It's starting to feel a bit like spring. Yes, we have seen some beautiful weather over the last few days, but what really makes it feel like spring is that we are getting close to releasing decisions on April 1! (Admissions officers live by admissions "seasons" - not the weather.) Decision letters will be posted online at 5:00PM Eastern Time on Thursday, April 1. We are in the midst of our final stages of review right now: reading, re-reading, checking updated info, and engaging in our version of "committee" conversations this week.
I had the chance to participate in a different decision release process last week, as my partner is graduating from Dartmouth Medical School this year and just received her residency "match." For those who have family or friends who have gone through "The Match" you have an idea about what this annual day in March is like; for those who are unfamiliar with the process, here is a quick overview.
In your fourth year of medical school you decide what you would like to specialize in. You complete your applications and send them off to residency programs (maybe this is 10 programs, maybe if it's a highly selective specialty, you apply to 100.) The programs then extend interview offers to candidates. You interview with programs and then develop your rank list (programs you would be willing to attend, in order of preference.) The programs also rank candidates, and everyone sends these rank lists to a central system that creates a match for each candidate. (One match.) For the 2010 Match, fourth-year medical students gathered at different events and ceremonies on March 18 and received envelopes. At Dartmouth, this was a gathering at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, which kicked off with a slide show of pictures compiled by the fourth-year class, and then each member of the class was called up in random order and handed an envelope, which many opened on the spot - in front of classmates, faculty, family and friends - and read aloud their match.
Two things stood out in my mind as I watched this process unfold. First, I'm glad college admissions decisions aren't released this way; and second, there are so many people invested in the decision and path of each individual receiving an envelope. Classmates, friends, partners, parents, kids, family, mentors, faculty - all were invested in the contents of each envelope.
To all applicants awaiting decisions: I hope you will take some time to reflect again on what your hopes are for your college years (regardless of where you ultimately matriculate and before many of those admissions decisions come rolling in.) I also hope you will take a moment to think about all of the people in your life who are invested in your college process (and maybe take a moment to thank some of them, if you haven't already!) As with college admissions decisions, Match Day saw a wide range of emotions. Unlike college admissions, Match Day is the unveiling of one final match. Prospective '14s, the choice is ultimately yours at the end of this process. You decide, from among your options, where you will be headed next. I am very excited that for some of you, that will be Dartmouth.
I'm curious, what are your plans for opening and sharing that decision on April 1?