Fourth-year students at Tufts University School of Medicine found out which residency programs had accepted them last month on Game day. This year’s game day marked the first time the students have been able to celebrate their games together in person since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic two years ago.
Match Day, which fell on March 18 this yeartakes place on the same day for every medical school in the country. At TUSM, 205 students were matched to 25 specialties in 32 states.
The process of determining the desired specialization spans the four years of medical school and takes place through various programs and career exploration opportunities.
Dr. Amy Kuhlik, Dean of Student Affairs at TUSMexplained that when students complete their third year of school, they begin to finalize their decision on which major they hope to match.
“Students in the summer before their fourth year of medical school…do their final career exploration to determine what area of medicine they hope to pursue“, Kuhlik noted.
After choosing their specialty of interest, students begin to complete the Electronic residence application service.
Melisa Granoff, a TUSM student who has been matched with the Cambridge Health Alliance for Psychiatrydescribes the application process.
“You prepare an application much like you would for college or medical school applications, where you have your transcript and letters of recommendation and all your extracurriculars“, Granoff noted. “And you write a personal statement, usually about why you want to get into this field and how you got into medicine.”
Prior to the pandemic, some students in the fall of their fourth year had the opportunity to complete various clinical rotations in their area of interest at different sites across the country. These rotations are often called “audition rotations” because students are essentially auditioning for future spots in residency programs.
Jthis year, however, students were only able to complete one internship outside of their home institution’s systems due to the pandemic.
Kuhlik explained that this meant that students had to apply to programs without ever experiencing the work environment in person.
“Some students have been able to enter hospitals just to take a look, but for the most part it’s invisible“, Kuhlik noted. “So unless it’s the only place you’ve been away [rotation] or one of your home institutions, you may have never visited that city, … and you … probably have not visited this residency program.”
After applying for programs of interest, students wait to hear back from programs about whether they received an interview, how highly they choose programs they accept interviews from. Interviews were conducted virtuallywhich is another major change.
The move to a virtual interview format has had various consequences. In the past, students would often be able to accept only a few interviews due to the logistical and financial constraints of travel. Once a student declined an interview request, another candidate was invited for an interview.
However, since travel logistics were no longer a factor in virtual interviews, students could accept every interview request. although he is not interested in all programs. Kuhlik called this phenomenon “hoarding of interviews”, which has had the effect of reducing the number of students matched across the country.
“If you imagine the interview hoarding, now you’re talking about a situation where in some specialties, … 60% of locations were interviewing the same 25% of students, which is a real problem and has resulted in more students … being unmatched“, Kuhlik noted.
On the other hand, Kuhlik noted that virtual interviews are fairer because they eliminate money travel constraints, which prevented students from accepting interviews.
After the interview season, which normally lasts approximately November to January, students rank the programs they interviewed for, with number one representing their first choice. Likewise, the programs rank each candidate they interviewed, And one The algorithm then associates the students with the programs.
Kuhlik highlighted how exciting it was to celebrate in person for the first time in two years.
“We just had a lot of fun… and it was very festive“, Kuhlik noted. “It felt like the first time we had all been together in such a celebratory way in a few years..”
For students, Match Day represents the culmination of a grueling application process.
For Michel Mastroiannia TUSM student which corresponded to Columbia University Medical Center for Orthopedic Surgerythat day also represented the beginning of a lifelong dream.
“I’m from New York so I was kinda hoping to go back to New York“, Mastroianni said. “I’m a die-hard Yankees fan. … [Columbia University Medical Center] also has the Yankees team doctors. So it’s just a bit of a childhood dream come true there.”
For others, Match Day brings both excitement and sadness, as it means the chapter of life spent at Tufts is coming to an end.
Ilana Goldberg, which corresponded with Thomas Jefferson University Hospital for Internal Medicinespoke about his feelings about leaving Tufts after studying here as an undergraduate and postgraduate.
“I’ve really enjoyed being at Tufts for the past eight years,” she said. “It will be sad to leave, but I will always be a double Jumbo, and I feel like I’ve grown a lot as a person since I’ve been here..”