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Stupid Question: what constitutes a "good" match list?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by yalla22, Mar 9, 2007.

  1. yalla22

    yalla22 Senior Member
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    What are some general criteria to look for in determing whether a school has a "good" match list? I hear people talking about this all the time and i guess i dont have a solid reference to judge whether schools have a good one or not....
     
  2. TexPre-Med

    TexPre-Med Membership Revoked
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    A track record of sending students into the specialty of your preference.

    A "good" match list is strictly opinion based. However (theoretically) if Harvard had 0 people match into urology in the past 3 years, I would look elsewhere (assuming urology is my field of choice). I'm not saying that Harvard could not send someone to a specialty if they haven't in the past 3 years. I'm saying that residency directors haven't seen a Harvard name in years, urologists at Harvard haven't written LORs for students in years, urology directors at Harvard may have not called to chat with other residency directors in years, etc.

    Then you look at Cornell (theoretically) and they send 4 students to urology in each of the past 3 years. Their students are well known at multiple residency institutions as hard workers in urology, urology advisors at Cornell have been actively doing their jobs, etc. More students could be choosing urology at Cornell because of better/nicer faculty that are willing to go the extra mile.

    Match lists are subjective, but I would prefer to go to the school that sends the most students into my field of choice. They are obviously doing something right.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    yalla22

    yalla22 Senior Member
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    oh thanks! that wasnt intuitive to me at all...

    Now, what about a competitive subspecialty - what would you say is a good number like 3 every year? I know for the internal meds and surgery, there are usually the most people but for derm, optho, rads, etc...
     
  4. jocg27

    jocg27 Senior Member
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    lol...you ask what basically is a question without an answer, one that you could discuss for ages and no one would agree on, you get a reasonable response, and then get sassy about it...Probably you should try to calm down a bit...

    Match lists by themselves, without knowledge of the people in the class, etc, are kind of meaningless. You can't say whether or not "3 every year" is good or not, because it depends (obviously) on the class size, and even more importantly on what people in the class want to do. 3 every year is outstanding if 3 people every year want to enter the specialty, and maybe not so much if half the class wants to enter it. Similar with the programs - a student matching at Outstandingelite Hospital is not a great part of a great match list if that was his 8th ranked choice, whether you think it's a great place or not. Conversely, someone matching at a program you personally might not care for is a strength of the match list if it was their first choice.
     
  5. OP
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    yalla22

    yalla22 Senior Member
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    wait what? no i wasnt being sarcastic or sassy at all - now that i reread my post though i can see how it was interpreted that way. i just really had no idea about this question, and appreciate the answers..
     
  6. Critical Mass

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    the one that you don't read until you're an MS 4 when all that you are interested in is where your friends are going
     
  7. AmoryBlaine

    AmoryBlaine the last tycoon
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    Asking what sort of Match List is "good" is like asking what city is the "best" in which to live.

    No one is trying to be snarky when they put off the OPs question, it's just that a ML in impossible to interpret unless you basically know nearly everyone in the class. One of the top students in my class is planning to go into IM, for geographical reasons he will probably end up staying at a less-than-Harvard/Hopkins/Standford type program. When you see this all-honors, 255 board score guy on the match list it's going to say...

    John Smith - Internal Medicine, Decent Midwestern University
     
  8. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Agree. I know more than a few folks who are tops of their class and are opting for IM, surgery, etc rather than the uber competitive fields. It's not like pre-allo where many shoot for the highest ranked school they can get-- your goal in the match isn't to get to the most competitive path, it's to get to the path you actually want to do for a living. You don't do derm, optho, rads, etc just because your scores are good enough that you can get it, you do it because you actually want to perform that role for the next 45 years. If it doesn't rock your boat, you go to what does, even if the folks in pre-allo might not understand.

    Plus OP, you should do a search, this has already been discussed as nauseum on SDN in at least 5 threads in the last week.
     
  9. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    The bolded sentence above is the exact reason you don't just sit down and read a match list in a vacuum. You don't know what programs are good in what field. This is very much a word of mouth profession -- you will want to sit down with a mentor in your desired specialty late in med school and find out which programs are good versus malignant. To look at a match list on your own simply isn't all that informative.
     
  10. Docster

    Docster Junior Member
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    take a look at hopkins' match list... i think they have it on their site somewhere. a buddy of mine at hopkins shared a link and it wasn't just 'good', it was incredible. almost every single student matched at either hopkins or harvard -- with a couple pour souls having to go to stanford, ucsf, washu, or penn.

    IMO if you see a school that is sending a lot of people to hard-to-match places, no matter the field, it probably means the school has got to have something to do with it, b/c even at hopkins there's a standard distribution of Step I scores and the mean isn't ridiculously higher than at other schools.
     
  11. jocg27

    jocg27 Senior Member
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    Oh..I am sorry :)

    I guess you just see so much sarcasm on here that seems to completely go over people's heads that sometimes you just start to see everything as sarcastic, even when it's not meant to be.

    Anyway, like I and everyone else said a match list on it's own isn't especially helpful without more background...Unfortunately I'm not sure of how you might go about finding out more about how a school performs in the match other than staying interested, and asking as many people (who know what they're talking about) as you can. Everyone would like the kind of information you're looking for of course, and a match list isn't the greatest place to get it, but really there is no place to get it, other than word of mouth like l2d said.
     
  12. Villin

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    :thumbup: i agree with you wholeheartedly.

    in addition, match lists also do not include hospitals that applicants wanted to go to but didn't receive interview invites. e.g. person matches at Michigan IM program but never received invite from their pre-interview #1, such as MGH. end result: great match for IM but not the best for the applicant. also, geography plays a huge part in deciding on a residency. people frequently choose less 'prestigious' programs due to family/spouse reasons even though people may perceive it as a poor match. and again, ultimately (as stated by jocg27) match results depend on the class and more importantly on youand what you bring to the table.
     
  13. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    But the best residency programs in many specialties do not correlate that tightly with which schools are highly ranked for med schools. While I'm sure Hopkins students match well, just because you see an Ivy on a list does not mean it is all that great in a given specialty. (not to mention that quality of a program is very personality driven, and lesser known places have been known to rise (and cause big name places to fall) based on who they manage to "poach" from other schools - happens someplace almost annually).

    This, along with # of people going into each specialty are both a very superficial read that cannot get you to the reality of a match list. As a premed, you don't know what programs are good in a given specialty and you don't know what fields the students at a given school chose due to ability versus choice. Thus take the list as interesting but not particularly probative. I certainly wouldn't make my med school selection based on it.
     
  14. silas2642

    silas2642 silas2642
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    I always looked to see how many people were matching into competitive specialties like derm, rads, ortho, etc. and WHERE they were matching into. If, for example, all the graduates of The University of Dippity Do Dah Medical School are matching in Family practice in BumFuk Nebraska, and you are interested in pursuing an ortho residency in an urban area, than that school may be not be the best fit for you.
     
  15. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Except that most people (something like 90%) change their mind at least once as to what residency they ultimately want to pursue. If you ultimately decided FP was what rocked your boat, and BumFuk, NE happened to be a mecca for that specialty, you just screwed yourself. You are unlikely to know what programs are best in what specialties (it's very word of mouth), and cannot be certain what specialty you will ultimately want. So it's kind of a bad way to choose your med school. See my post immediately prior to yours for more.
     
  16. psipsina

    psipsina Senior Member
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    There really is no way for a premed to evaluate a match list as a way of choosing a school

    1) said premed may have an idea of what specialty they are interested in, but for most people this changes, so choosing a school based on a specialty as a premed isn't the greatest of ideas

    2) you have no idea which residencies are sought after within a specialty and which ones aren't . . . so seeing a big name might not mean anything at all and you might breeze past an amazing match because you've never heard of it before. . . and there aren't magical lists of ranked residencies because this is mostly word of mouth about the malignancy of a program or how many of X rare procedures they do each year etc.

    3) you have no idea what motivated these individual people when they ranked the programs that interviewed them. many students at my school are born and raised in louisiana and never ever want to leave, this will make it look like the couldn't go anywhere but louisiana, but you'll never know which was the case.

    4) you have no idea why the student chose to pursue the specialty the did. just because someone is pursuing internal medicine doesn't mean they couldn't have matched into derm if they wanted it, the might just not be fascinated by skin.

    In short, you really can't read a match list and get anything from it as a premed because you would have to know what you want to do for sure (which very very very few do), would have to know about all the programs in that specialty and then know why each student made the choices they made and what each of those students scores etc looked like . . , so they are pretty useless to chose schools with.
     
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