ERAS Question

I know this may seem early to ask this question, but there is a method to my madness :slight_smile: We are currently building our fourth year schedules and I am still torn between two specialties. I am hoping that electives in both this summer will help me make a final decision.
I read on the AAMC site that a date TBD in early September is when the electronic ERAS can be submitted (just like when the AMCAS has an opening date). My question is, is it that same type of advantage to get your ERAS in as early as possible just like with the AMCAS application so that you get seen by programs earlier and possibly offered interviews?
I probably won’t be able to do those electives until August and September (other parts of our schedule are already blocked out for our 8 weeks of sub-I’s and 8 weeks of rural ambulatory), leaving me at the end of September making my decision. Is this too late? Do I need to apply in both specialties then withdraw from one later?
I felt much more educated and comfortable with the application process to med school than I do now with looking at applying for residency. I definitely feel like I am walking in uncharted waters.
Thanks a bunch in advance,

A good rule of thumb is the more competitive the specialty, the more benefit to an early application. However, in no way is there a benefit to rushing your application if it means denegrating the quality. And, it does not seem to have the same level of gravity that early does for med school applications. That said, all programs have a finite number of interview slots and none of them interview anywhere near the number of folks that med schools do. In your more competitive programs/specialties, if you are “too late” you run the risk of choice programs running out of slots. At more than 1 program, I was told that interviews were offered to the first x-number of qualified applicants and vacancies were filled by order of receipt of application. So, early behooves you, but it is not sacriledge to not be there on day 1.
Being undecided is remarkably common. I was not toally undecided, but wanted to make damned certain of my choice by doing 3 electives serially (ER, surg & anesthesiology) to finalize my decision. In fact, I was in Rochester, NY (Univ of Rochester) on my anesthesiology elective when the first day to submit apps hit.
Now, back when I was an applicant (sound like someone’s father), the ERAS opening day was not the same as first day to d/l applications. In essence, the opening day was when you could create an accoutn & begin working on your ERAS app. Believe me, it is a multi-day thing! Then, 2 or 3 weeks later was the first day that programs can d/l your application. This gives you time to get that damned app done & your program time to u/l all of the crap (LoRs, transcripts & such) before programs start reviewing your application.
There is/was a myth that nothing happens until the Dean’s Letters come out, which is restricted to not occur until Nov 1. Do not believe this! For some programs, they ascribe to this regulation & will not issue any invitations until they have your Dean’s Letter. However, I had at least 12 to 15 invitations prior to Nov 1. Programs are not required to wait until they have the Dean’s Letter to invite you - just some still do.

Hi Tara,
There is some benefit to getting your ERAS done as soon as possible but the application isn’t complete until your Deans letter goes in (November 1st) so you really have some breathing room. Most programs will have made their decisions to invite you for interview based on your transcripts and USMLE scores with Step I being the most important one. Most interviews start in September/October, before the Deans letters are out so the Deans letter can only help you. Most places will stop downloading after December 1st so you need to have things in place before then.
Now is the time to start asking for letters of recommendation from your clinical preceptors. No matter what you want to do in life, you need to have at least one letter from each of your clinical rotations. If you are planning on doing away rotations in your specialty, do them early so your can get good letters early.
My schedule for fourth year looked something like this: Since I did an away rotation at Mayo Clinic, I had to have my application in by July 1st. Their application was identical to ERAS so I was able to have my personal statement, letters of recommendation and transcripts all done early. I also had my photo done early too. After that, the only thing that needed to be loaded was my Deans letter. Programs that download your application are automatically updated when new information (like Step II scores) gets added to your file.
Do your ERAS as soon as you can. This is a good time to start writing your PS. (You can write a seperate personal statement for each specialty of interest and disgard the one that you don’t need. This is also a good time to start getting your letters together to. Once you get this stuff done, the rest of the application is out of your hands.
Some places, like UVa surgery that had over 800 applications for four slots will fill their interview slots with the best people who have their applications in early and then send out rejection letters. They will invite about 75 people over four interview days. Again, once the slots are filled, they stop downloading.
I hope this helps.