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A Match Made in Heaven: How Medical Students and Residency Programs Unite

Usually, the hiring process is pretty straight-forward – application, interview, then offer. But, when it comes to hiring medical school...

Published January 24, 2018

Usually, the hiring process is pretty straight-forward – application, interview, then offer. But, when it comes to hiring medical school graduates into residency programs, the process is not so straightforward. Towards the end of medical school, many students begin applying for medical training programs, or residencies.  They choose dozens of programs where they want to get the final leg of their medical training done and then apply – but that’s not all.

Once all of the applications have gone out, and the interview process is over, students rank their top training programs, and leaders of residency programs rank their top candidates. This leaves everyone in a bit of a conundrum. Because medical students and residency program managers rank their preferences, it can be difficult to pair them together.  That’s why the modern-day Match system was created in 1998. It streamlines the matching process and uses an algorithm to make the final matches.

The algorithm is applicant proposing. That means it matches the student based on their choices – from most desired to least – and not the program’s preferences. However, both parties need to rank each other in order to get matched. During Match week, which occurs every year in March, residents across the country get “matched” during the same week, and their fates are sealed for the next 3-5 years as they begin their residency programs.

The program has solved a lot of problems. Before it existed, the hiring process between training program and student was marred issues. Program directors faced problems like delayed hiring as potential candidates held out responses until they heard back from their top choice. Now, everyone submits their preferences and patiently waits for final placement.

Match week is a defining moment for medical students because it impacts their training and ultimately, their career. As nerve-racking as it may be to wait for an algorithm to choose their fate, a lot of dreams come true for the future doctors of America during Match Week.


Did you know that Laurel Road has a Resident & Fellow Refinancing program? Refinance your student loans as soon as you’re matched to a residency program and pay only $100 per month all through residency or fellowship. Learn more by clicking here: Resident & Fellow Refinancing



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