Strategy for Ranking

The 2019 APPCN Match


Key Takeaways

  1. Rank all programs that would be acceptable. You may rank as many programs as you wish. Submitting a longer list of programs may reduce your chances of being left unmatched.
  2. Rank programs in order of your true preference, with the most preferred program as rank #1, the second most preferred as rank #2, and so on.
  3. Do not consider where a program might rank you when determining your preferences.

Ranking Strategy

After you have evaluated all the programs to which you have applied that are participating in the Match, you must determine your order of preference for the programs. On your Rank Order List, you should rank your most preferred program first, your next most preferred program second, and so on.

Your Rank Order List should accurately reflect the true desirability of each program to you, regardless of how you think the program will rank you. Applicants need not make prior commitments to programs or submit to inappropriate pressures in constructing their Rank Order Lists (e.g., "I'll rank you high only if you rank me high"). Because of the way the matching algorithm works:

Your best strategy is to rank your choices in order of your true preference without consideration for how you expect to be ranked by any program.

For example, let's say you apply to two programs, A and B and you prefer Program A over Program B. Program B tells you "We are very interested in your application. You are competitive with our top applicants". Program A tells you nothing about the status of your candidacy. The fact that you know you are a top-candidate for Program B but don't know where you stand with Program A, should not influence or change the way you rank the programs on your Rank Order List. You should still rank Program A ahead of Program B. Even if you cannot match to Program A, ranking Program A ahead of Program B does not affect your chances of matching to Program B. Please review the Matching Algorithm page for a more detailed illustration of this point.

You may rank as many programs as you wish. There are generally more applicants than there are positions available, therefore there is strong competition for most positions. By submitting a longer list of programs, you may reduce the likelihood of being left unmatched; therefore, you should rank all programs participating in the Match to which you have applied and with which you are prepared to accept a position.

You will be matched to the most preferred program on your list that ranks you and does not fill all its positions with applicants it prefers.

Do not rank any program that you consider unacceptable (i.e., you would not want to be matched to the program, even if it was the only position available to you in the Match). As noted in the Applicant Agreement and APPCN Match Policies, the results of the Match are binding.

If you are matched to a program, you must accept your Match result. If you do not accept your Match result, the APPCN Board of Directors will review the situation and may impose penalties on you as outlined in the Applicant Agreement.

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