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Residency match interview scheduling: quantifying the applicant experience
  1. Mark Mullen1,
  2. Amanda Barnard2,
  3. Jeffrey A. Gavard3,
  4. Chad Miller4,
  5. Michael Thomure3
  1. 1 Department of Psychiatry, Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska, USA
  2. 2 Saint Louis University School of Education, Saint Louis, Missouri, USA
  3. 3 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Saint Louis University School of Medicine, Saint Louis, Missouri, USA
  4. 4 Office of Curricular Affairs, Saint Louis University, Saint Louis, Missouri, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Mark Mullen, Creighton University, Omaha, NE 68124, USA; markmullen{at}


Background The process of offering and scheduling residency interviews varies widely among programmes. Applicants report distress and have advocated for reform. However, there is a paucity of quantitative data to characterise applicant concerns.

Objective We quantified the interview scheduling experience for US allopathic medical students in the 2020 main residency match.

Methods An anonymous, 13 question survey was sent to student representatives from each Association of American Medical Colleges member institution. Recipients were asked to forward the survey to their entire fourth-year class.

Results Of 4314 applicants to whom the survey was sent, 786 (18.2%) responded. Overall, 20.4% reported missing the opportunity to interview at a programme because they did not have adequate time to respond to an invitation; applicants into surgical specialties were significantly more likely than their non-surgical peers to report this experience (26.4% vs 18.4%, p<0.05). Most (57.4%) respondents scheduled an interview knowing they would likely cancel it in the future. The most commonly cited reason for this behaviour was concern that applicants would not receive invitations from other programmes (85.6%). A majority (56.4%) of respondents did not believe the match interview process functions based on equity and merit.

Conclusions About one in five respondents missed the opportunity to interview at a programme because they did not respond to an invitation in time. Most respondents scheduled interviews knowing that they were likely to cancel them in the future. Standardisation of the interview invitation timeline would address these concerns.

  • medical education & training

Data availability statement

Deidentified participant data are available from the author upon reasonable request.

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Data availability statement

Deidentified participant data are available from the author upon reasonable request.

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  • Contributors MRM contributed to manuscript preparation, study conception, development of survey, survey dissemination and study design. AB contributed to statistical analysis, manuscript preparation, development of survey, data collection and study design. JG contributed to study design, statistical analysis, manuscript preparation and development of survey. CM contributed to manuscript preparation, study design, study conception and interpretation of statistical analysis. MT contributed to study conception, IRB process, development of survey, study design and manuscript preparation.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.