Since Joshua was one year ahead of me in med school, we didn’t have the option of couples matching. But we knew we were serious about our relationship, and so we made the decision to be actively involved with each other’s match process. He matched first, then I matched the year after.
Here are some general tips for couples in similar situations, who can’t couples match:
1. Communicate frequently and honestly about the process and the points below. This is absolutely the most important thing. You must be on the same page if you choose to go through this together.
2. Be open to changes in the plan. The road to residency is one full of uncertainty. You may think Program A is your first choice early on, but then later in the interview process fall in love with Program B. Be ready to discuss these changes as the interview season progresses.
Communication, communication, communication! Be open to changes in the plan, and be honest with one another as the year progresses.
3. Discuss your priorities. Is it more important for you to live close to one another, or go to your top programs? Do you want to be close to family? What things are you looking for in your respective programs that are non-negotiable?
4. It may be helpful to look in areas of the country where there is a high density of programs for your specialties. This way you don’t necessarily have to be at the same residency program to live close to one another or in the same city.
5. Talk to your top program(s)! Maybe your significant other is already at that program, or a nearby program, etc. Tell that program why you want to be there. Focus on why you love the program first (remember, they are your potential future employer so keep things professional), but you can tell them your personal reasons for wanting to be there too. Of course, if you’re going to tell a program they are your number one choice, make sure you’re ready to commit to that. You never want to be dishonest about this or mistakenly tell a program they are your number one before you actually know that for sure.
Have more tips to add for those in this situation? Leave them in the comments below!