Sending off ERAS can be a simultaneously nerve-wracking and exhilarating experience. In the days leading up to submission, there are a few steps you can proactively take before finalization to avoid any application mishaps.
How to Finalize Your Medical Residency Applications for ERAS
1. Go through the ERAS checklist
Your final application will contain your personal statement, activities and interests, letters of recommendation, board scores, and many other components.
The ERAS platform provides you with easy checklists that automatically update when these items are uploaded and complete; you should use this service to review your application and make sure everything is complete.
However, you should also review program websites for their application requirements. In general, these will be the same across the board, but occasionally some programs will request additional components like a supplemental application or a personalized essay.
Another important consideration that you should include in your to-do list is how you will input the programs where you intend to send you application.
There are hundreds of programs within each specialty and of course many specialities and each of these programs have unique codes; what is more, sometimes programs can have multiple tracks or different programs can have very similar names. It is important to make sure that you are applying to the places where you wanted to apply by paying particular attention to detail when searching for programs.
For example, if you are applying to a preliminary Internal Medicine program for an advanced field, you would not want to accidentally mark the wrong selection and inadvertently apply to the categorial program.
2. Check your work!
Proofreading anything and everything you include in your application is essential, including descriptions for your work, research, and volunteer pursuits and in particular your personal statement. These sections allow for you to communicate who you are as a person to selection committees, and you want to ensure that a glaring typo or awkward sentence does not distract from how you are trying to present yourself.
ERAS allows you to print your application either as full length document or in CV format which will generate a single PDF file for your review. It is worthwhile to print this file, edit it, and repeat the process until you are satisfied that you have caught all mistakes.
In addition, one important aspect of ERAS is the ability to tailor what you send to each program. Specifically, you are given the opportunity to upload multiple personal statements and letters of recommendation to the interface and then select which you intend to send to certain programs. If you elect to make use of this, it is extremely important that you check, double-check, and triple-check your work lest you call a program by the wrong name or send the wrong personal statement.
Using file names to your advantage and staying organized should minimize the likelihood that this would be a problem. As an example, if you are applying to program X and specify in your personal statement why you would be a great fit at program X, you should name the file you upload in such a way that you can be sure this version does not get attached to the application sent to program Y.
3. If it’s ready, send it!
The timing of when you submit your application is important and can influence the number and locations of interviews you receive.
Many programs list a deadline much later than when applications may first be sent on September 15, but you should make an effort to finalize everything by the earliest possible date. Interviews are offered on a rolling basis and for some programs and specialties, they are released within days or a week of when the first batch of applications are received.
Furthermore, while the application itself is not sent until September 15, you are given the opportunity to finalize your materials up to approximately two weeks earlier; while doing so does not necessarily move you up in any queue, it can be reassuring to have all of your documents in ahead of time so you no longer have to think about the application.
As a brief side note, it is fine if you do not yet have your NRMP number or your address might be changing in the near future. The section of ERAS where you list your personal and contact information can still be edited after you submit your application.
Once you send your materials off, you should celebrate! This represents a major milestone in your medical training. Putting together the application takes a substantial amount of effort and now all you have to do is simply sit back and relax.
Need more Residency Application tips before you move forward with submissions?