Match lists were due yesterday. I turned mine in. And now I’m waiting with bated breath.
What are you talking about?
Medicine is one of the few professions that still has a kind of apprenticeship period; it’s called “residency.” And how do you get into residency?
In the last year of med school (where I am right now), there’s this fun process called The Match.
In the fall, you turn in an application to a bunch of schools whose program you like. The schools decide which applications they like, and invite those students to interview for their residency program.
Through the winter, you travel around and interview at any program you still want to attend. I myself interviewed at seven programs; some of my classmates looking for more competitive residencies applied to upwards of sixty.
At the end of interview season, each student turns in a “rank list” of the programs they liked, favorite to least favorite.
The programs also make a list of the students they liked, favorite to least favorite.
Then, everyone puts their list into a central computer. The computer puts all the lists into a giant bag, shakes them all up, and figures out the best way to fit students to programs and programs to students. The results are skewed to student preference.
On Match Day, in the middle of March, you get your residency assignment. If you participate in the Match, you’re legally obligated to fill the slot you were assigned.
If you don’t get a spot in the Match, the next day starts The Scramble. Which is exactly what it sounds like. Programs that don’t fill and students who don’t Match engage in a frenzied free-for-all, and you get what you can, no matter where it is or how crappy the program (or student) is.
If I Match, I could move to any one of four cities. If I don’t Match, and I’m lucky enough to get a spot from the Scramble, I could be sent pretty much anywhere in the country.
I really, REALLY don’t want to have to Scramble. So send good vibes my way, okay?