Which ERAS timeline should you follow? How does the residency match work? In the United States, the process is coordinated by the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) and the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP). Each year, thousands of residency applicants compete for residency spots throughout America. Applying to residency can be stressful, so this blog will go over the best ERAS timeline to match to any program. 

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Article Contents
7 min read

ERAS Timeline: Prior to Application Season ERAS Timeline: What You Need to Know For Application Season ERAS Timeline: Match Week ERAS Timeline: Additional Notes on Application Deadlines FAQs

ERAS Timeline: Prior to Application Season

As with many application processes, it is advantageous to begin planning for application season well in advance for ERAS. Give yourself ample time to secure strong letters of recommendation, ensure that your application materials are of the highest quality, and that you have time to consult with experts for feedback before deadlines begin to approach. Our former student Olivia found turning to an expert prior to submitting her application made a world of difference:

“I had received revision aid on 3 documents: my ERAS application, my personal statement, and my supplementary application. All three were a big help in helping me figure out where I can further improve. In particular I would like to thank the reviewer for my personal statement for their in-depth revisions and comments that helped me make my statement stand out. And of course thank you to my reviewers for the respective applications for helping me improve my answers within the limit give.” – Olivia T., Former BeMo Student

In the months leading up to application season, here is what we recommend:

* Note that specific application season dates can vary from year-to-year, so it is important to verify the exact dates for each application cycle. You can do this on the ERAS website.

March – May

  • Begin to compile your list of residency programs.
  • Research and contact programs of interest to find out more about their programs, requirements, and deadlines.
  • To help you decide which programs to apply to, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) provides a Residency Preference Exercise. It will be helpful to revisit this exercise once you complete the interview stage and the time comes to rank residency programs in February. A piece of advice from one of our consultants on program ranking:

“You will be working in [program location] for 2-6 years minimum. So, it is important that you can see yourself being there for that length of time and rank programs based on what matters to you. For me, I ranked all programs based on proximity to home (location) first and foremost. The next was quality of resident training (i.e., weekly rounds, resident teaching, exposure to a breadth of cases, fellowship potential) and wellness culture (time off for residents, planned activities, measures to prevent burnout, etc.).” – Dr. Neel Mistry, MD, Diagnostic Radiology, University of Saskatchewan

  • Familiarize yourself with important ERAS and NRMP deadlines.
  • Brainstorm ideas for your personal statement. You will need to submit a personal statement for each specialty for which you are applying. Before you begin, take some time to review successful residency personal statement examples and make yourself aware of common residency personal statement mistakes!
  • Seek expert feedback on your personal statement, implement any personal statement edits and revise as needed until your statement is perfect.
  • Steer clear of Residency Reddit; or at least be mindful of the potential bias it presents
  • Confirm if your chosen programs use CASPer and review CASPer test dates.
  • Write a CV that will get your application for residency noticed. 

“You don’t want the person reading your application to become fatigued. In my case, I separated my volunteer, work and research experiences then pared down those lists so I could pinpoint what was most important to me and my application.” – Dr. Monica Taneja, MD, Harvard South Shore, Psychiatry

  • Organize your CV to demonstrate that you are a suitable match for your top programs. Check out these effective residency CV examples.
  • Decide on ideal recommendation letter-writers for your ERAS letter of recommendation, and approach them early. These letter writers may include a clerkship rotation preceptor, a research supervisor, or another faculty member whom you’ve interacted with in medical school (and can attest to your qualities). As a pro-tip: Approach these individuals early (as they likely have busy schedules), provide them with your CV and other helpful materials and discuss the qualities you’d like to be amplified through their letter. FREE 

Prefer to watch a video on how to construct your residency personal statement?

ERAS Timeline: What You Need to Know For Application Season (June-February)

For candidates using ERAS and NRMP, here is a timeline of key dates that will culminate in Match Week:


Check out our video with 7 tips to make your ERAS application stand out:


Begin interview prep. You can start by reviewing our residency tips and prepare for common residency interview questions and MMI questions. If you're applying to emergency medicine programs, check out our guide for acing the Standardized Video Interview (SVI).

Interviews can be quite challenging; you only get one shot at preparing an answer (on the spot) and delivering it eloquently. That is why it’s crucial that you practice and obtain feedback from an expert consultant or another credible person who will provide genuine, constructive criticism.

“She [consultant] was really sweet and calm and didn't make me feel bad about any mistakes I had made during the mock MMI Interview. I got a lot of feedback, general and specific tailored to each question for the interview. I really felt as if she was truly taking the time to go through each question with me and see where my strengths and weaknesses are and how to improve for next time.” – Ruhee Momin, Former BeMo Student


  • Start of September – ERAS begins accepting application submissions for residency programs.
  • Remember… once you certify and submit your ERAS application, it will be final and no changes can be made!
  • It's important to submit your application before the date that they are released to programs. For example, if applications are released to programs mid-September, programs may send interview invitations as early as the next day. If you submit your application late, it may not be reviewed in time for the first round of interview invitations.
  • Mid-September – NRMP registration opens (the deadline for standard registration is at the end of January, additional fees apply for late registration).


  • By late September/early October, Residency programs begin reviewing applications.
  • Medical Student Performance Evaluations (MSPEs) are released to residency programs. In this document, your medical school evaluates your performance, highlighting your experience, abilities, academic performance, and noteworthy characteristics that make you an excellent candidate.
  • Your medical school may have a meeting with you and a faculty member where they give you an overview of what will be discussed on the MSPE (and check that your residency applications are on track). In general, the letter is composed from the comments that you received on your core third-year rotations by the different evaluators you interacted with. Students usually cannot alter the contents of an MSPE, but you may be able to see it. Ask your program to confirm.
  • Interview season begins in October and extends through mid-February.
  • Applicants travel to attend interviews, which help to determine program fit. If you’re traveling a fair distance to interviews, make sure you factor in the possibility for delays and figure out accommodations well in advance so you can be rested and prepared for your interviews:

“Since both my interviews were far from my actual home, I flew down a couple of days in advance (just in case there were any delays; I didn't want to panic if my flight was late), and I made sure to scout out the actual building locations before to help ease my nerves. On the day, I woke up, had my usual breakfast routine, slipped on my professional business attire, and arrived at the venue well in advance.” - Dr. Shaughnelene Smith, MD, Kansas City University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

January – February

  • As you complete interviews and visit programs, make a pro-con list for each program and begin to work on your Rank Order List (ROL).
  • Contact your number-one program (at which you have interviewed) with a residency letter of intent letting them know that they are your top choice.
  • Start of February – NRMP Rank Order List entry opens and medical schools begin verifying credentials.

“ My strategy was simple [for my ROL]–I ranked all programs based on proximity to home (location) first and foremost. The next was quality of resident training (i.e., weekly rounds, resident teaching, exposure to a breadth of cases, fellowship potential) and wellness culture (time off for residents, planned activities, measures to prevent burnout, etc.)” – Dr. Neel Mistry, MD, University of Saskatchewan School of Medicine, Radiology

Review our video to avoid common mistakes in your residency letter of intent:

ERAS Timeline: Match Week


Main residency match results through NRMP become available in mid-March; however, certain specialty programs have their own timeline for releasing match results.


  • End of May – ERAS season ends and MyERAS closes.


  • End of June – NRMP match system closes and reports are no longer available.

Want to watch a video that summarizes the entire residency application process? Here is a video that summarizes the entire residency application timeline, beginning from your third year of medical school right up to Match Day. 

ERAS Timeline: Additional Notes on Application Deadlines

Most medical students will apply using ERAS and will match through the NRMP system; however, there are some exceptions:


1. What is the best time to apply using ERAS?

It's best if your entire application is completed and submitted to ERAS on the day that the application process opens for your given specialty. The sooner your application is submitted, the sooner it can be reviewed by programs and the more flexibility you will have in securing interviews.

2. Can I re-use portions of my medical school application for my ERAS application?

"Yes, you can. But do be sure to include experiences relevant to your specialty, too! I reused things from my medical school application. I included all of my research achievements which spanned from undergraduate through medical school. I also included items that occurred in my Masters program before starting medical school, which I completed during medical school.” - Dr. Monica Taneja, MD, Harvard South Shore, Psychiatry

3. How do I find out which specialties and programs will be participating with ERAS?

A list of participating specialties and programs can be found on the ERAS website. If a program does not participate in ERAS, contact that program directly to determine how to apply.

4. When I register with MyERAS, am I automatically registered to participate in the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP)?

No, registering with ERAS does not register you for the NRMP or any other matching service. You must register separately through the matching service for your specialty.

5. Does the Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) count as a letter of recommendation?

No, the MSPE is not a letter of recommendation. It is a separate requirement for the ERAS application.

6. What does the MSPE look like?

The MSPE does not have a standard format and it is up to each medical school to decide what format they would like to use. The MSPE includes six sections: Identifying Information, Noteworthy Characteristics, Academic History, Academic Progress, Summary, and Medical School Information. Ask your medical school if you can review your MSPE before it is submitted to ERAS. Please note that most schools do not allow any student alterations to the MSPE, but you may be able to see it (although some programs may allow you to see it only AFTER your application is submitted). If you cannot secure a MSPE from your medical school, you will need to indicate this within the ERAS application and a neutral placeholder letter will be provided for you to use instead.

7. Does submitting my ERAS application early give me an advantage over other applicants?

For the ERAS application cycle, residency programs will begin reviewing applications in Mid - October. Applications submitted early will not be reviewed before this date, so you will have no distinct advantage. Many residency programs will not review applications until MSPEs are released. Once residency programs begin reviewing applications, if you are still working on your application, aim to submit as soon as possible to ensure the best chances for securing interviews at your programs of interest.

However, we do recommend getting your documents ready for submission in advance of the deadline so you are not feeling rushed. Remember, you will be in your clerkship year and may be quite busy, so ensure you start preparing your documents in advance.

8. What if I am an International Medical Graduate (IMG) applying for residency in the United States or Canada?

Check out our blog on International Medical Graduates, which outlines the eligibility criteria for IMGs in Canada and the United States, how to prepare your residency application, tips for writing your personal statement, and recommendations for how to prepare for a coveted residency interview.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

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