lot for the school if it has a lot of students getting residencies in EXTREMELY competitive fields like derm, orthopedics, any kind of surgery, urology, etc.

    So, for example, I've looked at Hopkins' matchlist and quite simply it's the best I've seen. The school had over ten people matching with surgery specialties. About twenty people matched with competitive specialties at Hopkins hospital, which is considered the best in the world. Another ten or so got their residencies at Mass. General Hospital. Lots of people got derm, ortho, urology, neurology at places like New York-Presby and UCLA, primary care at UCSF, that kind of thing.
  4. squeek

    squeek Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    When you look at a matchlist, compare it to what the dean/interviewer is telling you. If they say, "99% of our students got into their top 3 choices of residencies," look at the list to see how competetive they are. i.e., students may be getting into their top 3 choices, but the choices are, say, 1) the Caribbean, 2) the Caribbean, 3) #150 in the nation (I'm not inserting specific schools here, for fear of setting off an SDN tirade), you know the school is hitting the numbers hard to disguise their lack of competetive matches.

    If only, say, 60% of students got one of their top 3 choices, do the same thing. If the students all chose Harvard, but they're matching at WashU, you know the school is pretty good.

    The other thing that I did was to ask around. I worked on an inpatient floor at the University of Washington, and I asked attendings about the quality of training their residents from different schools had. It was VERY informative--you learn how schools are perceived, and you get a general idea of how respected they are.

    One final thing: remember that the USNews and World Report is based on RESEARCH funding, and not necessarily clinical expertise. Many very good medical schools are ranked lower in the US News for medical school, but their candidates consistently place well in residencies (e.g., Northwestern).

    Good luck!
  5. squeek

    squeek Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Oh--one other thing. DON'T look at the number of people going into different specialities. This totally varies between classes, influences, etc. One year could have tons of surgery, the next may not. it all depends on the personalities in that particular class. Also, if there are 15 students going into orthopedic surgery for one year, and only 5 of them are going to "top 10" residencies, take it with a grain of salt. With 15 going in, there's a good chance that some very good students will get "lesser" (whatever that means" residencies.
  6. Whisker Barrel Cortex

    Whisker Barrel Cortex 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Aug 10, 2001
    I think it is very difficult for anyone, especially a premed to evaluate a match list.

    First, unless you are applying to a specialty as a fourth year, you really don't know what the best programs for each are (e.g. Hopkins is not ranked very high for radiology).

    Second, the people applying to specialties is a very inaccurate method because there is a lot of variability. Our class for example. Last year there were 13/200 going into radiology from our school. In my class (fourth year), there are only 5. This is not because more couldn't have gotten in, they just didn't want to. As a quirk in our class, there are 10 people planning on going into pathology, 2 of which are AOA and one who already has a Phd in Path (path is generally considered a very easy specialty). Most years only have 1-2 people going into this field. We will have more than 10 people matching in orhto.

    If you would very much like to go to a specific region or hospital, and know this beforehand, you CAN use the matchlist to get a general idea of where people go. Most students from my school actually want to stay in the midwest or go to California, so these are highly represented in our match list wheras places on the east coast are seen less. As with almost anything, residency matching is more based on the person than the school.
  7. megkudos

    megkudos Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Dec 18, 2001
    New Jersey
    I asked the dean at my state school this the other day. He said look at two things primarily if you aren't too familiar. First off, look to see how many people matched with competitive fields. Second look for university affiliated hopitals. If the hospital is affiliated with a med school, it is usually better. I don't know if this advice helps cuz i haven't tried it yet but it's worth a try.
  8. Sir William Osler

    Sir William Osler Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Aug 3, 2001
    planet Earth
    i usually evaluate matchlists like this:

    -dont just look at the big competitive specialties like optho, derm, ent, etc. look also at internal medicine. alot of top students are going to go this route. i actually think the internal medicine programs are a great indication. you want to look for hospitals like hopkins, mass gen, brig, ucsf, stanford, columbia, etc. look for the big names but also the locations (many california spots are competitive because of location even though they may not be a big name).

    -if you're looking at hospitals, dont be too impressed with the pathology, anesth, pediatrics, psychiatry, etc spots because those aren't very competitive. However, keep in mind that top students could be going into those, but you just cant tell from looking at the list.

    -what i think is a good idea is to count up the number of competitive matches at the school. for example, i would consider a top 10 int med match competitive, and i would also consider a harvard peds or chop peds program a top match among some others. but i usually leave out all the pathology/anesth/psychiatry in my count. i also count any of the really competitive ones like ent/opth/orto/derm as long as the hospital is a university program. then i add those up and divide by the number of students and that way i can get an indication of where the top half or so students match. I mean, who cares where the top 1/5 or 1/4 match because i'm not sure i can be in that group, but i think realistically i can be top 1/2.

    by doing this, i've found that jhu and harvard are the top 2. and then the penn's, duke's, ucsf's, stanford's, yales, washu's come in next. etc etc.

    i dunno if this helps.

Share This Page