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Each partner of a couple enrolls individually in The Match and indicates in the NRMP's secure, web-based Registration, Ranking, and ResultsSM (R3SM) system that they want to participate in The Match as a couple. The NRMP allows couples to form pairs of choices on their primary rank order lists, which then are considered in rank order in The Match. The couple will match to the most preferred pair of programs on the rank order lists where each partner has been offered a position.
Couples can be matched into a combination of programs suited to their personal needs. In creating pairs of programs, couples can mix specialties, program types (preliminary or transitional, categorical, and advanced), and geographic locations. The partners can be matched into positions in the same institution or in different institutions. Examples are shown below.
Couples Rank Order List
Each partner must have the same number of ranks. Each program ranked must be paired with an active program or by an indication of "No Match" (NRMP Program Code = 999999999) by the other partner, which means that one partner is willing to go unmatched if the other matches to a position in the program designated at that rank.
If a partner's rank is for an advanced position, a supplemental rank order list for that program also must be prepared by that partner, unless the required first-year program already has been completed. If both partners choose advanced positions, each must prepare separate supplemental rank order lists. The choices made should be geographically acceptable to both partners. If both partners match to advanced programs, their supplemental rank order lists are not treated as a unit in The Match. The coupling function is done only for the primary rank order lists of the two partners. Any supplemental list will be considered individually and not paired with the partner's corresponding supplemental list. (See example below: Couple's Rank Order List of Paired Programs).
If one partner wishes to withdraw from The Match, BOTH partners must uncouple before either can withdraw. The remaining partner should adjust his or her rank order list accordingly and must recertify it before it can be used in The Match.
Note: Partners listed as a couple are treated by the Matching algorithm solely as a couple. If they do not obtain a match as a couple, the system will not run their lists separately to find a possible match for each individual.
Couples are encouraged to complete couples worksheets (PDF, 2 pages - 179KB) before entering choices in the R3 system.
Special procedures are necessary to match couples to positions. The Match allows couples to form pairs of choices that are considered in rank order in The Match. Each partner's side of the list must have an equal number of ranks. Both members of the couple must be active applicants in The Match.
The couple will match to the most preferred pair on their list where each partner has been offered a position. [Note: choices 11 through 20 indicate that one partner is willing to go unmatched if the other is matched to a position.]
If Partner I has offer from Chicago-A, New York City-A, and New York City-B, and Partner II has offers from Chicago-Y and New York City-X, then this couple will match to the pair of programs that were ranked second. If the Chicago programs had not accepted both partners, their match would have been their seventh pair in New York City.
Summary of Guidelines for the Preparation of Applicant Rank Order Lists
Applicants are advised to include on their rank order lists only those programs that represent their true preferences.
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