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What constitutes a "strong match list?"

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Tippyboat

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Hi guys,

So obviously this is such an important part of the school, but what does it really mean to have a good match list? Say, if I want to end up at one program/hospital for residency, if one person matches into that program from a given school in the past, does that just mean it's within reach for me? Or should I be looking for a lot of people going to that program/region?

Rosalind Franklin gets a bad rep on SDN, but everyone still admits it has a "strong match list." So can anyone look at the list and point out why it's strong? Because students seem to match all over the country? Because there are a lot of people going into surgery? Just wanted to know why it's strong and what that means. Thanks!

http://www.rosalindfranklin.edu/dnn...s/CMS/MatchDayResults/tabid/1699/Default.aspx
 

PartyHouse001

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Hi guys,

So obviously this is such an important part of the school, but what does it really mean to have a good match list? Say, if I want to end up at one program/hospital for residency, if one person matches into that program from a given school in the past, does that just mean it's within reach for me? Or should I be looking for a lot of people going to that program/region?

Rosalind Franklin gets a bad rep on SDN, but everyone still admits it has a "strong match list." So can anyone look at the list and point out why it's strong? Because students seem to match all over the country? Because there are a lot of people going into surgery? Just wanted to know why it's strong and what that means. Thanks!

http://www.rosalindfranklin.edu/dnn...s/CMS/MatchDayResults/tabid/1699/Default.aspx

Not an expert on this topic, but I have heard from my mentor (residency director for a top 10 school) that two things specifically characterize a strong match: the speciality and the location/prestige of the hospital.

Regarding speciality, the rule of thumb is ROAD... Radiology, Orthopedic Surgery (if I remember this one correctly), Anesthesiology, and Dermatology. A large percentage of students matching into these specialities means a strong match list.

Regarding location/Prestige of hospital, it is somewhat common sense. Ivy Hospital, UC hospitals, and hospitals in large / desirable cities like NYC, LA, Boston ...

Hope it helps! Congrats on having choices of which med school you want to go.
 

Unclipped

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A strong match has a higher percentage of people matching into competitive residiencies. Strong residencies are those that have a high average Board score. Off the top of my head rad onc, derm, neurosurgery, ortho, radiology, optho, plastics and others that I can't really think of right now. There is a website that I'm sure somebody will post that has the average board score for each specialty. Other than that a big indicator is the schools that match into very competitive internal medicine residencies. At least that is what I think of as a strong match list.

Rosalind Franklin is pretty good from what I saw...
 

bookfreak89

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Hi guys,

So obviously this is such an important part of the school, but what does it really mean to have a good match list? Say, if I want to end up at one program/hospital for residency, if one person matches into that program from a given school in the past, does that just mean it's within reach for me? Or should I be looking for a lot of people going to that program/region?

Rosalind Franklin gets a bad rep on SDN, but everyone still admits it has a "strong match list." So can anyone look at the list and point out why it's strong? Because students seem to match all over the country? Because there are a lot of people going into surgery? Just wanted to know why it's strong and what that means. Thanks!

http://www.rosalindfranklin.edu/dnn...s/CMS/MatchDayResults/tabid/1699/Default.aspx

Not an expert on this topic, but I have heard from my mentor (residency director for a top 10 school) that two things specifically characterize a strong match: the speciality and the location/prestige of the hospital.

Regarding speciality, the rule of thumb is ROAD... Radiology, Orthopedic Surgery (if I remember this one correctly), Anesthesiology, and Dermatology. A large percentage of students matching into these specialities means a strong match list.

Regarding location/Prestige of hospital, it is somewhat common sense. Ivy Hospital, UC hospitals, and hospitals in large / desirable cities like NYC, LA, Boston ...

Hope it helps! Congrats on having choices of which med school you want to go.

O = ophthalmology and I disagree with your post.
-You are making it seem that people who don't match into ROAD specialties detract from a match list. What if a person who chose to do peds matched at one of the best peds residencies? Using your logic, you wouldn't know and this match would not make it a 'strong' list. Some people may get pigeon-holed into a specialty if their board scores aren't high enough and they were aiming for a tougher residency, but you can't assume that all of people who didn't make ROAD fit this mold.
-A desirable city is subjective.
-Ivy hospital =/= the best place to train for every specialty

A strong match has a higher percentage of people matching into competitive residiencies. Strong residencies are those that have a high average Board score. Off the top of my head rad onc, derm, neurosurgery, ortho, radiology, optho, plastics and others that I can't really think of right now. There is a website that I'm sure somebody will post that has the average board score for each specialty. Other than that a big indicator is the schools that match into very competitive internal medicine residencies. At least that is what I think of as a strong match list.

Rosalind Franklin is pretty good from what I saw...

This is a directed toward all three posts:

I remember there was a huge debate earlier this year about premeds using match lists as a factor for choosing a med school to attend. I think the title was "Match lists 2010" or something, you can search for it if you want.

In my opinion, in order to determine if a match list is 'strong' (if a thing exists), more detail would be needed. The problem is that the lists never tell you the entire story. Did the student land their #1 choice/Top 3?/Top 5?/Last choice? Another problem is that med school prestige =/= residency prestige. All schools have strengths and weaknesses. University of Miami has arguably one of the best ophthalmology programs for residency while places like Ivy X may not have a great program. If you didn't know this and saw a match list that had a couple of the ophtho residencies at U of Miami, you may think that it is not a 'good match'.

The only thing for me that would matter in a match list is the general area where people end up like northeast, west, south, etc. (if a trend is even present). For example, a school may send a large amount of students to southern hospitals, if you want to end up in the south, then that's a factor you can take into consideration. Schools tend to take their own students for residency, so that could influence your decision.

Another thing is that just because a school has a high board score average doesn't mean that YOU will get a high board score. High board scores means that there are many students who work hard. The schools with high averages may provide test prep, allow optimal time for studying, etc. but that isn't going to make your score rise from a 200 to 250. Studying will. Conversely, if a school has average board scores that doesn't mean that you can't get a great score if you put in enough effort.

TL/DR: There seems to be too many variables involved to definitively state what makes a match list 'strong'. :shrug:
 
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SFO-IST

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i agree with the above poster somewhat in that there are a lot of variables that are at play with match lists, but you can't go that far and say that it's not really meaningful. I'm sure there are deviants that make a choice that overall doesn't seem competitive but actually got their top choice, but all else being equal, on average, etc, a match list with ROAD specialties at prestigious/desirable cities is an indicator of a strong match list.
 

BigRedBeta

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i agree with the above poster somewhat in that there are a lot of variables that are at play with match lists, but you can't go that far and say that it's not really meaningful. I'm sure there are deviants that make a choice that overall doesn't seem competitive but actually got their top choice, but all else being equal, on average, etc, a match list with ROAD specialties at prestigious/desirable cities is an indicator of a strong match list.


There's no such thing as a "strong" match list. There's simply far too much dependent on the INDIVIDUAL to ascribe ANYTHING to the effect of the school. Board scores are individual accomplishments, rank lists are individual decisions - you don't where they were trying to go, where else they looked, if they were couples matching, or anything else. It wrongly assumes that the only consideration in rank lists is prestige - when in truth, the final order on that rank list is often based on nothing more than a gut feeling. Further, as bookfreak pointed out, pre-meds have practically zero concept of which programs are actually worth a damn. For example in pediatrics, the University of Cincinnati is a significantly better program than Duke peds, the University of Utah is superior to Yale...but would you guys know that?

Bottom line, a school's match list should not be a consideration for picking a medical school.

The only information that would be worth having is probably the most unlikely to get published...or at the very minimum is right at the national average - # of students who got their top choice, or choice in the top 3. Given that 87% of US Seniors get matched within their top 3 choices, the usefulness would likely only be in finding a school that consistently DOESN'T match their students at the same rate. Even if you were to find a school that struggled in this regard, I think it would actually be more indicative of a school that doesn't support their students as completely as others in terms of making calls on their behalf, providing appropriate guidance in terms of applying broadly and so on. It likely would NOT show much about the educational aspects of the school.
 
C

CADupin

If you have a specialty/location in mind, look for it on the list. Say you want Emergency Medicine in NYC, and your top choice school hasn't matched one in 5 years. You probably should look elsewhere. Anyway, that's how I've been reading them.
 

armybound

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I'd disagree with your assertion that a match list is an important part of a school.

If all of Harvard Med decides they want to do rural family medicine and that's where they all match, would you say Harvard Med sucks?
 

WhiteCoatFuture

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If you have a specialty/location in mind, look for it on the list. Say you want Emergency Medicine in NYC, and your top choice school hasn't matched one in 5 years. You probably should look elsewhere. Anyway, that's how I've been reading them.

:thumbup: My method as well though match lists aren't overly important to me.
 

Narmerguy

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If you have a specialty/location in mind, look for it on the list. Say you want Emergency Medicine in NYC, and your top choice school hasn't matched one in 5 years. You probably should look elsewhere. Anyway, that's how I've been reading them.

Terrible interpretation. If no one from the school has wanted to match into EM in NYC then no one is going to match there. Or perhaps they have places that they prefer over NYC and match there instead. Match lists say more about the intents and preferences of the students than they do about the school.
 

Barcu

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Terrible interpretation. If no one from the school has wanted to match into EM in NYC then no one is going to match there. Or perhaps they have places that they prefer over NYC and match there instead. Match lists say more about the intents and preferences of the students than they do about the school.

:thumbup::thumbup:

No one knows how the student ranked the programs except the student and the residency program. Match lists are pretty to look at, but they don't say too much.
 

NickNaylor

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I'd disagree with your assertion that a match list is an important part of a school.

If all of Harvard Med decides they want to do rural family medicine and that's where they all match, would you say Harvard Med sucks?

+1

Also, OP do you know which programs are particularly well-known for each specialty? Probably not. Match lists shouldn't even matter IMO.
 
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Terrible interpretation. If no one from the school has wanted to match into EM in NYC then no one is going to match there. Or perhaps they have places that they prefer over NYC and match there instead. Match lists say more about the intents and preferences of the students than they do about the school.

If noone from a certain school matched into a certain specialty in a certain region won't that mean that the school probably doesn't have strong connections with the programs at those hospitals which would put you at a disadvantage? From what I see residency programs seem to prefer students from med schools that they either have closer ties with or whose students they know to be strong (from having students from that school do aways there or having residents from that school).

It seems that residency match is very regional (unless you go to a top school) so if you want to be in NYC it probably isn't a good idea to choose SUNY upstate over SUNY downstate and an even worse idea to go to a state or private school in florida or illinois. Though you're right that match lists reflect the preferences of the students, the preferences of the students directly affect the school's connections. If you think you'll be the first student in 10 years from a certain school to match into a california residency you're probably mistaken because those schools would rather take someone with similar stats from a school that they have a close relationship with.

Similarly, but to a lesser degree, if you are looking into a competitive residency and the school has not matched anyone into that residency that should raise a red flag. Do you really think out of 200 former pre-meds noone wanted to go into derm or plastics or neurosurgery at the start of med school? I'm sure there are several in every class in every US MD school so the fact that noone matched into those specialties should tell you that those students (gunners) encountered a stumbling block along the way or simply could not match into their desired specialty.
 
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Narmerguy

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If noone from a certain school matched into a certain specialty in a certain region won't that mean that the school probably doesn't have strong connections with the programs at those hospitals which would put you at a disadvantage? From what I see residency programs seem to prefer students from med schools that they either have closer ties with or whose students they know to be strong (from having students from that school do aways there or having residents from that school).

It seems that residency match is very regional (unless you go to a top school) so if you want to be in NYC it probably isn't a good idea to choose SUNY upstate over SUNY downstate and an even worse idea to go to a state or private school in florida or illinois. Though you're right that match lists reflect the preferences of the students, the preferences of the students directly affect the school's connections. If you think you'll be the first student in 10 years from a certain school to match into a california residency you're probably mistaken because those schools would rather take someone with similar stats from a school that they have a close relationship with.

Similarly, but to a lesser degree, if you are looking into a competitive residency and the school has not matched anyone into that residency that should raise a red flag. Do you really think out of 200 former pre-meds noone wanted to go into derm or plastics or neurosurgery at the start of med school? I'm sure there are several in every class in every US MD school so the fact that noone matched into those specialties should tell you that those students (gunners) encountered a stumbling block along the way or simply could not match into their desired specialty.

There's definitely something here. However, the question to consider is first how likely this is the case, how strong this effect is, and whether this alone can compensate for other factors of the school (cost, location, pedagogy, rotations, etc). I'm not particularly a supporter of the "Match Lists Mean Nothing" club because I do think they say a lot. However, like many statistics and information, what they are actually saying and how people are interpreting them are frequently not the same thing.

If we revisit the some of those PD reports where they rank the importance of various med student qualities when ranking students, it's important to remember that the medical school name is not near the top of the list, and that students very much control their own destiny. We really shouldn't give the med schools so much credit for students' successes, just as they aren't really to blame for poor doctors.
 

armybound

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If noone from a certain school matched into a certain specialty in a certain region won't that mean that the school probably doesn't have strong connections with the programs at those hospitals which would put you at a disadvantage? From what I see residency programs seem to prefer students from med schools that they either have closer ties with or whose students they know to be strong (from having students from that school do aways there or having residents from that school).

Or, conversely, students prefer to apply to local/regional residencies.
 
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If we revisit the some of those PD reports where they rank the importance of various med student qualities when ranking students, it's important to remember that the medical school name is not near the top of the list, and that students very much control their own destiny. We really shouldn't give the med schools so much credit for students' successes, just as they aren't really to blame for poor doctors.

I think when they say "med school name" on those PD reports they mean prestige whereas I'm talking about regional connections.

An anecdotal story: before I went to med school, my boss (who is an HIV doc) was telling me that at his residency interview the PD was chatting with the residents and was much friendlier/warmer to applicants who came from schools where he knew the PD. He also made the point that a PD is more likely to look favorably upon a strong recommendation from a PD he knows than some random PD who he's never met or heard of at a school far, far away.
 
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Or, conversely, students prefer to apply to local/regional residencies.

a point i made in the following paragraph: "Though you're right that match lists reflect the preferences of the students, the preferences of the students directly affect the school's connections." So it's a viscous cycle of sorts.
 

getdown

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Yeah cause the only specialties that matter are the ROAD specialties and those schools with "weak match lists" produce stupid doctors. Maybe you should think about getting in first before worrying about where you're going to match.
 
C

CADupin

Terrible interpretation. If no one from the school has wanted to match into EM in NYC then no one is going to match there. Or perhaps they have places that they prefer over NYC and match there instead. Match lists say more about the intents and preferences of the students than they do about the school.

I completely understand this point. However, personally, I would rather go to a school that has consistently matched my preferred specialty/location than one that hasn't.
 

alwaysaangel

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Match lists are pretty useless for premeds. You could go to the worst med school in the country (for arguments sake lets pretend there is one) and as long as you pull a 250+ on your Step 1 and get lots of honors (or rank highly in your class) you can do any ROAD or ortho surg or urology that you want. And as far as finding a school that matches into the specialty you want - thats a pretty silly way to pick a med school since most of you will change your minds a dozen times.

BTW...ROAD are not the most competitive specialties...they are the lifestyle specialties. Competitive specialties are ortho surgery, urology, radiology, derm, ophthalmology, plastics, ENT, etc. Anesthesia is actually not very competitive.

Premeds have a tendency to look at only a few things when picking a med school and they tend to center around the pre-clinical years and then "will I get the residency I want." Completely ignoring the clinical years.

What premeds really should consider when picking schools is not the match list but:
The training sites, how many are there and how much travel is required?
Clinical years hours: does the school give med students the same hour restrictions as residents? Its not required and many schools don't.
Clinical years responsibilities: is there a ton of scut? Or do they generally not allow residents and attendings to send med students to get them breakfast, coffee, a paper, etc.

These are the things that will affect you and your education - not what past year students have matched into.
 
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WingedOx

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Match lists certainly don't "mean nothing," but for the purposes of a pre-med, they mean jack ****.

The biggest reason is the simple fact that unless you've done some extensive research, you don't know the quality residency programs. Some programs from excellent "name" universities have horrible PDs, and the program is undesirable as a result. Conversely, some programs that are from so-so undergraduate med schools have amazing residencies in certain specialties. In my chosen specialty (which I don't disclose on this SDN alt.) I could tell you which are the top programs in the country, but if you asked me about gen surgery programs, I'd have no clue who's good and who's bad. Honestly the most disappointing program I encountered on the interview trail was Hopkins.

(ex: family med programs on the East Coast are all pretty meh including the "Ivy" programs... all the best ones are in Middle America.
 

gettheleadout

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Premeds have a tendency to look at only a few things when picking a med school and they tend to center around the clinical years and then "will I get the residency I want." Completely ignoring the clinical years.

What premeds really should consider when picking schools is not the match list but:
The training sites, how many are there and how much travel is required?
Clinical years hours: does the school give med students the same hour restrictions as residents? Its not required and many schools don't.
Clinical years responsibilities: is there a ton of scut? Or do they generally not allow residents and attendings to send med students to get them breakfast, coffee, a paper, etc.

These are the things that will affect you and your education - not what past year students have matched into.
I completely agree with what you've said here and it echoes what I've heard other MS4's and above say elsewhere, but my question is how do we find these things out? Do we ask faculty at interviews? I haven't ever seen information like this on schools' websites, and typically first or second year students meet with interviewees instead of third/fourth years.
 

alwaysaangel

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I completely agree with what you've said here and it echoes what I've heard other MS4's and above say elsewhere, but my question is how do we find these things out? Do we ask faculty at interviews? I haven't ever seen information like this on schools' websites, and typically first or second year students meet with interviewees instead of third/fourth years.

The problem with asking faculty is that if it actually is a malignant hospital then they probably won't appreciate the question or won't be honest. So don't ask when you're still being evaluated for acceptance. I personally think asking about those things shows maturity and an understanding of what you're getting into: but I'm not sure every interviewer would agree.

Really, its only a factor once you have multiple acceptances and are picking between them.

The best way to get this information is to email the admissions coordinator AFTER you've been accepted and ask if there is a 4th year you can email with some questions (if they don't have one you can contact - thats a red flag IMHO). You're already accepted, so it can't do any harm. And a burnt out 4th year with massive senioritis will be the most honest with you.
 

Tippyboat

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Than you guys for all your support. Just a little more background for my question, I got into a few schools, and even though Rosalind Feanklin was not a favorite, I might be going there for location/family necessities.

So I just want to make sure I won't be limiting my future by going to this school, which does have great clinical rotations and a reputedly "strong" match list. Just looking at the list, I want to get a sense of whether or not I can get to residencies I want if I have the scores and grades.

Thanks!
 

alwaysaangel

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Than you guys for all your support. Just a little more background for my question, I got into a few schools, and even though Rosalind Feanklin was not a favorite, I might be going there for location/family necessities.

So I just want to make sure I won't be limiting my future by going to this school, which does have great clinical rotations and a reputedly "strong" match list. Just looking at the list, I want to get a sense of whether or not I can get to residencies I want if I have the scores and grades.

Thanks!

Well what you posted isn't actually a match list. It doesn't say where the students went - just what specialty.

So the only thing you can get out of what you posted is..."do a lot of students end up in the specialties you are currently considering?"

Some schools tend to put out a lot of primary care because they have great continuity experience and great faculty that encourage them in that direction.

Maybe a school has a ton of EM students because they have a very nice supportive EM faculty and a big active EMIG.

Maybe a school has very supportive, non-malignant surgery program so a lot of students go into surgery.

Or maybe a very active IM program with a lot of exposure to subspecialties encouraging students to pursue IM.

Thats really all you can get out of the list. But even that isn't definitive. Med school will be what you make it.
 

WingedOx

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Well yeah, so am I. But they will need school specific ones.

yeah, I created this account for the purpose of answering any questions about jefferson in the school-specific forums... it's spun out of control from there.

and for the poster who asked about RFU... you're fine... as long as you can survive 2 years in North Chicago...
 

slowbutsteady

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The Ivy residencies are not always the "best."
 
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If you have a specialty/location in mind, look for it on the list. Say you want Emergency Medicine in NYC, and your top choice school hasn't matched one in 5 years. You probably should look elsewhere. Anyway, that's how I've been reading them.
I don't think that's very useful. Most of my graduating class had no interest in going to NYC, so few people applied or ranked those programs highly. That doesn't mean you couldn't likely get into something there.
 
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