How the Matching Process Works

The selection process is completed by a software program that utilizes the rank order lists submitted by the applicants and the institutions/private practices. The VIRMP combines two basic features—a listing function and a selection function.

The listing function provides applicants with information about available programs. Because most internships and most residencies in large and small animal clinical specialties participate in the VIRMP, the program acts as a clearinghouse for clinical postgraduate training positions. THERE IS, HOWEVER, NO EVALUATION, REGULATION, OR CERTIFICATION OF LISTED PROGRAMS.

The selection function matches applicants with institutions or private practices based on their previously declared mutual level of interest. The approach to matching used today is a simulation of what went on prior to the creation of the VIRMP. The institution/private practice's rank order list is viewed as a series of job offers to applicants. If the institution/private practice has one position, one initial offer is made to the applicant ranked first. If the institution/private practice has more than one position, simultaneous offers are made to the top applicants on the list equal to the number of available positions. The applicant’s rank order list is viewed as an acceptance of a job offer only if that job offer comes from the top-ranked institution/private practice that still has an open position. There are no ties and there is no judgment about whether the institution/private practice or the applicant is given preference. As top choices on either list disappear due to successful matches, lower choices move up on the lists until all possible matches are completed.

By way of example, Metropolis University (MU) has four residencies available in surgery. MU received 22 applications, out of which it chose to rank 12 applicants. In effect, MU has offered jobs to applicants 1, 2, 3 and 4 on its list. Applicant 1 has Metropolis U ranked fourth, #2 has it ranked first, #3 ranked it second and #4 ranked it first. Metropolis would be matched with applicants #2 and #4 and nothing else would happen until applicants #1 and #3 are matched elsewhere, or the programs ranked higher than Metropolis on the applicant's lists were filled.

In this example, Metropolis' third choice, applicant #3, ranked the University of Transylvania first and was matched there. Once candidate #3 became unavailable to Metropolis University, it made an offer to its fifth choice. Applicant #5 was matched at an institution ranked higher on the applicant’s list than Metropolis. The same situation occurred with applicants #6, #7 and #8. Metropolis' ninth choice had it ranked second, but matched at MU because applicant #9's first choice filled up with higher choices on its list than applicant #9. Thus, Metropolis University became applicant #9's best possible match and applicant #9 became Metropolis' best possible match. Now, back to applicant #1. This applicant has already received an offer from MU, but was waiting for a better offer (his/her first three choices). Eventually all three programs filled up with choices higher than applicant #1, and he/she matched with Metropolis University. The end result is that Metropolis University matched with its first, second, fourth and ninth choices. We know that these choices are its best possible choices because applicants #3, #5, #6, #7 and #8 matched with institutions that they ranked higher than Metropolis University.

The candidate's perspective is much simpler. John Doe wants to be an intern, and has applied to 16 private practices. When filling out his rank order list, John had second thoughts about two of the programs and decided to rank 14 of them. During the matching process, eight of the private practices would have made John an offer for a position. John had ranked the private practices third, fifth, sixth, ninth and eleventh through fourteenth. Obviously, he would accept the offer from his third choice, the University of Siberia, and was matched there. We know that this was the best match for John because his first two choices were matched with individuals who were ranked higher than John Doe.

In another example, Betty Jones includes 5 internships on her Rank Order List but the University of Dish is not one of them. The University of Dish believes Betty is a great applicant so ranks her first. Betty cannot be matched to the University of Dish because she did not include this program on her Rank Order List. The University of Dish matches with it’s second or lower-ranked applicant who included the University of Dish on their Rank Order List.