It's in. Today I submitted my rank order list, which is the next step of this residency application process. Even though the deadline to submit our finalized rank order list is February 21, it was recommended that we submit approximately one week early to avoid overloading the apparently frail servers that become unresponsive the night of the deadline.
My rank list consisted of very few programs and thus was fairly easy for me to create, in that it was easy for me to determine which program I liked best, second best, and so on. It did, however, get me thinking about the programs' end and how they need to rank a large number of applicants. The average internal medicine program interviews 200-300 applicants for about 30 available spots. Assuming they rank most of those applicants -- or even if you don't make that assumption -- that is a lot of people to rank.
Furthermore I cannot imagine how they differentiate their applicants, in particular the ones that are similar. I had minor difficulty deciding my #3 and #4 spots; now imagine a program trying to decide which of their 200 applicants gets what rank. Can they fairly or accurately tell the difference between their #56 applicant and their #57? Differentiating that many applicants seems nearly impossible. I haven't a clue how they do it, especially in internal medicine where the interview -- a seemingly important component of their evaluation of us -- is useless. No hard-hitting questions, no difficult questions, no nothing; just casual chatting. (I suppose this weeds out the social idiots, but really, how many people does that eliminate?)
Anyway, the process is now completely out of my hands and controlled only by the magic that is the matching algorithm. Nothing to do but wait.
For a reminder of how the residency application process works, re-read this post.
Happy Valentine's Day (every day is the 14th)!