Residency rank list considerations

Updated: Jan 31

#Match2022 is less than 2 months away and current 4th year medical students are wrapping up their residency interviews. Just a year ago, I was beginning the process of creating my rank order list (ROL) to submit to NRMP. For me, geography ended up playing a big role in creating my list. However, I went into application season with an open mind and applied across the US. Ultimately, I wanted to match at a place where I'd be happy and get the best anesthesiology training.

Here are some things I considered when creating my rank list:

  1. Geography

  2. Training environment

  3. Fellowship and career planning

  4. Program Leadership

  5. Overall "vibe" from interview day


Location. Location. Location.

For some people, and for me, location was a very important factor in creating my ROL. This is where you'll be spending 3+ years of your life, so consider if it's truly a place you'll want to live in. Do you want a big city or small town? Warm climate or 4 seasons? Proximity to family and friends? Will you feel safe living there?

I spent 4 years of undergrad, my gap year and medical school in North Carolina, which was always a 9+ hour drive back home to NJ, so I knew I wanted to be close to home. It was important to me to be able to go home for a weekend if I wanted to and have family support during residency.

Training environment

Do you want to be at a large, academic tertiary hospital or a community hospital? What resources exist at this hospital? What type of patient population will you be serving? Will you have to travel to multiple hospitals for various rotations? How big is your program? How early on will you get exposure to subspecialties?

Being at a large academic medical center was important to me because I wanted exposure to a wide array of complex cases and a diverse patient population. I'm also interested in staying in academics after residency and pursing pediatrics, so a program with a children's hospital was important to me.

Fellowship and career goals

Does this hospital have the fellowship you are interested in? What do you want to do with your career and are there mentors in this program who will help you get there? Will this program allow you to explore your passions and will they let you thrive? Are there graduates from the program doing what you want to do in the future?

Program leadership

Even with virtual interviews, I feel like I could get an idea of how committed the Program Director and leadership were and how involved they were with the program. It's important to have leadership that will support its residents both professionally and personally and is open to change and feedback. Find a program that is committed to resident education, mentorship, career building and personal growth.

Overall "vibe"

What was your overall impression of the program after your interview day? What was your gut feeling? Can you see yourself working alongside the residents you met during your interview day? Did you click with any of the faculty? Did you see residents and faculty that share your background and look like you? Did the residents look really happy? Tired?

This year, interviews remained virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and you may be ranking programs in cities or states you've never visited before. We, residents, and faculty understand how difficult it is to make your ROL. Please reach out to us if you have any questions! We are here to help you! We want you to match at a program that is the best fit for YOU!

As always, you can DM me on twitter @MoekoNagatsuka.

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