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The 2020-2021 Residency Application CycleLessons Learned and Lingering Problems

Educational Objective
To identify the key insights or developments described in this article

March 19, 2021, was Match Day. This year, a record-setting 33 353 participants were successfully matched to first-year residency positions. Overall, 92.8% of graduating US MD students were matched to a residency training program—a rate similar to the historical average of 93% to 94%—while 89.1% of graduating osteopathic medical students were matched, a slight decline from 90.7% the previous year.1 Although the outcome of this residency application season was similar to those before, the processes leading to it were unlike any other year. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted all aspects of the 2020-2021 residency application cycle. This year, essentially all residency interviews were conducted virtually; away rotations were suspended; both standardized test score reporting and the season start date were delayed; and applicants and programs alike encountered significant uncertainty about how best to optimize their outcomes. Reflecting on the 2020-2021 residency application cycle shows both lessons learned and lingering problems that must be addressed.

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Article Information

Corresponding Author: Maya M. Hammoud, MD, MBA, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Michigan Medical School, 1500 E Medical Center Dr, L4000 Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 (immaya@umich.edu).

Published Online: May 21, 2021. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.5708

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Dr Carmody reported receipt of personal fees from Horizon Therapeutics and Travere Therapeutics. No other disclosures were reported.

References
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Association of American Medical Colleges. Medical School Graduation Questionnaire: 2019 All Schools Summary Report. Published July 2019. Accessed March 25, 2021. https://www.aamc.org/media/33566/download
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