Developing the Best Residency Couples Match Strategy
Embarking on the match journey is a significant milestone, and for those navigating the complexities of the Couples Residency Match, the path is both rewarding and distinctive. The Couples Match algorithm adds an extra layer of intricacy to the already complex process, demanding meticulous planning and consideration.
In this comprehensive guide from Dr. Clarissa E. Jordan, Chief Resident in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at Mayo Clinic, we unravel the nuances of the Couples Match, exploring the algorithm, offering insights into the application process, and sharing strategies to navigate interviews and create a well-informed rank order list. As couples venture into this distinctive terrain, understanding the intricacies becomes vital for a successful and harmonious match.
Understanding the Couples Match Algorithm
Your rank order list will be much longer than your peers who are not participating in the Couples Match. Each rank is made up of a pair of programs, one for you and one for your partner, and all four parties need to be ranked high enough on each other’s lists for a match to be made. A rank order pair can be at the same institution, but it is not necessary. A single program can be ranked multiple times on each partner’s list, but the same pair cannot be listed twice. You can list up to 300 rank order pairs. Visit the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) website for helpful videos on the Couples Match algorithm.
Applying for the Residency Match Together: Things to Consider
- Location Threshold: It is important to discuss with your partner how far apart the programs you rank together can be. Having this discussion ahead of time will help you both decide where to apply, which interviews to accept, and how to create your rank order list.
- Choosing the Program: When deciding where to apply, you can use a website like medmap.io to look for cities or areas that have programs for both of you to apply to. It may be helpful to apply in larger cities which typically have multiple residency programs, thus giving couples more opportunities to match together.
- Finances of Couples Match: Couples matching comes with unique financial considerations. You will need to apply to more programs than your peers who are matching individually, resulting in higher application fees. The NRMP charges an extra rank fee of $30 per program for each rank above 20 programs. You will also both be charged $45 by NRMP to participate in the match as a couple.
Couples Match status often comes up naturally as part of the conversation during an interview, but if it doesn’t, it’s important to bring it up. Here are some examples of times where you can address this topic in your interview:
- “Tell me about yourself.”
- “Why are you interested in our program specifically?”
- “Tell me something that wasn’t on your application.”
It is recommended that you do not spend the whole time discussing the Couples Match during these answers, as ultimately, the interview is about you. However, mentioning it does show programs you and your partner are both interested, making it more likely that they will communicate with your partner’s program.
It is also an opportunity to mention you are in a Couple Match when accepting an interview invitation. By doing this, you increase the likelihood your program will communicate with your partner’s program as well.
Match Strategies for Rank Lists
Creating your rank lists can be a daunting task. Sit down with your partner and look over your notes from each of your interviews. It may be helpful to assign a grade to each program and average the scores to create a preliminary rank order list that you can modify as you go. You may also try the strategy of placing each program into four categories:
- Programs you both loved
- Programs you both liked
- Programs that only one of you loved
- Programs that neither of you likes much
This collaborative approach ensures a balanced and comprehensive rank order list.
Final Thoughts on Residency Couples Match
Navigating the Residency Couples Match is a unique journey that requires open communication, strategic planning, and a mutual understanding of each other’s priorities. Dr. Clarissa Jordan’s success story serves as inspiration for couples embarking on this process. Trust the process, communicate effectively, and approach the Match with confidence—your shared journey in the world of residency awaits! Watch the full Couples Match video from our Match Summit for helpful insights and be sure to stick around until the end for a Q&A session.