Objectives: To define applicant response to the 2021 Urology Residency Match Process in the COVID-19 Pandemic and to extrapolate lessons to optimize the urology resident selection process after the pandemic. Methods: We emailed an anonymous, de-identified 22-question, multiple choice survey to all applicants to our institution for the 2021 Urology Residency Match, including a summary of the study with a survey link (RedCap). Results: Of the 398 survey recipients, 144 responded (36%). Even if the match process were not limited by COVID-19, 39% of applicants thought interviews should remain in virtual format, 23% said “no,” and 30% said “not sure.” Nearly all applicants (97%) thought all interview offers should be released on the same day. Regarding the early match, 84% thought this should remain. When asked what factors had the most impact on rank lists, faculty and resident interviews were overwhelmingly favored. Open houses and resident “happy hours” were less important. Most applicants agreed that the faculty and resident interviews and informational talks were adequately replicated on the virtual platform. A majority of applicants (65%) spent under $2000 for the application cycle. Conclusion: The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically changed the urology match process. The faculty and resident interviews remained the most important factors in program ranking, and most applicants agreed those were adequately replicated in the virtual format. A plurality of applicants felt that the interview process should remain virtual in a post-COVID-19 environment. The virtual application cycle reduced the cost of applying to residency.
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