Who is the ranking boss?

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This is just a rhetorical question you might want to ask when thinking of how the programs ranked you. Knowing the answer does not change the outcome. But this is part of your profession to know the answers regardles of whether or not they can help in a particular case.


Typically Program Director is the one who makes the final ranking list. Ranking starts at the interview. Each interviewer evaluates your qualities and assigns a score for each of them. Evaluation varies program by program, but here are typical areas of assessment:

• Academic Performance

• Personal Statement

• LORs

• Compatibility with OUR program

• Compatibility with OUR patients

• Altruistic qualities/activities

• Sensitivity to Social, Cultural, and Political issues

• Commitment to the Specialty


Programs usually hold ranking meetings in January and February. First meetings are for making a preliminary rank. First rank is created based on combined evaluation score from each interviewer. This is followed by a discussion of why some applicants should be moved higher or lower in the list.


Finally after 2-3 preliminary meetings program director makes the final list.


Being in the top 3X applicants, where X is a number of positions at the program, is almost a guarantee of a successful match (36 is the magical number for a typical 12 PGY-1 resident program). If you do not think you made this number, remember that being in the first 100 may also lead to success.


Let’s hope you are in the first 3X!