Plastic surgery is among the most competitive specialties in medicine, but little is known about the attributes of programs that are most attractive to successful applicants. This study aimed to understand and provide insights regarding program characteristics that are most influential to students when ranking plastic surgery programs.An anonymous online survey was conducted with newly matched plastic surgery residents for the integrated and combined Match in 2012 and 2013. Subjects were queried regarding their demographics, qualifications, application experiences, and motivations for residency program selection.A total of 92 of 245 matched plastic surgery residents (38 percent) responded to the survey. The perception of resident happiness was the most positive factor influencing program ranking, followed by high operative volume, faculty mentorship, and strong research infrastructure. Perception of a program as "malignant" was the most negative attribute. Applicants with Step 1 scores greater than 245 received significantly more interviews (p =0.001) and considered resident benefits less important (p < 0.05), but geographic location more important (p =0.005). Applicants who published more than two articles also received more interviews (p =0.001) and ranked a strong research infrastructure and program reputation as significantly more important (p < 0.05). Forty-two percent of applicants completed an away rotation at the program with which they matched, and these applicants were more likely to match at their number one ranked program (p = 0.001).Plastic surgery applicants have differing preferences regarding the ideal training program, but some attributes resonate. These trends can guide programs for improvement in attracting the best applicants.
View details for DOI 10.1097/PRS.0000000000001365
View details for Web of Science ID 000357097900001
View details for PubMedID 26111321