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Invited Commentary
August 2016

Reforming the Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery Match: Should We Embrace a Consortia Match?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri

Copyright 2016 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2016;142(8):728-730. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2016.1631

Otolaryngology–head and neck surgery remains a desirable career and highly competitive residency application for graduating medical students. According to the preliminary Electronic Residency Application Service data, the median number of applications for an otolaryngological applicant in 2015 was 46.1 Although this number represents a slight decrease from 2014, the median number of applications for Alpha Omega Alpha members increased during this same time from 59 in 2014 to 63 in 2015.1 This volume of applications creates an emotional, time, and financial strain on applicants and residency programs.2 There have been a number of proposals within the past few years to try to address the increasing number of applications made by each aspiring otolaryngological resident. Some recent proposals to address the problems caused by the ever-increasing number of applications include standardizing letters of recommendation,3 having otolaryngological program directors explicitly advise applicants to target 10 to 20 carefully chosen programs,4,5 limiting the number of applications,6 and requiring applicants to write a program-specific portion of their personal statement.