glia25

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So...every school you visit hands you a piece of paper with the match list on it...but how can you actually gauge student success? what if students want to be closer to family so they choose a more remote program? what if someone didn't match because they blindly applied to only the best programs? and...what if me, the naive pre-med, doesn't know the best programs for the field i hope to pursue (which may, of course, change)?

After last week's match results, the lists are on my mind...

Can someone please offer some guidance?
 

typhoonegator

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You're right to think that they are confounded by myriad factors. But it can help to tell you about what specialties people tend to go into (if 75% of the class goes into IM/FM/peds that tells you something about the school's focus). It tells you something about how much the home program's residencies are committed to taking internal candidates (the EM program at the hospital of my medical school took tons of internal candidates, while surgery did not). Not everyone wants to go to Harvard or Hopkins, particularly on the West Coast, so don't read too much into that.

In the end, it's more the fact that they are willing and eager to show you the list than the contents of the list itself. The school should seem proud of matching it's students where they want to go. That is their job, not putting 10 people into derm and 20 into the Brigham and Mass General.
 

tremulousNeedle

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You're right to think that they are confounded by myriad factors. But it can help to tell you about what specialties people tend to go into (if 75% of the class goes into IM/FM/peds that tells you something about the school's focus). It tells you something about how much the home program's residencies are committed to taking internal candidates (the EM program at the hospital of my medical school took tons of internal candidates, while surgery did not). Not everyone wants to go to Harvard or Hopkins, particularly on the West Coast, so don't read too much into that.

In the end, it's more the fact that they are willing and eager to show you the list than the contents of the list itself. The school should seem proud of matching it's students where they want to go. That is their job, not putting 10 people into derm and 20 into the Brigham and Mass General.

The fellow is absolutely correct and the original poster is correct to be skeptical of match data. Even when the school throws out some fact like, "96% of our students match to their top three choices", you can’t really take this in the light it is presented. Either this means that 96% of students are awesome residency candidates or that 96% of students are not very competitive and applied to only low tier programs, with reality lying somewhere in the middle.

For many specialties, the desire to go to the 'elite program' is less important than in previous years. There seems to be more of a focus on the "feel" of a program and its location in the county. I matched into emergency medicine last week. For this specialty, location is probably the most dominating factor second the 'fit' of the program (It is relatively easy to find strong, solid EM programs all across the nation). I presume the same is true for most other specialties.

Just remember that you can get into any specialties from any medical school, though the difficulty of this may vary from school to school, specialty to specialty, and student to student.
 

mvenus929

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If you know something about the residencies in the specialties you plan to pursue, it can mean something. For instance, I'm strongly considering peds. A few of the best children's hospitals in the nation are Denver Children's, Boston Children's and Seattle Children's. If you see a few people match into those programs at a school year after year, then the school probably trains students well to become pediatricians.
 
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No idea about matching lists but your synapses are cool =)
 

glia25

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Thank you for all of the responses (and compliments regarding my synapses)...I'm actually thinking something in peds so the above posters have been really helpful...
 

SouthernSurgeon

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If you know something about the residencies in the specialties you plan to pursue, it can mean something. For instance, I'm strongly considering peds. A few of the best children's hospitals in the nation are Denver Children's, Boston Children's and Seattle Children's. If you see a few people match into those programs at a school year after year, then the school probably trains students well to become pediatricians.
Not really. Peds isn't that competitive and the programs are all pretty big so I would expect any given school's best candidates to get the good peds spots like CHOP, Boston, Cincy, etc.

And also if they DON'T have people going to programs like that...it may just mean that their candidates didn't WANT to go to those programs, not that they couldn't have gotten there if they wanted.

There are way too many confounding variables to make a match list anything more than a curiosity. I look at my own (just matched) class for instance - who would have guessed that the person crying after match day would be the one who got an outstanding residency at Harvard? They really wanted to be elsewhere for personal reasons and didn't get it. Without knowing the intricacies of each field AND the intricacies of each individual on the list - these things are meaningless.

Now of course the protest will be that if you look at the list as a whole then you can see different "trends" - well duh if you look at Stanford's match list and then compare it to podunk state U's then Stanford's will look more impressive. But if you are comparing within the same cohort of schools then you aren't going to be able to find any meaningful difference.