Multiple Rank Order Lists

The 2019 APPCN Match


Using Multiple Lists for a Single Program

Most programs will need to submit only one Rank Order List for the Match, in order to match with the most desirable applicants to the program. However, some programs may have special requirements that can only be satisfied by submitting more than one Rank Order List for a single program.

Using Multiple Lists, it is possible within the matching algorithm to attempt to recruit a particular "mix" or distribution of applicants based on specific applicant characteristics (see Examples below).

Residency sites offering more than one program in the Match can choose to submit Multiple Lists for some or all of their programs, if desired. For example, a residency site offering a pediatric program and an adult program could choose to submit two Lists for the pediatric program and only one List for the adult program, if that was necessary to satisfy their requirements.

When a program sets up Multiple Lists, each List is assigned an alphabetic priority (i.e., A, B, C, etc.) to distinguish the Lists. In the event the same applicant is ranked on more than one List, the applicant will match on the List with the higher priority (e.g., List A ahead of List B).

Applicants applying to a program that chooses to submit Multiple Lists for a single program need only include on their Rank Order Lists the single program Match Code Number originally assigned to the program. Applicants do not need to know that the program is submitting Multiple Lists, or on which specific List(s) for the program their names may appear.

When the program's Match results are distributed to you, the applicants matched from the various Lists will be combined together, so that you will receive a single integrated list of applicants matched to the program.

Special Cases within Multiple Lists

  • Ranking the Same Applicant on More than One List

    It is likely that, in most cases, an applicant will appear on only one of the Lists submitted for the program. However, it is permissible to rank a single individual on more than one List for a program, and to assign a different rank number to the applicant on each List if desired.

    If you rank the same applicant on Multiple Lists for the same program, a situation can arise where that applicant can match to the program on more than one List. The matching algorithm addresses this situation by assigning a priority to each List that determines on which List the applicant will match.

    Each List is automatically assigned an alphabetical priority (e.g., A, B, C,). An applicant who can match on more than one List will be matched on the List with the higher alphabetic priority. For example, if an applicant can match on both List A and List B, then the applicant will match on List A, and the position on List B will be filled by another applicant from List B if possible.

    You must consider this alphabetic priority when setting up your Multiple Lists.

    Note: The alphabetic priority for each List is relevant only when the same applicant can match on more than one List, and does not affect the matching process in any other way.

  • Revert Unfilled Positions Between Lists

    Finalize your Multiple List setup before adding any reversion.

    For each Multiple List you set up, you should consider whether or not you wish to revert any unfilled positions from that List to another one of the Multiple Lists for the same program, or to a Rank Order List for a different program at your residency site.

    Reverting unfilled positions from one List to another may reduce the likelihood that the program will be left with any unfilled positions after the Match.

    Note: One of the usual restrictions on reversions is that you cannot specify a reversion of unfilled positions from List A to List B, and another reversion from List B to List A (i.e., a circular reversion). However, there is a technique that can be used to circumvent this restriction for the reversion of positions between Multiple Lists for the same program. Refer to the example on Preference for Composition of Applicants From Two Different Groups below.

Multiple List User Guide

Consult the Multiple List User Guide for detailed instructions for submitting Multiple Lists using the NMS Match System.

Multiple List User Guide

Multiple List Examples

The examples provided below are representative only. If you are uncertain as to whether your requirements can be accommodated using Multiple Lists, please contact NMS as soon as possible.

  • Preference for At Least One Applicant With a Certain Characteristic

    Suppose a program has 3 positions and 8 applicants, some of whom are bilingual. The overall preferences for these applicants (ignoring each applicant's bilingual capabilities) are:

    Rank Applicant Bilingual?
    1 George no
    2 Mary yes
    3 Greg no
    4 Sally yes
    5 Ruth no
    6 Frank no
    7 Jane no
    8 Bob yes

    Now suppose that the program’s requirements for matching with these applicants are as follows:

    • It is important that the program fill at least one position with a bilingual applicant. More than one bilingual applicant would be acceptable, but a strong preference must be given to filling at least one position with a bilingual applicant.
    • The program will only accept a match with Bob in order to match with a bilingual applicant. If the program matches with one of the other preferred bilingual applicants, the program would rather have an unfilled position than match with Bob.
    • If the program does not match with any of the bilingual applicants, it would prefer to fill all 3 positions with applicants who are not bilingual, rather than have an unfilled position after the Match.

    This program can satisfy its requirements by submitting two Lists and a reversion, as follows:

    List A (Bilingual) - 1 position
    Rank Applicant
    1 Mary
    2 Sally
    3 Bob
    List B - 2 positions
    Rank Applicant
    1 George
    2 Greg
    3 Sally
    4 Ruth
    5 Frank
    6 Jane

    Reversion: If the position is not filled on List A, revert the unfilled position to List B.

    List A, with 1 position, consists of all the bilingual applicants and only the bilingual applicants in preference order. By separating these applicants on List A, which is given priority in the Match, the program will attempt to fill at least one position with a bilingual applicant.

    List B, with the other 2 positions, consists of all applicants in preference order except for Mary and Bob. These two applicants have been omitted from List B for different reasons:

    • Mary could have been ranked on List B as well, between George and Greg, but there is no point in doing so. Since Mary is the first choice on List A, and List A is given priority in the Match over List B, if Mary matches to this program, she will do so on List A.
    • Bob is desirable only as a bilingual candidate, and will be matched only on List A if necessary to fill the bilingual position. If he is not matched on List A, the program does not want to match with him on List B.

    On the other hand, Sally is included on both Lists. If the program matches with Mary on List A, the program would still be happy to match with Sally as a second bilingual applicant, provided the program does not fill the positions with more preferred applicants. Hence, Sally is also included in the appropriate position on List B.

    If the position on List A remains unfilled, the program has specified that the position should revert to List B. If the program is unable to match with a bilingual applicant, it will attempt to fill all three positions with non-bilingual applicants before it ends up with an unfilled position after the Match.

  • Preference for Composition of Applicants From Two Different Groups

    Suppose a program has 4 positions and 9 applicants. The program is involved in some research projects and would like to fill 2 positions with applicants who have indicated a desire to devote a portion of their time to these research projects, and 2 positions with applicant who are not interested in spending time on the research projects.

    The program can classify its applicant pool into 2 distinct groups based on the applicants’ interests in participating in the research projects. For example, the applicant pool might be grouped as follows:

    Interested in Doing Research Not Interested in Doing Research
    Lynn David
    Sandra Mark
    Rahim Rhonda
    Ellen Boris
    Bella

    While the program would prefer to match with 2 applicants from each group, it is prepared to forego this distinction entirely in order to ensure that it fills all its positions. In other words, it is prepared to fill up to 4 positions with applicants from either group, if necessary, to avoid having any unfilled positions.

    Because the program has no idea which List might fill and which List might be left with unfilled positions, it wants to set up a reversion from List A to List B and then add a second reversion from List B to List A. However, this type of "circular" reversion is not allowed.

    One way to address this requirement is to set up Multiple Lists and a reversion as follows:

    List A - 2 positions
    Rank Applicant
    1 Lynn
    2 Sandra
    3 Rahim
    4 Ellen
    List B - 2 positions
    Rank Applicant
    1 David
    2 Mark
    3 Rhonda
    4 Boris
    5 Bella
    6 Rahim
    7 Ellen

    Reversion: Revert all unfilled positions from List A to List B.

    List A consists of all those applicants with an interest in doing research. An attempt will first be made to fill 2 positions from this group of applicants. However, if any unfilled positions remain on this List, the positions are reverted to List B in order to attempt to fill the positions with additional applicants who are not interested in research.

    The first 5 ranks on List B are all those applicants who are not interested in doing research. An attempt will first be made to fill 2 positions from this group of applicants. Furthermore, for example, if only one applicant is matched on List A and the first 2 choices are matched on List B, then the unfilled position will be reverted from List A to List B, and an attempt will be made to fill the position with other applicants from List B.

    But what if List A fills with the first 2 choices, and only 1 applicant is matched on List B from the top 5 choices on that List (the applicants not interested in research)?

    Instead of reverting the unfilled position from List B to List A (which is not allowed), the additional applicants from List A have been added to the end of List B, so that an attempt will be made to fill the position with another applicant who is interested in research. Note: There is no point in adding the first 2 applicants ranked on List A to List B - if Lynn and/or Sandra match to this program they will do so on List A, since List A is given priority and has 2 positions.

    However, adding Rahim and Ellen to the end of List B provides the opportunity to match with additional applicants interested in research if both Lynn and Sandra match on List A and one or both of the positions on List B remain unfilled.

    As a minor variation on this approach, suppose the preferences for Rahim and Ellen are different depending on whether they are being matched from List A or List B. For example, Rahim may have more research skills than Ellen and therefore is more preferred on List A if the research positions are not filled with other more preferred applicants.

    The only reason these applicants might match on List B is if the research positions are filled on List A and the positions on List B are not filled by applicants who are not interested in research. In this case, the program might actually prefer Ellen to Rahim, since the program has already matched with other strong research applicants. As a result, the program might choose to reverse the rankings of these applicants on List B by ranking Ellen 6th and Rahim 7th, therefore giving Ellen preference over Rahim on List B.

    This technique for circumventing circular reversions can only be used for Multiple Lists submitted for a single program. It cannot be used for reversions between different programs, since there is no guarantee the applicants will rank both Code Numbers.

  • Preference for Applicants Better Suited For Different Types of Positions

    Suppose a program has 3 positions, and wants to construct a separate List of applicants with specific characteristics for each position - for example, one position for applicants best suited to deal with pre-school children, another position for applicants best suited to deal with grade school children, and another position for applicants best suited to deal with teenagers.

    The program can categorize its applicants into the 3 groups and submit separate Lists to match with one applicant from each List.

    However, if the program is unable to fill one or more positions from these separate Lists, its requirements might be more complex. For example, suppose the applicant pool consists of the following 10 applicants:

    Joe: Best candidate to work with teenagers
    Steve: Very good with teenagers, but not with other age groups
    Wendy: Very good with teenagers, acceptable with other age groups but not as good as some other applicants
    Beth: Best candidate to work with grade school children
    Sam: Very good with grade school children, also good with other age groups as well
    Farah: Very good with grade school children, but could work with other age groups as well
    Karen: Best candidate to work with pre-school children
    Ali: Very good with pre-school children, also good with other age groups as well
    Brandy: Not as good as other applicants but could work with any age group
    Gary: Not as good as other applicants but could work with any age group

    This program could satisfy its requirements by submitting 4 Lists with reversions as shown below:

    List A
    (Teens)
    1 position
    Rank Applicant
    1 Joe
    2 Steve
    3 Wendy
    List B
    (Grade School)
    1 position
    Rank Applicant
    1 Beth
    2 Sam
    3 Farah
    List C
    (Pre-School)
    1 position
    Rank Applicant
    1 Karen
    2 Ali
    List D
    (Alternate)
    0 positions
    Rank Applicant
    1 Sam
    2 Ali
    3 Farah
    4 Brandy
    5 Gary
    6 Wendy

    Reversions: Any unfilled position from List A, List B or List C reverts to List D

    With the first 3 Lists, the program attempts to match with the best candidates for each of the three positions.

    List D starts the Match with no positions, and is the "alternate" List for each of List A, List B and List C should any of these Lists not fill its position.

    List D includes applicants who could work with any age group. None of the applicants ranked first on Lists A, B, or C are included on List D, since these first three Lists have priority in the Match over List D. If any of the first choice applicants on each List matches with this program, they will do so on the List on which they are ranked. The less preferred applicants from Lists A, B, and C are ranked on List D in overall preference order, except for Steve, who is acceptable only to work with teenagers. Applicants Brandy and Gary are not preferred for any of Lists A, B, or C, but would be acceptable applicants and hence are included on List D.

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