ERAS is a pretty big monstrosity! I remember when I was applying, it was this huge daunting task that I kept putting off and off until I really did have to face it. If I had only broken it up into chunks, I would have saved myself a whole lot of stress when it came time to actually submitting my application. Here are some things that I think are helpful for ERAS:
- Be specific, but brief in the descriptions of your experiences: I think one of my advisors told me that some programs screen, while others truly read every application cover-to-cover. Either way, being able to provide a quick snapshot of your experiences is helpful.
- Use those action words that those CV classes are always telling you about: ERAS is your time to shine! You should definitely describe what you did to the fullest extent with descriptors that go beyond, “I volunteered” and “I participated” in x, y, and z.
- Seek out an advisor or upperclassman (the new interns who just graduated for example!) who can help you decide what to actually include in your application: Some programs are interested in certain things than others and it’s always a good idea to get a good feel about what programs want to see in candidates. I know that I struggled with how to categorize different experiences and how to decide what to cut out given my range of diverse interests that played out in college and medical school. Getting an outside perspective through a mentor who was willing to read through my application was really helpful!
- ERAS crashing on the first day available to submit is a ritual now: Don’t panic. I repeat, please don’t panic. This is something that has happened in the past two years without fail. You will be able to get your application through…just maybe not the second that ERAS opens for submissions.