Otolaryngology externships and the match: Productive or futile?

Academic Article


  • Objectives/Hypothesis: The objectives of this study were to summarize externship experiences among recent graduates and current residents in otolaryngology residency programs and determine whether externships affect the match process. Study Design: Cross-sectional survey. Methods: A survey was distributed to otolaryngology residents in allopathic US residency programs and otolaryngology graduates from the past 5 years (2011–2015). There were 2,141 surveys distributed. Results: There were 654 subjects who responded, for a 30.5% response rate. Most respondents were residents (n = 438, 67%). Of the residents, 85.6% had completed at least one externship compared to 75.9% of graduates (P =.002). The most common reasons for selecting a particular externship were geographic location (74.2%) and program reputation (71.1%), whereas the most common reason for not completing an externship was being advised not to (59.1%). Furthermore, 82.6% of respondents received at least one interview from their externships, 90% went to those interviews, and 89.1% reported that externship experiences affected their rank list. Respondents had a 32.7% match rate to the externship residency program if it was ranked versus a 48.8% match rate if the program was ranked first. Respondents who matched at the externship residency program matched higher on their rank list (P <.001). Of the respondents, 90.7% found externships to be valuable, and 74.5% recommended completing one. Conclusions: Externships are beneficial because they influence the rank list of applicants and are viewed as valuable experiences. Completing an externship is advisable for the experience, but applicants should weigh the benefits versus the possible risk of being judged more harshly during a month-long rotation. Level of Evidence: NA Laryngoscope, 127:2242–2246, 2017.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Thomas CM; Cabrera-Muffly C
  • Start Page

  • 2242
  • End Page

  • 2246
  • Volume

  • 127
  • Issue

  • 10