E.A. Poe

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I want to drop a line to my #1 residency choice and let them know I'd like to go there. Is it too early to do this and should I wait until closer to when the rank order list is due? I'm also debating whether I tell them they area "a top choice" or "my top choice".

Also, just what can/can't I tell them. I don't think I'd be violating any NRMP matching rules by telling them this.
 

dragonfly99

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If you're not looking for a prematch, I don't see much downside to waiting a little longer (unless you're in one of those weird early matches like urology?). I think you should tell your #1 they are your #1, not "a top choice". "A top choice" could mean to them that you consider them in your top 3, top 5, or top 10. It really doesn't tell them much. Also, it isn't a match violation for you to tell them you are ranking them #1. It would be a match violation for them to ask you where you are ranking them - they are not allowed to do that. However, you are allowed to volunteer that info if you want.
 

Ludicolo

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I would wait until you are done with interviews, later on in the season. Telling someone they are #1, before you’ve met everyone and sorted things through, can appear either presumptuous or immature. What happens if you find a new #1?

As far as the rules: You can voluntarily tell a program how you are ranking them, they can voluntarily tell you where they are ranking you. You cannot ask them to volunteer this information, they cannot ask or pressure you. It’s nice if both you and the program tell one another that you’re ranking each other highly. Everyone feels warm and fuzzy.

However, I wouldn’t alter your ROL based solely on phrases like “you will be ranked to match” or “we plan on ranking you highly”. Try not to get caught up in gamesmanship. Rank where you want to go. Let the match do its thing.
 
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Drawing Dead

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I disagree slightly with the two previous posters. If you know your number one choice, I would tell them now. I only say this because rank order lists are being compiled now, and even if you are interviewing at other places, the places where you HAVE interviewed may be done with their process. When I went through the match, I emailed a program this time of year to tell them I was still highly interested, and they told me that the rank order list was already completed.
 

John Deere Gree

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I'll be telling my number 1 program late next week/early the week after that when I schedule a second look.

I'll be finished with interviews on Tuesday, and want to say I'm done interviewing and here's why I am ranking you #1.
 

RaistlinMajere

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I think if you KNOW that you are ranking a program #1, then you should tell them as soon as you realize that. But, you cannot change your mind. It is too small a world to burn bridges in the same field that you are going to have a career. So be sure they are your top choice before telling them.
 

eyesonly

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I was wondering whether it would be a good idea to let a program know that they are #2 on my list. I probably wouldn't put it that directly as "you are my #2," but something like "you are in my top 2" or something similar. Maybe someone has a better idea.

I really like the program (#2), and would not mind going to that program at all. It was really close between my #1 and 2, and I would not feel the bit disappointed if I got #2 instead of #1. I just don't know if I would be better off not telling them anything vs telling them they're #2.

Any thoughts?
 

dragonfly99

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I'm not sure how a program would take that (being told they are #2). I don't think it would make them hate you or anything, but it's not the same as telling them they are #1.

I think a better way (if you are able) would be to try and get some faculty member @your school to phone the PD @ your #1 choice and find out whether they are likely to take you there. Technically, they cannot say, but usually can say whether you will be ranked highly vs. not. If you find out that your #1 program isn't that highly interested in you (argh!) then it might be better to lobby program #2 a bit harder, including having a faculty member(s) call them in support of your candidacy. If program #1 sounds really interested, so much the better...and you can do something similar with them to seal the deal.

I think in cases of residency/fellowship placement, the PD receiving a telephone call from someone he/she knows, or if not that then at least someone who wrote an LOR for you, can sway them more than an applicant saying "You're in my top 3" or "You're in my top 2!". They hear such statements all the time and I'm not sure how much it really sways them. It's not what YOU say...it's what other people say about YOU.
 

Ludicolo

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I think a better way (if you are able) would be to try and get some faculty member @your school to phone the PD @ your #1 choice and find out whether they are likely to take you there.

Normally, d-fly is spot on with her advice. But I have to disagree here. You can ask a faculty member to try to put in another good word for you, but you cannot ask – directly or indirectly though a faculty member - where a program plans to rank you. This smacks of an NRMP violation.
 

medicienne

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I am wondering about the same- how to let my #1 choice know. I had already sent nice 'Thank You" notes earlier. Now that I have gone through my interviews, I am even more convinced that this is the one.

Would it be good to write a letter telling them why they are #1 and why would I be a good fit, etc ( kind of like a mini personal statement). Would the program would feel overwhelmed with too many communication from me? :-?
 

drjazz

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NRMP violations??? Honestly, have we lost the human element of this whole process...Rank lists, algorithms, etc. The whole process seems hygenic.
 

Samoa

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Normally, d-fly is spot on with her advice. But I have to disagree here. You can ask a faculty member to try to put in another good word for you, but you cannot ask – directly or indirectly though a faculty member - where a program plans to rank you. This smacks of an NRMP violation.


Usually if a program is interested, they'll make phone calls to the home program or LOR writers. So if you tell your chairman what programs you're interested in, s/he might be able to tell you, without your having to commit any NRMP violations, whether they're interested in return or not.
 

Sonny Crocket

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I dont think there is any problem telling a program you are ranking them number 1. You must realize that program directors are probably happy to hear this but also take it with a grain of salt. They have seen a lot of strange things, and not so strange things happen during the match..

If you really like a program and want them to know it, consider asking to take a second look..
 
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IndyXRT

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I don't think it really matters that much when/if you tell a program that you are ranking them #1. I think it is unlikely to affect where you fall on their rank list. Things like keeping in touch and continuing to show interest would seem more likely to help, as they require more effort than saying "you're my #1 program."
 

Taurus

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Best time is late January because that's PD's know most interviews are over. If you tell PD's then, they find you more believable. I've heard this from several PD's.
 

MedObsession

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I don't think it really matters that much when/if you tell a program that you are ranking them #1. I think it is unlikely to affect where you fall on their rank list. Things like keeping in touch and continuing to show interest would seem more likely to help, as they require more effort than saying "you're my #1 program."

In what way do you plan to keep in touch and show interest if not by emailing them to tell them that you are going to rank them #1/highly? I guess I really haven't figured out how to do this and I would like an example.
 

Law2Doc

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In what way do you plan to keep in touch and show interest if not by emailing them to tell them that you are going to rank them #1/highly? I guess I really haven't figured out how to do this and I would like an example.

Some people ask additional questions, get more input from current residents, or go back for a second look in part to keep in touch. Emailing them that you are going to rank them highly would be the final step in the discourse -- it's hard to do much after that so you save it for the end.
 

IndyXRT

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Some people ask additional questions, get more input from current residents, or go back for a second look in part to keep in touch. Emailing them that you are going to rank them highly would be the final step in the discourse -- it's hard to do much after that so you save it for the end.

I think any of the above would be useful. Thank you notes also go a long way.
 

Smithsonian

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Be careful about telling a program that they're #1. It's considered a match violation if you tell a program they're number #1 and rank someone else higher. If that program ranked you high and they feel misled, they might be angry enough to report you.
 

gutonc

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Be careful about telling a program that they're #1. It's considered a match violation if you tell a program they're number #1 and rank someone else higher. If that program ranked you high and they feel misled, they might be angry enough to report you.

Dude...solid first post. Four year necrobump and your information is incorrect.

But welcome. Stick around. You might learn something.
 

Slade

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This is an old thread but since you brought it up, it is NOT an NRMP/match violation to tell a program they are number 1 and not ranking them number 1. You could tell every program they're your number 1 if you like (ignoring the obvious ethical issue).
 
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lowbudget

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Who cares? You "tell" them by actually ranking them #1 on your Match list, signed sealed delivered.

If you rank them #1, the ball is in their court. Let the Match formula determine. No one is going to move you up the list just because you told them they're your #1. They will move you up either because you're better than someone or someone is worse than you.
 

Smithsonian

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Sorry about that, before I posted I really should have checked out the information myself instead of listening to the "residency advisor" at my school. She also told me not to use the word "rank" in any correspondence because it is a match violation that could get you into trouble if it gets back to the NRMP. I guessing that that's also totally false.
 

Slade

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Sorry about that, before I posted I really should have checked out the information myself instead of listening to the "residency advisor" at my school. She also told me not to use the word "rank" in any correspondence because it is a match violation that could get you into trouble if it gets back to the NRMP. I guessing that that's also totally false.


If you really want to do everyone a favor, go back to your advisor and politely let her know that she is wrong so that she does not counsel other students this way.
 

Sheldor

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No one is going to move you up the list just because you told them they're your #1. They will move you up either because you're better than someone or someone is worse than you.

This is patently false. Some PDs won't, and some will. It's difficult because there is no way to find out which are which, but I know for a fact that some do.
 
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