It's that time of the year that those shooting for Match 2012 in March begin the cycle of paperwork, processes, letters of recommendation, applications and interviews begins. The cycle starts now, in July, and ends the day the "matches" are announced in March.
It's worth reflecting how the process ended in 2011. Match Day 2011 there were 30,589 "active" applicants, and 23,421 PGY-1 slots available. Over 7,000 walked away with nothing after many years of hard work and the effort. Many will apply again this cycle, but likely many will walk away into other fields of work and study.
It is the bottleneck. It is the part of the system that is the real problem with the system. Medical schools are expanding their class sizes even as new programs are created for new students, both D.O. and M.D. But the sad fact is that the number of positions in residency are not increasing as fast. Thus, more and more physician graduates will not have post graduate residency positions to enter. And the problem is only exacerbated by the number of physicians immigrating into the U.S. each year, also in the hunt for those positions.
And so the environment I enter now. I'm so impressed how little information is out there that is consistent to help make the many decisions that have to be made in the next months. I'm on a haywire way up high without a net. This "fly by wire" is a rush, but it be the first step back to waiting tables too!