Indexed on: 13 Jan '21Published on: 01 Oct '19Published in: The Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
In 2016, 1,137 fourth year medical students submitted applications for orthopedic surgery residency positions. Students applied to an average of 79 programs, resulting in in a total of 89,846 applications being submitted for 727 first year residency positions. This ratio of 124 applications per position is two SDs above the mean relative to other medical specialties. The average applicant for orthopaedic surgery residency attends 2.4 away rotations, as attending 2 away rotations increases an applicant's odds of matching, and submits 83 applications. This excessive number of applications overburdens programs, subjects applicants to considerable costs, and diminishes the quality of fit between interviewees and programs. Eighty-three percent of program directors use step 1 United States Medical Licensing Examination scores as a screening tool to decrease the number of applications necessary for review. The average matched applicant attended 11.5 interviews, and Step 1 scores, research productivity, and Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) status can be used to predict the number of applications necessary to obtain 12 interviews. AOA membership has the strongest influence on interview yield. Applicants report spending an average of approximately $7,000 on the interview process, and 72% borrow money to cover these costs. Post-interview contact, although forbidden by the National Resident Matching Program , has been reported by 60% to 64% of applicants.