Rules for making your Rank Order List (ROL)

Rules for the Rank Order List (ROL)

  • Put them in the order you actually want them. There is no reason to change how you will rank programs based on post-interview communications or voodoo. Your number one should be your dream program.
  • You must “certify” your ROL when you first make it and whenever you make a change to it.
  • Rank every program you interview at unless you absolutely hate the program and would rather not have a job. There is no harm in ranking programs just in case unless you would rather not match and try to scramble for whatever scraps are left.
  • The Match algorithm guarantees that you will get the very best job you can get based on your preferences.
  • Try to avoid any plan that involves the SOAP. The number of spots in your field of interest cannot be predicted and should not be relied upon. Additionally, if a program has spots in the SOAP, that could be an interview fluke…but it could also be an indication that it might not be the best place to spend 3+ years.

For advanced specialties:

  • You must create additional supplemental ROL for internships (PGY1 positions).
  • You can create different supplemental ROL for each advanced position you rank, which allows you to coordinate geography appropriately (i.e. you can rank Texas prelims above California prelims for your Texas programs and vice versa).
  • You can also list PGY1 programs as backups on your primary rank list in the event you do not match to an advanced position. You will still have the chance to enter the SOAP for an advanced position; you just won’t then need to try to obtain two jobs at once.

For couples:

  • You coordinate your ROL on your own (their #1 is your #1 and so on), and the software itself doesn’t confirm that you guys did it right. Double check every single selection to make sure that you did match up your choices correctly.


Diane 12.17.15 Reply

Any thoughts on ranking more than 20 programs? It costs $30 for each program over 20. In this scenario, the applicant is competitive and went on a crazy number of interviews by choice, not out of necessity.

Ben 12.18.15 Reply

Would seem highly unnecessary. I haven’t updated the numbers, but based on the 2012 data, 81% of matched applicants got one of their top three choices. Only 13% landed at a place beyond their fourth choice.

Outside of a handful of fields with small residencies and applicants who are therefore forced to overinterview (urology, derm, integrated plastics), the odds of something landing past say their top 8 choices (historically used as a kind of “safe number” cushion) is low (though does occur). Even in those fields, 20 should be more than sufficient (i.e. if you were able to land as many as (or more) than 20 interviews, then your odds of not matching at any of them is very low). This is especially true if you’d honestly not really be interested in going to the program at #21 all things considered.

Leave a Reply