Introduction: Choosing a residency program is a stressful and important decision. Doximity released residency program rankings by specialty in September 2014. This study sought to investigate the impact of those rankings on residency application choices made by fourth year medical students.
Methods: A 12-item survey was administered in October 2014 to fourth year medical students at three schools. Students indicated their specialty, awareness of and perceived accuracy of the rankings, and the rankings’ impact on the programs to which they chose to apply. Descriptive statistics were reported for all students and those applying to Emergency Medicine (EM).
Results: A total of 461 (75.8%) students responded, with 425 applying in one of the 20 Doximity ranked specialties. Of the 425, 247 (58%) were aware of the rankings and 177 looked at them. On a 1-100 scale (100=very accurate), students reported a mean ranking accuracy rating of 56.7 (SD 20.3). Forty-five percent of students who looked at the rankings modified the number of programs to which they applied. The majority added programs. Of the 47 students applying to EM, 18 looked at the rankings and 33% changed their application list with most adding programs.
Conclusion: The Doximity rankings had real effects on students applying to residencies as almost half of students who looked at the rankings modified their program list. Additionally, students found the rankings to be moderately accurate. Graduating students might benefit from emphasis on more objective characterization of programs to assess in light of their own interests and personal/career goals.