Predictors of getting a residency interview: Differences by medical specialty

Theodore R. Kremer, Michael J. Kremer, Kristen P. Kremer, Angela Mihalic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objectives: Gaining medical residency interviews has become more competitive and costly for medical students. Although limited evidence from residency programme directors indicates predictors for successfully matching into a programme, past research has not sufficiently explored the application components necessary to receive an interview offer. The present study will identify which application components are most helpful in obtaining interview offers for different medical specialties. Methods: Data were sourced from the Texas Seeking Transparency in Application to Residency (STAR), a survey of recently matched fourth-year American medical students who self-reported information on their residency application components and interview offers. Multi-level logistic regression analyses were employed to predict the odds of interview offer according to applicants’ academic, research and extracurricular characteristics. Sub-analyses were conducted for each medical specialty. Results: Nearly 10 000 students reported information on over 419 010 applications submitted, which resulted in 164 696 interview offers. Across the sample, applicants had greater odds of receiving an interview offer if they had a geographic connection to the programme (odds ratio [OR] = 4.10, 95% confidence interval [CI] 4.00-4.20), had completed an away rotation at the programme (OR = 16.00, 95% CI 14.92-17.15), were Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society members (OR = 1.49, 95% CI 1.36-1.64), or had been inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society (OR = 1.50, 95% CI 1.39-1.62). Applicants had reduced odds of getting an interview if they had been required to remediate a course in medical school (OR = 0.73, 95% CI 0.64-0.83) or had failed the US Medical Licensing Examination Step 1 or Step 2 examination on their first attempt (OR = 0.40, 95% CI 0.33-0.47). Predictors of obtaining an interview varied by specialty. Conclusions: The present findings can assist senior medical students as they prepare residency applications and identify programmes to which they will apply. Knowledge of the significant factors can help applicants more efficiently use resources to maximise their number of interview offers. Completing away rotations and selecting programmes with which applicants have geographic connections may increase their odds of receiving interview offers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)198-212
Number of pages15
JournalMedical Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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