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MS4: Match pro tips: How to rank residency choices


Deciding how to rank residency choices is a big decision. Here are some helpful tips from the National Resident Matching Program to help you through the process.

  1. The matching algorithm attempts to place you in the most preferred program possible, so be sure to rank programs in order of YOUR TRUE PREFERENCE and not where you think you will match. Go for your “reach” program.
  2. Rank only those programs where you are able and would be happy to train. Putting a program on your ROL creates a binding commitment if a match occurs, so review carefully each program’s eligibility requirements and the contract you will be expected to sign.
  3. Do not rank programs where you did not interview. Programs do not rank candidates they have not interviewed, and no match will occur.
  4. Be realistic about your competitiveness and the competitiveness of your preferred specialty. Consider creating a ROL that includes a mix of competitive and less competitive specialties and programs, and be sure to include at least one “safety” program.
  5. Do not wait until the last minute to enter your ROL in the R3® system. The servers may be overloaded and working slowly.
  6. Do not make last minute changes to your ROL. Changes of this nature are typically not well thought out, and applicants frequently regret them.



The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.

Sara Buckallew

Communications Coordinator

Sara Buckallew works in the Dean's Office of Strategic Communications. As a communications coordinator, Sara supports internal and external communication needs for the Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research and the Center for Diabetes and Metabolic...