Education Residency

Residency applicant interviews return to in-person format

photo of residents and applicants
Resident tour guides and applicants enjoy a snack break at the new St. Louis City Foundry.

For the first time since 2020, applicants to the Washington University Otolaryngology residency program interviewed using an in-person format.

Most of our applicants are not familiar with St. Louis and everything that our residency program and the WashU/BJC/SLCH consortium have to offer. For these applicants, the opportunity to meet with faculty, interact with current residents, and experience a little of the St. Louis city lifestyle can play an important role in the ranking process.

photo of applicants visiting the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.
The residency applicants’ tour of the city always includes a stop at the Gateway Arch for the classic jump photo.

According to Residency Program Director Judith Lieu, MD, MSPH, about half the otolaryngology residency programs in the U.S. returned to in-person interviews this year. Since candidates granted interviews are responsible for their travel and lodging expenses, this can create quite a financial burden for those interviewing at a number of sites.

“To help relieve the financial burden of an in-person interview, our department covered one night’s lodging for visiting applicants,” she said. “Many candidates were quick to voice their appreciation.”

“This was a wonderful interview day and very well coordinated,” said one applicant. “Covering the cost of the hotel room for a night was very much appreciated!”

One of the greatest advantages to the in-person experience is the opportunity to get a feeling for how well a candidate might fit with the program. A welcome social at Schlafly Bottleworks the night before interviews provided candidates an opportunity to enjoy some local cuisine and a casual atmosphere in which to engage with many of the current residents.

Residents also provided candidates with tours of the medical school campus and the city. The city tours included a photo opp at the Gateway Arch and a quick treat at a local haunt such as Kaldi’s Coffee, Clementine’s Ice Cream, or Pharaoh’s Donuts. This year’s tour also included a stop at the new City Foundry.

“I felt very welcomed and felt the interviewers took their responsibility very, very seriously. I don’t think there is a nicer group of faculty among all of the top programs. The hospital and city tours were also great; I felt like I actually got to see what St. Louis was like, and it really influenced my perception of the city.”

Resident applicant

Third year resident David Lee, MD, also hosted a casual Saturday evening post-interview gathering at his home for residents and candidates who were weren’t flying out until the next day. Candidates commented that being included in this more personal event really highlighted just how welcoming WashU ENT residents can be.

Local (WashU) applicants or those who had completed a sub-internship were interviewed virtually, due to their previous exposure to the department, residency program, and St. Louis area. Eleven applicants were interviewed using this format.

A total of 63 candidates were interviewed, 11 via Zoom and 52 in person. Which five of those will match with our prestigious residency program? We’ll find out March 15.