Government Medical College Chandigarh Old Students Association



This is about an issue that I have seen being discussed a lot on various USMLE forums. I was wondering what the GMCH community thinks about this?
1) What is the best way to refuse a prematch offer? What should a candidate say so as to not jeopardize his chances of being ranked high on that program's list?
2) What are the consequences of refusing such an offer? Would the program assume that you are not really interested and then trash you to the bottom of their rank list?

Well, this is one of the biggest obstacles during the interview season. The interview season is not just about finding the right place to spend three busy years, but also requires some tact judgment when the time comes to make that decision. I am a third year in a residency program now but looking back it was tough. I was offered three prematch offers. At one program, the director asked,"What do u think about a prematch?" another asked "How do you like the program? How do you feel about signing a prematch?" In my response I mentioned a few important aspects I was looking for in a residency program and then went into complementing their program and finally ended by mentioning that I had a few more interviews lined up which I wanted to go to, but I was considering putting the program on the top of my rank because it satisfied the following criteria which i was looking for.....and you would mention that here. Another option is just saying that you need more time and possibly would be interested in a second visit in the future. This option buys you time to visit another place while keeping them on hold. You neither say yes or no and still seem interested. Finally, another option I used was when they asked me about prematch, I asked them in return "What is your criteria for choosing a candidate for prematch?" That way if they really like you then they tell you that they are interested or they just beat around the bush. REMEMBER: Every program tries to sell itself just as much as you are. Remember to view the program qualities on their website or brochure before you go for an interview so that u can mention them or ask questions regarding some special aspects therefore looking more interested. Now, the repercussions are many, some programs may end up putting a question next to you name...and if you leave and they get a better candidate than you...then you are done with it...sorry, but some programs take their time to interview and don't make decisions right away and if you are lucky enough to make a decision relatively quickly then you can call them and say that you are interested in the prematch. Programs don't really demote you in their list but if you really want it badly, they know that once asked it is never refused...remember, residencies are a hot commodity these days....people with 99's are running around without matches and couldn't even get in the post scramble. So if you find yourself in a decent place that satisfies more of your criteria and is good...then sometimes its a on the spot judgment...this is the realistic truth behind it...Others may disagree with me but its quite tough to tell where the program is going to rank you after....think about it...if a program didn't consider you an option they would never have invited you in the first place...once you are in an interview, its obvious they feel you are a potential its up to you to carefully ask the questions and decide how badly do you want it...if you have other more promising options then the decision to refuse may not be a bad one...especially if you go and don't like what you see in the program...BUT for all those of you who are in this process...remember one thing carefully, never openly refuse or accept something unless you are totally sure of it...that itself can have repercussions...try to keep options open for yourselves...I think this was an earful, but hope it helps...BEST OF LUCK!!


I completely agree with the chief - thanks for your detailed response - couldn't have answered this any better. The only thing I would add is that if the program is fairly large and they like you and you know you have excellent scores/CV/credentials/experience (which is not very common) - then even if you dont go in for their prematch offer, they will very likely rank you very high on the match list.

Navneet Majhail




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