Do any of the 10 attributes of the standardized letter of recommendation (SLOR) for the otolaryngology match correlate with objective measures of each applicant?
Bottom Line: Overall, the lack of correlation between SLOR attributes and objective measures suggests the SLOR adds little to the residency application.
Background: In otolaryngology, the SLOR was first introduced to pediatric otolaryngology fellowships in 2011, and was then implemented into the 2012 match. Although the SLOR has reduced time for letter writers and readers and provided a more objective candidate description, the utility of the SLOR’s 10 individual domains remains questionable.
Study design: Retrospective cohort study of 339 SLORs from 187 otolaryngology residency applicants during the 2016–2017 match application cycle.
Setting: University of California, Irvine, Calif.
Synopsis: The highest mean and median percentiles were in commitment to otolaryngology, and the lowest were in commitment to academic medicine. USMLE steps 1 and 2 scores correlated most strongly with match potential. Total number of research experiences correlated most strongly with medical knowledge. There was no significant association between SLOR attributes and number of volunteer activities or work experiences, total number of awards, and number of awards earned before/during medical school. There were no significant SLOR attribute differences between applicants who took years off prior to or during medical school, or between applicants with and without additional graduate degrees. There was a significant difference between Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) and non-AOA members in medical knowledge, research, and commitment to otolaryngology. Limitations included a limited sample size and SLORs that came from a single institution.
Citation: Hu AC, Gu JT, Wong BJF. Objective measures and the standardized letter of recommendation in the otolaryngology residency match. Laryngoscope. 2020;130:603-608.