How to make a rank list?

Now that you’re nearing the end of interviews, you are probably wondering how to make a rank list. Before you make a rank list, there are a couple things you should do first.

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Know How the Match Works

Every year there are students who think that there is a strategy to outsmart the Match, beat out other applicants, and game the system by crafting your rank list. This is false. The Match is an algorithm that favors the applicants’ preferences. In fact, this algorithm is so efficient and equitable that it’s developers won a Nobel Prize.

The first step is to educate yourself on the Match. Review the official NRMP’s guidelines and instructions. Be sure to watch this video from the NRMP that walks you through exactly how the Match algorithm works.

In short, you should rank programs in the order you want to attend residency at them. There is no gaming the system. The system is set up to favor you and your preferences.

Rank Your Priorities First

Rank your priorities before making a rank list. This may not make sense at first, but it is a useful way to begin. If location of a program, for example, is super important to you then that should guide how you stratify and tier programs on your rank list.

Some factors that many students consider include:

  • Significant other/family considerations
  • Location
  • Program rank
  • Required research/academic years
  • Length of program
  • Time off
  • Anything else that you value personally or in a program

Ranking your priorities guides the rest of your search for a residency program. With these priorities in mind, you can then move forward and begin to rank the programs that you interviewed at.

This is just the first of many posts on devising a rank list. Stay tuned for more useful info, tips, and opinions on how to make a rank list.

What questions do you have about making a rank list? Contact us directly or leave a comment below.

Back to more resources on applying to residency.

Carter J. Boyd, MD, MBA
Latest posts by Carter J. Boyd, MD, MBA (see all)

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