ButImLETired

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Hey pre-allos!

I just wanted to let y'all know that tomorrow is Match Day. For those of you who don't know what that is (it's ok! I didn't know until like a year ago either), this is the day when all the 4th year medical student in the US get to open up a letter telling them where they'll be for residency. This happens at the same time everywhere in the country, adjusted for time zones. Here in central time I think it's starting at 11 am so calculate for that.

The reason why I'm telling you this is 1) if you see a 4th year med student in the morning, don't spook him/her. It's a nerve-wracking time (I'm a 1st year and we've received various emails telling us to not bug the 4th years too much), and 2) I find it to be a really fascinating, exciting ceremony and figured there is at least one person out there who is curious about it. If so, a number of medical schools will be webcasting the proceedings for family, friends, and nerdy pre-meds who want to peek. You might think it's weird since you don't know any of the students, but it really is pretty cool and exciting (especially if it's the school you'll be attending in the fall!)

As a general intro, here's how it works (4th years correct me if I'm wrong!):

1) students figure out where they want to apply and the specialty.
2) student apply (imagine applying to med school but much, much worse).
3) after interviews, students rank the programs in order of what they liked best (there is more to this, but that's the general gist). You can rank all the programs where you interviewed or just a few. At the same time, at the end of the interview season, the programs rank the students they saw in order as well.
4) a magical computer algorithm (biased toward the student's choice) matches each student up with the highest program that ranked them.
5) match day! Everyone everywhere opens the letter. The contract is legally binding, so you go wherever you've been matched, whether you like it or not.

Med schools handle the ceremony in different ways. Some schools prefer for the letter-opening to be a private affair. Others give the letters out and then allow everyone to open it at the same time in a common area but without having to tell the whole world. At my school, the dean picks a letter out of a box, calls on the student, and makes him read the letter in front of everyone. Much cheering ensues. Each student drops a dollar into a bowl and the last person to be called gets all the money (cause the poor sucker had to wait so long). I think other schools do it this way as well.

So yeah! That's the intro to the match. Again, if any of you are interested, I suggest you find a school that has it webcasted and watch a little bit! This is how it's going to be for the foreseeable future, so I think it's exciting to see this little piece of our education.

Yay match! Good luck 4th years!
 

Pills Of Soap

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1) students figure out where they want to apply and the specialty.
2) student apply (imagine applying to med school but much, much worse).
3) after interviews, students rank the programs in order of what they liked best (there is more to this, but that's the general gist). You can rank all the programs where you interviewed or just a few. At the same time, at the end of the interview season, the programs rank the students they saw in order as well.
4) a magical computer algorithm (biased toward the student's choice) matches each student up with the highest program that ranked them.
5) match day! Everyone everywhere opens the letter. The contract is legally binding, so you go wherever you've been matched, whether you like it or not.
The match the is kinda like Avatar, you have to pick your residency and your residency has to pick you.
 

red10

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The match the is kinda like Avatar, you have to pick your residency and your residency has to pick you.
Wow I was going to say it's similar to sorority recruitment at my school but your analogy totally blew mine outta the water:oops:
 

Geekchick921

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This has got to be such an exciting but stressful time. One of my friends is a 4th year at UPitt. He knows he matched into his specialty of choice, but he doesn't know where. He's hoping to move back to Philly where pretty much everyone they know lives. I've got my fingers crossed for him.
 

Geekchick921

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Med schools handle the ceremony in different ways. Some schools prefer for the letter-opening to be a private affair. Others give the letters out and then allow everyone to open it at the same time in a common area but without having to tell the whole world. At my school, the dean picks a letter out of a box, calls on the student, and makes him read the letter in front of everyone. Much cheering ensues. Each student drops a dollar into a bowl and the last person to be called gets all the money (cause the poor sucker had to wait so long). I think other schools do it this way as well.
Love this. :thumbup:
 

Bernoull

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Why is the matching process different from any other application for (job, univ. med school etc)? Why can't 4th years apply, get multiple acceptances/offers then CHOOSE?
 

Bacchus

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To add to LET's post...

The Monday before Match Day you find out if you matched, but not where. If you don't match...its a rather MISERABLE experience. You're now placed into the scramble where you find out what residencies have spots available (you may live in Phila but the only residency is available in Tacoma). You will contact the program, your school will contact on behalf of you, and after a scary length of time (don't hold your breath for it) you may be offered a position at that residency or you may have to call around to other locations.

The only good thing about the scramble (if anything can be good) you find out the places that have openings before the actual matched applicants find out their location. Don't try to not match just for this (obviously).
 

Ibn Rushd

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3) after interviews, students rank the programs in order of what they liked best (there is more to this, but that's the general gist). You can rank all the programs where you interviewed or just a few. At the same time, at the end of the interview season, the programs rank the students they saw in order as well.
4) a magical computer algorithm (biased toward the student's choice) matches each student up with the highest program that ranked them
So programs don't reject students, they just make a ranking of them from best to worst? Would no interview invite be considered a rejection?

Edit - That was a stupid question. :D You don't have to answer it.
 

Ableton

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Why is the matching process different from any other application for (job, univ. med school etc)? Why can't 4th years apply, get multiple acceptances/offers then CHOOSE?
I think that the process you described would take WAY too long. Think about it, the medical school admission season is 12 months (longer if you consider all the shuffling on wait lists). While the students may have the time to deal with all of this, the residency programs have many other priorities and can't afford to waste so much time on filling positions. The match is quick and dirty. It's by no means perfect, but it works for everyone in the end.
 

BlueElmo

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This sounds really exciting. Four years from now, I will be standing in the same shoes.
 

FluffyRabbit

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Good luck, MS4s! :luck:

4) a magical computer algorithm (biased toward the student's choice) matches each student up with the highest program that ranked them.
Does it reflect badly on me if I read the NRMP website and actually understand how the algorithm works? =P
 
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At my school, the dean picks a letter out of a box, calls on the student, and makes him read the letter in front of everyone. Much cheering ensues. Each student drops a dollar into a bowl and the last person to be called gets all the money (cause the poor sucker had to wait so long). I think other schools do it this way as well.
This reminds me of Harry Potter where they find out if they are going to be a gryffindor, hufflepuff, slytherin, or ravenclaw.
 

Sammich117

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Thanks for posting this :thumbup:

And holy wow, I can't even imagine the stress.

That whole legally binding - you have no choice part is kind of intimidating.
 

Morsetlis

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If you didn't want to go there, don't rank it!

Of course, you could end up among the 1% unmatched.
 
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To add to LET's post...

The Monday before Match Day you find out if you matched, but not where. If you don't match...its a rather MISERABLE experience. You're now placed into the scramble where you find out what residencies have spots available (you may live in Phila but the only residency is available in Tacoma). You will contact the program, your school will contact on behalf of you, and after a scary length of time (don't hold your breath for it) you may be offered a position at that residency or you may have to call around to other locations.

The only good thing about the scramble (if anything can be good) you find out the places that have openings before the actual matched applicants find out their location. Don't try to not match just for this (obviously).
So between Monday and Thursday, the students involved in the scramble find out where they'll be before their regular classmates on Thursday?

What if the scramble people still don't match anywhere after Thursday?
 
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:luck: Also, good luck 4th years! :luck:
 
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Anyone know where I can find a webcast of someone's match day? I'd really like to watch!
 

Infinitydrop

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Is it a general experience that everyone is pretty happy with where they have matched? it would be pretty mizerable to find that you matched not to your top choices and have to read it in front of everyone.
 

Bacchus

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Is it a general experience that everyone is pretty happy with where they have matched? it would be pretty mizerable to find that you matched not to your top choices and have to read it in front of everyone.
As the person makes his or her list, it would be the student's sole fault if he or she ranks a program that would cause misery.
 

BlueElmo

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Haha, that guy with the hats was awesome. I really wanted to try that as well, but I was not a sports guy as well coming out of high school.:laugh:
 

ButImLETired

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Is it a general experience that everyone is pretty happy with where they have matched? it would be pretty mizerable to find that you matched not to your top choices and have to read it in front of everyone.

This really depends. First of all, I agree with Bacchus that generally you shouldn't rank programs that you'd absolutely despise. On the other hand, there are a ton of other factors at play. If you're applying to the most competitive specialties out there, you HAVE to be willing to compromise. Most people who apply to those specialties have great numbers and stuff so you can't expect to get your first choice. Those are the people who tend to have to be more flexible when it comes to matching, who have to apply to tons of places and hope to get into one of their top 5's. But sure, pride can play a role in the process. It's hard to get the grades, the step score, and all the accolades and then not get your first choice.
I've heard of at least a couple of people who ended up having to scramble because they applied to the most competitive specialties out there and since they were rockstars, they assumed they'd get what they wanted, only ranked 2 or 3 places and then got nothing at all. Since there are never any scramble spots open for those specialties, you really end up in trouble because you have to apply to stuff you don't want to do in places you don't want to live in. So the ranking process takes a lot of thought and planning and a lot of humility.
 

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My experience is that students do not speak about how they've ranked their choices; when you read it, act overjoyed and no one will know it was your n-th choice.
 

morning

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Why is the matching process different from any other application for (job, univ. med school etc)? Why can't 4th years apply, get multiple acceptances/offers then CHOOSE?

I think it's a good thing you are helped along the way towards residency; otherwise we might have something like what happens to lawyers - companies recruit only the best and brightest from the absolute best schools and the other 30,000 get to work at Starbucks.
 

thamsenman

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Hey pre-allos!


5) match day! Everyone everywhere opens the letter. The contract is legally binding, so you go wherever you've been matched, whether you like it or not.

This. :eek:
 

thamsenman

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This really depends. First of all, I agree with Bacchus that generally you shouldn't rank programs that you'd absolutely despise. On the other hand, there are a ton of other factors at play. If you're applying to the most competitive specialties out there, you HAVE to be willing to compromise. Most people who apply to those specialties have great numbers and stuff so you can't expect to get your first choice. Those are the people who tend to have to be more flexible when it comes to matching, who have to apply to tons of places and hope to get into one of their top 5's. But sure, pride can play a role in the process. It's hard to get the grades, the step score, and all the accolades and then not get your first choice.
I've heard of at least a couple of people who ended up having to scramble because they applied to the most competitive specialties out there and since they were rockstars, they assumed they'd get what they wanted, only ranked 2 or 3 places and then got nothing at all. Since there are never any scramble spots open for those specialties, you really end up in trouble because you have to apply to stuff you don't want to do in places you don't want to live in. So the ranking process takes a lot of thought and planning and a lot of humility.
You can't just take a year off and reapply? :confused:
 

Bacchus

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You can't just take a year off and reapply? :confused:
Some do. You do a traditional rotating year through different services or take a research year and try to match the following year.

Edit: GRANTED YOU DON'T MATCH.
 
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w8ting2exhale

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So what's the deal with preliminary and transitional matches? I suspect they're not ideal but they're still considered successful matches (?)
 

Sammich117

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Do you only have between Monday and today to scramble? Do they get a little letter today too or do they find out separately?

I watched FSU's Match Day today... that's me in 4 years!! yikes!
 

ButImLETired

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So what's the deal with preliminary and transitional matches? I suspect they're not ideal but they're still considered successful matches (?)
So I'm sort of iffy on this topic but I'll say what I understand. This depends on what program you're applying to. Some program require a transitional year (I believe neurology, dermatology, and radiology are like that). This transitional year is generally either general internal medicine or general surgery, and it's not terribly difficult. The idea is to give you a background in systemic medicine before you really start to specialize. Some residencies include a transitional year within the program, while others require you to do it elsewhere before you start your actual residency. In that case, you'd apply for both and match separately in each (meaning you can end up in very different places for the two programs).

On the other hand, what is bad is to get a preliminary year without an actual residency. This can happen if you don't match into one of those residencies (radiology, neurology etc) but you get into a prelim program. Or, it can happen if you don't get anything at all and you scramble into a prelim program. In that case, you do the prelim year, try to impress the people as much as you can, and hopefully match into a categorical spot the year after with a "fuller resume".

I hope this is correct.

Do you only have between Monday and today to scramble? Do they get a little letter today too or do they find out separately?

I watched FSU's Match Day today... that's me in 4 years!! yikes!
Yup, the scramble is I think between tuesday and wednesday only. It generally doesn't take all that long because you are literally rushing to get whatever spot is open. There's a lot of crazy faxing of applications and begging the dean for help. And they find out before today, but I think they also get to open the letter in front of others...
 

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The scramble - what a nightmare. How bloody humiliating. Apparently, some pretty good students get caught in the scramble not just bottom feeders - because they overestimated their chances in applying to very competitive residencies.
 

red10

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This reminds me of Harry Potter where they find out if they are going to be a gryffindor, hufflepuff, slytherin, or ravenclaw.
I wonder if anyone has ever walked up there and been like "Internal Medicine...*opens letter*... GRYFFINDOR!":laugh:
 

Law2Doc

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You can't just take a year off and reapply? :confused:
You can't. It's a contract. You either go where you match, or you don't get to enter the match again (I believe for a number of years). It's an all or nothing play, so you need to rank places you'd actually go, but also be prepared to suffer through a year if you do match someplace. There are ways to get out after a year if you hate it, but that tends not to be a resume helper.
 

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I hope any 4th years reading this got what they wanted!

Our 4th years matched a while ago - we do it in December. I'm not sure exactly what they do, but I do know they were in our lecture hall all afternoon on that day. The MSIs & MSIIs were in finals, and the MSIVs were matching - a very nervous day for lots of medical students! :oops:
 

morning

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Ha if they haven't yet, in 4 years I can guarantee I will. I just hope my envelope doesn't say Hufflepuff, thatd be a nightmare! I'd rather scramble.

Pfft...there never was a general surgeon that didn't turn into a malignant arsehole who wasn't in Slytherin!