This year it was February 20th, although my school told me to certify my list at least 5 days prior, just in case. But I knew my list the minute I had completed my last interview.
Match Day is probably the biggest and most memorable experience of med school–I would argue more memorable than graduation. It’s when you determine where you will spend the next 3, 5, or 7 years for training. It’s where you become a pediatrician/surgeon/hospitalist. It’s where you finally get to make decisions, as a MD or DO. It’s when all the work you’ve put in over the past 4 years is validated. This is when you learn you finally can earn a paycheck.
So when you submit your rank list (and certify it, which are two different things), think about the following:
- Your gut. This is what I would call the most important factor in determining your rank list. I made a ridiculous spreadsheet examining different factors I thought were important to me. But the most important factor in determining my list was how I felt during my interview day.
- What matters most to you? Life doesn’t stop during residency, even though it may feel like it. Is is geography? Is it living in a city vs suburb vs rural area? Is it to be closer to family? Do you want to buy a house and settle down in the area, or is your residency simply a location before you settle down somewhere else.
I originally thought there was a strategy in how I would rank my #5 vs my #6 or #7, but in reality there is no way to “game the system.” You may change your mind multiple times between interviews and rank certification day, but think about where would you be happy. Is it where you did a sub-I? Is it a specific part of the country? Is it a specific patient population?
Once you certify your list, there is this 3-week limbo where everything is out of your control, and you just wait. So enjoy it, because come July, you’re an intern and you’ll have very little time for yourself.