Sure, some residency websites blow others out of the water. They have more fancy videos, smiling attendings, and satisfied residents. Their FAQs are thorough, and the mission statement is clear. But does this fluff and bluster mean you are in for a better ride during your residency? Or, does the word of your colleagues and faculty take precedence over anything you might see or hear on a residency application website? Let’s come to our conclusions.
Once upon a time, years ago, believe it not, there were no residency websites. And even after that, when I applied in 1997-1998, they were more of a mere afterthought. Anyone worth their salt would do their digging into the ins and outs of residency programs. Programs barely updated their information because the number of eyeballs hitting the web was far from what it is today. It simply was not the primary way to assess a program.
Fast forward to our time, and that is no longer the case. The currency of the world as we know it is the internet. And, if you don’t play that game, you lose.
Does A “Fancy Pants” Website Equal Better?
Let’s talk about some of the positives of well-curated residency websites. First, it shows that the residency program or hospital put some forethought into their online presence. So, it signifies hospital organization and a desire for the entity running the video to recruit residents. Remember. Creating a decent website is not required, so that is all well and good. Therefore, there is a tendency for residencies with high-quality websites to have more resources.
However, websites only show you the best of what the residency program and institution want to show. They will not let you know that they have not met their annual requirements to publish articles. Or, it will not tell you that they barely passed the last site visit due to a lack of faculty motivation. So, be very careful to believe everything the website wants you to see.
How Should You Evaluate Residency Websites In Your Calculus For Making A Decision?
Websites are helpful for a superficial survey of what the program may have to offer. Suppose the mission statement on the website declares that they aim to produce community radiologists. Then, it is probably true that you are looking at a program that deemphasizes research to make residents into good quality overall radiologists. So, if you are gung-ho about radiology research, it may be a way to exclude that residency program.
However, suppose you like the residency because the faces all looked happy, and the culture seemed benign. In that case, you will never know from watching a few videos from the institution and mulling the rhetoric on the website. It is a facade. I recommend checking the institution for yourself to know more about a program’s reputation.
Residency Websites: A Serious Business
Given the competition for the best residents among institutions, residency websites have become more of a significant business than years ago. But, it is a means of promotion. It may not demonstrate all the facts you need to hear before making your final decisions. So, regardless of whether a website is glorious or lousy, look under the cover and dig a little bit deeper if you are still interested in the program. Interview and check out the facilities if you still like them. And, of course, talk to the residents in the program if possible to get the real scoop. Don’t ever rely on a residency website and your primary/only source of information to make your final decisions!