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Match List Evaluation

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by katiep, Jan 12, 2002.

  1. katiep

    katiep Senior Member
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    How do you evaluate a school's match list?
     
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  3. Dr. Kermit

    Dr. Kermit Senior Member
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    I asked my boss and dad about evaluating a match list when I was deciding whether or not to send MCP a deposit. Essentially, if you look at a match list for a top 10/25 school, you'll see that many match at top residency programs and specialities. But, you also have to consider that many individuals who attend top 25 schools are interested in academic medicine or research, so a good match is essential for their future. You'll also see that at lower schools, there are some good matches, but you have to wonder how well the student did there. If the school has a P/F system, you might want to inquire if the top resdiency matches were members of AOA. Next, consider the school's location. When I looked at Temple and MCP's match list, while Temple students did have a few quality matches in Surgery, ENT, and Radiology, many students stayed in PA (as Temple is state related) and many of MCPs students left the state (since it's private and 20-30% of the class is from CA.) Finally, don't fall for a school's line that "such and such percent of students match within their top 3 choices." Remember, 4th years have to apply to many residencies and then may only be offered interviews at 1/4 of those positions. They then have to rank the schools at which they interviewed so the match list only shows the program at which they were matched with after rankings. Hope this helps you out. Basically, I've eliminated looking at a match list as a factor to deciding which school to attend. I'm more interested in where I'll be happy because from what I've heard the first two years at any school are going to suck and you might as well be somewhere that you'll find happiness. Also, I'm sure I'll work my butt off whereever I go and since I'm not interested in a competitive residency, I'm just hoping to land in NY one day :)
     
  4. doepug

    doepug Senior Member
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    Evaluating a match list is indeed tricky, and dr kermit has a good point... the line that "x% of our students get one of their top 3 choices" is totally bogus.

    When I look at match lists, I tend to look at more competitive specialties... particularly derm, neurosurgery, ENT, ophthalmology, plastics, and the like. If a school manages to consistently place students into highly ranked competitive fields such as these, I think it's indicative of a strong school. Also consider the fraction of graduates who will stay at the same institution. Some schools tend to be somewhat inbred; for example, about half of the students at my institution will stay here for a residency.

    Good luck,
    doepug
     
  5. DrSuga

    DrSuga Senior Member
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    i agree, for the most part, with the other posters. However, I wouldn't eliminate match lists as a major factor in deciding where to go to med school. I believe it plays a huge part. Patients and colleagues are going to be concerned about where you received your actual training, not whether you were happy in med school. I personally look at the percentage of students going into certain fields. For example, if 50% students enter primary care, this may be a clue as to where you'll likely end up if you attend that school. Personally, I want a school that will prepare me to enter any field I choose, so I try to see if the match list has some sort of balance between fields and specialties. Also, if looking at state schools, like SUNY for example, see if students stay within the state system. You may or may not want to end up in this situation, so it's an important consideration.
     
  6. katiep

    katiep Senior Member
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    Thanks for the replies.

    Another couple of questions, then:

    - Why does everybody on this board emphasize happiness at the school as one of the key features (since all medical schools are good, it doesn't really matter which one you got to, etc.) in the decision, when in fact it seems to me that where the schools gets you is really more important, since it affects basically the rest of your life, and how happy you'll be there.

    - How do you evaluate what a good residency is? I guess I can say that if you're going to match at Mass General in Neurosurgery, then that's great, but how do you judge other programs?

    Whenever I look at a match list, I feel like I'm without a clue. Your replies helped, though.
     
  7. DrSuga

    DrSuga Senior Member
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    1) Happiness: I guess people put so much emphasis on this because they think four years is a long time to be miserable or not completely happy. In the grand scheme of things, four years is a short amount of time. I think as long as you reap some sort of benefit from your school, you should be happy with the choice you made (i.e. if you hate the school's location, but it has awesome faculty, reputation or some other major plus....or vice versa). At least you are getting something out of the school, even if you aren't 100% happy.
    2) Based on what my father and his colleagues (clinical faculty at a med school) have to say, a good residency meets your needs. Do you want to practice medicine in a rural/urban/suburban community? Again, it also has to with where you end up after residency, just like med school has to do with where you do your residency... There are definitely the top programs, and you should just go with whichever one fits you. Don't do neurosurg. as Mass General just because of its reputation. Who are the physicians you'll have access to in the program? Most likely, you'll want to work with those who are experts in the field. I don't know if this helps...I know it's vague, but I hope it gives you some idea.
     
  8. TwoSteveSquared

    TwoSteveSquared Senior Member
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    Ummm...Happiness does effect the rest of your life, because you will likely perform better at a school you like instead of one you hate. How well you do in medical school is much more important to determining your residency placement than how good your school's rep is (unless, it's a top 20 school). Also, four years of your twenties or thirties are VERY important. It's the prime of your life as far as health and energy. Not to mention, your first taste of true independence.
     
  9. Dr. Kermit

    Dr. Kermit Senior Member
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    I am considering several factors when I choose a medical school in the coming months. Yes, I have looked over residency match lists at Temple and MCP and if accepted to Einstein, I will look at theirs too. Since I am currently in a relationship that will soon be three years, my boyfriend and I are pretty certain we will end up together. We both would ideally like to settle in NY and thus I consider that option highly when I look at matchlists.

    As Dr. Suga said, if you want to specialize, it is worth it to look at a matchlist to see if the school pushes you toward primary care. That is the case with Einstein. In fact, when I talked to students there, they said that while several students will match in surgery, radiology, ENT, the school pushes toward primary care.

    But, my happiness is a big factor too. However, I consider my happiness to entail location, student body, and proximity to my boyfriend. I went to an undergrad where many of the students were pre-med and hyper competitive and it really does kill the student atmosphere. Many just went to Hopkins for the name and reputation and stuck it out, but absolutely hated it there. So, yes, while a med school's reputation and its past match lists may get your foot in the door at certain hospitals, it's not the end all be all. I agree with 2 Steve Squared that happiness does determine more or less your potential to perform.
     
  10. coop

    coop Senior Member
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    i just wanted to make a comment on DrSuga's point that patients care where you got your training. I don't know about you but I've never asked my physicians where they went to school (at least until i began my med school search). But most lay people (patients) don't know which residency programs are good in a specific specialty, so i don't think it's that big a deal.
     
  11. Jamier2

    Jamier2 SDN Hillbilly Moderator
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    I agree with coop about the patients caring where you did med school or residency. Some, but far from most, might care about which med school. As far as residency, most don't know much at all about how it works, much less which programs are supposed to be better. I can't count how many times I've had to explain what an intern/resident is. :)
     
  12. katiep

    katiep Senior Member
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    Hmmm. More questions:

    1. Is a primary care-oriented school one which has a lot of matches for internal medicine, family practice, and pediatrics? Where does EM and Surgery fall? What exactly constitutes primary care residencies?

    2. Is there a listing out there, sort of like US News for med schools, but for residency programs? I'm assuming, like everything else so far, there is a ranking for this too. I didn't see it on the
    <a href="http://www.abms.org/" target="_blank">American Board of Medical Specialties</a> website.

    3. Specific to my interests: I'd like to go into neurosurgery. Example: Columbia has 6 matches, NYMC one. Does that mean Columbia is that much better. If I go to the latter, am I doomed? Not that I expect to get the choice anyway!

    4. Finally, is someone going into "Transitional" or "Preliminary" on a match list good or bad? Is it that they didn't get into the specialty of their choice, and are waiting for next year to reapply by doing a transitional, or are they doing somekind of surgical specialty or whatnot?

    Thanks!
     
  13. Thewonderer

    Thewonderer Senior Member
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    I would agree with other posters who put very little weight on matchlist. one reason is that matchlist varies from year to year depending on the students, their desire and their interests. another reason is that it is too hard to judge a list correctly (or some would say it is IMPOSSIBLE).

    Therefore I would in general just rely on a school's general reputation. use some common sense on this. And there should be no difference with school's reputation within a tier. Yale = Columbia = Duke = Hopkins, etc. I have heard from a faculty member who sat on the surgery resident selection committee that they usually divide the schools into three tiers: top 15, schools that have some national reputation and all the rest. So no point losing sleep over whether NYU or Mt Sinai is better, or whether columbia or UCSF is better (although I know some NYU students believe that they are on equal footing as columbia and cornell). They are all the SAME in terms of reputation.

    Then I would seriously consider the school's location and the instinct you got from your interview day.
     
  14. Dr. Kermit

    Dr. Kermit Senior Member
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    I'm not an expert on this topic, so anyone in med school feel free to correct me.

    1. Is a primary care-oriented school one which has a lot of matches for internal medicine, family practice, and pediatrics? Where does EM and Surgery fall? What exactly constitutes primary care residencies?

    A primary care-oriented school, mainly directs its students to leading careers in areas such as Family medicine, general internal medicine, pediatrics, and I think psychiatry and OB/GYN are starting to fall under this realm too. The last two are subject to question, I only added them under primary care if you're interested in a NHSC scholarship. EM and surgery ARE NOT primary care.

    2. Is there a listing out there, sort of like US News for med schools, but for residency programs? I'm assuming, like everything else so far, there is a ranking for this too. I didn't see it on the

    You may go to the US News site and arrange the top 50-schools by "Reputation by Residency Directors." This option is only for the top-50 schools though.

    3. Specific to my interests: I'd like to go into neurosurgery. Example: Columbia has 6 matches, NYMC one. Does that mean Columbia is that much better. If I go to the latter, am I doomed? Not that I expect to get the choice anyway!

    I'm not sure on this one. It could be that individuals at Columbia chose to pursue surgery more so than individuals at NYMC or that they just matched better. You have to consider that you're comparing a well renowned school to one that isn't ranked. Columbia may open more doors for you than NYMC since the later is very primary care oriented from what I remember from my interview there. But remember, only you will determine your own destiny by studying hard and not shutting your doors.

    4. Finally, is someone going into "Transitional" or "Preliminary" on a match list good or bad? Is it that they didn't get into the specialty of their choice, and are waiting for next year to reapply by doing a transitional, or are they doing somekind of surgical specialty or whatnot?

    Preliminary usually refers to individuals who go into Internal Medicine or Pediatrics/Internal Medicine with the strive to pursue a specialty in that department. Such specialties are usually Neurology, Hem/Onc, Endocronology, and a few others I can't think of right now. Many spend their four years rotating through all the specialities and then do a fellowship after they choose which one they wish to pursue.

    Hope this info helps you out in making a decision when you are offered that opportunity. Where have you interviewed and what are your options right now?
     
  15. katiep

    katiep Senior Member
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    Thanks, Dr. Kermit. My interviews are NYMC and SUNY Downstate so far. I like NYMC for a number of reasons, but the primary care focus is not my alley. I don't think I'm going to get another chance at Columbia, though (see <a href="http://www.studentdoctor.net/cgi-bin/ubbcgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=1&t=007293" target="_blank">2nd Interview</a> thread), so this entire thread may be moot.

    BTW, for #2, I meant a ranking for residency programs themselves irrespective of medical schools, not school ranking by residency directors.
     
  16. Dr. Kermit

    Dr. Kermit Senior Member
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    I wouldn't give up too much hope yet, it's only January. While things seem to be moving rather slowly after all the Adcoms had their turkey, you may still here from Columbia and I'm assuming the other NYC schools. (Well, I should heed my own advice on this matter.)

    Good luck :)
     
  17. Becket

    Becket Senior Member
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    Just a clarification on Question #4 above:

    A "preliminary" year (at least in internal medicine) refers to a required year of training that people going into certain fields such as derm, radiology, and neurology, must complete. Those wishing to enter IM subspecialties (like Heme/Onc, GI, cards) usually complete a 3 year categorical residency.
     

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