For the fourth year medical students, interview season is coming to an end and it is almost time to devise our rank lists. This can be a daunting task, as the future literally lies in our hands to an extent.
The ranking process tries to work in the applicant’s favor by matching you up with your first choice, and if the program has also ranked you highly, chances are you will match well. Of course, it does not always work out but most applicants do end up with one of their top 3 choices. Therefore, much thought should be put into ranking as you are playing a large role in determining your formative years of training.
For each applicant, priorities are different when it comes to ranking programs. Factors considered may include but are not limited to location, prestige, the curriculum of program, culture, academic vs. non-academic centers, compensation, prospects for future career goals such as matching into competitive fellowships. I have been struggling with devising my rank list as I am considering both my desire to remain in academic medicine despite the uncertainty of whether or not I want to pursue fellowship and the location in regards to job opportunities for my significant other.
When asking faculty and residents I work with on their advice for this dilemma, I have heard two recurring themes: choose the place where you will be happiest and consider the program that will offer you the most opportunities given your undecided stance on fellowship. I realize the importance of keeping doors open professionally and also acknowledge that residency may be the toughest years of my life and I want to be in an environment where I fit in and feel happiest. I am still weighing these factors in my mind, but feel it is beneficial to remind everyone who is in this position right now to remember that this is YOUR decision and your future. While soliciting advice and insight from others who have been through the process can help, only you know your unique circumstances and priorities and will ultimately rank based off that.