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NBOME

Stories from the Road: Ranking Programs – Where Am I A Good Fit? Interview with Eleanora Yeiser, DO, PGY III

February 22, 2021

Match Day is approaching, and with it looming ever closer comes the next important step of the journey – figuring out how to create the perfect Match rank order list. This is a critical part of the process, as you’re trying to determine where you’ll be spending the next 3+ years of your life, and it’s been made even more difficult in 2021 by not being able to visit those programs in person.

Match Day is approaching, and with it looming ever closer comes the next important step of the journey – figuring out how to create the perfect Match rank order list. This is a critical part of the process, as you’re trying to determine where you’ll be spending the next 3+ years of your life, and it’s been made even more difficult in 2021 by not being able to visit those programs in person.

To help out OMS IVs struggling with this step, Eleanora Yeiser, DO, PGY III, wanted to share some insights she learned when creating her own rank order list.

Dr. Yeiser is currently a PGY-3 family medicine resident at Main Line Health in Bryn Mawr, PA. She is a member of the Pennsylvania Osteopathic Medical Association Committee on Professional Guidance (East Region) and serves on her resident wellness and diversity committees. She currently serves as a NBOME Resident Ambassador, and works to advocate for DO students and their credentials. Her professional involvements include reviewing articles for the Osteopathic Family Physician Journal. After residency, she will be relocating to northern New Jersey to practice outpatient family medicine.


How did you know that the programs you ranked were right for you?

I ranked the programs that I knew I would be happy matching into—that’s the best you can do in a process that’s ultimately out of your control. My situation was unique since I rotated at my top ranked program as a third and fourth year student, and I knew it would be a good fit since I had a great experience there. Ultimately there is no one formula for how to rank programs. Personally, I used the same criteria for all my program, location and the people or the overall “fit” of the program. Residents change every year but program structure and faculty are less likely to turnover as frequently. If you don’t think you’ll be happy there based on your non-negotiables, intuition or general impression then don’t rank it. It’s also important to consider whether or not your interests will be supported. For instance, are there faculty or recent graduates who’ve done fellowships, additional training or research in their areas of interest? Is there support in pursuing new or away electives, scholarly activities, or responses to major life events (births, deaths, illness, etc.)? What are their wellness initiatives, and do the residents seem to have good work-life balance? Have residents felt supported during the pandemic (rotation changes and response, PPE)? These are all important factors to consider when finding the programs that are right for you.

What factors from your interview were the most meaningful in affecting how you created your rank list?

The main factor I considered was whether or not I could imagine myself at the program. I considered how the residents interacted with each other, and if it seemed genuine or forced. The availability of the attending who would become my next mentors and the culture of the program were important to me as well. I would also recommend considering the type of resources and support the program provides to ensure their residents succeed.

Did you receive feedback from any programs after the interview? If so, did this make a difference?

Yes, from some, and it’s helpful but I definitely wouldn’t rank a program lower because you don’t hear back. It’s also worth reaching out if you’re interested afterwards; every program is different and just because you didn’t hear back, doesn’t mean they don’t regard you highly. It’s also important to remember that programs are unable to contact applicants between the Rank Order List Deadline and the start of the Match Week, so don’t worry if you didn’t hear anything beforehand!

How did you go about creating your rank list? Did you rank according to your preference or did you try to anticipate which programs would rank you highly?

I was given the advice to rank where you would want to be and not based on the program you think will rank you highest. If I hadn’t taken that advice, I may have missed out. Ultimately, you can only match into one spot, and I wouldn’t want to risk losing a spot somewhere I’d love to be because of trying to predict where I’d actually end up. For example, it’s unlikely that the top six candidates for a program all want to be there equally when most people apply to numerous programs to increase their odds. But if you’re honest with yourself, you have a greater chance of matching at your ideal program. Rank in order of where you truly want to be, and it will all work out the way it’s supposed to in the end. If you are still feeling a little unsure about how to create your list, the NRMP has created a video detailing the Guidelines for Applicants for Creating a Rank Order List, as well as a helpful video that explains exactly how the matching algorithm works.


The rank order list submission is open until March 3, but we recommend trying not to stress and end up waiting until the last minute to submit your list on the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) website. Remember, when you know, you know! If you’re still looking for additional help on creating your list, there is some helpful advice available from the American Osteopathic Association as well as published resources from the NRMP.

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