I’ve been thinking a lot about the Match process and those who are unmatched (and I’m feeling ridiculously lucky to have a job when I get out of school). This article touches on some of the problems, though it focuses predominantly on those who received medical education outside of the U.S.A. and attempt to complete residency here.
I wish I could figure out how to give all readers access to this article; if you’re able, I highly recommend “Manipulation and the Match” by Dr. Carl Erik Fisher, a former member of the National Resident Matching Program’s Board of Directors. Like many other professions, I assume, the hiring process becomes a sort of game; and a “successful” match is often determined by how well one plays the game. For good reason, we’re required to read this article prior to meeting with our Dean of Student Affairs and applying for residency.
Personally, I’m not sure how well I played the game…I think the honest answer is “well enough.” I do feel grateful to be married to possibly the most strategic partner I could hope for, who went over with me 98% of my communication with the people who were influential in my match. The mentorship I received from both Penn and UVA during my away rotation also helped guide me. If you remember, I made some mistakes during the application process. But here are the things I think were most beneficial to me:
- I did an away rotation at the institution at which I hoped to train (UVA). I showed up early and left late. I always volunteered to see the extra patient. The fact that I moved my whole family to Charlottesville for four weeks showed that I was honestly passionate about the program. And (at least to my knowledge) I wasn’t a jerk.
- I didn’t take “no” for an answer. I applied to 12 programs. I interviewed at 11 of them. Two of those 11 likely would not have interviewed me if I hadn’t communicated directly with them about my genuine interest in their programs. I believe programs tend to look more closely at students who are actually serious about them.
- The Advocacy Call. After many, many discussions with John and my mentors, I decided that I wanted to go to UVA. I then met with the Program Director at CHOP, the children’s hospital affiliated with Penn, and I told her that I would be ranking UVA as my first choice. She then kindly offered to make an advocacy call for me. You can argue that applicants (and programs) lie all the time. But considering that, if we didn’t match in Central VA, we would want to stay in the Philly area, a phone call from the CHOP PD really shows commitment. We were all in.