Residency characteristics that matter most to plastic surgery applicants: A multi-institutional analysis and review of the literature

Sammy Sinno, Karan Mehta, Lee Squitieri, Kavitha Ranganathan, Michael S. Koeckert, Ashit Patel, Pierre B. Saadeh, Vishal Thanik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose The National Residency Matching Program Match is a very unique process in which applicants and programs are coupled to each other based on a ranking system. Although several studies have assessed features plastic surgery programs look for in applicants, no study in the present plastic surgery literature identifies which residency characteristics are most important to plastic surgery applicants. Therefore, we sought to perform a multi-institutional assessment as to which factors plastic surgery residency applicants consider most important when applying for residency. Methods A validated and anonymous questionnaire containing 37 items regarding various program characteristics was e-mailed to 226 applicants to New York University, Albany, University of Michigan, and University of Southern California plastic surgery residency programs. Applicants were asked to rate each feature on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the most important. The 37 variables were ranked by the sum of the responses. The median rating and interquartile range as well as the mean for each factor was then calculated. A Wilcoxon signed rank test was used to compare medians in rank order. Results A total of 137 completed questionnaires were returned, yielding a 61% response rate. The characteristics candidates considered most important were impressions during the interview, experiences during away rotations, importance placed on resident training/support/mentoring by faculty, personal experiences with residents, and the amount of time spent in general surgery. The characteristics candidates considered least important were second-look experiences, compensation/benefits, program reputation from Internet forums, accessibility of program coordinator, opportunity for laboratory research, and fellowship positions available at the program. Conclusions Applicants value personal contact and time spent in general surgery when selecting residency programs. As the number of integrated programs continues to grow, programs will benefit from learning what factors their applicants value most.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)713-717
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of plastic surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 26 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • applicant
  • application
  • away rotation
  • integrated residency
  • interview
  • match
  • match process
  • match program
  • medical school
  • plastic surgery
  • questionnaire
  • residency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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