We are a couple years into using the Match and felt this page could use a bit of an update. While it may no longer be a new process, it still certainly causes a lot of anxiety. Here are some more recent thoughts.
Katie, Class of 2023: Overall, I think I appreciated having the Match system in place. It definitely was a new and somewhat uncomfortable experience considering it was so different from applying for undergrad but I think there are a lot of benefits to it. As a person who is pretty indecisive, I will do all of the research I possibly can and then still feel like there is information or perspectives that I’m missing. With the Match process and the deadline to submit ranks, I didn’t have the option to wait until the last minute. I had to be constantly evaluating how I felt about schools and this also meant that I needed to ask all of my questions by the time rankings were due. For undergrad, I felt like it was kind of the opposite where it wasn’t until I had acceptances that I really considered where I wanted to go which just caused a buildup of anxiety.
On the flip side, I will say it was somewhat frustrating to have to repeatedly explain the Match system to people who weren’t familiar with it, which was almost everyone in my circle of family and friends. Furthermore, even though everyone says that there is no point in strategizing your ranks based on how you think schools might rank you, it’s absolutely still something that crossed my mind. In the end, it took some time to convince myself that this was actually true but it still spurred some anxiety nonetheless.
The biggest lesson I learned was: ask all of the questions you have! If you have unanswered questions after interviews, even if it’s just to know why a school has a certain policy, you should ask! Chances are, you’ll be able to gather an answer and this will make ranking and feeling comfortable with your ranks much easier.
Emilia, Class of 2023: “Trust your gut” is likely a phrase that you will hear many times throughout the Match process. Although this advice was likely meant to be a phrase for comfort, it can also bring up that much more anxiety. What do I do if my gut doesn’t know? How will I prioritize logic versus internal feelings? Unfortunately, there is no right or wrong answer but it is still important to recognize this challenge. As someone who relies on lists for just about everything in life, the process of ranking genetic counseling schools was one very large list. However, as much as it pains me to say, there is only so much a list can do. When you picture yourself getting matched to a specific school, consider the first emotion that arises. After the interview day ended, were you bubbling up with emotions or somewhat impartial? Did you have butterflies in your stomach from the conversations or solely glad that lengthy day was over? Be sure to write everything down that you feel or think as this will serve as a very important reference when it comes time to submit your ranking. Each person’s experience is vastly unique and finding your preferred way of sorting through all of the moving pieces is critical.
The Match process had some really unique benefits and limitations. On one hand, it doesn’t guarantee you a spot, even after all of the work applying and interviewing. Additionally, if you are applying directly after undergrad, an April match day doesn’t give answers until right around graduation. It can be very stressful having to describe to everyone that asks how you aren’t sure what your plan is after graduation. On the other hand, it eased a lot of anxiety when thinking about ultimately having to make the choice about which school to attend. It also gave an opportunity to decide which schools fit best for you as well as you for them. This is such an essential part of the process that some other professions don’t have the opportunity to consider. In the end, Match is a very exciting but intense process, reiterating the importance of prioritizing your needs along the way. Although it may seem like the utmost important thing at the time, life does keep moving and at some point Match will seem like a faint memory.