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Liklihood of matching at a specific program?? and how to increase one's chances?


Junior Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
May 24, 2006
New Orleans
  1. Medical Student
How difficult is it for a competitive applicant to match at a specific EM program? and what can an applicant do to increase their chances?

Obviously this depends on the competitiveness of the program and the applicant, so lets consider a reasonably competitive program and applicant (all in all a good match for each other).

Is it a total crapshoot? How can someone increase their competitiveness for a specific program? Whats the story on away rotations (a good way to sell yourself? or a great risk that you'd rub an attending the wrong way and ruin your chances?) Letters to the program director letting them know their you're #1? What is effective? What is creepy/stalkerish?

What other eggs does an applicant have to put in the basket?


New Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
May 20, 2005
Dude. I take it you aren't in this match cycle if you're talking about setting up aways.

You question hits upon the crux of the away debate--so you've obviously talked to people about this. I did aways at two programs that I liked. I am pretty relaxed and fun to be around. I worked hard, and both programs really wanted me to be there--at least that's what the directors told me.

My feeling is that it is a good thing initially because it shows your interest to the program, but in the final analysis it depends on who you are. You're the only one who knows your personality, and can decide if it will help you.

Do well on Step 2.

At the interview ask, "How would an applicant show interest in your program?"

If they offer resident dinners and second looks. Go to them. They are objective ways to show interest.

Write thank you emails or notes to the director--and tell me why you are going to rank them highly.

Then get in touch at the end of the interview season, and say again, after all of my other interviews you are still my #1.



Full Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jul 18, 2008
  1. Attending Physician
Do you really think telling a program they are your number 1 will help?

Part of me thinks that if you tell someone they are your number one then they have the flexibility to rank you lower to try for some more competitive candidates. Its the same concept we should use when we rank schools. If you know you are guaranteed a spot at a school that isn't your number one then you should put other schools that you have less of chance at first.

I guess our competitive side would always like to match number 1 regardless of if they truly are our number 1.
Last edited:


Who, me? A doctor?
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jan 13, 2006
Somewhere in time and relative dimensions in space
  1. Medical Student
How difficult is it for a competitive applicant to match at a specific EM program? and what can an applicant do to increase their chances?...

1. Please use the search function. This is not a new issue.
2. This is covered in the FAQ at the top of the forum.
3. The NRMP put out Charting Outcomes, which covers many of these topics.
4. You can also look here. Follow the link(s) and you'll get answers to some of your questions.
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