Objectives: This study investigates whether there is a relationship between Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine's fourth-year medical students' acceptance into their preferred specialty for residency and their submission of the Personal Statement portion of their residency application for review/edit by the Library's editing service. We hope that our results will aid other institutions which may be considering whether to provide a similar service.
Methods: This case-control study reviews Match records for the years 2018 and 2019 (the years for which data was available) and compares the Match rates into the preferred residency specialty of those who submitted their Personal Statements to the Library’s editing service vs those who did not. 98 of the 298 medical students who participated in the Match process for the indicated years had their Personal Statements reviewed by the Library's service. Anonymized data was analyzed using Pearson correlation analysis and a logit model including choice of preferred specialty and graduation year as well as a binary variable indicating whether or not the editing service was used. The dependent variable was a 0-1 binary variable representing whether the student matched into their preferred specialty. To illustrate the relationship, basic correlations between the variables were also reviewed.
Results: The Pearson test revealed a weak positive but statistically insignificant overall correlation (.056, p = .337) between Match into Preferred and Reviewed by Library Service. When subdivided into 15 specialty categories, only one (All Surgery) showed marginal positive correlation at the 10% level (.307, p = .073) for students seeking a surgical specialty. Logit regression results indicate a low increased odds ratio (1.737:1) that students whose Personal Statements are reviewed by the editing service will match into their preferred residency specialty, but it must be noted that the other values (Wald x2 = 2.070; p = .150) show no statistical significance.
Conclusions: As a standalone factor, there appears to be little correlation between using the editing service and matching into the preferred specialty. According to the 2018 NRMP Program Director Survey, 78% include the Personal Statement among their top five considerations for interview decisions. However, it is only one of many elements in the Match process. In addition, numerous confounding factors beyond the editor’s control exist (including students’ prerogative to reject editorial suggestions). Therefore, we cannot discount the possibility that other factors might mitigate any positive effects of the editing service (e.g., likelihood of interview) in final Match results.