Over the last year, I’ve struggled to describe the match, the process by which medical students are assigned a residency position. I’ve likened it to sorority rush, only it takes many months and thousands of dollars.
A good friend posted this article for me, and I think it provides a helpful explanation of how things roll, in case you’re wondering. And then, with regards to cost:
The conventional wisdom is that students who list more potential residencies have a better chance at a match, since the lists of students who do match average twice the length of those who don’t. Students are adding more and more residency programs to their lists; the average number of programs listed by students who ended up with a match has grown to 10.3 from 7.4 over the last decade. Students can send up to 20 applications for the baseline fee. Many send double that, and can end up going on a dozen interviews, paying for a hotel and flight for each. The costs add up quickly. (Sallie Mae, the country’s largest lender of student loans, offers medical students loans up to $20,000 specifically to cover the costs of interviews and relocation in the case of a match.)
These statistics surprise me a little, because I’m not sure I know anyone who applied to fewer than 10 programs (granted, sampling bias). I know plenty of individuals who, due to academic background, competitiveness of the specialty, or entry into the couples match, have applied to 70+ programs.
Along the application process, I often felt lucky to be going into pediatrics. Although this year is the first (I believe) where there are more applicants than residency positions (terrifying), the chances of matching are higher than many specialties, as the table in the article above shows. (I was counseled to apply to 10-15 programs and ended up applying to 12.) Furthermore, I’d like to stay happily married to the father of my children, so where I applied was geographically limited and I didn’t need to take a dozen flights to the other side of the continent; I certainly saved some money there.
37 days ’til Match Day…sounds actually not so far away now!
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On one of our past weekend days, the high temp was tolerable. In our precarious balance of keeping the kids out of the house as long as possible so John can sleep after a night shift while keeping everyone happy, fed, and well-rested, we lasted a short time at a local playground. This winter hasn’t been the dirge I feared, but still ready for the days when I don’t have to surprise attack my daughters with Aquaphor.
It’s yellow and big and mostly surrounds her. In her eyes, it’s basically a flying boat.