University of Nebraska Medical Center

Genetic Counseling Match Day

by Katie Tlusty, genetic counseling student

A confetti cannon. A confetti cannon is what I think of somebody talks about Match Day. Faculty and staff from the UNMC Genetic Counseling Program, College of Allied Health Professionals, and Munroe-Meyer Institute shot off a confetti cannon on Match Day last year to celebrate the news of who would be in the first cohort of genetic counseling students at UNMC. We (the inaugural genetic counseling class) were looking forward to joining the live event this year, but instead we will gather via Zoom and celebrate the big day remotely.

Today is Match Day for genetic counseling programs – a day full of many emotions for anyone involved. For programs, there is excitement to discover who the incoming cohort will be. For applicants, Match Day may be a day of nerves, excitement, joy, disappointment, relief, or surprise. A lot of time and effort has been put into the ranking from both the applicants and the programs.

The Genetic Counseling Admissions Match is a method to maximize the placement of applicants into an accredited genetic counseling program. This process is similar to the way in which other programs such as medicine or dentistry recruit residents—see “About the Match” for more info.

The Match process is advantageous to use because it is a fair method of placing applicants into a program on a single day. The process tries to maximize benefit to the applicant. The Match alleviates the process of an applicant who is given multiple offers of making decisions if they are waiting to hear back from a preferred program. The process maximizes the applicants in each program without the program going over in size. Last year, about half of the applicants participating in the Match were matched to a program.

I remember Match Day last year. I received the email from the Match and I knew it had my result, but I could not open it right away. I was so excited and so nervous. The email contained information that would dictate my future for the next two years. I had so many thoughts and questions running through my mind: Did I get matched to a program? Which program will it be if I was matched? What opportunities will I have? Who will be in my cohort? Will I become friends with them? How will this play a role in my future? Needless to say, it took me several minutes (several here means as long as an hour) to gather myself before opening and reading the email. Eventually, I opened that email and it said I had been matched to the University of Nebraska Medical Center! What exciting news! I was so excited to be matched to this program and be able to pursue my goal of becoming a genetic counselor. I remember I received a call from our program director, Holly Zimmerman, formally congratulating me and my cohort on being matched to the program. She was so excited to know the names of the first cohort and was so ready to help us on our way.

Today is Match Day. Today, there are so many emotions, thoughts, and questions that are involved in becoming a part of a genetic counseling program. Congratulations to those who matched with UNMC! We are so excited to meet you as a cohort! Let the confetti fly!

About the match:
The Match process begins with registration for the Match and application to programs. After interviews have been performed, applicants rank the programs. Applicants rank any program they would consider going to and may choose not to rank a program if they do not want to attend that program. In a similar way, programs rank the applicants. On Match Day, results are returned to the applicant via email. On this day, programs also receive the information about who was matched.

The Match determines a result by an algorithm that attempts to place applicants into their preferred program. The algorithm compares the rank the applicant gave the program with the ranking the program gave the applicant. So, the applicants’ #1 ranked program is compared and the match is attempted. The match is attempted until there are no more programs in the list of ranked programs. Reference

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