The Prevalence and Nature of Postinterview Communications Between Residency Programs and Applicants During the Match

Dr. Jena was a third-year resident, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, at the time of writing. He is now assistant professor of health care policy, Harvard Medical School, and assistant physician, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Arora is associate professor of medicine, assistant dean for scholarship and discovery, and associate program director, Internal Medicine Residency Program, University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois. Dr. Hauer is professor of medicine and director of internal medicine clerkships, University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, San Francisco, California. Dr. Durning is professor of medicine, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Borges is professor, Department of Community Health, and assistant dean of medical education research and evaluation, Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, Dayton, Ohio. Dr. Oriol is dean for students, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Elnicki is professor of medicine and director, Combined Ambulatory Medicine Pediatrics Clerkship, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Dr. Fagan is professor of medicine and internal medicine clerkship director, Brown University Warren Alpert School of Medicine, Providence, Rhode Island. Dr. Harrell is associate professor of medicine and internal medicine clerkship director, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, Florida. Dr. Torre is associate professor of medicine and associate program director, Internal Medicine Residency Program, Drexel University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Ms. Prochaska is a second-year student, Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Chicago, Illinois
Academic medicine: journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges (Impact Factor: 3.47). 08/2012; 87(10):1434-1442. DOI: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31826772a6
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT PURPOSE: To examine the frequency and nature of postinterview communications between programs and applicants during the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) Main Residency Match. METHOD: The authors surveyed senior medical students at seven U.S. medical schools about postinterview communications with residency programs during the 2010 Match and analyzed the data. RESULTS: The response rate was 68.2% (564/827). Among respondents, 86.4% reported communicating with residency programs. Most (59.9%) reported telling more than one program they would rank it highly; 1.1% reported telling more than one they would rank it first. Students reported that programs told them they would be "ranked to match" (34.6%), be "ranked highly" (52.8%), or "fit well" (76.2%). Almost one-fifth (18.6 %) reported feeling assured by a program that they would match there but did not despite ranking that program first; 23.4% reported altering their rank order list based on communications with programs. In multivariate analysis, applicants to more competitive specialties were less likely to report being told they would be "ranked to match" (relative risk [RR] 0.72, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.52-0.99). Applicants were more likely to report being told that they would be "ranked to match" if they received honors in the specialty clerkship (RR 1.39, 95% CI 1.10-1.77) or were members of Alpha Omega Alpha (RR 1.72, 95% CI 1.37-2.17). CONCLUSIONS: Reports of nonbinding communications with programs were frequent. Students should be advised to interpret any comments made by programs cautiously. Reported violations of the NRMP's Match Participation Agreement were uncommon.

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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:: We aimed to study residency applicant attitudes towards rank list creation, communication with programs, and the impact of these factors on their performance in the Match. METHODS:: An anonymous, 26-question, multiple-choice, online survey was distributed to the Program Coordinators of every ACGME-accredited program participating in the NRMP match for whom e-mail addresses were available. The survey addressed five areas: (1) demographics and interview characteristics, (2) pre-interview and interview factors, (3) post-interview contact, (4) importance of various factors in rank list creation, and (5) Match outcome. Survey responses were analyzed with Microsoft Excel. RESULTS:: 1179 responses were received. It was not possible to calculate a response rate, since the number of residents receiving the survey was not known. The majority of respondents (78%) reported post-interview contact with a program. A large portion of respondents (42%) considered such contact to be important in the creation of their rank lists. Half of all respondents admitted to exaggerating their interest in a program during or after an interview. The majority of respondents (87%) received no assistance in covering the costs of "second look" visits to programs. CONCLUSIONS:: Applicants may be modifying their rank lists in response to post-interview contact from programs, and further, they usually have no assistance in paying for the cost of second looks. In order to level the playing field for students and programs alike, we propose that the NRMP modify residency interview rules to (1) disallow any post-interview contact between programs and students, and (2) disallow second looks.
    Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 05/2013; 132(3). DOI:10.1097/PRS.0b013e31829ad2bb · 3.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The residency match is an increasingly competitive process. Communication from medical student applicants to programs varies and the effect this has on their rank status is unclear. We assessed how Obstetrics and Gynecology program directors interpret and act on post-interview communication initiated by applicants by conducting an anonymous cross-sectional web-based survey of CREOG Obstetrics and Gynecology program directors. One hundred and thirty seven program directors (55%) responded to the survey. Twenty nine percent would consider ranking an applicant more favorably if the applicant expressed interest (beyond a routine thank you) or if a faculty mentor personally known to the program director stated that the applicant was ranking the program first. Fifty two percent indicated that they would rank an applicant more favorably if a mentor known to them endorsed the applicant as outstanding. Approximately 30% responded that applicants who did not communicate with their program were disadvantaged compared to those who did. Approximately 17% stated it was desirable to create additional specialty-specific guidelines regarding post-interview contact between programs and applications. Based on the wide variation in how program directors interpret and act upon post-interview communication from applicants, residency programs should formulate and communicate a clear policy about whether they request and how they respond to post-interview communication from applicants and their mentors. This will establish a more level playing field and eliminate potential inequities resulting from inconsistent communication practices.
    American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 07/2014; 211(4). DOI:10.1016/j.ajog.2014.07.034 · 3.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background: It is well known that the ideal method of creating rank lists for the match is the "true-preference'' strategy. However, there is anecdotal and survey-based evidence that programs and applicants often deviate from this strategy. We analyzed rank lists of applicants and programs participating in the Plastic Surgery San Francisco Match to investigate whether programs were following an optimal strategy. Methods: We obtained deidentified program and applicant rank lists and their match results from SF Match for 4 years (2010-2013). Statistical analysis was carried out with Microsoft Excel. Results: The number of applicants, applications submitted, interviews offered, and match rate were all relatively stable over this 4-year period (range, 117-138 applicants, 36-41 applications, 9.0-10.3 interviews per applicant, and 78%-86% match rate). The "number needed to match'' for programs was 4 (range, 1-21). A subset of applicants had poor average ranks on program rank lists but was nevertheless ranked to match by one program. Forty-six percent of these applicants matched at their top choice compared to 20% of matched controls. Conclusions: The independent Plastic Surgery Match has become less competitive over the last decade. The low average number needed to match in the context of a high applicant match rate supports the hypothesis that programs and applicants may be modifying rank lists from a true-preference list. Noncompetitive applicants are occasionally ranked to match by a program, and these applicants tend to match at their top choice far more often than the average applicant-providing further support to this hypothesis.
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