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Indeed, BOTH parties play the "Match Game" : Candidates and & the Residency Programs ! BOTH take their chances in the game - For you, the residency-seeker, the game is about WHERE and HOW MANY programs to apply to, and for the resident-seekers, the game's about WHOM to Interview.

And why is this a "gamble" ? Coz both sides have to play with fixed resources...and Neither party likes to "scramble".. (wow..did that just rhyme ?)

Wut Resources are we talking about ? As usual, it's money, the root cause of most problems on this Earth ;-)

YOU are bound by the Money you can spend on applying through ERAS while Programs are bound buy the NUMBER of candidates they can call in their budget for the year (Remember, it costs the programs to arrange for Dinners, hotel arrangements besides Man-hours). [Usually, a program calls about 10 times more candidates than it's total PGY1 positions.]

It sure is tough for us to decide where to apply, given the competition. But I am thinking, it sure is equally tough, if not tougher for the Program Directors ! A moderately ranked program carries a certain risk by calling a highly credentialed candidate, who may also be interviewing in the top-ranked programs. Hence, most of the places you goto, you are very likely to be asked "So ! Where else have you OR are you Interviewing ?" It may sound like a casual question from the Program Directoy, but has a important purpose !
Hence, unless the programs are the top-notch, ivy-league kind programs that never go unfilled, the program directors must indulge in distributing risks by having a good mix of candidates interviewed.
After that, each interviewed candidates are studied based on how likely he or she is to rank the program high - which again is not an easy task for them. How do they do it ? Here are some techniques used:

1. Assess response of the candidate after the Interview.
2. Offer the Red-carrot to some good candidates ;-) I mean a Prematch ! There's always a debate on whether declining a Prematch means low-preference from the program on the match-list !
3. Some programs will have a resident give you his/her contact information and based on how you communicate with the resident in the long run also kinda assesses your enthusiasm about the program.
4. Lastly, another strategy is to offer a "second Look" to candidates, just to look around, meet more faculty. It's there way of showing that they are interested in you and would like to see if you are ! Most of them will pay again for your hotel stay - I say accept if unless you totally HATE the program.

The purpose of this post is to educate ourselves in the fact that the match process is never over after the Interview, you gotta continue to feed your enthusiasm and keep yourself in the spotlight to stay in the race until the match day. Some pointers:

1. After you submit your application and don't hear anything for 2-3 weeks, contact the programs about the application status ! use email, phone wutever...Definitely shows you are interested in the program.

2. After the interview, a good enthusiastic "Thank you" email to the program director, coordinator and all those interviewed you.

3. If you land a project, Observership or externship anytime after you applied, do update the programs about the new experience...makes a lot of programs give your application a second look besides exhibiting your continued interest.

4. Have posted about Prematches elsewhere on this blog

5. At the same time, don't bug the program ! Maintain a decent frequency of contact...don't overdo it !

Thus, To Improve your chances of a 'Match', try to 'Match' your moves with the programs moves...if you know wut I mean ;-)

[watch out for updates]

Google Keywords to this keyword:

- "usmle step 1 great score match"
- "img im usmle score"

Questions for me ? Use my USMLE - Residency Forum



Anonymous Anonymous said ... (June 06, 2007 7:39 PM) : 

dude how do u know so much stuff.but its definitely useful. doesnt suffice to say u r the coolest...


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A blog to help with the Electronic Residency Application System (ERAS)

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