Disclaimer: Comments and tips on this page are based on the experiences and impressions of the writers and do not represent the views and opinions of CYFAM. The information on this website is provided on an as-is basis, and the writers make no warranty as to accuracy, completeness or otherwise. This should not be taken as a definitive guide and we cannot verify the accuracy and timeliness of all the information presented. We do encourage you to verify and exercise personal judgement in applying the information learned from this post.
A Typical Match Timeline (including the ERAS 2022 Residency Timeline)
*June 9, 2021
ERAS 2022 season begins at 9 a.m. ET.
For more information: https://www.aamc.org/services/eras-institutions/program-staff/timeline
Build your personal list of prospective programs
Prepare your residency application
Aim to be ECFMG certified before deadline (if possible)
Application opens; ideal to have a complete application by this time
*September 1, 2021
Applicants may begin submitting applications to programs at 9 a.m. ET.
*September 15, 2021
Register for the NRMP Match
*September 29, 2021
Residency programs may begin reviewing applications and MSPEs at 9 a.m. ET.
Programs send out invites
Interviews typically begin October and last until January
*Be prepared for a mix of virtual and in-person interviews as we transition into post-pandemic season
Rank Order List opens
Match result usually come out 3rd week of March
● Monday → IF you matched
● Friday → WHERE you matched
● If unmatched → SOAP for unfilled positions
RESIDENCY APPLICATION PROCESS
In order to participate in the Main Residency Match®, medical students and graduates, whether they are from American medical schools or international medical schools, need to electronically apply using the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS®) developed by the Association of American Medical Colleges® (AAMC) to submit their applications.
Each applicant needs to obtain their ERAS token issued by the ERAS Support Services at ECFMG. The token will grant you access to the AAMC MyERAS to complete your application.
Electronic Residency Application Service® (ERAS) provides applicants an easy way to submit their entire application and supporting documents. Your Letter of Recommendation (LOR) writers would also upload their letters through this service. Basically, what you include in your MyERAS residency application is everything you want the programs to know about you. The information that needs to be filled out is the equivalent of your Curriculum Vitae (CV) so having a complete CV on hand might be the best way to go as you fill it out. As for your Personal Statement (PS), ECFMG provides helpful “Do’s” and “Don’ts” while writing it, but keep in mind this is your chance to showcase who you are and what kind of physician you will be. It will help if you start jotting down ideas and writing rough drafts of your PS months before application season to give you some time to ask for feedback from others as well.
A residency application consists of:
● Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE)
○ Simply put, it is a Dean’s Letter evaluating your academic performance throughout your medical school career, in comparison to your peers.
● Medical school transcript
○ Like any academic transcript, this will include all the subjects you’ve taken, when you took them and the marks you received for each one.
● Letters of recommendation (LoRs)
○ LoRs are crucial in that they can make or break your application. It is the second most cited factor by programs in all specialties in selecting applicants to interview according to the Results of the 2020 NRMP Program Director Survey (https://mk0nrmp3oyqui6wqfm.kinstacdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/2020-PD-Survey.pdf)
○ By having a LoR writer emphasize your interest in a specific specialty, it will show your commitment to that specialty. Ideally, the LoR writers you choose are in your choice of specialty, so they can provide an honest impression of your (fit) to the field? ECFMG provides a detailed guide on how to ask for a LoR: https://www.ecfmg.org/echo/asking-for-lor.html
○ Once the LoR is secured, the applicant needs to provide a Letter Request Form (LRF) that has a unique Letter ID from AAMC’s Letter of Recommendation page (LoRP) to their writer. This will then be submitted to ERAS Support Services at ECFMG. For more information, please visit: https://www.aamc.org/services/eras-for-institutions/lor-portal
○ Most IMG applicants try their best to find US physicians to write them their LoRs; hence, the importance of US Clinical Experience (USCE). However, there are past applicants who matched with all of their LoRs from the Philippines. Considering the increasing competition each year, it might be in your best interest to have US-based letters in order to show that you are as competent and clinically skilled as any other US medical student/residency applicant.
Make sure to follow the instructions on how the photograph should be since this will be used to identify you during interviews and ranking.
2. ECFMG Status Report
ECFMG certification status
3. USMLE transcript
A transcript of your Step 1, Step 2 CK, Step 2 CS (if applicable), and Step 3 (if taken), including all attempts
For a detailed explanation of each component, check out ERAS-Supporting Document: https://www.ecfmg.org/eras/applicants-documents-index.html
For a glance of where to submit each document, check out the chart provided by ERAS Support Services: https://www.ecfmg.org/eras/applicants-documents-submission-at-a-glance.html
To give you a rough estimate of how much applications cost, AAMC’s website provided the table included below. In the IMG community, applying to more than 100 programs is the norm to increase one’s chances of getting invites. A few months before application season starts, applicants should have an idea of their target number, taking into consideration how much budget they want to set aside for it. Most likely, it’ll round up to more than $2000 depending on the specialty (whether you’re applying to more than one) and the number of programs for each.
There is also a ERAS residency fee calculator excel that can be directly downloaded from this site: https://students-residents.aamc.org/applying-residencies-eras/fees-eras-residency-applications
PERSONALIZED PROGRAM LIST
Even before filling in your application in the month of September, you can start building your list of programs months beforehand since you must do your diligent research for each one you want to apply to. You must be strategic in choosing which programs you want to include in your list, taking into consideration the minimum requirements, visa requirements, etc. To check which programs are participating in the Match, you can check the AAMC’s website: (https://services.aamc.org/eras/erasstats/par/). You can also use Residency Explorer and FREIDA: (https://www.ecfmg.org/echo/five-tips-improve-residency-application.html) .
Residency Explorer and the Fellowship and Residency Electronic Interactive Database or FREIDA are search engines that allow you to search for residency and fellowship programs that are all accredited by the ACGME. You can search by residency program or fellowship, for example one can search “Family Medicine”, and the results can be filtered by location, program type, what type of visas are accepted, etc. Using these search engines can help you create a list of desired residency programs that you would like to apply to. Each search engine offers unique features, so you are encouraged to use both. For example, Residency Explorer lets you see how previous applicants have matched in the past and how you would compare to them, and FRIEDA has more filters to help you narrow your search.
Think about it like this. If you were to receive an interview invite, that means that the program already feels you are an eligible applicant to their program. So the next step is to demonstrate how much of a great fit you are to their program, which includes giving a glimpse of who you are outside of medicine. Many residency applicants on Twitter share their interview experiences and some have expressed that their interviews were a lot of getting-to-know each other, talking about their hobbies and everything interesting about them besides being in medical school. For example, check out → https://twitter.com/thatfilipinadoc/status/1374825412350640134 and other tweets with the #medtwitter
In-person residency interviews often last an entire day. The interview can include anything up to touring the facilities, interviews with the program director, two or three faculty members, and a couple residents. You may attend rounds or eat with some of the faculty. Programs may also host a reception the night before the interview day.
Due to the length of residency interviews, conducting interviews can be very challenging. You will need to schedule out your interviews so that you will have plenty of energy to make a good impression, and to learn everything you would want to about that program.
As for virtual interviews, make sure to have good lighting, a device with good audio, a good webcam, a good camera angle, and a stable connection. Some interviewees have used their backgrounds to show off some of their hobbies and interests by having things in the background like books, instruments, board games, bicycles, etc., anything that may lead to talking points and that can show off your personality. Even though it is a virtual interview, you want to make the best impression you can with what you have available.
Tips for the interview
The following are tips on how to prepare for your interviews, provided by the AAMC website
RANK ORDER LIST
The Rank Order List is a list of residency programs that you would like to apply to, in order of preference. Come match day, the match algorithm will attempt to place you in your most preferred residency program based off of this list. You cannot be matched at a program that has never interviewed you.
MAIN RESIDENCY MATCH
The match algorithm will work with two lists: the applicant’s rank order list of preferred residency programs, and the residency program’s rank order list of preferred applicants. The algorithm will then attempt to match both the applicant and the residency program to their rank order lists. The algorithm preferentially works with the applicant’s rank order list, and not the programs, which means applicants are more likely to be happy with their choice. To appear on a residency program’s rank order list, the applicant needs to have had an interview with the program. The residency program will not match an applicant that does not appear on their rank order list, and vice versa. It is beneficial for one to have as many interviews as possible in order to submit a larger rank order list, as it improves one's chances for being matched. Here is a link to a very helpful youtube video which makes this simple and easy to understand: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFh3JIaMGJo
All hope is not lost if one did not match during the matching process. The Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program, or SOAP, allows applicants who did not match a second chance at getting into a residency program. There are always some vacancies left in residency programs after the matching process, and applicants who did not match can apply to these programs using SOAP to fill these positions.
@TheHungryIMG on Instagram
Ray Ragasa, MD
Ray is a graduate of the University of the Philippines College of Medicine in Manila. He finished internal medicine residency at the Philippine General Hospital in 2019, and is applying into residency this 2022 match cycle. In his spare time he enjoys yoga, baking, and learning languages, most recently ASL.
Dizarelle Dela Cruz, Medical Student
Dizarelle is a medical student from Our Lady of Fatima University, Philippines. She is currently finishing her core rotations in Chicago and is hoping to apply in the next match cycle. When she’s not studying for her Steps, she enjoys reading, singing, dancing, and exploring the city.
Kevin Arendon, Medical Student
Kevin is a medical student of Our Lady of Fatima University in the city of Valenzuela of the Philippines. He is currently completing his core rotations in Chicago. Whenever he has time off, he is busy learning how to cook, singing, and riding bikes.