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How do you find the best programs?

Discussion in 'Clinical Rotations' started by spacecadet22, May 12, 2001.

  1. spacecadet22

    spacecadet22 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Mar 23, 2001
    New Haven, CT
    Hello all,
    I'm sorry if this question has been asked before, but does anyone know how to find a listing of the best residency programs? I've been trying to decide between medical school acceptances and everyone keeps telling me to look at the match lists so I have, but I really can't tell what is better than again, are there any listings, by specialty of the best programs (note: not the best hospitals).
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  3. coop

    coop Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Mar 4, 2001
    spacecadet, most people say in response to this ? that the closest thing is exactly what you did not ask for (best hospitals).

    I found this ranking of residency depts, but it is just a ranking based on NIH funding, enjoy:
  4. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic! Staff Member Administrator Physician Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 15+ Year Member

    Apr 9, 2000
    hSDN Member
    As far as I know, there is no formal ranking of residency programs, but rather anecdotal information.

    In general, University programs are considered more prestigious than community or county programs, but there are exceptions to this. If you have gotten residency match info from your medical school of choice, this should give you a pretty good idea of where students go for residency, and if they couple that with info on what percentage within each field get one of their top 3 choices, you will be pretty well informed.

    Probably the best source of info, albeit it will be somewhat anecdotal (but its not as if ratings systems are unbiased either), will be the chairperson of the department you are interested in. They should be able to tell you what programs within their field are well recognized.

    And because I cannot let a post go by without mentioning this, you should really consider whether matching to a "ranked" residency program is of utmost importance to you or being at a place which is right for YOU (in terms of academics, colleagiality, etc.).
  5. ana


    I agree with KC's post. However, I will add a few thoughts.

    The "best" residency program (and you can generalize this to medical schools) is the one in which you will be happy and do well. I can't stress that enough. There is no point in going to a "highly ranked" program if you are going to be miserable. Most people I know get jobs based on contacts made in residency, from referrals by program directors or former graduates of the program, etc. So, being in a program that "fits" where you can be outstanding and have excellent personal and working relationships with those around you is important. The only exception I make to this is in the case where the program is having academic difficulty, is on probation, or is suspect for any reason. In that case, no matter how much you personally like them, I would stay away -- I think a program's reputation clings to its graduates.

    Now "fit" is extremely subjective, and unless you are in the middle of your medical school education, it is probably too early to start worrying about it for residency. You just have to see how your interests develope in school.

    The value of looking at a school's match list is that it gives you an additional data point which the school is not able to manipulate to make their schools look better. The important statistics are:

    1. Percentage of students matching in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choices. Of students who listed more than 2 specialties, how many got into their first choice specialty.

    2. How many students participatd, matched, and had to scramble.

    3. How many students are in primary care?

    4. How many matched in the most competitive specialties (ortho, derm, ent, optho, neurosurgery, radiology)?

    5. How many are going out of state? How many at major universities? How many at community programs?

    Good luck. It's nice to have the luxury of choices! :)
  6. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic! Staff Member Administrator Physician Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 15+ Year Member

    Apr 9, 2000
    hSDN Member
    Thank you ana for posting what I was too lazy to do! Some excellent advice dere...
  7. droliver

    droliver Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    May 1, 2001
    I agree with the comments so far re. residency program rankings. Almost uniformly, university programs are considered more competative & prestigious than community based programs. This can be a huge factor especially if you plan on applying to a competative subspecialty fellowship (gastroenterology, dermatology, Plastic surgery, Vascular/Cardiothoracic surgery, Surgical Oncology, etc..). If all you plan on doing is community-based medicine or surgery with no sub-specialty training, many of the private programs can offer a somewhat more genteel experience with nicer facilities, less indigent/trauma patients, and less working hours.

    If you look @ the most coveted fellowship positions around the country, many of them are filled by a small handfull of program's graduates. This pool of programs varies when you're talking about medicine vs. surgery, so it pays to look around at who the real power brokers are in the field you're interested in if you want to position yourself in the future for a chance at those spots

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