One hundred and seventy University of Michigan Medical School students, all in their senior year, received exciting news on Friday as they learned where they will spend the next part of their journeys to becoming doctors.

Medical students spend much of their fourth year deciding which specialty they would like to focus on and then apply to residency programs in that field. Students rank their choices by preferences — this goes both ways as the hospitals where the programs are held rank the students who applied too.

The National Resident Matching Program then uses a computer to sort through the lists and pair students with hospitals. According to an article by Kara Gavin from the Michigan Health Lab, there are about 34,000 students vying for 30,000 residency spots each year.

“It’s so complicated, and so well-designed, that the researchers who came up with the concept got the Nobel Prize in Economics,” Gavin wrote.  

The day when students hear back; Match Day, occurs every year on the third Friday of March. This year, Michigan Medicine announced that nearly 99 percent of the University’s Medical School students were matched with a residency program, higher than the national average of nearly 96%, according to data released by the National Resident Matching Program.

Family and friends gathered with students at the North Campus Research Complex as they opened sealed envelopes containing the names of the programs and hospitals where they will spend the next couple of years. At the celebration, students are given the chance to open their envelopes on stage in front of the crowd or open them in private and then get up and read the results.

A video from the Medical School Admissions team’s Twitter account shows students reading their results to a cheering crowd at this year’s Match Day event.

“I’m Anthony, and I will be employed, training in anesthesiology at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and Stanford University,” one student said in the video of this year’s Match Day.

About 30 percent of the graduating class will stay in the state for their residencies, with 22 percent continuing at Michigan Medicine. The rest of the class will scatter across the country to states including California, Illinois, Massachusetts and Texas.

Thirty-seven students will graduate this year with both a medical degree and an advanced graduate degree from another qualified program.

As the UMich Med Admissions account tweeted, “#GoBlueMed!”

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