Survey of Canadian urology programs: Which aspects of the Canadian Residency Matching Service (CaRMS) application are the most important?
Introduction: For medical students, determining which aspects of the Canadian Residency Matching Service (CaRMS) application are the most important when applying to residency programs can be challenging. Due to the lack of current and reliable information on the selection criteria of Canadian urology residency programs, we surveyed each program about which criteria are the most important when selecting future residents in order to provide medical students with more transparency and programs with a better idea of how their criteria compare to those of others.
Methods: An electronic survey was sent to all 13 Canadian urology residency programs (both program directors and selection committee members). It asked respondents to rate each aspect of the application on a five-point Likert scale. Following a 100% response rate from program directors, the same survey was sent to selection committee members. A numeric mean score was calculated for each individual aspect surveyed to create an overall rank list of the components. Independent samples t-tests (two groups) were used to compare the scores of program directors vs. program committee members and of francophone programs vs. anglophone programs.
Results: Forty-three urologists involved in the application process answered. The three most important aspects were rotation performance at the respondent’s institution (4.95±0.21), quality of reference letters from a urologist (4.60±0.62), and interview performance (4.49±0.63). There were no statistically significant differences between program directors and committee members for mean score of any aspect surveyed. Compared to anglophone programs, francophone programs gave statistically more significant importance to French proficiency (p<0.001) and pre-clinical academic performance (p=0.0272), while giving less importance to English proficiency (p<0.001).
Conclusions: Canadian urology residency programs are similar in that they rank “clinical performance during a rotation at their school” as the most important selection criteria when choosing a future urology trainee. Graduate degrees, career plans, and reference letters from non-urologists have less impact when choosing future urology residents. Francophone schools and anglophone schools differ in the importance of language proficiency and preclinical grades as selection criteria for urology residency. This study will provide future urology applicants with more information and transparency when applying to urology programs in Canada and be of use to urology residency programs that must now publish their selection criteria.
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