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Interesting Match Strategy? Need Input!

Discussion in 'General Residency Issues' started by HolisticMed, Dec 16, 2008.

  1. HolisticMed

    5+ Year Member

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    I was considering using this strategy when ranking programs and was hoping some of you could help lend some advice. It is greatly appreciated!

    Despite the fact that I have received several interviews to my desired specialty, there is one hospital that I much much much prefer to go to than the others. I will undoubtedly rank them number 1. I have received information from them that they will rank me highly, however it very well may not be number 1.

    My worry is that if I rank them number one on say a list of 7. And lets say they rank me #6 on their list. What if my number 2 or number 3 choice ranks me #1... than odds are I will wind up going to my number 2 or number 3 choice. However my desire to go to my number one choice is SUBSTANTIALLY higher than my second choice.

    So I was thinking.... what if after i rank my first choice as number one, below that I list like 5 programs that I never even received interviews at but that I applied to. I know there is no way I could wind up matching there. Therefore the next realistic shot would be number 7 choice(really my 2nd choice). Than if that program ranks me number one the computer will be less likely to so quickly match me with them because they are my 7th choice rather than my 2nd choice. Thus increasing my chances of matching at my number one choice.

    Does this make sense to anyone? Does this sound like a viable strategy? Any input is greatly appreciated. :thumbup::thumbup:
     
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  3. DonStracci

    2+ Year Member

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    The first question that comes to mind is, can you rank a program at which you did not interview?
     
  4. futuredo32

    futuredo32 Senior Member
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    From everything I've read on SDN, using your strategy, your chances of matching at your 2nd choice will be no different if you rank them #2 or if you rank them #7(assuming your other rankings are not viable rankings).
     
  5. Drawing Dead

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    You can rank it, but odds are they didn't even rank you, considering they never even wanted to meet you.

    To the OP, that is ridiculous. I suggest you go to the match website and read up on how the match works. It is much more detailed than this, but a brief synopsis:
    Student and program submit match list. Computer places student in first choice of program. If program ranks student ANYWHERE, applicant is temporarily matched. The only way you won't match there is if there are more people the program ranked above you that match there than there are spots, and in that case, it will place you in your second choice, and so on, but it follows YOUR LIST. Ranking the programs that probably wont rank you will do nothing, and your #7 choice will be like your second choice.

    http://www.nrmp.org/res_match/about_res/algorithms.html

    This is MUCH more detailed than last year, and actually explains it well. I suggest you go through it.

    And lastly, what I tell everyone, only rank programs you are willing to go to. Don't just rank places because you don't want to scramble. Sometimes the scramble can be pleasantly surprising.
     
  6. howelljolly

    10+ Year Member

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    Thats a horrible idea, and you shall do no such thing.

    As drawingdead said, look up how the Match works.

    Even if your 2nd, 3rd ... 7th choice rank you #1, because your 1st choice ranked you at all, you'll match into your 1st choice.

    Again, the caveat is - not enough of those who were ranked above you by your 1st choice were taken away by their respective 1st choices.

    So, the only thing that can mess you up is the ROL of your competetors.... something you cant control.
     
  7. dragonfly99

    10+ Year Member

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    No, no, no. OP, you are wrong. You are confused.
    Agree with above comments. You need to read the NRMP web site because you clearly don't understand how the match computer ranking works. Ranking programs that you never interviewed at will do NOTHING for you. It will be the same as if you listed your 2nd favorite program 2nd or 7th, if #2-6 were "fake" programs where you never interviewed.

    The best way to increase the chances you'll match at your favorite program are:
    1) tell them they are your clear #1 choice
    2) have faculty telephone them on your behalf
    3) continue to update them on any positive changes in your application (i.e. you got a high Step 2 score, you published a paper, etc.).
     
  8. HolisticMed

    5+ Year Member

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    Thanks for the responses everyone. Ultimately my question is the following... Does my listing of other programs in any way shape or form detract from my matching at my number one spot. In other words assume that how I am going to rank my number one program and how they will rank me(unknown) is fixed. Does my ranking of additional programs underneath that program in any way shape or form, regardless of how they rank me, decrease the odds of me matching at my first choice.

    So to put it in yet another way. Are my odds at matching at my number one spot the same as if i only put that one program on my ROL than if i put that one program plus 100 more programs underneath it all who rank me #1.

    Thanks!
     
  9. mig26x

    mig26x Senior Member
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    wow!!! Please read match instructions/example at their website!!!

    If your #1 program ranked you 7 out 7 positions you are going to match 100% at that program, it doesnt matter where they match you as long as you are in the magic number of spots they have available, 17 out 18, 39 out of 40= you are going to match in those place given the fact that you put them number one in your list.

    If they rank you over the number of spots they have available that's another completely different scenario.
     
  10. howelljolly

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    NO, it does not matter how you rank the rest of the programs.

    But rank them. If by chance you do not make it into your 1st choice due to the caveat I meantioned above, you need a backup... Do not rank only your favorite program, and no others.
     
  11. BlondeDocteur

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    NO. NO, it does not. You're ranking your top choice #1, and they're ranking you... somewhere. Where they rank you is the SOLE DECIDING FACTOR in whether or not you match there.

    If you want a brief description of the Match Algorithm from your perspective...

    Here's your ROL:
    1) Tippy Top Hospital
    2) Fake #1
    3)- 7) Fake #2 --> 6
    8) Harvard
    9) Toledo

    Let's pretend Tippy Top has 4 spots for your field. Obviously, if you're ranked anywhere from #1-4, it's a match. If you're not ranked, then you won't match. If you're ranked somewhere between #5 and #100, you have a diminishing shot at matching. Whether or not you do so depends 100% on what programs candidates above you like-- which is, needless to say, completely outside your control.

    The computer will at first grab your rank order list and attempt to match you to your #1, Tippy Top. If Tippy Top has any open spot, then you're temporarily matched there. You can only be bumped if someone ranked above you also prefers Tippy Top. Likewise, if all the spots are full, but you are a more desirable candidate than someone already temporarily matched (i.e. you're number 7, whereas #13 is currently temporarily matched) then you bump them. Once the algorithm has sorted through all 28,000 active applicants in the Match, and you're *still* temporarily matched at Tippy Top, then you're permanently matched.

    Since there's nothing you can do to control what other candidates think of Tippy Top and how they rank it, your only shot is to influence things from the other side-- to get Tippy Top to rank you highly. As dragonfly said, communicate that you love the place, go for a second look, drop the residents a line, all without being clingy or overbearing.

    Now, as to your original question. If you don't match at Tippy Top, then the computer will immediately match you to your #2. If #2 is fake, then you obviously won't be ranked by that program, so it will go to your #3... same problem.... #4.... same problem. But the computer does not flag or tire. It does not grow disgusted or move on. It marches all the way down your rank list until you match *somewhere*. In your case, that would mean the real business would start whenever you stop listing fake programs. Since it takes roughly 90 minutes for the entire Match Algorithm to run (to place 28,000 applicants in 22,000 positions) you're "delaying" your match to your real #2, your listed #7 (in the list above, Harvard), by a few nanoseconds. Do it for the memories or the laughs or whatever, but not out of strategy.
     
  12. bjolly

    bjolly Senior Member
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    It's amazing to me how many applicants don't seem to understand how the match works.

    If you rank program A as your #1 choice, and they rank you 20th (and they have 20 spots), you match there. Doesn't matter if your next 6 programs all ranked you #1 and are dying to have you.

    The match is designed so that you match at the highest program on your list that wants you. Put another way, if more than 1 program wants you, the computer puts you at the one you ranked higher. The only thing that you need to do is rank the programs in the order that you prefer them. That's it. There is no strategy needed.
     
  13. yaah

    yaah Boring
    Administrator Physician 15+ Year Member

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    RANK THE PROGRAMS IN THE ORDER YOU PREFER THEM.

    If you still have questions, read the above statement again.
     
  14. Agree with the above.

    There's no "trick" to the ROL. Rank the programs in the order YOU prefer...don't try to guess how each program will rank you.
     
  15. jonb12997

    jonb12997 I'm a doctor!!
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    That's exactly right... :)
     

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