Strategy for Ranking

2021 SSO Breast Match


Key Takeaways

  1. Rank all applicants that would be acceptable. You may rank as many applicants as you wish. Submitting a longer list of applicants may reduce your chances of being left with unfilled positions.
  2. Rank applicants in order of your true preference, with the most preferred applicant as rank #1, the second most preferred as rank #2, and so on.
  3. Do not consider where an applicant might rank you when constructing your preferences.
  4. Do not rank any applicant that is not acceptable for a track, even if the track might have unfilled positions after the Match.

Ranking Strategy

After you have evaluated all the applicants to your track(s), you must determine for each track the order of preference for applicants you wish to rank. You must enter and certify a separate Rank Order List in the NMS Match System for each track offered in the Match.

You should rank all applicants who are acceptable for each track. It is the responsibility of the Program Director to ensure that each applicant ranked by the program is eligible for training at your institution.

You may rank as many applicants as you wish for each track. By ranking more applicants, you may reduce the likelihood of being left with unfilled positions.

For each track, rank your most preferred applicant first, your next most preferred applicant second, and so on. The Rank Order List should accurately reflect the true desirability of each applicant to the track.

The algorithm will match each track with the most preferred applicant(s) on its list who have ranked that track and who are not matched with tracks they prefer.

Because of the way the matching algorithm works, you do not need to consider how you think an applicant will rank your program when preparing the rankings.

Your best strategy is to rank applicants in order of your true preferences, without consideration for how you think any applicant will rank your program.

Do not rank any applicant who is not acceptable for a track, even if the track might have unfilled positions after the Match. The SSO Breast Match results are binding; if your program is matched with an applicant you ranked, you must accept the result.

Q & A

  • What is the best strategy for ranking?

    In order to get your best possible result, you should rank applicants in order of your true preferences.

    The algorithm is specifically designed to give each participant their best result if they rank their choices in order of true preference. Using any other strategy may cause you to get a worse result. For example, if you decide to order your preferences by who is likely to rank your program highly, you may not get your most preferred applicants.

    Do not rank any applicant that you consider unacceptable (i.e., you would not want them matched to your program).

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  • Does the recommended strategy change if my program offers more than one position?

    No. You should always rank applicants according to your true preferences.

    If a track at your program has more than one position, the specific rank numbers you assign to your most preferred applicants, up to the number of positions to be filled from that list, are not significant. For example, if your track offers two positions, the specific rank numbers (1 or 2) assigned to your two most preferred applicants are not significant, as positions are available for both of these applicants if they want them. However, for less preferred applicants (ranks 3 and onward) the specific rank numbers you assign are very significant as they indicate your preference for each of these applicants if your track cannot match with your two most preferred applicants.

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  • How many applicants can I rank for each track?

    You may rank as many applicants as you wish for each track. There is no limit to or supplemental fees for the number of applicants you rank.

    You should rank all applicants who are acceptable for each of your tracks. Applicants generally apply to and rank several programs. Tracks that do not rank all acceptable applicants may not fill all of their positions. By submitting a longer list of applicants, you may reduce the likelihood of being left with unfilled positions.

    Do not rank any applicant that you consider unacceptable (i.e., you would not want them matched to your track).

  • What happens if I do not rank more applicants than I have positions available?

    Tracks that rank fewer applicants than the number of positions available (e.g., 2 applicants ranked for 3 available positions) will, by definition, have one or more unfilled positions in the Match.

    Similarly, tracks that rank the same number of applicants as positions available (e.g., 3 applicants ranked for 3 positions) run a very high risk of having one or more unfilled positions in the Match.

    Positions that are left unfilled in the Match may be offered in the Post-Match Process.

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