E-mails or phone calls are sent between the two parties, informing the other of the intents, without being completely honest. It’s really quite a lot like dating:
Do they like me? I can’t tell them that I like them that much, but I need to let them know I’m interested – lest they hook up with someone else.
High school politics in a lot of ways are rekindled.
Amidst all of this, the potential for confusion, frustration, and stress accompanies students and programs alike. Woe to the student who matches, but only to a program where they really didn’t want to go. While they have a job, they’re not pleased with the outcome – like getting the uglier of two sisters.
While students can suffer from match diappointments, programs are just as susceptible. My mother once regaled me with a story about a program director who moped around for a long time after discovering whom they had matched. Apparently they were less than stellar candidates, but now he was stuck with them, and he proceeded to let everyone know how disappointed he was in the result.
So now the game is on – over the last few weeks I’ve received several e-mails from programs informing me of their intentions, but not so much that it violated NRMP rules. I've been listed as “favorable”, “strong”, and “well-suited” to subvert the NRMP designation that programs should not tell candidates where they are on their rank list. I’ve been informed, but I still don’t know.
A lot of this courting deals with word-play. Only once have I been so bold as to let any program know where I ranked them – and only because I really want to score (continuing with the dating analogy). However, despite all of the words being passed around, the interview feelings, and some rather overt indications, a student should always be cautious – as you can read about here. Heed the warning.