Monday, March 5, 2012

just another post about match day

I get a lot of questions about how many job offers Y has gotten, which one he'll take, etc, etc. 

No, no. 

Apparently word hasn't gotten out that matching into a medical residency is less like applying for a job, and more like pledging a sorority or fraternity. Let's examine this theory:

Step one, in both cases, is the official Deactivation of the Facebook Page. No one can know about that time they wore a bow tie and posed with a Shake Weight. 

Then, whether it's Rush or Interview Season, they travel from place to place in a  short time span, dressed in their finest. In Greek life, the places are houses, situated several yards away from each other in a row. In medical life, the places are hospitals, situated around the country. In both situations sensible shoes are advisable.

The applicants/potential new members attend several events -- pink lemonade parties, grand rounds -- where they make conversation and imagine themselves fitting in with the house/hospital. 

Then, they must make one of the most important decisions of their lives. Thoughtfully, they craft a list of their top 10 (or 3, or 5, or 15) places they visited to be turned in by a designated time. Potential new members of sororities and fraternities get a few days to think about this; medical students get several weeks. 

Meanwhile, the residency programs and active sorority/fraternity members are making their own top whatever lists based on criteria like board scores and bubble writing. (I'm sure sororities look at more than handwriting, but can we discuss how sorority girls have perfect handwriting and I am doomed to be forever inferior?)

When the medical students and the residency programs turn in their rank lists, a far away computer performs some kind of algorithm developed by an economist at Harvard. I'm not sure how it works on Bid Day - perhaps the computer has a part-time gig during its off season?

Match Day is approximately one month after the students and residency programs submit their rank order lists. Every graduating medical student in the country finds out where they matched at noon eastern on March 16th. (Some fourth year medical students find out their matches in private, this post explains how Y's school does it. )

I've never been to a bid day, but I imagine it's similar...but pinker. 

See the similarities? Apparently it's confusing for everyone involved - the social committee at Y's school is throwing a post-match party and accidentally used a leftover theme from a sorority party: Devils and Angels. How embarrassing.


After the medical students find out where they matched, med school still isn't over. It doesn't officially end until graduation day on May 26th. If you're wondering how medical students spend their final days before actually being employed, stay tuned. It involves a lot of sleeping. And in our house, a lot of Downton Abbey.

bid day photo via


  1. Oh my, I never realized the correlations between rush and match! This was hilarious!

    I hope you and Y get your top choice! It's a nerve wracking time. . . All that waiting!

  2. it's a really hard thing to explain to people. especially when we have trouble understanding it ourselves sometimes.

    1. WORD. I definitely wrote this post partly for myself to keep track of it all!

  3. You're funny - but maybe this would help regular people understand this crazy process a little better. I can't tell you how many times the SAME co-workers asked me "any news on where you're moving?" during Peter's 4th year. "Nope, STILL find that out on match day..." I'd tell them every time. (And now they keep asking me what specialty he wants to go into... Um, picked that already.)

  4. Haha having gone through recruitment this comparison is dead on.

    Quite possibly the best way to describe it to someone in the future - I'm definitely going to have to remember this!

  5. Wow, I can't believe how much different this is than the military! They match on Dec 15, and you don't really interview. Well, you do, but while you are already TDY there (the military flies you for your rotations). What specialty is your hubby trying to match? When you match, does the new program pay for you guys to move? And do you start in the summer, or the fall? Just curious!

    1. I think the start date is July 1st and I don't think the programs pay for you to move. Some might? I'm not sure!

      Y applied to internal medicine programs.

  6. I seriously cannot WAIT to hear where Y gets matched! /which cold weather locale I can daydream about visiting you in.

    1. If he gets the place I think he might, you'll have to come visit. But I already have a list of fun things to do in every city...

      I just clicked over to your profile and saw your new blog... I want your old one back!!