Impact of Virtual Interviewing on Time and Financial Costs for NRMP© Applicants: Did Regional Campus Students Save More?

  • Tiffany Schwasinger-Schmidt University of Kansas School of Medicine Wichita
  • Tessa Rohrberg University of Kansas School of Medicine Wichita
  • Anne Walling University of Kansas School of Medicine Wichita
  • Kari Nilsen University of Kansas School of Medicine Wichita
Keywords: Regional Medical School Campuses, RResidency Interview Costs, Primary Care

Abstract

Background and Objectives: The sudden change from in-person to remote interviews by the National Residency Matching Program© (NRMP©) in 2020 was expected to result in significant financial and time savings for applicants. This project aimed to compare savings before and after the 2020-2021 interviewing season reported by students graduating from our institution’s regional and main campuses.

Methods: Data were collected over a six-year period at a Midwestern medical school. Each year, approximately 120 main campus and 75 regional campus students are surveyed regarding specialty choice, number of applications and interviews, time, and expenses to complete the NRMP. Chi-square and t-tests were used to determine statistical differences by campus and by specialty in savings during the 2020-21 interviewing season compared to the previous five years.

Results: Data were provided by 957 students. The response rates were 81.5% (regional) and 82% (main campus). Compared to the previous five years, in 2021 main campus students saved $3,990 (79.9%) and regional campus students saved $2,789 (77.1%). The previous highly significant differences in expenses between campuses ($1,386 ± $243) dropped to $185 (p = 0.3). On both campuses, applicants to non-primary care specialties saved more than their classmates applying to primary care. The largest average saving was reported by non-primary care applicants on the main campus ($4,207) and the smallest by regional applicants to primary care ($2,328). Main campus applicants reported saving 13.1 and regional campus 15.4 days interviewing in 2021. The smallest average time saving was reported by main campus applicants to non-primary care (12.7 days) and the largest (16.2 days) by regional campus applicants to primary care. No significant changes occurred in number of applications, interviews, or Match outcomes in 2021 compared to previous years.

Conclusion: Prior to 2021, students from our institution’s regional campus reported lower costs and similar interviewing time than their peers on the main campus. Cost and time were significantly decreased in 2021 for both regional and main campus students applying to any specialty and differences between campuses reduced to non-significant levels. The number of applications, completed interviews, and Match outcomes remained similar to previous years. Changes to the NRMP© incorporating remote interviewing may reduce applicant costs by 80% and provide up to two weeks of available curricular time in the senior year of medical school.

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