To the Editor.—The commentary about the cost-effectiveness of externships for residency applicants for students applying in otolaryngology—head and neck surgery by Mattox1 misses a major point in the overall analysis.
I agree that externships at outside institutions are expensive to the applicant and may be undertaken at the expense of time for other important electives in medical school. There is another benefit of a visiting externship other than gaining a competitive edge in the selection process—the student is able to assess how well the program will fulfill his particular needs. In a one-day interview, it is difficult for the applicant to determine adequately whether a program will be "right" for the applicant and his or her family, while the program staff is trying to evaluate the candidate simultaneously. A month-long contact is certainly more informative for both the student and the program staff. "Wrong" decisions are costly in
SUROW JB. Cost-effectiveness of Externships. Arch Otolaryngol. 1984;110(6):415. doi:10.1001/archotol.1984.00800320069020