Most people seem to forget how important the period is between the interview and Match day. While it’s true some programs have a rank list made after conducting their last interview, there is still some fluctuation between rank order. Here is an example:

Residency program X rank list:

Rank 1-50: Top Candidates
Rank 51-100: Average Candidates
Rank 101-150: Sub-par Candidates

Candidate A is ranked 53, he did not send any thank you letters and never contacted program post-interview
Candidate B is ranked 58, she sent thank you letters, called PC/CR for 2nd look, and kept in touch with PD before Match day

While some programs do not care about thank you letters, some definitely do! Think about how much preparation they must do for each interview day: planning, time (time=money), and effort, especially from the program coordinator. The least a candidate can do is say thanks. If not by a thank you card, an email will suffice. So for this example, Candidate B may just move up to rank 52 ahead of candidate A. This is huge because if both ranked this program number 1, Candidate B will be matched their first. And since both are in the second tier of candidates, every ranked person above you can take that spot away from you. Moral of the lesson: send thank you cards, emails, whatever you like to do in your own personal way. A thank you card should be sent within one week of your interview to every interviewer (email is fine) so that they can remember you. Highlight something discussed during the interview and keep it professional. Then two weeks before rank lists are submitted, another thank you card should be sent stating: “how great it was to meet you,” “it was one of my most memorable interviews,” and “I look forward to working with you in June.” Send them to the PD, PC, and anyone else you think would appreciate it. I’ve attached a sample thank you letter.

Now for the programs that haven’t responded. Around December and January (towards the end of interview season), a lot of interview spots open up as people accept prematches and cancel their interview dates. This is an opportunity for you to score extra interviews. While you were not their first pick, you still have a chance in matching there if they grant you an interview. Begin by calling programs during these months (remember Christmas and New Years breaks). Show interest! Tell them you were hoping to hear from them soon and would love to come for an interview if a position opens up. They might be rude and reject you on the phone (always get a few of those), while some may try to reject you the nicest way possible. If those 2 to 3 programs say “we really liked you, and you are qualified for an interview, we just do not have an interview date open at the moment,” this is your chance. Let them know you are flexible with dates and would love to come in at their convenience. Leave them your number and still call back after a few days or a week. If you score one or two extra interviews in January by this, you have upped your chances in matching quite a bit!

Continue working hard. If you are already a graduate, make use of this time. If you are conducting research, email some programs and update them as to what you are currently working on. Keep in touch with programs and they will like that you are showing interest. Don’t give up until they reject you! Even after my interview season, I still did not hear from 50% of the programs I applied to. They didn’t have the courtesy to send a rejection letter, nor did they pick up their phone. This is normal.

Sample Thank You Letter:

Dear Dr. X,

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your time and to once again express my sincere interest in your program.

University Y has all the components of an excellent residency; a diverse patient population, distinguished faculty, ample research and fellowship opportunities, and residents who are team players. But most of all, I was very impressed with the emphasis and dedication to educating and producing well rounded physicians.

I hope that during our discussion I was able to convey my desire to become a highly motivated and successful member of your house staff. I look forward to the Match and for the opportunity to work alongside of you in the future. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact me at any time.



AAMC# 123

Step 10: Rank Order List