nevertheless05

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Is there a "magic number" of interviews for a successful match? If there is, is it altered by the competitiveness of the programs (ex: 6 interviews at the top 6 programs) or the fact that you're a DO or FMG?
 

muscles

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Yes, the competitiveness of the programs has a lot to do with how many you should apply to. You can't just apply to 5 programs, if those 5 programs happen to be the top 5 on USNWR, for example. Be smart about it -- you always need to have a few backups. You need to consider how competitive a candidate you are, as well as how competitive the programs are that you are applying to.
 

DantheMan05

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Anyone have a sense of the ratio of interview invites vs residency slots for the top places (UCSF/BWH/MGH)? I wasn't able to find those stats easily...
 
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agk

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Saw this on MGH's website - it looks like they interview ~400-500 applicants for an intern class of 63 (~10-12 of those are prelims, rest are categorical). But I'm not sure how many applicants they actually rank though?
 

gutonc

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Anyone have a sense of the ratio of interview invites vs residency slots for the top places (UCSF/BWH/MGH)? I wasn't able to find those stats easily...

For IM a very general rule of thumb is 10 interviewees per slot. So programs with 50 slots will interview 500 people. This is, of course, a rough guide but gives you some idea where you stand.
 

dragonfly99

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I wouldn't say there is a magic number. If I were an IMG or DO, I would go to a lot of interviews...probably as many as I could afford. Yes, it does matter how competitive they are. If you interview at Northwestern or MGH, you have to think the competition is stiff and that ranking them #1 doesn't necessarily mean you are going to go there. On the other hand, if you graduated from Duke, and are interviewing at a random state school in the southeast, you'd probably have a high chance that they would take you.
 

Inquisitive

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How many places do you have to rank to make sure you match? I have interviewed at some schools I don't think I want to rank. If you're applying to some middle tier and some competitive programs, how many schools should you rank?
 

howelljolly

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Over the last couple years, the "Magic Number" of programs on the Rank Order List is 8.x. This number is increasing every year. It includes both US grads, and independent applicants.

In the last two years the numbers were 8.23 and 8.52. In contrast, applicants that did not match, pretty consistently had ROLs of only 4-5 programs.

I did a little bit of fancy statistics, and found that using the data since 2004, in 2009, it will be around 8.75, and in 2010, it will be 9. It will probably be more. I used these numbers because since 2004, the numbers have been increasing linearly. However, since 1999, it has been increasing exponentially. Im not good with stats

Anyway, I dont know how the length of the ROL translates to number of interviews attended. The applicant might not rank one or two of the programs they interviewed at. The programs rank 55-60 of their applcants - or about ten applicants per position. Interestingly, programs usually interview ten applicants for each of their seats. Maybe this means that they put almost all of their interviewees somewhere on their ROL?

But, what we can do, is plan to rank 9 or 10 programs.

In the previous year's NRMP report, they included the length of contguously placed specialties on the ROL. It was pretty significant data which showed that applicants who ranked only one specialty, or ranked multiple specialties contiguously, fared much better. A ROL of (IM IM IM IM FM FM) had a better outcome than (IM FM IM IM FM IM FM)
 

dragonfly99

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That is very interesting howelljolly.
However:
Do you think it's possible that folks who ranked 2 specialties, like IM IM FM FM IM IM or peds peds FM FM FM were more likely to be IMG's who have a lower chance to match overall? I don't know any US grads who were going for peds, for example, who interviewed in any other specialty. They just knew that they were going to match into peds because it isn't that competitive.

I think it's difficult to interpret the stats for a "typical" US grad. Remember only about 55% of IM spots are filled by US grads. If you are a US MD grad, I think your chance to match into IM somewhere is really quite high, barring major red flags on your transcript (and even perhaps if there are some) or unless you chose only to interview at MGH/UCSF type programs. I mean your chances would still be high even if you only ranked 4-5 programs. I only even interviewed at 7 places and I was basically told at several of them that I would/could go there if I wanted, and I wasn't even in the top of my class. Granted, sometimes programs lie, but usually not that blatantly. How many places you need to rank depends a lot on how strong a candidate you are (by virtue of your research, clinical evals, board scores, what school you attended if you are a US grad), and whether you are a US senior vs. independent applicant. I just don't know nor have I heard of any US senior not matching in IM lately...definitely an applicant's market.
 

howelljolly

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I think it's very likely that such an applicant is an IMG, but could also be a less competitive US grad who is applying for a very competitive specialty.

I've met quite a few IMGs who applied for FM, as well as Peds or IM.
And of course there are US grads who applied for Plastics and GS, or GS and OB/GYN.

Now, even if someone did rank two specialties, a poor prognostic factor was a short contiguous list of the first-choice specialty. The specialties were mixed up within the list, not one followed by the other.

That might be because location was of more importance than the specialty. The applicant might have grouped all of the programs in Dallas, followed by all of the programs in San Antonio, and in effect mixed up the specialties. That might also explain why one of the subsets of unsuccessful applicants in the match were those that only had a ROL of 4-5 programs.
 
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