Objective To evaluate the information available about otolaryngology residency applicants for factors that may predict future success as an otolaryngologist.
Design Retrospective review of residency applications; survey of resident graduates and otolaryngology clinical faculty.
Setting Otolaryngology residency program.
Participants Otolaryngology program graduates from 2001 to 2010 and current clinical faculty from Barnes-Jewish Hospital/Washington University School of Medicine.
Main Outcome Measure Overall ratings of the otolaryngology graduates by clinical faculty (on a 5-point scale) were compared with the resident application attributes that might predict success. The application factors studied are United States Medical Licensing Examination part 1 score, Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society election, medical school grades, letter of recommendation, rank of the medical school, extracurricular activities, residency interview, experience with acting intern, and extracurricular activities.
Results Forty-six graduates were included in the study. The overall faculty rating of the residents showed good interrater reliability. The objective factors, letters of recommendation, experience as an acting intern, and musical excellence showed no correlation with higher faculty rating. Rank of the medical school and faculty interview weakly correlated with faculty rating. Having excelled in a team sport correlated with higher faculty rating.
Conclusions Many of the application factors typically used during otolaryngology residency candidate selection may not be predictive of future capabilities as a clinician. Prior excellence in a team sport may suggest continued success in the health care team.