How to Read Match Lists

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by waterplove, Apr 8, 2007.

  1. waterplove

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    There might already be a thread about this. Anyway, I am a little unfamiliar with which residencies where are the best,,,aka how to read match lists & see if they are good or not. Please clue me in. Thanks!
     
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  3. TexanGal

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    Good question! :thumbup: I'm curious as well.
     
  4. Falco2525

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    use the search function...already been done repeatedly...and consensus says there is little to read into....
     
  5. Anka

    Anka Senior Member
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    I'm not sure how much you can get out of it, other than to see if the school is churning out people with similar interests to you -- e.g., if you really don't know much about the school, are they placing people into well respected programs in their own region, well respected programs nationwide, etc. As an example, lets imagine you were thinking about Wayne State, and you really know nothing about it. A quick glance at their match list will reassure you that they have strong placements in their own hospital system, as well as at other places around the region. A neursurg match at a well respected southern program (so you can get out of the region if you want to in the end). But, all in all, seems to kater to the Michigan crowd... a great place to go if you want to stay in Michigan.

    It is hard to read too much into it, however, if you have no sense of what people want to do -- you can't tell whether Wayne has a lot of Michigan matches because most of the people there want to stay in Michigan, or because they're relativly unknown outside the region.

    Overall, use it as secondary/tertiary info; ignore it if it's confusing you.

    Best,
    Anka
     
  6. JackofAllTrades

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    I'm just happy that I'm posting before Law2Doc in this thread. Peace.
     
  7. ggman

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    umm, i beg to differ. if anything, i think that the consensus is that there is valuable information that can be extracted from match data, especially if you take into account the match lists from, say the past 3 or 4 years.

    to the OP, there are a couple of things you can look at. One is to look at what quality of the residency programs where internal medicine people matched into because there are more of them, and hence the data is more statistically reliable. Another thing you can do is to see what percentage of the class matched into very competitive residencies such as dermatology, radiology or ophthalmology.
     
  8. waterplove

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    How do I know which programs are the "well-respected" programs?

    I have heard that one thing to do is look up rankings of hospitals in the specialties. For example, the University of Cincinnati Hospital is around 4th in Pediatrics, so that would probably be a "well-respected" pediatrics residency....
     
  9. jaydoc07

    jaydoc07 Junior Member
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    That is one of the more difficult things about trying to break down a match list. Who is to say what places are "the best" for specialty X? Also, so what if 5 people from UofU matched into ophtho? Maybe 12 people actually wanted to? Maybe (and mostly) it is because these people are strong applicants and have no bearing on how you will ultimately match?

    I agree that looking at how great of places IM people go may be a good overall indicator of how good the students at that institution are, but you aren't those students.

    This is of course my opinion looking back since I have recently matched, and the list from my school in years past had no weight in where I applied/matched.
     
  10. Anka

    Anka Senior Member
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    Like I said -- if you're getting confused reading a match list, you should just ignore it. It's not the most important piece of information you're going to get, and too many other factors go into making it up (e.g., where people want to go for residency). It gets easier to look at a match list once you're in medical school and hear about various residency programs (it's not all about what the top hospitals are for patients; you need to know which ones are good at training doctors). But, in general, anyone can look at whether people stay regional or go nationwide, whether they tend to go to research places or community programs, whether there's a lot of people going into subspecialties, etc.

    Best,
    Anka
     
  11. Robizzle

    Robizzle 1K Member
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    lol wth
     
  12. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Congrats.:)
    In general, match lists are not readilly readable until you get late into medical school, pick a specialty and can sit down with a mentor in that field and find out which programs are good versus malignant. For a variety of reasons, such lists don't necessarilly tell you what you think as you (1) lack knowledge of what programs are good in what fields, (2) have no sense as to the desires, motivations of a given class (i.e. did only 5 people choose derm because that's all that could get it or that's all that was interested), and so on. I wouldn't (and didn't) bother with them as a pre-allo.
     
  13. Robizzle

    Robizzle 1K Member
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    My method sucks, but I think it's better than nothing...

    What I do is basically count up the number of competitive specialties matched into (Rads, Optho, Anesthesiology, Derm, Urology, Rads, Ortho, etc.), compare it with the overall number of students in the class, and then take a brief look at the places matched into for these specialties. Good ratio of students that matched into these specialties/total students = +

    Ofcourse, not everyone actually wants to go into a competitive specialty, so I then look in-depth at the places matched into for less competitive specialties and see how many big-name schools + hospitals I recognize (e.g. Duke, NYU, Harvard, JHU, etc.). Lots of big name schools = + again.

    Not a good method? Oh well, I'm sure half of you do the same ;).
     
  14. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Two problems with this method, although I agree that lots of pre-allos vainly attempt to do the same thing: (1) the best people OFTEN don't go into the lifestyle fields. Plenty of folks who are at the tops of their class choose surgery or IM. So it's meaningless that 5 people at XYZ school got derm if another 5 who could have gotten it had no interest. And (2) you don't likely know what the best places are in various specialties. A lot of the big name places are actually mediocre in certain specialties -- it doesn't match up nicely with the US News med school rankings particularly tightly.
    So I'm not so sure it's better than nothing. At least with nothing you aren't leading yourself in the wrong direction.
     
  15. pyrois

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    I actually asked this question of a bunch of current 4th years who just finished the match process.

    The consensus was that you just look at IM match locations. Generally speaking, the "difficulty" of IM matches follow a composite of US News research ranking and hospital ranking.

    The number of people matching into "competitive" specialties doesn't matter as much since it varies greatly from year to year depending on individual aspirations. Some years, nobody wants to go into Radiation Oncology, and some years everybody does.

    As many people say, it's hard to read a "match list" but the "Internal Med" method seems to be one of the most consistent ways of assessing a match list.

    Just as a note, before somebody starts saying "oh, but what about Columbia matching 2 people into BNI each year! That must count extra!" The statistically significant thing comes into effect again. 2 people in a class of 150 doesn't budge the overall "power" of a med school. After all, what if you happen to be one of the other 148?
     
  16. Law2Doc

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    Interesting, and I suppose it is as good a measure as any in terms of whether a school has a "good" match list, (with the caveat that most of the matches are at hospitals, not schools, so you need to know what's affiliated with what), but if you ultimately want to do something other than IM, does that really tell you anything other than that the school matches well in IM? Probably not. I still think it's not a particularly useful way to select a med school.
     
  17. 45408

    45408 aw buddy
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    Just curious - why do you care? A neurosurgeon is a neurosurgeon, regardless of where he does his residency.
     
  18. Towelie

    Towelie Resident Towel
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    When you apply for a job, the hiring practice (or academic institution) will almost certainly look where you do your residency. It can definitely make a huge difference.
     
  19. 45408

    45408 aw buddy
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    Thanks, waterplove.


    No, I realize that if you're into academics, it can have an effect (just look at your basic science professors' pedigrees), but how many hiring directors for private physician/surgeon practices have you really talked to? Besides, it also depends where you want to work. Well over a third of the physicians in my state all graduated from one school, so it's hardly a disadvantage to graduate from the same school (not a top 20). Kinda the opposite, actually.
     
  20. pyrois

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    Once again, it's purely statistical. I believe you will find that all schools that have good IM match lists have good specialty match lists attached to them.

    The IM people establish a "baseline." At each school, there will always be superstars (who generally are more competitive than the IM folk) that match into competitive specialties.

    As a result, if the "baseline" is higher, then the "superstars" will be higher as well, and vice versa.

    If you don't believe me, take any match list from any school. If their IM match is significantly better than another school's, their specialty matches will almost always be better as well.

    I'm actually currently doing a mini-research project on this, so I'll make sure to post the results once I'm done.
     
  21. Towelie

    Towelie Resident Towel
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    I haven't talked to any hiring directors (have you?). I have read more senior individuals in other forums on this site post about certain elite groups hiring almost exclusively from certain elite residencies/fellowships.

    I guess it just seems intuitive to me that the reputation of your residency would have an impact on who hires you. Maybe I'm wrong.

    Why are you always so condescending? Just curious.
     
  22. pyrois

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    An unemployed neurosurgeon is a neurosurgeon too, but we generally would consider the neurosurgeon who's department head at UCSF to be at least a small step up.
     
  23. Anka

    Anka Senior Member
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    At some point, it's not about reputation. It's about the experience you get during residency. You're going to get a different experience if you go to a place that does a couple hundred whipples a year vs. a place that does ten (or the neurosurg equivalent of that). You're going to have a different level of confidence and ability walking into your first couple of cases as an attending if you just barely met your numbers for board certification than if you do triple that. Same goes if you go to a program where there's always an attending there from skin to skin and you're treated like a glorified PA vs. you are treated as a true junior surgeon and making decisions in a level appriate way.

    Anka
     
  24. 45408

    45408 aw buddy
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    I was simply asking the OP why s/he thought it mattered. Maybe some elite groups only take certain people - but then my next question is why do you want to work for that elite group? I just think that a lot of pre-meds stumble into this forum with the assumption that if they're not at the very top, they're going to be at the bottom. There's plenty of middle ground.
     
  25. 45408

    45408 aw buddy
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    I agree with you about that. Is there any type of ranking that accounts for how much experience a resident gets from one program to the next? If you look in the match list thread, most people assume that if the school is high on the USN&WR research rankings (always the research rankings, even though residency isn't so much about research), then the residency is the best program.

    I'd like to go to a residency that will prepare me well for practice, and not just by doing the bare minimum. That's what I'd consider a good residency.
     
  26. 45408

    45408 aw buddy
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    Well, apparently here's what it takes to get to department head of UCSF:

    1974: BA, Harvard College, Cambridge, Massachusetts
    1979: MD, University of Miami School of Medicine
    1979-1980: Internship, UCSF
    1980-1985: Residency in Neurological Surgery, UCSF
    1985: Clinical Fellowship in Neuro-oncology, Brain Tumor Research Center at UCSF
    1986: Fellowship in Pediatric Neurosurgery, Department of Neurosurgery, Hospital for Sick Children of the University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    1986: Assistant Professor, Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle/Concomitant appointments as Chief of Pediatric Neurosurgical Oncology at the Children's Hospital and Medical Center in Seattle and Chief of the Northwest Neuro-Oncology Research & Therapy Section at the University of Washington
    1990: Associate Professor at the University of Washington
    1996: Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Washington


    Uh oh! He only went to Miami for med school! :p Okay, be honest - do you know what the unemployment rate for neurosurgeons is? ;) And what is your definition of success? Being department head (extra work for you)? Making more money (longer hours probably)?
     
  27. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    No, which is precisely why folks seek out mentors in their desired specialties later in med school to help them decide what the good programs are.
     
  28. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    But see, that assumption is where your analysis falls apart. There are many programs that are known to be "meccas" for certain specialties that simply won't be high on your IM list. And in surgery, as a prior poster correctly indicated, there are places that do a ton of a certain kind of procedure, whipples, liver transplants, etc. that are not IM juggernauts. A lot of this is based on the personnel a place has assembled -- a no-name (per US news) school may have a top rated program because it managed to attract a couple of big names. A top ranked place can have a malignant program in a certain specialty because the guy in charge of it is a bear to work for. So your methodology will have a list of good IM programs, and you can call this a "good match list", but if you wanted to go into, say, transplant surgery, optho, etc some of the best programs wouldn't be on there.
     
  29. Anka

    Anka Senior Member
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    I doubt most people are picking out their residency based on some US News ranking. Keep in mind, that by the time a person posts on the match thread in an anonymous forum asking for advice, there's been an inadequacy in getting them advice at their own program.

    I'm getting ready for the match next year, and I can truthfully say I haven't even glanced at any US News and World Report (I didn't know they made one for residencies, to be honest) -- I'm asking the residents who are interviewing around at fellowships (since they're visiting other places, they get a sense of what the fellows/faculty there think about candidates from the various residencies); I'm talking to the PD and Chair in my field of interest at my school; I'm talking to my own mentors; I've asked the med students who just matched about the different places they interviewed, etc. And I think that's what most people, at least at my school, are doing. I might read the match thread at SDN or whatever to hear about programs I might not have other heard about otherwise, but then I go back to the people I trust to find out what they think about the program or have heard about it. Importantly, something like prestige varies from program to program within the same institution -- a hospital/university with a great surgery program might have a "just okay" medicine program and vice versa.

    Anka
     
  30. smq123

    smq123 John William Waterhouse
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    Consensus among who? Pre-med students? Sorry, but I don't find that consensus particularly compelling.

    The consensus among upper-year students, along with other upper-years who don't post on this board, is that it's too hard to read into a match list because there are too many confounding factors. (Ex: If you have a family and don't want to move, doing a residency in a slightly less prestigious program nearby is better than doing a residency at a top-notch program somewhere across the country.)

    Again, there are too many confounding factors. Some people really want to/have to stay local. Some want to go back to where they grew up. It varies.

    Not reliable. A LOT of people just don't find derm, radiology, or ophtho interesting and don't want to do it for the rest of their lives. Same goes for other competitive residencies like urology, ENT, or integrated plastics.
     
  31. 45408

    45408 aw buddy
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    I was saying that this particular sub-forum puts a lot of weight on match lists, even though they don't know jack squat about which schools have good radiation oncology programs or who has a good OB/GYN program. I completely agree with your second statement.
     
  32. pyrois

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    Like Columbia and their 2 BNI matches each year?

    That doesn't change the overall ability of their school. Even if you're dead set on neuro, if you're not one of those 2 BNI matches, your SOL.

    That's the thing about (many) specialties. A specific specialty doesn't change the prestige of a school's overall match list, if you're attempting to judge the match list as a whole.

    Now, if you specifically said "neurosurgery match" or "derm match" then of course IM is meaningless, but I believe the OP is referring to "overall" match.
     
  33. AnEyeLikeMars

    AnEyeLikeMars Member
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    But even if we can determine what is a good match list vs. a bad match list, we'll never be able to answer the correlation vs. causation question...maybe all we are measuring is which schools attract the best candidates.
     
  34. dantt

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    I think you're reading this wrong. I believe he means schools that produce "good" IM match lists generally send students to the better competitive specialties as well. Not that a school with a "good" IM program also has a good competitive specialty program.

    That's how I read it anyway, I may be wrong.
     
  35. lot_commotion

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    although IM might be a "baseline" assessment of matches, keep in mind that IM programs like UCSF, Stanford, Brigham, MGH and the like are just as competitive to get into as matching into ophtho, radiology, even neurosurgery.

    There's nothing as difficult as derm though. Radiation oncology is up there but they look at research more than grades and school name. A good supplement to analyzing matches is to find out how many people don't match every year, the % of people who get their #1 choice, etc. Of course this data is extremely difficult to obtain.
     
  36. pyrois

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    Well, matching into MGH IM is still easier than matching into MGH Radiology or MGH Derm.

    Also, the number of people not matching could simply be indicative of how over-confident a school's students are.

    For example, Baylor has a pretty good match list, but they still had 9 people in the scramble, and 6 more who did not match by choice. That would most likely drop it below even places like UC Irvine and Davis according to your standards.
     
  37. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Um no, a lot of people in the scramble tends to suggest to me poor advising at the school, not confidence. It's not like undergrad where you just fire out applications and hope for luck. You have folks in the field helping you along, making phone calls on your behalf, etc. I would consider this scramble percentage component to be as compelling as the number of people who matched well in determining whether the school matched well.
     
  38. Law2Doc

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    You lost me. (I think I know what he/you mean but don't buy it). I'm saying the IM list tells you how good the school matches into IM. If you want to call that a better list, because IM composes a significant percentage of any school, I suppose that is one measure of "better". But you cannot look at that and say, this means the school matches well in another field too -- you are too far out on a limb when you do that. Because the typical premed simply won't be able to know what programs are good, and there is no evidence that a school with a good IM list is good in another field. In fact, one would argue the opposite -- if a lot of the better people in the class choose IM, that leaves fewer of the top people to apply to the better specialties. So it might really result in the opposite of what you are suggesting. Truth is, you don't know, and once you start extrapolating one specialty to another, you are too far out on that branch to support your weight.
     
  39. Auscultate

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    Actually, I think there IS a correlation between having a "good" IM match and having a "good" match in the other specialties. If you look at the match lists of places like Harvard, Hopkins, Yale and Penn over the past 3-4 years you'll see that in addition to sending their IM students to the "top" IM programs(MGH, BWH, Hopkins, UCFS, Penn etc.) and "top" PEDS (CHOP, Boston Childrens etc.), they are the ones sending their students to "top" rad-onc (MSKCC, MDACC, Harvard etc.), top ophthalmology ( MEEI, Wills, Wilmer etc.)
    top neurosurgery (BNI, UCSF, MGH etc..). Just take a look at the lists, there is a correlation.....
     
  40. IceMan0824

    IceMan0824 Holy crip, he's a crapple
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    Was there noone but me with the temptation to say

    1. Open Match List
    2. Read
     
  41. lot_commotion

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    How do you know that MGH IM is easier than matching into MGH Radiology? Have you been through the match process? I have classmates who matched into MGH IM and and some into MGH Radiology, and I can tell you that the people who got into MGH IM actually had better grades, higher numbers, and were MD/PhD. Remember that IM has a huge applicant pool, and if you're talking about MGH, which this year was the most selective program, it's just as competitive. Sure, MGH dermatology is more difficult than both.

    Please don't make assumptions as a pre-med basing your opinion on hearsay and talking to a few people. You need to go through 4 years of advising, the residency application process, interviews, and speaking with your own classmates who are applying to other specialties to really understand the trends.

     
  42. lot_commotion

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    Law2Doc is right. If a lot of people are in the scramble after applying to dermatology, for instance, that means their school does not do a good job of matching them in that specialty. Which probably means poor advising and poor support from their home department. Most people who apply to those really competitive specialties apply to many, many programs. The majority of people who do not match don't match because they simply didn't get enough interviews. I think fewer people than you might expect don't match because they were "overconfident."

    At the risk of starting a flame war, I'm willing to bet a lot of those "overconfident" applicants didn't match because they didn't get enough good interviews, and save face by saying they only ranked a couple places. Applicants know that the scramble totally sucks, it's embarrassing, and the spots left over are subpar on average. Those I know who applied to dermatology at my school, with board scores in the 99th percentile, applied to over 60 programs and ranked every single program they interviewed at. A few still don't match.

     
  43. Gut Shot

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    And we all know the refrain of correlation vs. causation. It's a well known fact that top schools attract top students, who will naturally be more prone to be accepted into top residency programs. None of these correlation analyses can account for the disparities that exist between entering medical school classes, and therefore they can't quantitate the influence a school's name has on its match success. They also don't support any supposition that someone at Harvard will receive actually a superior education compared to someone at Case, Mayo, Duke, UNC, Emory or anywhere else.

    If this were a scientific experiment it would get nuked in peer review.
     
  44. 45408

    45408 aw buddy
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    this is a rough suggestion:

    [​IMG]
     
  45. dbhvt

    dbhvt Senior Member
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    Some speculation:
    If you had the raw data, it might be fun to do some regression and see if you could find independent predictors of where a student goes for residency (not what specialty, but what hospital). Some variables: MCAT scores, GPA, undergrad school, USMLE Step 1 score, MS1 & MS2 grades, clinical grades, research pubs, medical school, parents occupation, parents income, birthplace, race, weight in kg, astrological sign. Hmmm.. I would venture a guess that the best predictor of where a medical student ends up for residency would be medical school attended.

    I'm on a role here.
     
  46. Gut Shot

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    But would it be an independent predictor?

    I can see two ways to partially end-run this dilemma. One would be to only compare students with equivalent entering stats (GPA and MCAT) who attend different schools. The other would be to compare pools of students who had multiple acceptances and then do subset analysis.

    Somebody should get Steven Levitt on the phone.
     
  47. dbhvt

    dbhvt Senior Member
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    I think it would be an independent predictor ONLY because of the home match phenomenon.
     
  48. DumbartonBridge

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    Regarding the posts about the relative difficulty of matching into IM at MGH - I would posit that matching into MGH's IM program is as difficult as matching into any field at any institution. Based on the numbers I've seen, they have approximately 2400 applicants for 40+ categorical spots. Given that approximately half of those spots go to HMS students - that leaves about 20+ spots for about 2350 applicants outside of HMS. Not exactly good odds...

    I'm uncertain if that 2400 number is total applicants to MGH's IM program (categorical, prelim, med/peds) or just the categorical applicants. In any case, the odds are not good. I believe for rad onc there are about 100+ spots and 300+ applicants a year (although perhaps someone who knows the numbers from the match can correct me) as a comparison (although I don't know any institution specific data).
     
  49. jaydoc07

    jaydoc07 Junior Member
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    well you must remember too that for subspecialties that are really competitive (ophtho, plastics, etc) all 500 applicants apply for nearly every program when some only have 1 or 2 spots. that is a crappy ratio to work against. also according to nrmp 1404 people applied for 127 rad onc spots this year
     
  50. Tired

    Tired Fading away
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    Excellent point, and it also applies to IM. Half the Medicine people in my class threw in MGH on their applications, just as a "reach" school. None, of course, matched to it. There are also the massive numbers of FMGs. Harvard is a brand, which is why their number of applicants is so high.
     
  51. DumbartonBridge

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    I just took a look at the match results that the NRMP published in their report for match results in 2005 (report published in July 2006 - couldn't find anything more recent) and these were the numbers listed in the report:

    Rads:
    US Seniors - 838
    All others - 366
    Total spots - 1018

    Rad onc:
    US Seniors - 149
    All others - 56
    Total spots - 137

    Derm:
    US Seniors - 366
    All others - 180
    Total spots - 316

    Here's the link that I pulled the data from (with US Seniors and All others being the number of applicants and total spots being the number of positions in the match): http://www.nrmp.org/matchoutcomes.pdf

    Regardless of the numbers, you're definitely right in terms of the small size of the programs in various areas (1-4 spots a year in fields like derm, plastics, rad onc in most programs) which makes the match process a white knuckle affair for anyone applying in those fields no matter how great an applicant you are or how many assurances you receive from a given PD.
     

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