100% Matched: LUCOM Students Receive Their Residencies

Despite only being the fifth graduating class for the school, the Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine class of 2022 achieved a 100% match rate for its graduating students entering residencies in 30 states in the U.S.

For fourth-year medical students, “Match Day” determines where they will spend the next few years training and what specialty they will pursue. Before the match, students select their top choices of residency programs, and programs select their top candidates. A national computerized process then matches students to a residency program.

“You choose a specialty, and you apply, and they interview you … ” fourth-year student Dekuang Zhao said. “After that, you rank the hospitals … and the hospital also ranks their candidates.”

Throughout the match process, students must interview well, submit faculty recommendations and prove their passion for their specialty. They showcase all of the hard work and preparation that took place throughout their years in medical school.

“We wanted these students to really go out and show these hospitals … that they are the best medical students,” LUCOM Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs Dr. Chad Brands said.

A 100% match rate shows that hospitals felt all 143 students were equipped to apply their knowledge. According to Brands, most medical schools consider a match rate of low-to-mid-90s excellent, so LUCOM went above and beyond.

“Seeing a 100% match is amazing. It’s actually, seriously amazing,” fourth-year student Joshua Briggs said.

Because of COVID-19, LUCOM’s class of 2022 also endured unique circumstances as students. From virtual classes to virtual interviews for their residencies, many of them needed to put in extra effort to succeed as medical students in a pandemic-stricken world.

“ … Knowing that we got through it and got a 100% match rate, that was fantastic,” Briggs said.

The class of 2022 also boasts a wide variety of specialties among its students. According to Brands, the largest number of students entered internal medicine followed by family medicine. However, students represented many other specialties as well, such as neurology, radiology, dermatology and others.

Faculty and staff at LUCOM aim to prepare their students in the best way possible. For this year, Brands said their theme was competing even more effectively. Many specialties are highly competitive, so students must stand out against other students.

“We put together a strategy so we can coach, guide and mentor students,” Brands said.

Surgical specialities, Briggs said, can be highly competitive to match into. However, many of his peers successfully matched into their top choice, despite the steep competition.

For students, the support of faculty and staff plays a crucial part of their education. However, students also receive important support from their families and friends. 

“You can’t go to the final step without their contributions,” Zhao said.

As students prepare to start the next stage of their medical journey, some of them may need to relocate. For that reason, match day can be just as stressful for the studentʼs family as it is for the student.

“I think we need to give God the glory for this achievement at a young faith-based medical school,” Brands said.

Kamman is a news reporter.

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