How Has COVID-19 Affected the Costs of the Surgical Fellowship Interview Process?

J Surg Educ. 2020 Sep-Oct;77(5):999-1004. doi: 10.1016/j.jsurg.2020.05.018. Epub 2020 May 20.


Objective: To evaluate the effect of COVID-19 on the costs of the surgical fellowship interview process.

Design: A literature review of the historical costs of surgical fellowship interviews and a summary of how the shift to virtual interviews has unintended positive and negative effects on costs for applicants and training programs.

Results: Transitioning fellowship interviews to virtual platforms affects expenditures of finances and time. Each fellowship candidate saves close to $6,000 in interview travel expenses. Applicants require less time off from their residency programs during this critical time of need for frontline healthcare workers. However, applicants miss some of the live aspects of interviewing, and training programs invest more effort upfront altering their interviews to virtual formats.

Conclusions: The COVID-19 public health crisis has had a significant impact on surgical education, including how selection is conducted. Virtual recruitment has the potential for cost savings but should continue to be refined. This is an opportune time to innovate and rethink how to recruit prospective surgical residency and fellowship candidates during the current and forthcoming interview seasons.

Keywords: cost; fellowship; interview; match; recruitment; residency.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Cost Savings*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Education, Medical, Graduate / methods*
  • Fellowships and Scholarships / economics*
  • Female
  • General Surgery / education*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency / organization & administration
  • Interviews as Topic / methods*
  • Male
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Telecommunications / economics
  • United States