ABSTRACT: Orthodontic programs spend considerable amounts of effort to attract, recruit, and interview the best and brightest applicants. Applicants and programs submit ranked preferences, and resident positions are filled by a computerized matching system (Match). The specific aims of this study were to determine the relative importance of certain factors in applicants' Match ranking of orthodontic programs and differences between orthodontic program directors' perceptions and actual factors cited by applicants influencing their ranking of orthodontic programs. Surveys were mailed to 55 orthodontic program directors and 478 applicants participating in the 2002 orthodontic Match. Forty-nine program director (89%) and 224 applicant (47%) surveys were returned. Rankings and importance of factors cited by applicants in their decision-making process and perceptions of those factors cited by program directors were compared. Applicants' top three factors were: "satisfied current residents," "multiple techniques taught," and "good quality of clinical facility." Program directors' perceived top three factors were: satisfied current residents, "good program reputation," and "good impression of current residents at interview." Comparing program directors' perceptions vs applicants' factors overall, the two groups were statistically different (P < .0001). Factors that stood out for their differences included: "GRE required or emphasized" (P < .0002), multiple techniques taught (P < .0007), and "good location" (P < .0008). Despite these differences, there was generally a high level of overall agreement between program directors' perceptions and factors actually influencing applicants' ranking of orthodontic programs.
The Angle Orthodontist 01/2006; 76(1):84-91. · 1.21 Impact Factor