Road to Residency: Creating the Residency Rank List

We are almost at the end of the road. It has certainly been a long four years! Time sure goes by fast when you are too busy to notice. I have already taken you through the first semester of first year and then some.  By the time you get to build the Rank List, January is almost over. Previously we had discussed everything from researching programs to applying and traveling for the interviews. In this final part of the Road to Residency series, we are going to go through the whole process. I will take you through my steps for deciding, organizing, and submitting your Rank Order List. I hope to be as thorough as possible with this post. The end goal being that this serves you as a guide to decide your Residency Rank List.

What is the Rank Order List?

Most commonly known  as the Rank List, it is the list in which you order the programs you are considering for Residency. Each program also makes a list of the applicants they are desiring for their residency in their own order of preference. This list is then used by the Match algorithm to create the perfect match between an applicant and a program. In the end, each applicant’s list will be unique, and the order of YOUR list can be dictated by infinite number of factors. The order or your list is important in that the algorithm gives preference to the order in which you have your programs. Likewise, it takes into consideration a program’s list preference. For this reason it is essential that you are able to decide the best possible Rank List for YOU.

Create you rank list

How to build your Rank List?

This is the most crucial part. Unfortunately it is very personal and I cannot tell you 100% how to design your own. What I will attempt to do is give you pointers and tips into what factors you can take into consideration when going through this process. For example, a very important aspect of creating my rank list was that I am married to a non-med person. What this meant for creating my ROL was that I needed to consider job situation for my husband. Not only his job situation, but also places where he would like to live, or could see himself living in.

What I would like to convey is that this was not a spur of the moment decision.  If you think back to Part I of the series, this is something that needs to be constantly talked and assessed in ANY relationship. For us, on the contrary, this was a calculated move with both of us on the same page. Moving on, it is crucial that  you are able to see yourself in that particular program. This is where PRISM and your notes come in. When deciding your rank list you are going to want to go back and review some of these to make sure you are ranking the best places for your wants and needs. You can also go based on your gut, but for the organization freaks this will be hard to do. There is always the opportunity to use both your gut and your notes, and even better if they both go in sync.

Residency Rank List

Submitting your ROL?


This is done on the NRMP website. It is a relatively easy process to do because the R3 NRMP software is very user friendly. You will find a tab at the top of the page labeled “ROL”. Here is where you will create your list. You can search by location, program number, or institutions in order to add programs. I know there is a limit on the number of programs you can rank but I do not know what that number is. Once you have made your list you will want to verify all of your information and certify it. Once it’s CERTIFIED you can submit it and leave it done. Fret not, you still have time to make changes! You have until the deadline, around February 21, to make final changes. An important point I want to make is to MAKE SURE the area that says “Verification Status” says VERIFIED. This is done by your school, certifying that you have met all of the requirements to apply for the Match.

NRMP Home page

After the deadline has passed, the wait for Match day begins. After that point no changes can be made to your rank list and everything is official. NRMP R3 Rank List

For more specific information and to see the official FAQ’s regarding The Match visit the NRMP website!

Thanks for reading



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Residency Rank List

2 comments so far.

2 responses to “Road to Residency: Creating the Residency Rank List”

  1. Ankita says:

    Wow I had no clue that it takes so much work! Thank you for writing such an in depth post!

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