Applicants' opinions about the selection process for oral and maxillofacial surgery programs.J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2003 May; 61(5):608-14.JO
This study was conducted to investigate the characteristics of and opinions about the selection process of applicants to residency programs in oral and maxillofacial surgery (OMS) in the year 2000. The current investigation paralleled a survey completed in the 1970s, with additional questions to assess contemporary curriculum and surgical training evolution. Differences from the previous (1976) survey, a profile of applicants in 2000, and characteristics of OMS residency programs that applicants view as attractive are discussed.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS
Questionnaires were sent to 307 applicants to OMS residency programs registered in the dental matching program. To provide a more direct comparison of the study completed in 1977, the current questionnaire used the original survey as a model. It was divided into 6 sections: general information, information from the formal application and letters of recommendation, the interview, the selection process, the characteristics applicants were seeking in a program, and a retrospective review of programs visited.
In this study, 118 responses were received, representing 38% of the total. Respondents were predominately men (86%) and single, and attended dental school in all regions of the United States and the world. Respondents listed geographic location (65%) and national reputation (58%) as important factors for selecting programs to which to apply. Many respondents felt that a previous dental internship (85%), national board scores (83%), and class rank (79%) would be considered important in screening applicants for interview. A program's reputation, personalities of residents and attending staff, and clinical material were ranked as important factors contributing to program selection. Fifty-three of the 79 successful applicants reported that they were matched with their first-choice institution. Sixty percent of programs were considered worthy of revisiting by the respondents.
Respondents in 2000 had more knowledge of the selection process before interviewing and submitted 2 times the number of applications than applicants in 1977. When selecting programs to which to apply, current applicants were less influenced by geographic location and the recommendations of other dentists. Applicants were attracted to programs that they perceive to have a good reputation and abundant clinical material. Residencies that convey a friendly atmosphere, favorable interpersonal skills of enrolled residents, and appealing personalities of the faculty were more attractive to candidates.