Texas medical students have enjoyed some highly successful Match Weeks in recent years, but 2020 was the best since the Texas Medical Association Council of Medical School Deans began tracking match data in 2014.
Over the past six years, Texas schools have seen 36 students on average go unmatched to residency positions by the end of Match Week held each year in March. But in 2020, only 13 out of 1,839 graduates – less than 1% – remained unmatched, according to data provided by the deans of student affairs at Texas medical schools and compiled by TMA’s Education Department.
This match rate is especially impressive since two additional schools – The University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School and The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine in Edinburg – joined this year’s survey, says Marcia Collins, TMA’s associate vice president for medical education.
Eleven of Texas’ 15 medical schools graduated students in 2020. The other four are too new to have a graduating class. They are the University of the Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine in San Antonio, the University of Houston College of Medicine in Houston, the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine in Fort Worth, and the Sam Houston State University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Conroe.
It’s not clear what caused the number of unmatched students to drop by two-thirds in 2020, Ms. Collins says. However, medical schools have made matching students to residencies a bigger priority, for example by helping them sharpen their interviewing skills and by coaching students to pick more than one specialty, especially if their top choice is a highly competitive specialty.
“They don’t leave it to chance as much as they used to,” Ms. Collins said.
Texas also saw an increase of 169 first-year residency positions in 2020, giving students more slots to fill. That 8.5% jump in residency spots is the largest single-year increase since 2014.
And TMA refined its data collection process in 2020, Ms. Collins says. It now excludes from the Match Day totals students who did not graduate that year. In the past, a small number of students who did not fulfill all graduation requirements may have been included in the match count, she says, possibly resulting in fewer students being reported as unmatched.
Because the total number of unmatched graduates in 2020 is so low, there’s little difference in match rates among Texas schools, Ms. Collins says.
By the end of Match Week, three medical schools had three unmatched students apiece, while the other schools had even fewer. Four schools had zero. (School data is reported in a way that preserves the anonymity of the participating schools.)
Clarification: The graphic above, which appeared on page 37 of the March 2021 issue, should have been captioned: "% of Texas Medical Graduates Who Did Not Match on Match Day and Remained Unmatched at the End of Match Week (2014-2020)." Texas Medicine regrets any confusion.