In addition to your time and hard work, matching dermatology requires dollars - thousands of dollars. The cost is high for all competitive specialties, but it's estimated that dermatology is the highest (more on the price of matching here). In general applicants apply to a larger number of programs and also have to apply for (and interview at) intern year programs.
An April 2016 letter to the JAAD (Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology) by Mansouri et al. reports average cost of away rotations, application submission (ERAS + USMLE + NRMP fees) and interviews equal to $11,324 for matched applicants and $9,058 for unmatched applicants with interviews comprising 55-66% of the cost, application fees 15-21% of total cost and away rotations filling in the remainder.
The study estimated the cost of an away rotation at $2,182, which included lodging and travel to, fro, and within cities. Interview costs were estimated at $500/interview with matched applicants attending an average of 15 prelim+derm interviews compared to unmatched applicants who attended an average of 10 prelim+derm interviews.
Huang and Felman brought up the great point that these estimates don't include the costs of taking a gap year between 3rd and 4th year to do research or obtain an extra degree, reapplying if you don't match, or the cost of doing a 2 year research fellowship before reapplying.
In 2014, 352 graduating US seniors matched dermatology out of the 463 that applied. More stats at Charting Outcomes in the Match (2016 data should be released later this year).
My residency interview experience costs were about this amount, but for different reasons.
- Their calculations appear to exclude the price of applying to intern year programs; i applied to 15.
- I did go on 15 derm+prelim interviews excluding two interviews at my home institution. They probably averaged to $500/each, but it's very hard to keep tract because I was flying from interview to interview, which did help me save money. Overall, I think $500/interview is appropriate and what I advice applicants to budget.
- I spent a lot of money on my interview day attire (worth it, in my opinion).
- I did not do any away rotations.
One idea to curb costs is to limit the number of programs an applicant can apply to and decrease the number of applicants programs interview.
What do you think of this idea?
For those of you who recently applied, how much did you spend on the matching process?
- Mansouri B, Walker GD, Mitchell J, Henderson RA. The cost of applying to dermatology residency: 2014 data estimates. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2016;74:754-756.
- Huang, W.W, Feldman, S.R. The cost of applying to dermatology residencyJ Am Acad Dermatol. 2016;775-776.