I am a senior medical student going through the process of applying and interviewing for a residency program.
Prior to the Match system, applicants might be given a job offer at a program they didn’t prefer and would have as little as 12 hours to make a decision. Thus they may end up at their third choice program without even getting a chance to interview at their first choice because they couldn’t take the risk of passing up an offer. Initially the match just ensured that all offers were made on the same day. Now there is a computer algorithm that allows students to rank programs, programs to rank students and it then matches them. The system is slightly biased towards the students’ list to give them an advantage. Applicants are never matched to a program they didn’t rank (ie, one they wouldn’t want to attend) and applicants are never matched with a program that didn’t rank them (ie one they didn’t want there). (Every year there is a small percentage of applicants who don’t match anywhere and programs who dont’ fill all positions.)
There is currently a law suit filed by 3 physicians claiming that the process of matching medical students with residency programs is anti-competitive, is holding down salaries and is encouraging poor work conditions. They also claim that the Match doesn’t give the applicant a choice in where they end up.
The National Residency Match Program (NRMP) is countering with their own argument. They claim that there is no data that there would be higher salaries without the match. The match ensures that applicants will only go to a program they would like to attend and programs only get applicants they prefer.
I would like to hear the general public’s opinions on this issue (if you have any) as well as what physician and lawyer dopers think.