This Month's News
On eve of Match Day, med students feel anxiety, uncertainty, relief
"It's a mix of uncertainty and excitement."
That's how Ross Harrison, a fourth-year medical student at the University of Florida College of Medicine, describes the Match process—a sentiment shared by many graduating medical students as they prepare to find out whether and where they will be doing their residencies.
The National Resident Matching Program, or the Match, is nearly here, and fourth-year medical students are anxiously awaiting their results, having spent hours preparing, interviewing and ranking. For most, the Match determines their future, from specialty to location.
Many of this year's graduating students went to extra lengths to prepare for the 2014 Match, which occurs the week of March 17.
Bradley Burmeister, a fourth-year medical student at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, said he "over-applied and over-interviewed" to ensure he matched.
"My adviser suggested I apply to 10 more programs this year than she would have suggested last year because of the increased competitiveness," he said.
Data reflect the "tightening" of the Match. The 2013 Match saw a record-high number of residency positions offered—more than 29,000—but also had more than 34,000 applicants. More than 500 U.S. medical graduates did not match into a residency last year, which was double the number from 2012. (Visit the AMA's SaveGME campaign website to learn more about how the AMA is working to preserve funding for medical residency slots.)
Numbers like these also spurred Amy Ho, a fourth-year medical student at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, to over-apply and over-interview.
"I definitely spent way too much time on interview season," she said. "I practiced by the 'better safe than sorry' mantra, but to anyone outside of medicine … the entire process is insanity."
Despite anxieties leading up to Match Day, most medical students just want to know what their futures hold.
"I'm getting more and more excited to get down to business and to become a doctor," said George "Bud" Vana, a fourth-year medical student at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. "More than the location, I'm excited to get to work in my chosen discipline."
Meanwhile, could newly released rankings of U.S. internal medicine residency programs inform the future rank ordering of programs by medical students in the Match (U.S. News and World Report)?
Stay tuned for our post-Match coverage in the April issue of AMA MedEd Update. Also, read a summary of the American Osteopathic Association match, which was held in February.
An additional resource of interest is "Charting Outcomes in the Match – International Medical Graduates: Characteristics of Applicants Who Matched to Their Preferred Specialty in the 2013 Main Residency Match," published by the National Resident Matching Program and Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates.