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Increasing Your Odds for a Successful Couples Match

Dr. Lucas Hooks
PGY-1 at OU Tulsa

It wasn’t long ago when I sat thinking about how I was going to do it. Matching into residency is hard enough and me and my partner were taking on the added stress and difficulty of the Couples Match. The good news is it’s completely doable! My fiancé and I successfully Couples Matched and so can you. Here is a list of takeaways that can help you and your partner on your Couples Match journey!

1. Research Programs and Cities

Just like you would do for a solo match you will research programs for the Couples Match. Programs that have residencies in both specialties are great but a great way to maximize your chances of being together is to look for cities and areas that have multiple programs. For example, City A may have 3 programs in pediatrics and 2 programs in OBGYN. That will give you 6 compatible ranks when it’s time to rank programs!

2. Cast a Big Net

Apply broad and apply wide. Someone applying solo needs approximately 12 ranks to have an optimal chance of matching. You and your partner will want to strive for this number and more exact matches or location-compatible matches.


I know this is likely obvious but if you and your partner can get a sub-internship or acting internship at the same program then you should try to make that happen! Putting a name to a face in this new day of virtual interviews is a big advantage.

4. Reach out to the Programs

You and your partner will find yourself getting interviews at different programs. You should both be reaching out to programs letting them know that one of you has not received an interview and is interested. Programs communicate with each other about couples match applicants. The emails should go something like this:

  1. My name is ______ and I’m participating in the couples match with _____. I already have an interview but my partner does not…

  2. My name is ______ and I’m participating in the couples match with _____. He/she has an interview with your program but I do not……

This does not come across as rude or needy. Programs understand that if one of you doesn’t match there then neither will the other. Make sure to include all information for both you and your partner in these emails. This works! My fiancé and I both got additional interviews by reaching out.

5. Mention your Partner on Interview Day

At first, interview days will be stressful but they do get less so after each one. Make sure to mention you are participating in the Couples Match with as many interviewers as possible. As I in the last section, programs communicate! If a program wants you they will let your partner’s program know and vice versa.

6. Make Sure Your Lists Match

Check, check and check again. If your rank lists don’t match exactly, you will not match!

So, there are the 6 major things that helped me and my fiancé a great deal in our Couples Match. It’s extra work and extra stress but it’s worth it in the end. Work together and you may very well find success. That’s all I’ve got for now but if you need help or have questions I’m always here to help! Good luck!


Dr. Lucas Hooks is our guest writer for this post. He is a first year pediatrics resident at OU Tulsa with his OBGYN intern finance. He attended medical school at VCOM-Carolinas in Spartanburg, SC, and he is interested in academic medicine and neonatology.

Follow him: @hooks_lucas


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