Objectives/Hypothesis: To estimate the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on the 2021 otolaryngology match with regard to geographic clustering, interview distribution, applicant-reported costs, and matched applicant characteristics. Study Design: Retrospective cohort study. Methods: Survey data from applicants to otolaryngology residency programs were obtained from the Texas Seeking Transparency in Applications to Residency database. Applicant differences between the 2021 match year and prior match years (2018, 2019, and 2020) were analyzed using two-sided t-tests, Chi-square tests, and Fisher's exact tests. Results: A total of 442 otolaryngology residency applicants responded to the survey, including 329 from the match years 2018 to 2020 and 113 from match year 2021. In 2021, 30.7% of responding applicants reported matching at a program where they had a geographic connection, compared to 40.0% in prior years (P =.139). Matched applicants in 2021 reported attending less interviews than applicants in prior years (mean 12.2 vs. 13.3, P =.040), and 26.1% of responding applicants reported matching at a program where they sent a preference signal. Applicants in the 2021 match reported significantly lower total costs than applicants in prior years (mean difference −$5,496, 95% confidence interval −$6,234 to −$4,759; P <.001). Compared to prior match years, matched applicants in 2021 had no meaningful differences in characteristics such as United States Medical Licensing Exam board scores, clerkship grades, honors society memberships, research output, volunteer experiences, or leadership experiences. Conclusion: Based on this sample, there was no evidence of significant interview hoarding or increased geographic clustering in the 2021 otolaryngology match, and the COVID-19 pandemic did not appear to result in significantly different matched applicant characteristics. Level of Evidence: 4 Laryngoscope, 2021.
- personnel selection
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