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Couple Matching

In a couples match, there isn’t much you do as a couple initially. You apply separately to ERAS as well as the programs. You of course apply to the same programs, or at least in the same locations. Depending on the competitiveness of the fields one or both of the couples are applying to, you should apply to as many programs as possible without becoming a pauper. At least 50 is a good number, more is better. You then wait for the interview calls. It is then that you start.
How much one can influence a partner’s interview calls depends on a number of factors. If both of you have been called, then the problem is solved. If one of you has been called, then whether the other can get the program to call the other candidate depends on the following:
 1) How good the candidate (that has been called) is relative to the program? A stellar candidate applying to a small community program has more say.
2) Is it the same dept.? If both have applied to the same dept., then it is a lot easier. Even if they are different depts., if they are at a similar level of competitiveness, for example Medicine and Peds, they can communicate with each other relatively well. But if one of them is Surgery for example, a more competitive field, then it is easy for Surgery to influence Medicine but difficult for Medicine to influence Surgery.
3) The timing: Can you try to tell the program to call your spouse even before you have interviewed there? One can try, especially if it is the same dept., and tell them to review your spouse’s application before you come to interview so you can come together. But you can obviously wield more influence once you have interviewed there and especially if it went well.
4) Reputation of your medical school at program
5) One should bring up the topic of couple matching with every single of the interviewers. If you are a good candidate and your interviews went well, you can really push your case.

Couples have to enter their match lists and indicate that they are couple matching by entering their partner’s NRMP no. on their own page on the NRMP site. The intricacies of how to make up a list, as a couple, can be read on the NRMP site.

Does entering a couples’ match jeopardize your chances of a good match? The answer is complicated. It depends on a lot of factors.  Whether they are applying to the same dept. or not, how good the candidates are, are they of similar caliber etc. The bottom line is though that just like in any relationship, compromises might have to be made. It might not affect your chances at all; in fact it might even help your chances, but be prepared that you might drop down a few places on your rank list…hey…but that’s OK…you can’t have everything…

Note: This article has been derived from "Roadmap to Residency" authored by AKU graduates, with permission from few of the authors. Name of the original author, has purposely not been mentioned on request of one of the authors, for privacy reasons. If you are the original author of this article and want your name to be mentioned or wish this article to be modified/ removed from this website, please contact us and we would be more than happy to entertain your request. We fully respect your privacy, acknowledge your efforts put in authoring this article and appreciate your hard work involved in it.

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