Oct 29, 2010
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Hello all,

After looking at how the match works I have come to the conclusion that you should rank your programs in order of where you want to go... not on where you think you are going to get in. Is this correct?

For example, let's say you had an interview somewhere but you honestly think you have no chance of getting in there. Do you still rank this program number one if it indeed is your number one choice?

Let's say you would be happy going to your number two school and you think you have a great chance of matching there. Does it help your chances to rank your number two program number one?

I just want to make sure I am not missing anything.

Thanks!!!
 

dln72183

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That is essentially the way I see it too. Within reason, take into account where you are competitive. But preference is the most important factor in maximizing happiness with your match.

I think the unanswerable question is, how significant is one position of rank on my/your rank list? Ranking a program #2 vs #1, for example. I don't think there is a way to know that.

They say online dating is a great thing if you are honest about yourself, so let's hope this works out like that.
 

clayito

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the match algorithm is in your (the applicant's) favor. you should rank your dream list. you do not risk missing out on programs lower down on your list just because you ranked "dream" programs ahead of them.

after all, if your "dream" program offered you an interview, you must have done something right in their eyes.

it would be a shame to miss out on an opportunity to train at a great program just because you ranked that program lower down on your list because you thought your chances weren't as good there (i.e., you didn't understand how the match works).

i wish you all the best this year as interview season is winding down!
 

MR1

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Apr 20, 2006
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Rank where you want to go. If anyone tells you otherwise they are wrong. The match is in the applicants favor. You gain nothing by ranking long-shots lower just because you think you might not match there.
 

azzarah

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I almost did not rank my current program #1 because I didn't think I would match here! I was totally wrong!
My dean told me to rank based on where I wanted to go and see what happens. I'm glad I did, because otherwise I would not have ended up here! :D
 
Nov 20, 2010
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I almost did not rank my current program #1 because I didn't think I would match here! I was totally wrong!
My dean told me to rank based on where I wanted to go and see what happens. I'm glad I did, because otherwise I would not have ended up here! :D
So sorry you wound up there. :D
 
Oct 31, 2009
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I looked at the system on the sf website. i was wondering the following:

If i rank a program last, but they rank me first, then let's say all of the other programs on my list do not accept me...will I then get into that program that i ranked last? it seems like that is how it would work according to the way they explain the system on sf website.
 

MR1

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Apr 20, 2006
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I looked at the system on the sf website. i was wondering the following:

If i rank a program last, but they rank me first, then let's say all of the other programs on my list do not accept me...will I then get into that program that i ranked last? it seems like that is how it would work according to the way they explain the system on sf website.
please make sure you understand the process before submitting. It is the same for ERAS and SFMatch.

Rank programs according to where you want to go. DO NOT rank according to where you think you have the best chance

DO NOT rank anywhere you don't want to go. If you put a program last on your list and don't match anywhere higher, if they ranked you highly enough, you will match there. If you can't see yourself at a particular program. DON'T rank it at all.
 

EyeGuy15

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Aug 16, 2010
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DO NOT rank anywhere you don't want to go. If you put a program last on your list and don't match anywhere higher, if they ranked you highly enough, you will match there. If you can't see yourself at a particular program. DON'T rank it at all.

Wow. Horrible advice. You are basically saying its better to not match at all, then match at your last choice even if "you can't see yourself at a particular program". Just rank it last and hope it doesn't come down to that, but in reality for some people it does. Last time I checked its much better to match at your last spot, then NOT MATCH AT ALL. This is ophthalmology, plain and simple. Even if you have 20+ interviews you should rank every program for the simple fact that if you ended up matching at a spot you were thinking about "not ranking", the alternative would have been to go through all of this again in a year with even more stress, anxiety etc.
 

MstaKing10

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Aug 17, 2009
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Wow. Horrible advice. You are basically saying its better to not match at all, then match at your last choice even if "you can't see yourself at a particular program". Just rank it last and hope it doesn't come down to that, but in reality for some people it does. Last time I checked its much better to match at your last spot, then NOT MATCH AT ALL. This is ophthalmology, plain and simple. Even if you have 20+ interviews you should rank every program for the simple fact that if you ended up matching at a spot you were thinking about "not ranking", the alternative would have been to go through all of this again in a year with even more stress, anxiety etc.
I think THIS is horrible advice. If for some reason you interviewed at a place that gave you all sorts of bad vibes, where the residents looked miserable, your interview went horribly wrong, you didn't like the faculty, the facilities were horrible, the city seemed like a bad place to live, or any of the above in any combination, and you would not like to be there, then DO NOT rank it. Why would you want to spend the next 3 years of your life in a place like that?

Yes, not matching is better than being miserable and perhaps quitting after a year because of what you already knew...you hate that place! It happens. Work on your application, do what you have to do, then re-apply if you must.

I can't think of one place that I interviewed where this applied but I could see this happening to someone, somewhere, and I've certainly had acquaintances find themselves in this predicament.
 
Oct 31, 2009
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both of you make good points. Seems like it comes down to personal situations and ones ability to suck it up for a few years.

Remember, just because you ranked a place last, doesn't mean you didnt like it. Some program has to bring up the rear, and it may be a program you do in fact like.

thanks for your takes on it.

I guess the answer to my question was given above as: yes, if you rank a place last and they rank you high enough, you will match there.
 

MR1

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Apr 20, 2006
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Wow. Horrible advice. You are basically saying its better to not match at all, then match at your last choice even if "you can't see yourself at a particular program". Just rank it last and hope it doesn't come down to that, but in reality for some people it does. Last time I checked its much better to match at your last spot, then NOT MATCH AT ALL. This is ophthalmology, plain and simple. Even if you have 20+ interviews you should rank every program for the simple fact that if you ended up matching at a spot you were thinking about "not ranking", the alternative would have been to go through all of this again in a year with even more stress, anxiety etc.
Let me put this another way

You have to decide if you would rather train at (last place on list) and be an ophthalmologist, try again next year, or go to plan B. Don't rank everything and HOPE.

I agree if the places at the bottom of your list are acceptable, rank them. If you hated one place though and it was questionable if you would be well trained there, then don't rank them.

It comes down to your choice, for me I ranked everywhere for both residency and fellowship but I almost left one place off. The top comment is what I had to decide. The reason was I was worried I wouldn't be trained well. (too much hand holding, very low surgical numbers, crucial area of training not there).
 

MDEYES

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both of you make good points. Seems like it comes down to personal situations and ones ability to suck it up for a few years.

Remember, just because you ranked a place last, doesn't mean you didnt like it. Some program has to bring up the rear, and it may be a program you do in fact like.

thanks for your takes on it.

I guess the answer to my question was given above as: yes, if you rank a place last and they rank you high enough, you will match there.
This last part only applies if the programs you ranked higher did not rank you high enough to match there.