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Too Much of a Good Thing

J. Jared Christophel, MD, MPH1; Paul A. Levine, MD1
[+] Author Affiliations
1Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville
JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2014;140(4):291-292. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2013.6647.
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An excess of applicants is a great problem for the field of otolaryngology–head and neck surgery to have, but the electronic matching process has fostered a shotgun approach by medical students. They unnecessarily and unintentionally burden the application process, spend more money than truly needed to properly apply, and “trample” on the weaker applicants hoping for a chance to match.

In response to an increasingly overwhelming number of applications, Baroody et al1 wrote an editorial in Archives of Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery in 2008 encouraging all of us who mentor medical students to suggest that they target their applications to between 10 and 20 selected programs. In the 2013 match, the mean number of applications sent out by each student was between 50 and 60.

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Figure.
US Otolaryngology Residency Applications From 2009, 2011, and 2013

A, Total applications and interviews. B, Mean individual applications and interviews.

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