Deciding which residency programs to apply to during your fourth-year of medical school is challenging enough, but in a process where students don’t have much control over where they wind up aside from ranking their preferred programs, the outcome of Match Day is impossible to predict. Matching as a couple adds an entirely new layer of uncertainty to the process. When asked if medical students can go into the residency match with any strategy, Geisel students and couple Whitney Hitchcock and Chris Beeler shared how they worked through the interviewing and ranking process.
“Since we’re couples-matching we ended up going on 38 interviews,” said Whitney. She joked that it may have been more interviews than any other Geisel medical students had ever been on. “You make a huge list of permutations of programs that are acceptable to you, and you can decide what your values are and rank them accordingly and then (the algorithm) will just go down the list—we ended up having 535 permutations.”
Even though Whitney and Chris were able to link their applications through the couples matching process for their residencies, there were still elements of uncertainty. Whitney was applying to radiation oncology programs and would still need to complete a transitional or preliminary medicine year. “My intern year is not part of the couples match. So I could still end up apart from Chris for my intern year,” said Whitney.
“We both went on two or three times as many interviews as is typical in hopes that we could find programs that would be good for us. And so at the end of the day we had a fair number of overlapping programs that we both really liked,” said Chris. “We were trying to maximize our chances of going to the same residency programs and be together. So I think that that’s gonna pay off for us on Match Day.”
On Match Day, Whitney and Chris learned that their strategy paid off. They both matched into their first-choice program, and they even received good news for Whitney’s intern year. Chris will be going into the anesthesiology program at the University of Michigan Hospitals in Ann Arbor, and Whitney will join him there in radiation oncology after spending a transitional year at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital which is also in Ann Arbor.
“We both got into Michigan, which was number one on our list. As soon as I visited Michigan, I loved it and we both wanted to go there,” said Whitney.
“It’s a great program for both of us,” said Chris. “We put a lot of work in, and it paid off here in the end. We’re both really happy.”