Monday, December 08, 2008

Interview Day: A Proposal


The Match is the yearly ritual in which 4th year medical students in the U.S. find out whether they matched to a residency program, and if so, where they matched. The process leading up to this point is long and convoluted. Although moving the system online has made things much easier, there is still a fair amount of inefficiency involved. I'm not sure there will ever be a perfect system, but one common frustration for us applicants is the haphazard nature in which we are notified of interviews, which leads to poor travel planning and excessive expense. One resident I spoke with said he spent around $12,000! As a future radiologist, he'll earn it back eventually, but consider that that figure is nearly a third to a fourth of his salary for his entire intern year!

At any rate, I have a humble proposal: Interview Day(s). Initially, the idea was to mirror Match Day and have a single day on which all programs release their interview invitations. Since Dean's Letters go out on November 1, a date like November 15 would seem reasonable. However, one can imagine the chaos that would ensue on that day. Discussions with friends led to an evolution in the thought. Instead of having a single day, perhaps the 4 Mondays in November could each be a single wave of interviews. Each wave would represent a region of the country, and all the programs in that region would release their interview invites on that day. While this may stress some programs, I would imagine applicants would find this beneficial for two main reasons. First, it would remove some of the uncertainty regarding when one should expect to hear from a program. Second, if you hear from all the program in one region at the same time, it makes it MUCH easier to coordinate your travel plans so that you are not repeatedly traveling back and forth across the country. Of course, the region going last would be at a disadvantage but possible remedies include rotating which region goes last every year. While I'm sure programs would not be in favor of this system because of institutional inertia, I cannot see how it would significantly change how they decide who to initially interview. If applicants benefit, and the cost to programs in terms of effort is relatively minimal, such a change should be made. I'm sure I'm missing something here, but the idea seems like it is worth consideration.

Thoughts?

(Image Source: AAMC)

No comments:

Post a Comment

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...