What is “Match Day” for medical students? Match Day is a monumental milestone for all graduating fourth-year medical students. There are almost 12,000 residency and fellowship training programs in the US. There are 20,000 medical students graduating with MDs yearly. The match process matches the medical students with the specialties and destination of choice. First there is an application and interview season (October – January) and all training programs create a rank list. This lists the medical students from most desirable to least. AND, each medical student applicant makes creates a ranked list of their desired training programs.
How does the match happen? A computer (with a Nobel Prize winning algorithm) matches medical students and program interest. The algorithm favors the student’s choice. On Match Day, the results are known by all. Nearly 75% of students receive one of their first three choices.
What happens if a medical student wants to match with another medical student? This was the case with my now-husband and me 25 years ago. We “couples matched.” This adds an additional level of difficulty where an even more complicated algorithm balances the training objectives of the two students. The students each decide which medical specialty they want to train in and how far apart they are willing to live. This is all reflected in their joint match lists.
When is Match Day? Friday, March 20th. Every medical student in the country has their “reveal” time at the same time. Noon Eastern Standard Time and 9 am here in the West.
Medical school is actually the beginning of a physician’s education. Physicians train for an additional 3-10 years AFTER medical school, depending on their specialty.