The Cost of Medical Residency Selection (and how CASPer® can help)

How much does it cost to find and admit the best future physicians to medical residency programs?

For Internal Medicine; about $148,000 per year. Per school.

That’s a huge annual cost for institutions. It’s a cost that most accept because student admissions are incredibly important for medical residencies. Program directors want to recruit candidates who have the best chance of becoming successful physicians. As such, applicants are expected to demonstrate not only exceptional medical knowledge but exceptional proficiency in the other, non-academic competencies required to practice medicine successfully.

The interview process typically targets a student’s non-cognitive qualities; the goal is to evaluate personal attributes, confirm essential skills and determine whether there’s a mutual fit between the student and the program. The interview rankings are what help determine the final listing of students. For internal medicine, about 173 applicants make it to the interview stage. The number of students, combined with the comprehensiveness of the interviews, is what makes up the bulk of the cost for institutions.

It is estimated that students spend anywhere around $1,000 to $7,500 on just the residency interviews, and this estimate does not include the application fees. Despite this, the interview process doesn’t guarantee that a student will go on to become a successful physician. As the interview process is costly for both programs and applicants, it’s crucial to ensure that interview spots are not being taken up by applicants who end up bomb the interview – and unfortunately, this is not an uncommon occurrence.

The problem lies in the way we select applicants to decide whom to invite to the interview stage. Currently, most medical residency programs predominantly base their decisions on a multitude of metrics such as USMLE step 1 scores, rotation grades, and letters of evaluation. However, as program directors are limited in their time and resources, they are not always able to comprehensively review each applicant. Additionally, many of these tools have not shown to be all that useful as they do not help differentiate applicants from one another as they tend to be a fiercely competitive cohort.

Medical programs need an assessment tool that a) helps program directors better differentiate applicants and b) helps ensure that they will succeed during the interview. And they need the assessment to be cost-effective so that applicants are not even more burdened by finances. Enter CASPer®.

CASPer® fills in the soft skills gap by providing a platform for evaluating non-cognitive skills that complement the cognitive evaluations that are already collected about their applicants. It’s also a cost-effective tool that can evaluate a large number of students within a short amount of time as it’s substantially cheaper in comparison with other assessments that are used for medical school admissions.

How does CASPer® help alleviate the burden of residency selection? Past studies have shown that CASPer® scores predict subsequent interview performance and applicant rankings for surgery residency. This means CASPer® can ensure that precious interview spots are not wasted on applicants who have not yet fully developed their non-cognitive skills during their medical school training. Programs can also reduce the number of applicants to interview as the quality of the interview pool will be substantially improved by prescreening with CASPer®, so there is no need to add a buffer for the weaker interviewees. Residency recruitment should not be this expensive, and CASPer® may be one possible way to lower these absurd costs.

Written by Diana Ibranovic

Marketing Manager