Titillating title, Fixing the "Match": How to Play the Game in the Journal of Graduate Medical Education
(by Nagarkar and Evans). But then, the bottom line is that there is no game to play. Let me reiterate the point they made quite well in the article, it is not a game
. And as such, there'll be no need for Monday morning quarterbacking!
Make your NRMP rank order "match" list in the order of your true preference.
So, it's not what you think you heard from a given program about how much they do or do not love you
. And it's not about the extent to which you conveyed your love of them. It's a match, but it's not that kind of match (like match dot com). You should make your match list
in the order of your true preference. As should the programs.
There's no benefit to you to placing a given program higher up on your list than it would have been (given how you really feel about that program) just because they said they loved you; no need to try to save or grab that spot. It'll be there for you if you are high enough on their list. There's no game to play.
And, as I'd noted in a previous post...Go for it. Write your favorite program first.
Not other people’s favorite, but yours. You will never know if you would have matched at your dream program unless you rank it higher than other programs. Ultimately only you know or care whether you matched with your top (i.e. very tippy top choice) or with your almost top choice, or with your last choice for that matter.
And... List all the programs
that you'd rather be at than not be at any program at all. That is, if you'd rather not match then be a resident at program Z, then leave program Z off your list. But if you'd rather be at program Z than not matching as all (i.e. participating in the SOAP
to try to land a spot after having gone unmatched), then do put program Z on your list, but at the very very bottom.Write your list on paper,
or on some draft app, or enter your list on the NRMP site without submitting it for a little while, to see how it feels to you. Do certify your list by the deadline. But sit with it for a little while, and see how you feel.Your list is private,
it's your own business, but it might help to discuss aspects of it with your trusted adviser, dean, or maybe one of your letter writers. Ultimately it's still your own private list. But you wouldn't want to make that mistake of only
listing the 1 or 2 programs you are excited about. Definitely list them, list them 1st and 2nd, but include many if not all of the programs you interviewed at too, if you'd rather be at them then not matching at all. There is no downside to a long list, and data shows that matched applicants and programs that fill have a longer list than unmatched applicants (and unfilled programs). If and when you have questions:
Carly Rae Jepsen may have said Call Me Maybe
. But your advisers (people like me) are actually saying what Blondie said a while back, Call Me