Match Day Memories

I was just reminded today that Monday was match day (officially called “notification day”) for getting your dietetic internship placement. For all those hopeful RD2Bs, it’s a seriously stressful wait. You apply for the internships in January, and then have to sit and wait until April to find it where you’ll be moving, or if you’ll even have a place to move to.

The website opens up at midnight for you to see your future, so to speak. Of course, with thousands of panic-stricken students trying to log on at exactly 12:00, it crashed for a while. I was so nervous, I couldn’t even look at the screen, worried that I’d have received my last choice (UVA – I was so scared of living somewhere that snowed! haha), or worse – no match at all!

It’s sad and scary that less than 50% of applicants receive a match. That leaves the majority of dietetics graduates without the ability to pursue work  as a Registered Dietitian (unless, of course, they wait and re-apply the next year, which most try to). It’s definitely frustrating for our field. I feel incredibly fortunate that I did receive a match (and my #1 choice!)

And so… here are some tips for any of you who are out there and found out this week that you received no match:

  1. Jump on the chance to apply for any second-round openings that appeal to you.
  2. Take some time to decide if you really want to be a Registered Dietitian.
    1. If “yes” then you need to reapply for the internship next year. Until then, get as much experience as you can – getting a job with responsibility always looks good – but try to volunteer in anything nutrition/health related, whether in a clinical setting, community projects, research or foodservice.
    2. If “no” then consider other health related fields. I know many a former dietitian now applying to nursing school, pharmacy school, or PA school. I also know a dietetics graduate who is now working to become an occupational therapist. Nutrition is a great background for any healthcare position!
  3. Don’t feel like your life was ruined because you didn’t get that match. Everything happens for a reason, and clearly it wasn’t your time yet! Don’t take it personal. I have heard stories of students with top grades, research experience, bla bla bla and they don’t get a match. It’s more than just your paper application – that computer match system can screw things up too.

More importantly, for all of those of you who did just find out your match – congratulations! It’s an exciting but equally busy year. I set out to write this blog throughout my internship but didn’t balance it too well with the workload. I’m blogging a lot more now, and obviously no longer an RD2B, so a new name will be unveiled sometime in the future.

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