ERAS Question (and general venting)

Hey, I was just wondering if anyone knows-- do we have to get transcripts for our undergrad and graduate work prior to medical school? I don’t see it listed anywhere, and I’ve printed out and read the instructions, but I was a little surprised to see that I had to put my undergrad stuff on there. If I need to do that, it’s going to be a pain, because I took “for fun” classes at extension colleges all over the place before med school.
I was surprised by the question on the app about whether or not I was ACLS certified or not. I am, but really, why do they care? I can just see a program saying, “Well, she would be a great candidate and fit in well here, but darn, she’s not ACLS certified. Next file.”
General venting: I am so sick of working on this app, and I’ve only started. And I feel like I’m behind already because I haven’t submitted my application. Heck, I haven’t even got my transcripts scanned yet, because I’m waiting for grades from summer session. And I just don’t feel like writing about extracurriculars/work experience AGAIN. I wish there was some way to transport the stuff from my AMCAS app onto it, and then I could just add the new stuff.
I’m trying to do this while planning on being away from home for back to back away rotations. So I really want to get it done before I leave, but in the meantime I DO need to study for the Psych shelf exam, not to mention attend my brother’s wedding, pack for the rotations, and study for the Step 2 CS exam I’m taking in September.
And I still haven’t decided, for sure, on a specialty.
Okay, deep breath. Rambling and venting over.

Deb, it’s been two years since I did ERAS but it sure sounds different. I vaguely remember the ACLS question - and no, I am almost positive it won’t be something that’s actually considered when your application is being evaluated. It’s just something that will help them plan later. Don’t fret about it.
I definitely didn’t go through anything related to my undergrad or post-bacc stuff. Good God. I would definitely remember that 'cause it was soooooo long ago. I guess I have a vague recollection of putting in some stuff related to extracurrics but if I remember correctly, I think I limited it to stuff that was during med school or the few years prior. It was definitely not as detailed as my AMCAS, that’s for sure.
You are NOT behind. Here again maybe things have changed in the last two years more than I realize, but my recollection is that we could get everything done but we couldn’t actually submit until September 1. And the Dean’s letter didn’t get put in until ?mid-October, something like that.
Of course it depends somewhat on what sort of program you’re applying to - and early is generally good. But my impression from my classmates was that even for the competitive specialties and programs, getting your application in at the earliest possible second wasn’t nearly as important as it had been for med school applications.
Sounds like you just need to take a break from the whole thing. I hereby give you permission to take a day off during which you DO NOT think about your ERAS application, and see if you don’t feel a lot better. If it’s stressing you out this bad, you need a break and a breather!

Hi there,
The last time I checked, you do not need transcripts from undergrad or graduate school but you do need the medical school transcript. Since I had already taken the CS exam (Howard does theirs early in third year and required this exam long before it became a national requirement), I don’t know the timing on things.
Mine went something like this: I had all of my ERAS stuff loaded by the end of August except for the Deans letter which goes out on November 1st. Some programs invited me for interview based on my transcripts and USMLE scores. I took Step II the second week in August after finishing my third year on July 1. I had applied for a rotation that required many of the same requirements including transcripts and a personal statement so I just loaded everything. My deans office loaded the rest of my stuff so I was set by the end of August.I had inteview invitations from September through January and I tried to cluster them whenever possible. I ended up cancelling about four because I just could not fit them in.
You still have plenty of time to get your stuff done. Since the Deans letters do not go out until November, and September is still early, you can take your time and get your application correct and unhurried. If it were December, I would tell you to get a move on but it is still August and most people are right where you are unless you are dealing with the SF Match (earlier deadlines).
The ACLS question is only for the planning purposes of the program that matches you. They need to plan for the number of new residents who need this course. You are not required to be ACLS certified to match.
Again, unless ERAS changed this year, I only had to list my undergraduate and graduate degrees and year the degrees were granted but no transcripts other than medical school was required but there was a fee for this and for USMLE transcripts so get this done as soon as possible.
I was also able to load my information in chunks until I had the whole application totally complete. The rest of the information had to come from my Deans office which they did on time. Check with them on this because you may be able to do this while you are away at your away rotations. (I scheduled an easy home rotation [Radiology] so that I could get everything finished by 10am and work on my application if needed in the afternoon.) Check this out.
Good luck!

I certainly agree with you that ERAS was a general pain. In hindsite, however, it seems like it was less of a pain that the med school aps. I don’t remember putting anything other than my degrees into it and I did it less than a year ago.
As for the USMLE CS thing, what a load of crap. My class was the first to be required to take it and it was a joke. Our school’s formal capstone OSCE was MUCH more challenging. Of course, it was focused on our ability to take an H&P and come up with an assessment and management plan. The USMLE CSA was only about our ability to speak English. If you feel comfortable interacting with patients and doing basic H&P stuff, I don’t think you need to fret too much about studying for it.
Take care and good luck!

Thanks for the advice and reassurance from everyone. I just needed to leave it alone for a little while I guess. I know I’m not really behind (yet), but I had planned to get stuff done early since I won’t be at home when the time gets closer. And there is that pesky problem of still being undecided on my specialty. Sigh.
I know that I should be fine on the CS exam, logically, but hey, worrying about exams is what I do!
Anyway, thanks for the words of wisdom Mary, Nat, and Jeff.

I have a question about extra-curriculars on the ERAS application. My military application (the Air Force doesn’t use ERAS like the Army and Navy), strictly limited extra-curricular activities to the five years prior to entering medical school. However, ERAS doesn’t state that restriction, but I am afraid of having too many things. But then I did some things in undergrad (1991-1995) that I think showcase who I am.
Since I am applying in Neurolgy, the ERAS application is for my pre-liminary medicine years. The SF Match application has space limitations for your activities.
Any words of wisdom?

For what it’s worth, my opinion is that if you have something significant from undergrad to use it. I am not putting the trifling little stuff I did in undergrad, but I am mentioning some things, such as sports at a collegiate level.

I am ready to submit my ERAS application and I have a question about applying to programs. I have chosen an initial set of preliminary medicine programs to apply to and I think they are programs within my reach. Plus they are truly my first choices (just like in applying for med school, I am focusing on location). However, what if I decide later that I want to apply to additional programs? Can I do it? Is there are a penalty?
The reason I ask about the penalty is that with the San Francisco Match, you are permitted to apply to additional programs after your initial submission. However, instead of it being an additional $10 per program, it’s $35 per program.
Thanks a bunch,

You can add programs up to ten, and then it’s an additional fee per program. To apply to between one and ten programs is $60. From 11-20, it’s an additional $8 per program. 21-30, it’s an additional $15 per program. However, that assumes all programs are within the same specialty. If you apply to, say 3 internal med programs and 3 pediatrics programs, you would pay $120, whereas if you applied to 6 internal med programs, the fee would be $60. I don’t THINK you have to apply to them all once- I think you can keep adding up to ten for the original $60. I’m envious- you’ve decided what you want to do.

Thanks for the info. I guess I am worried that if I haven’t applied to enough prelim med programs now, that I would at least have the opportunity to add them later and not go broke in the process.
While I decided on neurology, that doesn’t mean that this month on ID I haven’t gone “Hmmmm, I would like to do this.” I just have to tell myself that there are probably many specialties I would be happy in, and to keep focused. This may not be the best approach, but it has helped me keep my sanity
Where are you in the decision process? What are you tossing between?

I’m almost positive you can keep adding prelim programs without additional cost until you hit the magic ten.
I think I’ve about decided on internal medicine. I was seriously considering EM, but my first EM rotation wasn’t really great. I am doing an away rotation in EM which is a much better rotation, so it’s tempting me again. However, I think I’m probably better suited for IM, and will ultimately be happier in IM or one of its subspecialties-- I’ve had to accept the same philosophy as you-- there are a lot of areas I can be happy in, and I’ll just have to avoid second guessing myself.
Good luck. I’m finishing up my ERAS app, and should be submitting it this week. Does anyone know if it is a good idea or not to submit the common app before the LORs are available?

I am about ready to send my ERAS app (I guess- I’m not entirely sure WHERE I’m going to send it, but that is another matter). I am wondering about the “Experiences” section. I have edited the work stuff to try to get it to include the important aspects, but not put the reader to sleep, and I’m about done with the Volunteer stuff-- I’m trying to only include the fairly major stuff. But I’m wondering-- it says “extracurricular activities” should be listed. What about sports activities and intercollegiate sports, and those sorts of activities? The only reason I can really see for it is to show that I actually do have some things I do outside of medical school and work and I’m not an entirely dull person. On the other hand, I’m pretty tied of working on this thing, and I would expect with thousands of apps to read-- are they gonna care? There is the little hobbies section-- maybe that is enough?
Thoughts? I plan to submit the app as soon as the last person reviewing the personal statement is done.
Another odd thing-- does anyone else have this experience? I found out that our transcripts DO NOT show if we’ve honored clerkships-- the transcripts only show that you’ve passed a course, or if we didn’t pass the course. The only place our apps will show honors is in the Dean’s letter, which gives the grades for each of the third year clerkships, and the preceptor comments. Our grads get in residencies without problem, so it must be okay, but it just seems odd to me.
Anyway, any thoughts appreciated, as I slave away at this thing.

I was going through my wife’s app with her last night to try to get things finished up. She’s also applying to IM programs and everything looks to be ready now, just waiting on her advisor to review her personal statement before submitting everything. At any rate, she just put things like softball into the hobbies/interests section you mentioned. “Experiences” she left at work and major volunteering.

I thought the same thing, especially about the inter-collegiate sports I played in undergrad. I ended up not putting them on there because I felt like there wasn’t a category for them. But like the previous poster, I did list the sports related hobbies I have now (biking and ice-skating).
I asked my Office of Student Affairs and they told me that I can add more programs at a later date. So I am submitting my ERAS tonight with my 9 pre-lim medicine programs.
Also, I have all of the pieces to my San Francisco Match packet now and will mail it off tomorrow. Since this is an early match, I know I am late in getting it in, but I was waiting on my last LOR.
I know exactly how you feel about being torn between specialties. I am currently on an ID rotation and I could really see myself doing this (I hadn’t really considered doing a subspecialty before). But I can’t make myself crazy over the many things I could do in medicine.
In a few months, we’ll be stressing over our rank lists!!

Well, I’ve done it. Submitted the ERAS Common App, and my personal statement this past week. Applied to a bunch of IM programs. Still trying desperately to decide on whether or not to apply to EM. I’ve gone back and forth on a daily basis during this rotation. I really enjoy EM in many ways, but I don’t like the feeling of always being rushed. I’m so torn-- I do think I’ll be fairly happy whichever way I go-- but still it’s nerve wracking. And Tara, you’re right-- in a few months we’ll be agonizing over rank order lists. Well, one more step done.

I got home today and was checking my email… and I found an interview invitation!
I’m kind of in shock. I certainly didn’t expect any interviews until after Dean’s letters were released. I realize IM is not the most competitive of specialties, but I did think they’d wait a little while. I don’t know if the program is a particularly competitive one or not-- I picked it because I liked their values and approach, and I know the hospital is well-regarded. The timing is great, because just today I was beating myself up over the whole app process. At least I’ve got one interview! (For all I know they interview all applicants, but I’m going to tell myself it’s not that!)
Epidoc (soon to be IM Doc)

Congrats Epi
My wife certified and sent out her IM applications early evening last Friday, and she had one interview invitation that came via email yesterday (with UIC here in Chicago). I’m amazed by how fast these invitations go out.

Congrats to your wife! Maybe it’s a Chicago thing with getting the invites out quickly (the program I heard from is also in Chicago).