Background: Colorectal residency has become one of the more competitive postgraduate training opportunities; however, little information is available to guide potential applicants in gauging their competitiveness.
Objective: The aim of this study was to identify the current trends colorectal residency training and to identify what factors are considered most important in ranking a candidate highly. We hypothesized that there was a difference in what program directors, current and recently matched colorectal residents, and recent graduates consider most important in making a candidate competitive for a colorectal residency position.
Design: Three 10-question anonymous surveys were sent to 59 program directors, 87 current and recently matched colorectal residents, and 119 recent graduates in March 2015.
Settings: The study was conducted as an anonymous internet survey.
Main outcome measures: Current trends in applying for a colorectal residency, competitiveness of recent colorectal residents, factors considered most important in ranking a candidate highly, and what future colorectal surgeons can expect after finishing their training were measured.
Results: The study had an overall response rate of 43%, with 28 (47%) of 59 program directors, 46 (53%) of 87 current and recently matched colorectal residents, and 39 (33%) of 119 recent graduates responding. The majority of program directors felt that a candidate's performance during the interview process was the most important factor in making a candidate competitive, followed by contact from a colleague, letters of recommendation, American Board of Surgery In-Training Exam scores, and number of publications/presentations. The majority of current and recently matched colorectal residents felt that a recommendation/telephone call from a colleague was the most important factor, whereas the majority of recent graduates favored letters of recommendation as the most important factor in ranking a candidate highly.
Limitations: Limitations to the study include its small sample size, selection bias, responder bias, and misclassification bias.
Conclusions: There are differences in what program directors and current/recent residents consider most important in making an applicant competitive for colorectal residency.