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Letters of Recommendation for Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency Applicants —Which Elements Matter?
Objective: This study compares specific elements of letters of recommendation for applicants to one Obstetrics and Gynecology residency program based on whether candidates were offered interviews. The analysis also includes stratification of the interviewed group by rank for the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) submission.
Study Design: Letters of recommendation (LORs) for all 136 applicants offered an interview and a random sample of 136 applicants not offered an interview were coded for themes. These themes were analyzed using negative binomial regression, logistic regression, and a simple two-group t-test.
Results: Preliminary results of 75 LORs revealed few differences between the interviewed & non-interviewed applicants and between the LORs of all interviewed applicants and those ranked most highly on the program’s NRMP list. The only statistically significant predictor of being selected for an interview was reference to leadership potential (P = .031). Positive trends were also noted with compassion and mention of high match rank at the letter writer’s institution. Interestingly, a negative trend was noted with use of the word “bright”. There were no significant differences noted between the LORs of all interviewed applicants and those ranked most highly to match.
Conclusion: The similarity of LORs among these groups suggests that all letters persuasively support the applicants. Reference to leadership potential does appear to be a favorable attribute in determining which applicants are offered interviews at our institution. This information may assist letter writers’ to best advocate for their candidates.
2013, Clerkship Director, Residency Director, Residency Coordinator, Interpersonal & Communication Skills,