Medical Students Meet Their Match

TTUHSC Medical Students Open Envelopes that Reveal Residencies

Three female TTUHSC medical students hold up their match letters.

Fourth-year students opened their envelopes simultaneously with students across the country to reveal where they will spend the next three to seven years as residents and what specialty they will pursue.

Anticipation, excitement and nerves created a match made in medicine as 165 Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) School of Medicine students participated in Match Day. The fourth-year students opened their envelopes simultaneously with students across the country to reveal where they will spend the next three to seven years as residents and what specialty they will pursue for their professional careers. 

Match Day is a nerve-wracking event that has played out on medical school campuses across the country since 1952. Months before Match Day, students begin applying to residency programs in their preferred specialties. Students visit sites to evaluate and ultimately rank their preferred residency programs. At the same time, administrators at each site interview and rank applicants. The process is blinded so that neither applicants nor programs see each other's rank order lists.  

A male and a female TTUHSC medical student pin their match location on a map of the United States.

Medical students pin their match locations on a map.

Many students apply for more than one specialty and do not know until Match Day which medical specialty they matched with. Although the majority of U.S. medical school seniors match to one of their top three program choices, applicants may match to programs lower on their rank order list, especially when their preferred specialty for training is among competitive specialties.

Last year, nearly 43,000 applicants competed for more than 37,000 first-year training positions across the country, according to the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP).

The NRMP coordinates this process and makes the final match algorithm, which is designed to produce results for students to fill the thousands of training positions available at U.S. teaching hospitals. 

John C. DeToledo, M.D., TTUHSC executive vice president of clinical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, said for most students, it has been an eight-year journey or longer, requiring intense study and clinical training, a lot of discipline and self-sacrifice. 

Female TTUHSC medical student holds up a sign showing where she matched.

The match represents the transition from being a medical student to being a doctor.

“For our students, the match represents the transition from being a medical student to being a doctor,” DeToledo said. “This is my first Match Day as the dean of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine and I feel privileged to be part of these students’ journey. They chose a profession that will impact people’s lives through health care and scientific breakthroughs.” 

This year, TTUHSC School of Medicine students matched to institutions including Mayo Clinic, Massachusetts General Hospital, Cleveland Clinic, Yale, Emory, UT Southwestern Medical Center, UT at Austin Dell Medical School and UT Health San Antonio.

Of the 165 TTUHSC students, 20% matched at one of the TTUHSC affiliated residency programs; 56% are remaining in Texas, and 53% of the students matched to a primary care residency program. Other student matches included 35 in family medicine, 14 in OB/GYN, 22 in internal medicine, 12 in general surgery, 17 in pediatrics and seven students in psychiatry.

“All of these students received an excellent education,” DeToledo said. “Their commitment to become exceptional physicians has led them to match well, and we are excited to see the wonderful things they will do in the medical profession, both here and across the country.”

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