Did More Otolaryngology Residency Applicants Match at Their Home Institutions in 2021? Investigating the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



The Annals of otology, rhinology, and laryngology




COVID-19; home match; match geography; otolaryngology; residency


OBJECTIVE: To compare the proportion of applicants who matched to their home otolaryngology program during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to the previous 5 years. METHODS: A "home program match" status was identified for residents in each PGY level and in incoming interns. The "home match proportion" (HMP) was then calculated for each program for each year from 2016 to 2021. The difference in the distribution of home matches between PGY0 and PGY 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 were analyzed using the chi-square independence test and Fisher's exact test. Statistical significance was declared at  < .05. RESULTS: A total of 1885 residents were identified from 101 otolaryngology residency programs. The distribution of PGY0s who home matched was statistically higher when separately compared to PGY1-5s. (PGY0 vs PGY 1, 2, 3, 4, 5: 96 [30.1%] vs 63 [19.3%]  = .002, 73 [22.9%]  = .048, 50 [16.3%]  < 0.0005, 59 [19.2%]  = .002, 52 [16.9%]  < .0005). There was no statistical difference in any binary combination within PGY1 through PGY5. CONCLUSION: Nearly a third of applicants matched to their home institution for otolaryngology during the 2021 application cycle, a statistically significant increase compared to an average of the previous 5 years. While there are likely many reasons for this increase, we believe that the severely limited nature of away rotations due to the COVID-19 pandemic played a significant role in this outcome.