Now that I am in the midst of applying for residency, I am thanking my past self for preparing my present self for this process and consolidating the necessary information and materials beforehand. One thing I found monumentally helpful was researching the components of the ERAS application, and creating a spreadsheet with tabs for each section. Before ERAS opened, I filled the spreadsheet with all my education info, research/volunteer/work experiences, publications, and extracurriculars. This saved me significant time when it came to filling out these sections on ERAS because I could simply copy and paste rather than go digging around my CV and old files to look for all this information.
Another thing I made sure to do was contact potential letter of recommendation writers well in advance of the beginning of the application cycle to see if they would be willing to write me a letter. I think it is important to identify good recommenders early on and contact them as soon as possible when your experiences with them are fresh in their mind. There is no harm in reaching out sooner than later because you can still keep them in the loop while the process is unfolding. Lastly, I used a residency explorer website to generally gauge what programs I should be applying to based on my stats and experiences and made a separate spreadsheet of the target, reach, and safety programs. This way, I won’t have to be researching programs for the first time once the application opens. Currently, I am working on the most dreaded yet extremely crucial personal statement. That is one thing I could not really get myself to do in the earlier stages of preparing for application and will need to hone in on now.