The prevalence and nature of postinterview communications between residency programs and applicants during the match

Acad Med. 2012 Oct;87(10):1434-42. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31826772a6.

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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Communication*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Guideline Adherence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency / organization & administration*
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • School Admission Criteria*
  • Self Report
  • United States