ERAS Application 2024 Guide! How to Fill Out ERAS Residency Application?

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ERAS Application 2024 Guide!
How to Fill Out ERAS Residency Application?

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Greetings, dear MATCH® Applicants! I hope you are ready to start drafting your ERAS application. Your ERAS CV (including Experiences and Publications) is a crucial part of your Match application and serves to highlight your unique skills and accomplishments. Let’s delve into the specifics of crafting an exceptional ERAS application and help your application stand out from the crowd.

Before we start, if you are looking for a full ERAS Application Template including samples of Experiences, Education, Geographic Preferences, Publications, and Personal/Biographic Information, sign up here!

What is the ERAS Application?

The ERAS (Electronic Residency Application Service) Application is a unified online platform used by medical students and graduates to apply for residency programs in the United States. It collects your personal, educational, and professional information into one profile, which program directors can then review.

How do I get an ERAS application? How to register for ERAS?

IMGs will get their ERAS token from ECFMG. U.S. students will get their ERAS token from the Designated Dean’s Office at their medical school.

When should I submit my ERAS application? What time is ERAS due?

While there is no specific deadline to submit your ERAS application, it is highly recommended to submit your application before programs begin reviewing them, which starts September 27 at 9 AM EST for Match 2024 applicants. Applicants are able to start submitting their applications starting September 6, 2023. So anytime between September 6 and September 27 would be ideal. Be mindful that letters of recommendation take a longer time to show on the system after a letter author uploads it (around a few days).

Can I submit my ERAS application late?

Although you are able to submit your ERAS application late, this is not recommended. If you submit your application after a certain program starts reviewing applications, your application won’t be shown to that program. Different programs have different dates on which they decide to check all applications.

When should I start drafting my ERAS Application?

The best time to start is now! Start brainstorming about your Experiences as early as possible, focusing on the positions, events, and activities that shaped you as a physician. Over time, you can tailor that list to emphasize the skills and experiences most relevant to your specialty of choice.

What’s new in ERAS 2024?

Discontinuation of the supplemental ERAS application
● Adding geographic preferences and program signaling
● Applicants are limited to a maximum of 10 Experiences
● Applicants may highlight 3 Most Meaningful Experiences
● Adding impactful experiences
● Applicants may select both a Primary Focus and Key Characteristic for each Experience
Revised experience categories include:
            ○ Education/training
            ○ Military service
            ○ Other extracurricular activity, club, hobby
            ○ Professional organization
            ○ Research
            ○ Teaching/mentoring
            ○ Volunteer/service/advocacy
            ○ Work

Discontinuation of the supplemental ERAS application
● Adding geographic preferences and program signaling
● Applicants are limited to a maximum of 10 Experiences
● Applicants may highlight 3 Most Meaningful Experiences
● Adding impactful experiences
● Applicants may select both a Primary Focus and Key Characteristic for each Experience
Revised experience categories include:
○ Education/training
○ Military service
○ Other extracurricular activity, club, hobby
○ Professional organization
○ Research
○ Teaching/mentoring     ○Volunteer/service/advocacy
○ Work

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Now we will go over the following sections of the ERAS application:

Experiences

This is the most crucial section of the ERAS CV. Also, it is the most time-consuming as you should carefully phrase your experiences to highlight your role. Therefore, it is recommended to begin early and briefly describe in points.

How to Draft ERAS Experiences?

For the first time, the 2024 Match cycle ERAS application will limit the number of Experiences to a maximum of 10. The updated ERAS also collects more descriptive information about each experience entry, allowing applicants to define the type of experience in more detail. Optional “Primary Focus” and “Key Characteristic” entries help capture the specific subject matter and key takeaway of each experience entry.

General Tips to choose and draft ERAS Experiences:

  • Strike a tone balancing confidence and humility
  • Be truthful! While external proof of Experiences is not required, interviewers are experts in identifying exaggeration or fabrication
  • Have your ERAS proofread by a native English speaker to ensure there are no grammatical or structural errors

For each Experience, you will be asked to provide the following information:

Organization Name of the organization
Experience Type Identify the category of the Experience (see below)
Position Title For example, “acting intern,” “student volunteer,” or “team leader”
Start/End Date If an experience is ongoing, select “I am currently working in this role”
Location Country and city are required. State and zip code are optional.
Setting Urban, suburban, or rural
Participation Frequency How often did you participate in this Experience? Once, or on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis?
Primary Focus Select the Focus that best describes the subject matter of your Experience
Key Characteristic Select an area of personal growth that was influenced by your Experience
Context, Roles, and Responsibilities Free text box where you describe the Experience

Tips for Describing ERAS Experiences:

  • Experience descriptions are a maximum of 1020 characters (not words!)
  • Use bullet points to enhance the readability
  • Ensure there are no spelling errors
  • Use action verbs to improve conciseness and make descriptions more engaging

The description of each experience is the most important as it gives the reader a brief idea of your role and responsibilities.

Do not provide a lengthy paragraph about the experience, but rather a brief and point-wise explanation of your role and contribution. Note that you cannot add bullet points while filling out the ERAS CV portal. Instead, we recommend writing your description with bullet points in a Word or Pages document and copying and pasting them onto the portal.

While we generally recommend presenting your experiences in a bullet-point format for easier readability, we acknowledge that certain narratives may be better conveyed in paragraph form.

Besides concisely explaining what the Experience is, you must describe what skills did you learn? What were your responsibilities? How might the Experience have contributed to your character development?

What Does ERAS Application Editing Include?

Physician Advisor

A physician and native English speaker with exceptional expertise in editing ERAS Applications and CVs.

CV editing

Language Revision

By refining grammar, syntax, and word choice, we elevate the quality of your writing.

New ERAS Guidance

With the new changes to ERAS, we provide significant detailed comments and feedback to assist you with program signaling, geographic preferences, and selection of most meaningful experiences.

Experiences Editing

We significantly edit and refine your whole ERAS CV including your work, research, and volunteer experiences, tailoring them to your chosen specialty.

What are the 8 Types of Experiences included in ERAS?

  1. Education/training – Experiences during your medical training, including clerkships, acting internships/sub-internships, externships, and observerships, belong in this category. As an IMG, if you have completed any training in the United States, it is important to describe your experience and demonstrate your understanding of American healthcare culture.

  2. Military service – You may write about military service, if applicable. For military Experiences, emphasize the transferable skills and character development acquired during your service, especially your ability to work well in a team.

  3. Other extracurricular activity, club, hobby – If you are passionate about sports, music, theater, or another personally meaningful hobby, describe it here. This Experience type can help portray you as a well-rounded applicant and provide a non-medical example of positive qualities like discipline, passion, and creativity.

  4. Professional organization – Membership in a local, national, or international organization may be described here, but only include organizations that you have been highly involved with as a member or in a leadership capacity. (Listing organizations in which you have simply been a member without any contribution is not recommended.)

  5. Research – Experiences like working in a lab under a principal investigator or with a specific department to conduct basic science, translational, or clinical research are included here (paid or unpaid). Describe the topic briefly but focus on explaining your responsibilities, contributions to the team, and skills gained from the experience. Do not list your publications/conference presentations here; these belong in the separate “Publications” section.

  6. Teaching/mentoring – Include teaching experiences here, such as tutoring, mentorship of peers/other students, assisting with teaching courses in medical school, etc.

  7. Volunteer/service/advocacy – This Experience type comprises any unpaid service or advocacy activities, such as working with a nonprofit organization during your free time. All volunteer positions are unpaid; paid experiences fall under Work. Volunteering does not need to be within the field of medicine but should demonstrate your commitment to service.

  8. Work – Paid experiences belong here, with the exception of research positions (include these under Research). If you are working at the time of your application, you can describe the scope and focus of your current position here.
Looking for a comprehensive ERAS Application Template with examples of diverse experiences and publication types?

What are the different focus areas for the ERAS Experiences?

  • Basic science
  • Clinical/translational science
  • Community involvement/outreach
  • Customer service
  • Health care administration
  • Improving access to health care
  • Medical education
  • Music/athletics/art
  • Promoting wellness
  • Public health
  • Quality improvement
  • Social justice/advocacy
  • Technology

What are the different key characteristics for the ERAS Experiences?

  • Communication
  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Cultural humility and awareness
  • Empathy and compassion
  • Ethical responsibility
  • Ingenuity and innovation
  • Reliability and dependability
  • Resilience and adaptability
  • Self-Reflection and improvement
  • Teamwork and leadership

More information about the ERAS experiences is available on the AAMC website here.

What are the 3 Most Meaningful Experiences?

New for ERAS 2024, applicants may identify 3 “most meaningful” experiences. For each, applicants are offered an additional 300 characters to describe why the experience was especially significant for personal or professional development. Weave the Focus Area or Key Characteristic selected previously into this description, emphasizing how the experience influenced your journey to becoming a physician.

Do NOT expand on WHAT skills you learned or responsibilities you managed; these should be sufficiently described in the Experience description. Instead, tell the reader WHY the Experience is particularly meaningful to you.

These are the recommendations from ERAS:
“Reflect on the experience and explain why it was meaningful and how it influenced you. This essay should not describe what you did in the experience or list a set of skills that you developed or demonstrated during the experience.”

What is the Impactful Experience on the ERAS Application?

This question asks the applicant to describe any challenges or hardships that may have influenced their journey to residency. The difficulty may have occurred at any point in life. This question is optional and is intended to offer applicants a chance to explain any special adversity they have encountered and/or overcome to arrive at this point in their careers.

Examples include challenges in an applicant’s family (e.g. being a first-generation college student) or financial background (e.g. working to support oneself/one’s family), community setting (e.g. low resource, food scarcity, poverty or crime rate), educational opportunities (e.g. limited access or availability), or general life circumstances (e.g. loss of family members).

Programs do not expect all applicants to complete this question as not everyone faced such a challenge or hardship. But if you faced one, it is highly recommended that you include it here. There is a character limit of 750 characters including spaces.

Looking for a detailed ERAS Application Template with samples of various experiences?

Additional questions

This section enquires if your medical training was extended or interrupted. Any prolonged or inexplicable break warrants an explanation. Doing a rotation in the U.S. that was approved by your medical school should not be considered an interruption to your medical school education.

Geographic and Setting Preferences for ERAS Application

For geographic preferences, applicants have the opportunity to share their interest in programs located in a particular location in the US. Applicants can choose up to three US divisions or choose that they have no preference.

If you choose a particular location, your preference will only be shared with programs located in that location (so if you picked Pacific, programs in New England won’t know that you picked Pacific). If you choose “I do not have a division preference” programs will know that you don’t have a preference. If you choose not to answer that question, programs will receive no information about your geographic preference.

You will also get to write a short paragraph (up to 300 characters, including spaces) to explain your choice of a certain geographic location or why you don’t have any preference. This answer will be shared with programs in a specific location if you picked that location or with all programs if you chose that you don’t have a preference.

What Does The  MATCH Application Package Include?

Personal Statement Editing

Our editing includes not only language but also context, structure, and content advising.

ERAS Application Editing

The editing goes beyond language and grammar corrections to structure, design, and content based on your personal story and achievement.

Interview Preparation

The best way to learn something is to do it. That’s why we divide our interview preparation sessions into two parts.
Mock Interview + Feedback

Residency Advising

We are able to provide you with the guidance you need at any step of your journey to make it to your final goal!

The data from AAMC seems to support picking 3 geographic divisions rather than picking ‘I do not have a division preference’. Here is the data that supports that recommendation from the AAMC:

“Program directors using applicants’ geographic preferences during various stages of the application process:  

  • As a screening tool before a more thorough application review (86% of respondents).  
  • To send interview invitations to every applicant who selected their region (58% of respondents).  
  • To include in a composite filter to conduct holistic review (74% of respondents). 
  • As a tiebreaker to help decide whom to interview (88% of respondents).” 

Here are the available categories with the states that fall within that category:

  • New England: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont. 
  • Middle Atlantic: New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania. 
  • East North Central: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin. 
  • West North Central: Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota. 
  • South Atlantic: Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia. 
  • East South Central: Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee. 
  • West South Central: Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas. 
  • Mountain: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming.
  • Pacific: Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington

What are the different Setting preferences?

Urban: Encompasses the central region of a city, characterized by high population and structural density with buildings, houses, railways, etc., non-agricultural in nature.

Suburban: These are smaller, less crowded urban pockets surrounding a city. Public transportation is limited, necessitating the use of private vehicles for commuting.

Rural: Characterized by vast, undeveloped land with low population density. The primary industries are often agriculture and natural resource extraction.

You will also get to write a short paragraph (up to 300 characters, including spaces) to explain your choice of a certain setting or why you do not have a preference. This answer will be shared with all programs.

Program Signaling

Each applicant will also get the chance to signal a certain number of programs within each specialty. This will help demonstrate an interest in the program since each applicant has a very limited number of signals.

Applicants should use all their allocated program signals to indicate their interest in the programs they prefer most, including both home institution programs and those they did rotations/research at.

Programs that you signaled will be notified while programs you did not choose will not get the signal. That means programs will know that you did not signal them if they did not receive a signal from you.

The number of residency programs you can signal will vary based on the specialty. Click HERE for a list of the number of signals per specialty.

We highly recommend you use signals very wisely and realistically given their extreme value and the limited number of signals you have.

Looking for expert guidance to strategize your program signaling and boost your match opportunities?

Personal Information

Basic Information

Your personal information is critical to establish your name, contact address, and phone number. In addition, your email address will be the most important mode of correspondence during the Match season, so make sure to provide a valid and accessible one. Although less common, the same applies to your phone number. This information can be edited throughout the Match season.

Address

Add a mailing address to your ERAS CV, whether in the U.S. or outside. For correspondence via mail, many applicants residing outside the U.S. opt to provide the postal address of a U.S.-based friend or relative. There is an option to add a permanent address to your ERAS CV different from your mailing address.

Work Authorization

Describe your work authorization status in the US, be it a citizen, Green Card holder, etc. If not authorized, you can mention your preference for the J1 visa, H1B visa, or both. It also requires you to disclose whether you currently reside in the US.

Match Information

If you plan on participating in the NRMP Match, select your option in this section. Mention your NRMP ID (opens mid-September) here and describe your interest in Couples Match and Urology Match.

Additional Information

Mention your USMLE/ECFMG ID, which is used to link your USMLE transcript to the ERAS application. Check the boxes if you have been certified and hold a valid BLS, ACLS, and PALS certificate.
Specify your Alpha Omega Alpha and Gold Humanism Honor Society status here. These are national medical honor societies that recognize and perpetuate excellence in the field of medicine. It’s active in many American medical schools and a few outside.

Biographic Information

Self-Identification

You may or may not choose to enter your ethnicity information into your ERAS CV. This will be used mainly for data-gathering purposes.

Language Fluency

Accurately describe your proficiency in the languages under Native, Advanced, Good, Fair, and Basic. These are well described in the ERAS CV portal and are self-explanatory. Do not lie or exaggerate your language skills; they are fair game during residency interviews.

Military Information

Specify here if you are committed to fulfilling military or other service obligations.
Don't risk your residency match chances with an average ERAS application. Allow our experts to enhance your accomplishments using our comprehensive ERAS CV editing services.

Education

Higher Education

This section describes your Undergraduate and Graduate college information. Most IMGs will select “None” as the path to medical school differs outside the US. In the case this applies to you, fill in the details like the institution, field of study, degree earned, etc. Master’s Degrees fall under this category.

Medical Education

Fill in the details of your medical school here. The details required are country, institution, degree earned, degree month, and year. The start and end dates of your medical school are also required here. Keep in mind that the date of your degree might differ from the dates of the beginning and end of your medical school (usually you get your degree a few months after you finish your medical school classes/final exam).

Postgraduate Training

Your current and previous residencies/ fellowships and other postgraduate training go here. Be mindful that only ACGME-accredited residencies, AOA internship/residency/fellowship and ACGME/RCPSC/UCNS fellowship go under this section. If you did a residency or a fellowship that is not accredited by these organizations, you may consider adding it under ‘Experiences’.
Match into Residency with our Personal Statement & CV Editing, Unlimited Advisor Support, and Interview Prep! All in One Package!

Memberships in Honorary/ Professional Societies

Mention your memberships in honorary/ professional societies in your field of interest. Of course, just being a member would add little value. However, actively organizing events hosted by the society can help build contacts and display a keen interest in the field.

Example:

American College of Physicians (ACP) (March 2022- Present)
American College of Cardiology (ACC) (April 2022- Present)

Medical School Awards

When describing medical school awards in this section, mention the details to provide perspective to the reader. This can range from Ranking 1st in your final exam in a class of 200 students to securing a research grant from your university amongst a total of 5000 students.

Example:

Secured University Rank “1” in Biochemistry for Caribbean University, First Year of Medical School, June 2016.

Other Awards/ Accomplishments

Other awards received can describe your achievements in the state, national, and international level quizzes, extracurricular activities, sports, volunteering, etc.

Example:

First place in Men’s singles, Men’s doubles, and Mixed doubles at Mayo Clinic’s annual badminton tournament, 2015-2020.

Looking for a full ERAS Application Template including Experiences, Education, Geographic Preferences, Publications, and Personal/Biographic Information?

Licensure

State Medical Licenses

If applicable, this section requires adding your US state medical license number and expiration. However, most applicants do not hold a US state medical license at the time of residency application, so you may skip this question.

Additional questions

You must answer questions regarding misdemeanors, malpractice, suspension of licensure, and criminal history. Mention if you are Board certified in any specialty here.

Publications

The publication section is of great value in portraying your research output. Additionally, university/ competitive programs seek applicants with a strong foundation in research.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles/ Abstracts

This refers to already published articles/abstracts that have a volume, issue number, and pages. You need to add the title of the article, authors (in the order of Last name, First initial. Middle initial.,), publication name (which refers to the journal), and publication details.
Conference abstracts, if published in a peer-reviewed journal, can be added here.

Curious about delving into research but unsure where to begin? Our Systematic Review Premium Bundle has got you covered! This all-inclusive package brings together all our research courses to provide you with a comprehensive learning experience.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles/ Abstracts (Other than Published)

Submitted: These are academic papers that have been submitted to a journal for consideration but have not yet undergone the peer-review process.

Under Review: Once a paper has been submitted and passes a basic editorial check, it moves into the peer-review stage, at this point it’s often referred to as being “under review”.


Accepted/ In-press: These are articles that have gone through the peer-review process and have been accepted for publication by a journal. They may not have been copy-edited or formatted in the journal’s style yet, but they are considered to have been formally accepted. In-Press Articles have been accepted for publication and usually have been edited and formatted to the publication’s style. They’re in the queue to be published, but the journal issue they will appear in hasn’t been finalized yet.

Preprints: These are versions of a paper that precede formal peer review and publication in a peer-reviewed journal. They are often posted on preprint servers to share findings with the scientific community quickly, gather feedback, and establish a record of priority or precedence. They are not peer-reviewed, but they are citable, and they often undergo further revision before being submitted for peer review for formal publication.

Oral and Poster Presentations

Oral and poster presentations include research work presented at scientific meetings and conferences. They do not include medical school presentations and didactic presentations. Note that you can enter the details of an upcoming presentation, which indicates acceptance of the abstract in a future conference. Do not include submitted but non-accepted abstract presentations.

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Certify and Submit

Make sure the details are filled out without spelling or grammatical errors. Once certified, the ERAS CV cannot be edited except for personal information. Hence, get your ERAS CV structurally and grammatically edited by a professional advisor with good proficiency or a professional. Then, view/print your CV to have a look at the outlook of your CV before certifying and submitting it.

You can also watch our video tutorial on how to fill the ERAS Application here.

I hope this helps you build an outstanding ERAS CV! For those gearing up for the Match, be sure not to miss our all-inclusive Match package! It includes personal statement editing, ERAS application editing, residency advising, and interview preparation, all in one package! All by expert physician advisors! Learn more here!

And don’t forget to grab your FREE ERAS Application template here.
Good Luck with your residency application and don’t hesitate to reach out to us for any questions.

Malke Asaad, Vikyath Satish.

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