What you need to know

Preparing for ERAS: What’s new for the 2023-2024 residency application cycle

Learn more about the primary updates and important changes for the ERAS for this year’s application cycle.


If you are reading this article because you are putting together a residency application for this year’s application cycle, take a moment to look up, and breathe—as deeply into your belly as you are able.

This process can be incredibly stressful, and from what I have seen throughout the application process (as a former applicant and a current part-time attending, career advisor and mentor to students), the most important aspect of success in applying to residency is being able to maintain as much of a sense of calm amid the chaos as possible.

Use this article as a guide, but be aware that each program will have their own individual preferences for applications as well. While this article will go over the primary updates and important changes for the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) for this application cycle, it is important to note that since last year, many programs did not participate in some of the changes in ERAS applications.

For example, last year some internal medicine residency programs started requiring a standard letter of evaluation; however, other internal medicine residency programs did not require this form. In contrast, in emergency medicine, a standardized letter of evaluation is regularly used.

Read on to learn what you’ll need to think about this year during the residency application process, and be sure to take the time to review what each individual program requires for their applications.

What you need to know

Here are the primary updates to ERAS for the 2023-2024 application cycle:

Previous MyERAS applicationMyERAS application for the 2024 season
Undefined number of experiences. Up to 10 experiences.
Not available. Enables applicants to self-select their top three most meaningful experiences (of up to 10 experiences).
Collects limited descriptive information about each experience entry (e.g., position, organization, time frame and location). Collects more descriptive information about each experience entry (e.g., position, organization, time frame and location) as well as frequency of participation options (e.g., one time, daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually).
Not available. Allows applicants to better define the experience type (e.g., volunteer, work, professional organization or hobby). This helps programs to easily identify and review specific experiences that align with their missions.
Not available. Offers additional multiple-entry questions to capture mission-focused characteristics of each experience entry—focus area, key characteristic and setting (e.g., rural, suburban or urban). This helps programs complete holistic review.
Undefined Experiences Description field. Includes short descriptions focused on critical information for programs—roles, responsibilities and context for all experiences entries.

Source: Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC)

Timeline of ERAS

June 7, 2023
ERAS 2024 season begins at 9 a.m. ET.
Sept. 6, 2023Residency applicants may begin submitting MyERAS® applications to programs at 9 a.m. ET.
Sept. 27, 2023Residency programs may begin reviewing MyERAS applications and Medical Student Performance Evaluations (MSPE) in the Program Directors WorkStation (PDWS) at 9 a.m. ET. 
May 31, 20242024 ERAS season ends at 5 p.m. ET.

What to prepare

ERAS supplemental: Great news, there is no supplemental application! This is one less thing to do this year with much of this material now in the ERAS main application.

ERAS application experiences section: This section went from an undefined number of experiences to a maximum of 10 experiences. Within these 10, your top three most meaningful experiences can be highlighted as such. The types of experiences will have improvements on the headings/experience type, and there will be additional fields to enter specific aspects of each experience, such as key characteristics of the experience, setting (i.e.: rural/urban) and roles/experience context.

Geographic preferences: While this section is listed as “new” in ERAS, this was available last year in the supplemental application. This will now be listed in the main ERAS application for those who select this option.

Signals: Originally used primarily in otolaryngology, program signaling was introduced to the main match ERAS residency application process in last year’s cycle. This program will continue and more programs will participate this year. You will get a set number of signals you can designate to your top-choice programs. It’s like waving a flag to a program saying, “Yes, you really are one of my top-choice programs.” However, be warned that signals are not a guarantee of an interview, so use them wisely.

About 10% of programs received over 20% of available signals in the 2021-2022 cycle, according to data from the AAMC). While applicants have a stronger chance of getting an interview with a signal, it is just one factor of many that will help you gain an interview. You can find a list for this year’s number of program signals and types broken down by specialty here.

Standard Letters of Evaluation: In emergency medicine, Standardized Letters of Evaluation (SLOE) have been common for years. In addition, last year internal medicine programs began to offer an Internal Medicine Structured Evaluative letter (IM SEL); however, many programs did not use this template. OB/GYN and orthopedic surgery also started specialty-specific SLOEs last year. I would suggest looking at your list of programs you plan to apply to and seeing what specific requirements each program has for residency application submissions.

Acuity Insights-Altus Suite/CASPer/Duet exam testing: Ophthalmology, along with some anesthesia, internal medicine, interventional radiology, OB/GYN, surgery and urology programs have started requiring an additional assessment for residency applications. One part of this assessment tool, “CASPer,” quantifies social intelligence, professionalism, empathy, collaboration and resilience. The other part, “Duet,” assesses applicants’ personal values.

Since last year, a one-way video interview has been taken out of this process for most applications.

The number of programs using this assessment varies by specialty. Test dates for this assessment are limited, and for some locations will end in September and October. Check your list of top-choice residency programs to see if they require or recommend this assessment.

What’s not new this year

What is not new for the ERAS residency application process is that it can take many hours of personal reflection and hard work. Having a top-choice “short list” of programs that are most aligned with your values and goals will help save time and guide you through the ever-evolving process. Sharing your personal statements and application materials for review with trusted colleagues and career advisors can also help alleviate some of the stress around the process.

Almost all osteopathic applicants will be placed in residency programs—so take another deep breath and get ready to set yourself up for success.

Editor’s note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of The DO or the AOA.

Related reading:

Finding fit and flow: How to choose a residency path

Learning about residency programs through virtual open houses

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