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August 2016

Reforming the Match Process—Early Decision Plans and the Case for a Consortia Match

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Departments of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Biomedical Engineering, and Surgery, The Beckman Laser Institute, University of California, Irvine
JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2016;142(8):727-728. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2016.1232

Each year, on match day, about 300 prospective otolaryngological residents are very happy, but at the same time, many equally qualified applicants (about 70) are sad.1 Unlike most other disciplines, the otolaryngological applicant pool is already highly self-selected and competitive across the board (approximately 60% Alpha Omega Alpha members),2 with most of the matched and unmatched applicants being indistinguishable from one another in terms of accomplishments and perceived future performance.35 Hence, fear and anxiety caused by the harsh reality of the National Resident Matching Program1 statistics have led students to apply to more programs each year; now, conventional wisdom suggests that that magic number is 50, which also results in a proportionally excessive number of interviews. Everyone is now almost applying everywhere, which is already the case with peer specialties such as dermatology and plastic surgery.

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