Your residency journey will ultimately boil down to your Rank Order List. This ranking will materially affect your outcome in the Match, based on whether you are able to rank programs you favor that also favor you. The best way to approach the Rank Order List is thus to think strategically about which programs will also rank you high, and how you should order your list to increase your chances of Matching. Keep these tips in mind while constructing your list:

  1. Gut feelings – Is this program a good fit for you? Do you see yourself at the program? What is the quality of the program? What is the case load? Are the Teaching Attendants attentively giving instruction? How are the patients being treated?
  2. Importance of academia – If you’re interested in research and publications, but your program is not, consider this when ranking.
  3. Are the Residents happy there? – Do not go by rumors, shoot some residents an email! They were once in your position, and more times than not will be happy to give you feedback.
  4. Location – Are you ready to move hundreds of miles from home? Can you handle the weather there? The traffic? The culture? The people? All things to consider when moving somewhere unfamiliar.
  5. Housing/Salary – Is housing provided? If not, will the residency programs’ salary cover the costs of rent, utilities, and living expenses?
  6. Long-term implications – Although a residency may only last a couple years, it is highly possible you’ll settle in that city. Keep this in mind when ranking also.
  7. Rank your programs in your preference order – The list should be your own! Don’t worry, no candidate with a lower number on the programs rank list can take your spot unless you match to a program higher up on your list.
  8. Feedback from programs – Residency Program Directors may contact candidates implying they’ll be ranked highly, but do not shorten your rank order list because you believe you’ve been guaranteed a spot!
  9. Do not shorten your list – Shortening your list WILL NOT increase your chances of not matching to programs higher on your list. You will be Matched to the highest program on your list which ranked you high enough to be Matched.

Most applicants have a good general sense of which programs they fit the best in based on their interview experience and interaction with current faculty, staff and residents. Keep these pointers in mind while ranking, but don’t forget to actively engage in each program’s community to best gauge what it would be like to do your residency there.

Are You Next?™