Finalizing your Rank List

By: Nishant Garg, MD; Juan Javier-DesLoges, MD Chair, AUA Residents & Fellows Committee | Posted on: 29 Jan 2021

AUA Residents & Fellows Committee News

With interview season wrapping up, urology applicants will enter the next phase of the urology match: finalizing your rank list. Although initially daunting, the rank list is an applicant's way of having significant input into the direction of their career. Although this year may be different with virtual interviews, the basic principles behind creating a rank list remain the same: stay organized, deliberate and thoughtful when evaluating programs.

There are many ways to go about ranking programs, but the most important point is to divide the top half and bottom half of the list. This is not to say that programs in the top are somehow better than programs in the bottom. Rather, it means that the programs you put in your top half are a better fit for you. This distinction is critical because the rank list is meant to represent how you feel about a program.

When evaluating the Match statistics from the AUA website for the last 2 years, in 2019, 66.1% of applicants matched at their top 3 choices, with a majority of those (38.2%) matching at their first choice. 1 In 2020 these numbers decreased slightly with 63% matching at their first 3 choices and 37% at their first choice. 2 These numbers underscore the importance of thinking carefully about the top half, and more specifically, the top 3 programs on your list.

When constructing your list, keep in mind that no matter where you end up, you will get good training and become a competent urologist. Reminding yourself of that fact will allow you to focus on other aspects of ranking. Is there a specific type of urology subspecialty you are interested in? Is there a particular region/location in the country where you want to be? Does the program have a strong focus on research and, if so, is that something that interests you? What is the relationship between faculty and residents? What is the relationship among residents themselves? What is the trajectory of the department? Is there another factor that you value?

While these factors matter most for the top programs on your list, they are equally important for the bottom half. Around a third of applicants match outside of their top 3 choices and, therefore, it is important to evaluate each program meticulously. During the interview trail keep notes on each program, and if you did not, make your notes now. This will allow you to compare programs more directly.

The rank list is the last chance you have to provide input on where you want to train. With careful consideration of how to divide your list, and then evaluating what matters to you, you can ensure an optimal outcome. Remember, if you match into urology, you will get excellent training and at the end of the day you will be a urologist.

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