Thursday, March 12, 2009

One Week Left

I'm sure that some of you may have noticed the countdown on the side bar of my blog. The one that has "The Match" above it.

I guess I should explain what "The Match" is. (And yes, it is always said like that. You can hear the capitals when people say it.) Since I have been promising to explain it, and now it is only one week away.

The Match is the process that determines where fourth year medical students will go to for residency. Basically, it is a complicated computer process that determines the rest of our lives.

It's not quite as random as that. We do have a little say. After a fourth year decides what specialty they want to go into, they then apply to interview at programs they think will suit them. I applied to programs that I felt were in livable cities, had dental schools in the same area, and I felt has some reputation of being a good program. Then, you interview. Which is long and costly.

After interviewing, you decide where you would like to go. So you make a list. Ranking your first choice at number one, all the way down.

The programs also make lists. Ranking their top candidate number one, and all the way down.

Then the computer goes to work.

We'll use me as an example to show how this might work. Say that I am candidate number 1358 that the computer looks at. The computer looks at my first choice (Iowa). The system pulls up Iowa's list to see if Iowa ranked me at all. If they did, and there is still room at the program, the computer "matches" me there. But say that all the positions at Iowa are full. The computer looks at the positions those people have on Iowa's list. If one of those people is ranked below me (Say I'm number 8 on Iowa's list, and one of the positions is filled by someone ranked 15.) The person ranked lower is removed and I'm placed in Iowa. If all the positions at Iowa are filled by people ranked higher than myself, the system looks at my second choice (Oregon). And this process continues and continues until, theoretically, all the medical students are "matched" into residencies.

(Of course, this doesn't always happen and then something terrible happens - "The Scramble.")

So yeah, it's just that simple. Ha.

Supposedly this system gives the applicants the most control, but does it really sound like we have any control. Take an entire population of type A personalities and take all their control away and then say, "Now, go and be happy."

With The Match being only one week away, I have so many emotions and so many thoughts.

But I think that's enough for now.

1 comment:

  1. Keep in there. Wherever you go I know you'll make it work - Em