MATCH PARTICIPANTS ARE STRONGLY ENCOURAGED TO
CAREFULLY REVIEW THIS E-MAIL
e-mail contains very important information about rankings and constructing a
Rank Order List. The information is geared primarily towards internship
applicants, although many of the points discussed are equally valid for
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING FOR
APPLICANTS TO REMEMBER: Simply rank internship programs based on your
TRUE preferences, without consideration for where you believe you might be
ranked by these programs. List the program that you want most as rank #1,
followed by your next most-preferred program as rank #2, and so on.
deciding the SEQUENCE of your rankings, do NOT take into consideration where
you believe that you are ranked by programs. Do NOT worry about such
things as a program's popularity, the number of positions offered by a program,
how other applicants might rank a program, how a program might rank you or
other applicants, the length of your Rank Order List, etc. Do NOT spend
time trying to develop ranking "strategies" to supposedly increase
your chances of getting your highly-ranked programs. Taking any of these
factors into consideration when determining the sequence of your choices may
ultimately hurt you because it may reduce your chances of getting the best
possible match. The Matching Program has been specifically designed to
allow you to ignore those extraneous factors, and will work best for you if you
simply rank your programs in the order in which you prefer them.
also strongly encourage you to rank ALL programs that are considering you and
that you find acceptable, even if you believe that you will be able to match to
one of your more preferred programs. If you decide that a program is no
longer acceptable to you and you do not want to be matched to that program
under any circumstances, even if that means you will be left unmatched, simply
leave that program off of your Rank Order List. You cannot be matched to
a program that does not appear on your Rank Order List.
are some commonly-asked questions and answers about rankings.
If a program doesn't appear very interested in me, how should that affect
ANSWER: It should not affect your
rankings in any way. Let's use an example to address this question.
Suppose that you applied to five programs, and your TRUE order of
preference for these programs are as follows:
Wonderland VA - Psychology Internship
2. Atlantis Mental
Health - Child Rotation
3. Emerald City Counseling Center -
4. Atlantis Mental Health - Adult Rotation
Graceland Hospital - Psychology Internship
example, Wonderland VA is ranked #1 because it's the program that you most want
to attend. Assume that Wonderland doesn't appear to be very interested in
you. Should you move them down your list, given your assumption that they
may not rank you highly?
The answer is NO. If the
Wonderland VA is truly your top choice, you should absolutely leave them at the
top of your list. The Matching Program will attempt to match you to
Wonderland without penalizing you and without reducing your chances of being
matched with other programs if you are not matched to Wonderland.
Changing the sequence of your rankings based on how you perceive a
program has ranked you is a mistake that could negatively affect your outcome.
What if a program seems to be very interested in me, yet they are not
very high on my list. Should I move them higher on my list?
Using the above example: let's assume that Graceland Hospital has
expressed very strong interest in you. In fact, they have violated the
Match Policies and told you that they will be ranking you #1 on their list.
Should you move them up your Rank Order List, given their strong interest
The answer again is NO. If Graceland is truly
your fifth choice, then leave them ranked fifth. The Matching Program
will attempt to match you to your higher-ranked choices. If it is unable
to do so, and if Graceland has truly ranked you as their #1 choice, then you
will be matched to Graceland. Thus, as you can see in this example, you
have been able to rank Graceland according to your true preferences, without
being penalized if your higher-ranked choices don't work out for you.
I'm still a bit confused. Here is a hypothetical situation:
If I "reach for the stars" and rank six highly-competitive
programs as my first six choices, and then if these programs do not rank me
very high or at all, have I then wasted my top choices on programs that were
ANSWER: There is no such thing as
having "wasted" your top choices. If those six programs are
truly your top six choices, then you should rank them as your top six.
Doing so will give you the opportunity to be matched to those programs,
even if you consider your chances to be low. By ranking those programs as
your top six choices, you will not reduce your chances of matching with other
less-preferred programs if your top six don't work out.
QUESTION: OK, let's say I take your advice, but I don't get matched
to those top six programs. If I had also ranked the Transylvania VA as
#7, and John Doe ranked Transylvania as #1, wouldn't John Doe then get
Transylvania over me?
ANSWER: This will depend
on whether Transylvania prefers you or John Doe, not on whether John Doe ranked
Transylvania higher than you did. If Transylvania ranks you higher than
John Doe, and you don't get your top six choices, then you (not John Doe) would
be matched with Transylvania (assuming Transylvania doesn't fill their
positions by matching with other applicants who they prefer over BOTH you and
John Doe). On the other hand, if Transylvania ranks John Doe higher than
you, then John Doe would be matched to that program.
even though Transylvania was ranked #7 on your list, you haven't reduced your
chances of being matched to Transylvania by providing your true rankings.
Which programs should I include on my Rank Order List?
Most people will choose to include on their Rank Order List all programs
at which they are being considered. However, if you decide that one or
more of these programs are no longer acceptable to you (i.e., you would prefer
to remain unmatched rather than be matched to these programs), simply leave
these programs off of your Rank Order List. You cannot be matched to any
program that does not appear on your Rank Order List. Be aware, however,
that reducing the number of programs on your List potentially increases your chances
of remaining unmatched.
FOLLOW-UP QUESTION: I
received a lot of interviews, and I'm pretty confident that I will be matched
to one of my top-ranked sites. Do I really need to include all programs
at which I'm being considered on my Rank Order List?
Yes, we strongly recommend doing so. Better safe than sorry, since
submitting additional choices will not reduce your chances of matching to a
more preferred choice. Sometimes, applicants make assumptions about where
they are going to match based on a positive interview experience and/or
enthusiasm expressed by a program, and those assumptions aren't always accurate
(e.g., because programs often don't have enough positions to accommodate all of
the applicants about whom they are genuinely enthusiastic). Thus, ranking
all programs that are acceptable to you is the best approach.
advice is also very important for couples who participate in the Match.
We strongly recommend that couples submit all acceptable pairings of
programs, even though constructing such a long list may be time-consuming.
More information about participating as a couple may be found here:
I'm worried about not matching to any program on my Rank Order List.
Does the order in which I rank programs affect whether or not I will be
matched at all?
ANSWER: No. The order of
your rankings only affects WHERE you will be matched, not WHETHER OR NOT you
will be matched.
Example #1: Suppose you rank
eight programs and don't match to any of them. That means that each of
the eight programs either did not rank you or filled all their available
positions with applicants that they preferred to you. Each program's
preference for other applicants over you is not affected by the order in which
you ranked the eight programs. As a result, you would have been unmatched
regardless of the order in which you ranked those eight programs.
#2: Suppose you rank eight programs and are matched to your #1
choice, the "Ben & Jerry's Psychology Internship." Now
suppose you had instead ranked the same eight programs but in a different
order, say with Ben & Jerry's as the last choice. You would still be
as desirable to Ben & Jerry's, and therefore at worst would match to that
program. However, in this case you may match to one of the other programs
that you prefer to Ben & Jerry's. Regardless of the order in which
you rank the eight programs, you will still match, either to Ben & Jerry's
or to a program you list as preferred to Ben & Jerry's.
One program at which I interviewed told me that I am no longer under
consideration (i.e., that I won't be ranked). However, I haven't heard
from the other programs that interviewed me regarding my status as an
applicant. How do I know whether or not a program is ranking me?
While some programs provide post-interview feedback as to whether or not
you remain under consideration, many don't. Thus, if you interviewed at a
program, you should assume that you remain under consideration (and will be
ranked) unless that program specifically informs you otherwise.
QUESTION: If I'm not sure whether or not I will be ranked by a
particular program, should I still rank it?
Probably so. As explained previously, there is no "risk"
or "penalty" to ranking a program, even if you believe that program
may not have you ranked highly (or may not have ranked you at all). So,
unless you've been informed by a program that you are no longer under
consideration, it's probably best to go ahead and rank that program if it is
acceptable to you.
What if I didn't receive an interview at a particular program, and they
haven't explicitly told me that they aren't ranking me? Should I still
rank this program?
ANSWER: The answer to this
question depends on whether or not the program in question conducts interviews
as part of the evaluation process. While many programs conduct personal
interviews with applicants, some programs do not interview applicants but
instead rely on the written applications as the primary source of information
in making their selections. This issue will be addressed separately for
programs that conduct interviews and those that do not.
PROGRAMS THAT CONDUCT INTERVIEWS: Being matched to a program that
usually interviews applicants but didn't interview you is, in general,
unlikely. But, it can happen. In our experience, most programs do
not rank applicants whom they haven't interviewed. However, a small
number of programs do. So, if you still want to attempt to be matched to
a program that didn't interview you (even though you may know very little about
the program), you are welcome to include it on your Rank Order List. We
recommend, however, that you very carefully consider whether you really want to
be matched to a program that you may know very little about. Remember
that if you do rank that program and are matched there, you are obligated to
accept the position at that program.
FOR PROGRAMS THAT DO
NOT CONDUCT INTERVIEWS: Some programs do not conduct personal
interviews or only conduct Open Houses to provide information to applicants.
Thus, by definition, all of the applicants that these programs rank have
not been interviewed. For these programs, you should assume that you are
still under consideration (and thus rank the program if you find it acceptable
to you) unless you have explicitly been notified otherwise.
that, in either case, if you do rank the program and are matched there, you are
obligated to accept the position at that program.
What if I have submitted and certified my Rank Order List, but then
receive a rejection letter from one of the programs that I ranked? Do I
need to login again to the ROLIC system in order to remove this program from my
Rank Order List?
ANSWER: Not really, though you
are welcome to do so if you wish. If you include a program on your Rank
Order List that ultimately does not rank you, the computer will simply skip
over that program on your list, without reducing your chances of being matched
to any other programs. You can go ahead and remove this program from your
List before the Rank Order List deadline, if you wish, but doing so will not
change your Match result (if you do decide to change your list, remember that
you will have to re-certify the list in order for it to be used in the Match).
Does the Matching Program favor applicants' or programs' rankings?
Neither. Applicants' and programs' rankings are given equal weight
in the process. More information on this question may be found here:
I heard a rumor that the Match algorithm attempts to place the greatest
number of applicants into positions, even if it means placing some applicants
at less-preferred programs, and thus I should rank only a few programs.
Is this true?
ANSWER: This is absolutely
FALSE. The Match algorithm is designed to give each individual applicant
and program the best possible outcome based on the rankings they submit.
It does NOT in any way attempt to maximize the number of applicants
placed. It will NOT place an applicant into a less-preferred position in
order to permit other applicants to be matched. Similarly, it will NOT
place a less preferred applicant into a program in order to permit more
positions to be filled in other programs. As noted above, we strongly
encourage you to rank ALL programs that are considering you and that you find
acceptable. Doing otherwise will not get you a better position, but may
reduce your chances of matching.
More information about the
algorithm used by the APPIC Match:
I've heard that I should tell my "first choice" program that
they are ranked as my #1 choice. Is this true?
Absolutely not, as this is prohibited by the APPIC Match Policies.
Applicants may not communicate any ranking information to sites, nor may
sites communicate any ranking information to applicants (see APPIC Match Policy
it OK to share information about my rankings and preferences with my friends on
a social networking site, such as Facebook?
should refrain from posting your rankings or program preferences on Facebook,
other social networking sites, e-mail lists, or discussion boards/forums.
In recent years, we have heard feedback from Training Directors who
inadvertently learned about individuals' rankings from one of these forums.
Match Policies state, "Participants in the APPIC Match, including applicants
and internship programs, may not communicate, solicit, accept, or use any
ranking-related information pertaining to either Phase of the Match prior
to the release of the results for Phase II of the Match."
What if I still have questions about the ranking process or other aspects
of the Match?
ANSWER: For questions about your
Match registration or difficulties using the online system on the Match web
site, please contact National Matching Services at (416) 977-3431.
Applicants who have not received the ranking instructions sent to them by
NMS via e-mail may download the instructions from:
that have not received the ranking instructions sent to them by e-mail should
Other questions may be directed to the APPIC
Match Coordinator, Dr. Greg Keilin, at email@example.com or (512) 475-6949.
information about constructing a Rank Order List may be found at:
- click on "Match", then on "About the Match," then on
"Frequently Asked Questions" -- and finally on the section,
"Preparation and Submission of Rank Order Lists."
- Choose the "For Applicants" or "For Internships" tab,
then choose the appropriate option in the left-side menu.