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
6 min read

ERAS Timeline ERAS Timeline: Prior to Application Season ERAS Timeline: Application Season ERAS Timeline: Match Week ERAS Timeline: Other Match Timelines FAQs

ERAS Timeline

Below you’ll find a brief overview of the ERAS timeline; keep reading for more detailed information about each month/event in the timeline.

ERAS Timeline: Prior to Application Season (March-May)

As with many application processes, it is advantageous to begin planning for ERAS application season well in advance, organize and gather all necessary materials, and seek feedback and/or application review help long before your deadline approaches!

* 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.

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

1. Research Residency Programs 

  • Research and contact programs of interest to find out more about their programs, requirements, and deadlines; steer clear of residency Reddit, or, at least recognize its potential biases
  • Compile a list of residency programs. 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

2. Make Note of Important Dates and Deadlines

3. Prepare Stellar Supporting Documents

“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 residency CV to demonstrate that you’re a suitable match for your top program.
  • 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). EE 

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 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 a response eloquently. This can make or break your future career, and that’s why it’s pivotal that you don’t simply practice in the mirror or ask your parents for feedback once or twice. In most cases, friends and family have not been in your shoes, nor have they dedicated years of their lives to helping students learn how to develop natural interview skills and formulate responses to even the trickiest questions. Genuine, unbiased and constructive criticism goes a long way.

“[My BeMo 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.
  • Mid-September – NRMP registration opens (the deadline for standard registration is at the end of January, additional fees apply for late registration).

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.


  • Late September/Early October: Residency programs begin reviewing applications, and Medical Student Performance Evaluations (MSPEs) are released.
  • October to mid-February: Interview season begins. Applicants travel for interviews, so plan accommodations and account for possible delays to ensure you are prepared.

“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, DO

Your medical school may meet with you to review the MSPE content. It is based on core third-year rotation evaluations and generally cannot be altered. Confirm with your program if you can review it.

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

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

ERAS Timeline: Match Week (March)

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

ERAS Timeline: Urology, Ophthalmology, Plastic Surgery and Military Matches

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 format varies by medical school but typically includes six sections: Identifying Information, Noteworthy Characteristics, Academic History, Academic Progress, Summary, and Medical School Information. Check if you can review your MSPE before submission, though most schools do not allow alterations. If your school does not provide an MSPE, indicate this in your ERAS application, and a neutral placeholder letter will be provided.

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

Residency programs start reviewing applications in mid-October. Submitting early does not provide an advantage, as applications are reviewed after MSPEs are released. To secure interviews, submit your application as soon as possible once reviews begin. Prepare your documents in advance to avoid last-minute stress, especially during your busy clerkship year.

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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