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Match Myths

February 12, 2022
by Mark David Siegel

Hi everyone,

Tomorrow’s our rank meeting, and I’ll be spending today preparing the list. With so many myths surrounding the match, it’s time to bust a few:

  1. Love letters: As of this morning, 32 applicants have told us they’re ranking us first. It’s flattering, but immaterial. As we’ve said before, we pay no attention to love letters when making the list.
  2. IMGs: Despite years of recruiting exceptional IMGs to Yale, many still can’t believe they have a shot. This is probably because few of our peer programs pursue IMGs. But we do. IMGs enrich our residency, and I’m sure we’ll have many in next year’s class.
  3. It’s all about grades and board scores: Grades and board scores matter, but they’re not everything. Research, leadership, personal statements, letters of recommendation, interviews, and commitment to our mission are just as important.
  4. Connections Count: They don’t. I get lots of requests to pay special attention to people with ties to Yale—for example, family members—but they don’t count for much. Everyone deserves a shot, which means we have to pay just as much attention to those with no connections at all.
  5. We prioritize schools like Yale: Totally untrue. We want residents who will bring fresh ideas, diverse experiences, and new ways to do our work.
  6. We seek a certain “type”: Actually, it’s the opposite. We seek residents of all races, ethnicities, religions, genders, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic backgrounds. We seek future teachers, clinicians, and scientists. If you’re smart, hardworking, and kind, we’re interested.
  7. It’s a perfect science: Hardly. There’s no reliable way to compare performances between schools with different grading systems, account for the idiosyncrasies of different interviewers, weigh the merits of research vs. leadership, and predict the trajectory of students who are just starting their careers. Thankfully, the qualifications of students at the top of the list are not that different from those at the bottom. They’re all great.
  8. Where you rank matters: We don’t obsess over individual rankings. Only the cutoff matters. If we go down to 250, it doesn’t matter if an applicant is #1 or #250. If they’re above the cutoff and they want to come, they’re in.
  9. It all happens at the rank meeting: The meeting is not exactly the NFL Draft. Tomorrow morning I’ll share my preliminary rankings with the Intern Selection Committee, and they’ll give me feedback. After that, I have until March 2 to tweak the list.
  10. It’s up to us: that’s the biggest myth of all. It’s really up to the applicants, who have many great programs to choose from. That’s why we work so hard to highlight what makes our residency special, which is also why we match so many spectacular interns each year- because applicants who share our values and know they’ll thrive at Yale put us at the top of their lists.

Please think of me today as I spend the afternoon poring over a spreadsheet, until Heide lures me away with chicken wings, margaritas, and guacamole.

Enjoy your Sunday, everyone, and enjoy The Game (for those who watch)!


PS Signs of spring bursting through the snow!

Submitted by Mark David Siegel on February 13, 2022