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J Surg Educ. 2013 Nov-Dec;70(6):750-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jsurg.2013.05.008. Epub 2013 Jun 28.

It was the night before the interview: perceptions of resident applicants about the preinterview reception.

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Department of Surgery, University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California.



Hosting a reception for prospective interns the evening before the interview has become a well-established expectation. It is thought that these initial impressions significantly influence the ranking process. Despite these well-held beliefs, there has been a paucity of studies exploring the preinterview reception.


A survey tool was created and piloted to ensure validity. The survey was then administered to a fourth-year class of allopathic medical students immediately after interviews but before Match Day.


A university, teaching hospital.


Fourth-year allopathic medical students.


The response rate was 100% (n = 69). Ninety-six percent of programs hosted an event. Although these events were minimally stressful (86%), the same percent felt that not attending would limit their knowledge of the program, and 66% felt that it would negatively affect their application. Forty percent believe this event to be extremely important to residency programs in selecting interns. Ninety-five percent are attended by residents only, and approximately half were at a casual restaurant. Most applicants (97%) never paid for their own meal, and 69% felt that if they did, it would leave a negative impression of the program.


Candidates believe the preinterview reception is important in the selection process, that failing to attend would negatively affect their application, and provides insight about the program. Alcohol is often provided but rarely has a negative effect. Applicants prefer an informal setting with unfettered interactions with the residents.


Interpersonal and Communication Skills; Professionalism; residency applicant; residency interview; residency match; resident selection criteria

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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