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Certified Rank Order Lists


Matched in Rank Order Lists



My Rank Order Lists are in and now I’ll let the National Residency Match Program decide my fate. Although I was eligible to pre-match, I am somewhat happy to have not done so and here is why:

First off, I thought my least favorite program was going to be the place where I was going to be given a contract and told that I had to decide right then and there if I wanted to sign it. I decided I did not want to. Both of my favorite choices stated that they do not pre-match students and I interviewed well at those two places as I felt I did at all my interviews. Of course, a bird in the hand is worth more than two in the bush but I am confident enough in how my interviews went in all my interviews except one. I will get placed in one residency program somewhere.

I did one unusual thing in my rank list. A few programs I applied to never responded to me. Presumably they do not want me but they never responded to my emails and voice mails. All I want is acknowledgment. Accepted or rejected, I want to be acknowledged. So what I explained to a handful of programs is that I am going to rank them despite not interviewing with them. The reason being is in case I do not match, and the program does not fill all its spots through the match, this will serve as pre-scramble opportunity provided they rank me as well. I explained that they should rank me last and so I would only match if they burn through all their interviewees.

Considering how the algorithm works for the NRMP match, I ranked a couple of these programs highly because of their program reputation and the location. Chances are slim that I will get a spot here but the way the algorithm works, it does not hurt me to rank the programs highly. I probably have a one in a million chance of matching at one of these programs but seeing as it did not cost me any extra money and only the time of sending a few emails, it is worth it.

I ranked a total of 8 places I that actually interviewed at, and then an additional 3 that I did not. Now, I wait. I was getting paranoid that I did not submit the certified rank order list. The process is quite stupid. It is stupid because once you certify the list, if you change it in any way, it de-certifies. If your list was not certified by the due date/time, you basically have not ranked any program. It seems like the program should simply capture whatever programs are in your list at the time of the deadline if you do not have a rank order list certified. My paranoia was that somehow I accidentally changed something after certifying the list and did not realize it. I am guessing that something like this happens to 1 or 2 people every year. The consequence of this is that you definitely will not match and because you did not list any programs, you will not get the list of open programs for the scramble. You are basically screwed and have to sit out a year.

Well, now I wait. I enjoy these waiting times and do not agree with Tom Petty that the waiting is the hardest part. I enjoyed the times after the USMLE exams. I cannot study for any other exam, I cannot study for the exam I just took, so I enjoy myself to the fullest, similar to now.

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