Predictors of otolaryngology applicant success using the Texas STAR database

Nicholas R. Lenze, Angela P. Mihalic, Christine E. DeMason, Rupali N. Shah, Robert A. Buckmire, Brian D. Thorp, Charles S. Ebert, Adam M. Zanation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objectives: To examine applicant characteristics and behaviors associated with a successful match into otolaryngology residency. Methods: Self-reported survey data from applicants to otolaryngology residency between 2018 and 2020 were obtained from the Texas STAR database. Characteristics and predictors associated with a successful match were examined using Chi-square tests, two-sided t-tests, and logistic regression models. Results: A total of 315 otolaryngology residency applicants responded to the survey of whom 274 matched (87%) and 41 did not match (13%). Matched applicants had a significantly higher mean USMLE Step 1 score (P =.016) and Step 2 CK score (P =.007). There were no significant differences in AOA status (45% vs 36%; P =.207), mean number of applications submitted (70 vs 69; P =.544), and mean number of away rotations (2.1 vs 2.0; P =.687) between matched and unmatched applicants. Significant predictors of a successful match included receiving honors in 5 or more clerkships (OR 2.0, 95% CI 1.0-4.0; P =.040), receiving honors in an ENT clerkship (OR 3.7, 95% CI 1.0-12.9; P =.044), and having 3 or more peer-reviewed publications (OR 2.3, 95% CI 1.1-4.5; P =.020). The majority of applicants (79.9%) matched at a program where they either did an away rotation, had a personal geographic connection, or attended medical school in the same geographic region. Conclusions: Board scores, excelling on clinical rotations, and having productive research experience appear to be strong predictors of a successful match in otolaryngology. The majority of applicants report a personal or geographic connection to the program at which they match. Level of evidence: 4.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-194
Number of pages7
JournalLaryngoscope investigative otolaryngology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • otolaryngology
  • personnel selection
  • residency
  • surveys

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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