Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Match

I am sitting in my apartment on the eve of the most important day in my medical education.

Match Day.

Let me explain: 

"The Match" is the way in which all fourth year medical students secure a spot in a residency program.  It's a long and arduous process that culminates in one day: Match Day.

It's the day we learn whether all of our hard work paid off.  It's the day we find out if we will move to our desired part of the country.  It's the day we find out if we get to stay in the city in which our family lives, our children go to school, or our husband works.  It's the day we learn whether we get to go to that amazing program.

It's a HUGE day.

Every fall, medical students apply to multiple programs in their specialty of choice.  They either get interview offers or they don't.  After they are done with the interview season, each medical student makes a "rank list" of all the programs at which he or she interviewed (#1, #2, #3 etc in order of preference).  The programs similarly rank all the applicants that they interviewed.

Then some little gnome in some alternate computer universe runs some elaborate algorithm that "matches" each applicant with his or her future program.  Sometimes we think it's just someone throwing darts at a wall, but apparently there is a system.  Thankfully, it is biased to the preference of the applicant.  Let's say I rank Program A my #1 and Program B my #2.  Even if Program A ranks me #7 and Program B ranks me #1, I will still get matched to Program A (unless all the spots have been taken by other students ranked higher than me).  Understand?  It's ok...most of us don't either.  We just put faith in the system and hold our breathes.

The catch is that the program you get matched with is the program that you are stuck with. Do not pass go. Final answer. That's it. It is a legally binding contract. You have no choice.

This makes Match Day even more exciting.

Match Day is always the third Thursday in March.  Every fourth year medical student in the country finds out where they will be going at noon EST.

This year it coincidentally falls on St. Patrick's Day.
I'm hoping this brings a lot of luck, especially since I married an Irish guy.  It will definitely help with the celebration.

So, tomorrow at noon I will enter a large room on campus and a Dean will hand me an envelope.  Sealed inside? My fate.

Wish me luck!!!!  I'll try to post a short update tomorrow but I make no guarantees.  Come on, it's Match Day and St. Patrick's Day.....

(PS - You may have the question: What if you don't match?  Well, then you enter the "Scramble." Do you really want me to explain that one??)


  1. It sounds so nerve-racking and exciting all at once. Good Luck!

  2. I remember it all to well. The only good thing about an Army residency is that match day is in December!

  3. Good luck! I had no clue how it worked. That's stressful!

  4. Whew, that is very stressful! Good luck!

  5. Well.....I logged on to see if you got your choice!


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