Rank Order List Considerations

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With the deadline for rank order lists (ROL) for NRMP applicants coming up in February, it’s time to reiterate one of the most underrated facts about the residency match process – the match favors the applicant.

There’s actually a Nobel-prize-worthy algorithm which governs the match, but in general, here are a couple of important considerations:

  • Rank programs based on your preference, not on where you think you might match (again, this favors the applicant). While many people already have an idea what their top programs are, I’ve found it’s often the intangible “vibe” you experienced from a program which helps you make that final decision about how to rank it. You’ve worked hard to interview – now it’s time to sit down and be critical.
  • Rank as many programs as you would feel comfortable training at. Statistically, unmatched applicants had shorter ROLs. That being said, the match result constitutes a binding commitment.
  • Don’t keep changing your ROL, but if you do, remember to re-certify it each time.
  • Ranking is private. Whatever may have been said during the interview trail about how highly you’ll be ranked cannot adequately be substantiated. In other words, trust no one. 😉

As a disclaimer, I don’t have personal experience with “Couples Matching”; however, the same suggestions should remain applicable. Good luck to everyone involved in this process! 🙂

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