Otolaryngology Match 2020-21: Survey of Prospective Applicants in the Setting of COVID-19

Said Izreig, Sina J. Torabi, David A. Kasle, Rahmatullah W. Rahmati, R. Peter Manes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Objectives: To capture the perspectives of candidates applying for otolaryngology residency positions in the 2020-21 cycle, in the context of disruption caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Subjects and methods: Candidates planning to apply to the otolaryngology 2020-21 match were invited to complete a cross-sectional online survey. Distribution was via otomatch.com and word of mouth. Descriptive statistics were performed. Results: Of 85 eligible responses (estimated 18.9% of all applicants), many have had at least one board examination (71.8%) disrupted. A majority (85.9%) believe evaluation of candidates will change due to the pandemic, and 54.1% report they were now less confident in matching. Female applicants (37.6% of respondents) were found to have significantly higher odds of decreased confidence in matching (OR 2.781 [95% CI 1.045-7.4044]; P =.041). Many report a move to virtual interviews would increase the number of applications submitted (45.9%) and the number of interviews attended (77.6%). Some applicants (36.5%) did not believe residency programs would gather sufficient information about their candidacy to make an informed decision, and most (62.4%) did not believe that they would gather sufficient information to inform their own rank list. Conclusions: We find that candidates believe their candidacy will be assessed differently in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, are largely less confident in successfully matching, and are planning to apply and interview more broadly. These data are relevant to otolaryngology residency leadership to inform clear dialogue and a smooth transition into an unprecedented application cycle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)450-458
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • 2021 match
  • COVID-19
  • otolaryngology applications
  • survey
  • virtual Interviews


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