What is “Match Day”?

Each year, medical students await Match Day with anticipation. That’s because on the third Friday of every March, thousands of graduating medical students learn where they will be training for residency for the next several years. Residency is where doctors train in a specialty, so the match has a huge impact on the student’s future. Residency programs were first introduced in the early 1900s, and by the 1940s competition for these programs became so fierce that institutions began scouting promising medical students early in their training, almost like professional sports recruiters. The Match was created in 1952 to bring order to the growing chaos. So, how does the process work. For medical students, it begins in their fourth year. Prior to that, students have learned about different areas of medicine through clinical rotations, which help them determine what specialty they would like to practice. Fourth-year medical students submit applications for residency and are then invited for interviews. In February, the ranking lists are fed into a system called Registration, Ranking and Results (R3), which uses the information to match applicants to programs. Finally, on Match Day, medical students find out where they’ve been placed, and the next leg of their journey begins.