No, actually what you are noticing is that premeds simply put more stock in match lists than medical students, because they have much to learn. The reason -- there is very little informative value to be gleaned from these lists, even to someone who knows more about the programs than the typical premed. You don't know from the list what people wanted, just what they got. You also don't know why people flocked to various fields from various schools -- was it something to do with who was admitted, something the school was doing right in a specific field, something the school was doing wrong in most of the other fields, a particularly compelling mentor in that field, etc. And you won't know which programs are good in what field -- each specialty has it's own pecking order and they tend to be very different from anything you might know from US News med school rankings. The brand name places are often great in a few specialties, but never all. And hospitals you may have never heard of will be big names in certain fields. There is also overlap in quality across specialties -- the worst anesthesiology match may be significantly less competitive than the best IM match, so simply counting specialties isn't as telling as you'd think. Some of the biggest name schools are affiliated with programs in certain specialties that are outright malignant -- places you'd hate to end up for a given specialty. So if a school has 10 matches for ortho, but they are the 10 programs you'd never want to go to, that is a bad match list. But how, as a premed can you know? You can't. You also don't know the motivations of folks in choosing what they choose. At most schools, some of the best students will go into IM or surgery, despite having the stats to get some of the more competitive fields. Why? Because it's not about what you can "get" at that level, it's about what you want. You are launching down a path you will be on, in all likelihood, for the next 40 years. So you have to like it. The days of doing things because they are prestigious tend to end with premed for most, and you start making choices based on what you want, where you want to end up, and how things impact spouses, kids, etc. (A lot can happen in 4 years of med school). So yeah, a match list is not useful to a premed. But premeds use them nonetheless because schools give them out and a premed doesn't know any better. I made the same mistake back when -- it is tradition. It is perhaps marginally useful to a med student when evaluating programs with a mentor in the specialty of their choosing, because whether a program is good versus malignant is a word of mouth kind of thing, and it's helpful to know people from your school who went to such program, so you can contact them. But for the most part, I would steer clear of match lists when choosing a med school. It confuses more than it helps, and 99% of the time, as a premed you will be taking the data and drawing a wrong conclusion because you aren't able to identify why people are making the choices they made, and your inferences will be all wrong. Sort of like watching the end of a movie without the sound and trying to piece together what is happening -- most of the time you will be very far afield of accurate.