Predictors of otolaryngology applicant success using the Texas STAR database

Laryngoscope Investig Otolaryngol. 2021 Mar 10;6(2):188-194. doi: 10.1002/lio2.549. eCollection 2021 Apr.


Objectives: To examine applicant characteristics and behaviors associated with a successful match into otolaryngology residency.

Methods: Self-reported survey data from applicants to otolaryngology residency between 2018 and 2020 were obtained from the Texas STAR database. Characteristics and predictors associated with a successful match were examined using Chi-square tests, two-sided t-tests, and logistic regression models.

Results: A total of 315 otolaryngology residency applicants responded to the survey of whom 274 matched (87%) and 41 did not match (13%). Matched applicants had a significantly higher mean USMLE Step 1 score (P = .016) and Step 2 CK score (P = .007). There were no significant differences in AOA status (45% vs 36%; P = .207), mean number of applications submitted (70 vs 69; P = .544), and mean number of away rotations (2.1 vs 2.0; P = .687) between matched and unmatched applicants. Significant predictors of a successful match included receiving honors in 5 or more clerkships (OR 2.0, 95% CI 1.0-4.0; P = .040), receiving honors in an ENT clerkship (OR 3.7, 95% CI 1.0-12.9; P = .044), and having 3 or more peer-reviewed publications (OR 2.3, 95% CI 1.1-4.5; P = .020). The majority of applicants (79.9%) matched at a program where they either did an away rotation, had a personal geographic connection, or attended medical school in the same geographic region.

Conclusions: Board scores, excelling on clinical rotations, and having productive research experience appear to be strong predictors of a successful match in otolaryngology. The majority of applicants report a personal or geographic connection to the program at which they match.

Level of evidence: 4.

Keywords: otolaryngology; personnel selection; residency; surveys.