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Postinterview communication with residency applicants: a call for clarity!

      The residency match is an increasingly competitive process. Communication from medical student applicants to programs varies, and the effect this has on their rank status is unclear. We assessed how obstetrics and gynecology program directors interpret and act on postinterview communication initiated by applicants by conducting an anonymous cross-sectional web-based survey of allopathic obstetrics and gynecology program directors. One hundred thirty-seven program directors (55%) responded to the survey. Twenty-nine percent would consider ranking an applicant more favorably if the applicant expressed interest (beyond a routine thank you) or if a faculty mentor personally known to the program director stated that the applicant was ranking the program first. Fifty-two percent indicated that they would rank an applicant more favorably if a mentor known to them endorsed the applicant as outstanding. Approximately 30% responded that applicants who did not communicate with their program were disadvantaged compared with those who did. Approximately 17% stated it was desirable to create additional specialty-specific guidelines regarding postinterview contact between programs and applications. Based on the wide variation in how program directors interpret and act on postinterview communication from applicants, residency programs should formulate and communicate a clear policy about whether they request and how they respond to postinterview communication from applicants and their mentors. This will establish a more level playing field and eliminate potential inequities resulting from inconsistent communication practices.

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