Ranking the programs DOs and DONTs
NRMP opens rank order list to applicants in mid-January. You have to rank the programs in an order of preference. The list closes on the last day of February.
In spite of matching algorithm sounding somewhat out of science fiction movie, it really is pretty straightforward. It uses ranking order lists (both programs and applicants) to find the best match between the two. All you have to do is to rank the programs the way you like them. Use your Program Evaluation Worksheet, which we sent you earlier in the season) to refresh your memories. If you rank a less competitive program low on the list, this does not decrease your chances of matching with this program in case if you did not match with any program above it in the list.
A more complicated subject is supplemental rank order lists, which are used to rank advanced specialty programs. Again, you should not worry about the chances, just rank your main list as well as supplemental lists in the order of preference.
Again, do not put programs that you did not like higher in the list just because you think you might have a better chance there. You still have the same chance even if you rank it last.