Vital Signs

August 2011 

What Should You Be Doing Now?
MSPE Update
ERAS Update
Letters of Recommendation



By popular demand, here is a breakdown of the residency application process and explanation of what you should be working on now. For a monthly breakdown for the year, see Residency Timeline in the February '11 Vital Signs.


  1. AFTER you have registered with ERAS, beginning July, register with the NRMP (National Residency Matching Program) online anytime after September 1st. Make sure that you use the automatically generated AAMC ID number that you were assigned when you registered with ERAS. Make sure you keep this number safe and have access to it whenever you want it. It will cost you $50 payable by credit card or Telecheck to register with the NRMP. ERAS is the means by which you apply to the programs, the NRMP is the means by which you rank the programs and the programs rank you for the Match.
  2. Still unsure about some of the terms? Categorical vs. Preliminary etc...? Check back on the Vocabulary section of February '11 Vital Signs.
  3. Make a list of programs that you are interested in. How? Start by talking with your advisor, faculty & residents. Then consult FREIDA for detailed information. You can then learn more by using email and/or www sites for programs as listed in FREIDA.
  4. Review & refine your list of programs; request information and/or application materials from the programs if need be. The web information may well be sufficient. Contact programs via email, mail, or phone if you are in doubt.
  5. Review the info. and/or application materials that you have received from programs. The goal is to have all ERAS applications completed & LOR's faxed to Student Affairs by Sept. 16th! (make sure you check for program specific deadlines)



FREIDA is a web-based program to assist you in gathering data about residency programs and for requesting information and/or application materials. You should utilize the program. Be sure to keep a record of programs that you requested information from, and follow up with the program directly if you do not receive anything.



ERAS tokens are here!

bulletIf you have not done so already (you know who you are!) have your picture taken now! (COLOR wallet-size 3.5" x 2.5" with a light background). Bring 2 pictures to Student Affairs so you can get your token. Make sure you are in interview attire for your portrait. Your ERAS token (password for your web-based ERAS residency application) is available in the Office for Student Affairs in the new Claude Moore Education building, room 3134. Click here to go to the Feburary issue of the Vital Signs to determine what types of programs are using the ERAS system this year.

bulletERAS is made up of MyERAS (web-based residency application), DWS (Dean's Workstation, PDWS (Program Director's Workstation) and ERASPO (ERAS PostOffice). MyERAS will be open for you to certify and transmit your application on September 1st! Urology and Military ERAS program applicants are encouraged to act as swiftly as possible, and are encouraged to utilize a deadline of early September instead of September 16th.
bulletRead instructions & guidelines for requesting faculty letters of recommendation. Make sure faculty writing your LOR get a copy of the instruction form provided on the UVa Student Affairs web site. Most students opt for confidential letters!
**MyERAS software will not allow you to send more than 4 letters of recommendation to one program. Most programs require 3 letters. Be sure to follow the specific instructions from each program - do NOT send them more than the requested number of letters**

bulletPrint your web-based ERAS application and personal statement to keep in your career file.
bulletDue Date: September 16th. MyERAS web-based residency application should be completed, certified and transmitted to the ERAS Post Office, USMLE transcripts should be requested (please select automated update feature on MyERAS), & letters of recommendation should be received in Student Affairs by 9-16-11 (your application is not considered complete until all of your letters of recommendation are received).
bulletStudent Affairs will begin scanning your LORs after you finalize and submit the slots for your letter writers. You will be able to see what letters have been received on MyERAS.
bulletNOTE: You are strongly encouraged to check the box indicating you would like Step 1 and Step 2 scores sent automatically.

The vast majority of programs do not want you to include or attach your own CV; the CV that ERAS generates for you is all they need! If you are applying to any non-ERAS programs you will need to use your own CV. It is also a good idea to have your own CV with you when you travel for interviews.
Letters of Recommendation Programs do not consider your application complete until all letters of recommendation are received (not including the MSPE). You can check the status of your application through MyERAS once you've submitted your application (ADTS).
Need to Make Changes? If you need to make changes, please follow the directions in the online MyEras 2012 User Guide which is available to download. Please remember that you cannot make changes to the Common Application Form itself after it is certified. You can update My Profile to add awards, programs etc..., and you can change your document assignments. You can add programs after you certify for an additional fee.


letters gif
Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) Update

The MSPE (formerly called the "Dean's Letter") will be transmitted November 1st. This is the national release date. A transcript is scanned in and transmitted for all students using ERAS. If you are using only ERAS, you need NOT do ANYTHING regarding your transcript. Your ERAS specific, scannable transcript is taken care of. For non-ERAS programs
you will need to obtain an official transcript from the Registrar's Office (You can call 924-4122 or order them online). Student Affairs cannot provide any transcripts (official or nonofficial). All official transcripts must be obtained from the Registrar's Office. Non-official transcripts (for LOR writers or your advisor) can be printed out using SIS. Select unofficial academic advising; report type: advising transcript; view report. Also of note, SIS no longer requires you to print out one semester at a time!


  Letters of Recommendation (LORs)



Everything you wanted to know about your LORs, and then some...

bulletLORs for ERAS should be faxed to Student Affairs . The number is (434-924-5739) and is located on the form you are to give your letter writers.

bulletWhen selecting your programs and assigning documents to the programs, you should assign your LORs to the programs whether the letters are already here or not. To create a visual, when you assign a letter to the program, you essentially create a small mailbox for that program. If you assign 3 letters, then there are 3 small mailboxes created. Once you are finished, and you certify, submit and pay for ERAS, they will notify the Dean's Office (usually within 24 hours) and we will see which programs you have applied to, and which letters have been assigned. If the letters are here already, we will immediately scan your letters and electronically "stuff" the mailboxes. If only some of the letters have arrived, we will scan in what we have into the appropriate mailboxes, and will do the remaining letters immediately upon their receipt in our office.

bullet"How do I get Dr. X to submit my LOR without harrassing him/her and making them mad? When is it appropriate to get after them?" ---- This is perhaps the most common and most appropriate question. Essentially, don't start pressing anyone until after you have submitted your application sometime after September 1st. And then still, their deadline on September 16th as well. So give them some time, but as the deadline approached, you might use this tactic. After you have checked in and verified which LORs are still outstanding, you can simply say: "Hi Dr. X. I just wanted to let you know that I have submitted my application to ERAS online. Student Affairs contacted me to let me know that all of the documents that they had received have been scanned, and that your letter has not been received yet, and asked that I just remind you. They tell me that programs can now see the applications and I just wanted to make sure that your letter is included in my application. Thanks so much again for agreeing to write this for me and for your support." This approach takes all the pressure off you. You come across as just being a diligent student doing what the Dean's Office has asked you to do. It's a Win/Win!

bullet"What's with all these ID numbers?"

Excellent question, and many have been inadvertantly misinformed on parts of this, so please pay attention to this.

*ERAS Token ID - Given to you by Ginny after you have turned in your pictures. This is used for registering with ERAS only. Used just once and tossed away.

*USMLE ID - This is the number assigned to you by the National Board of Medical Examiners when you took the Boards. It is the same for Steps 1, 2 CK & CS and 3. It is usually located on the front of your results report, right by your name and address, and is an 8 digit number listed in the format of 1-234-567-8. If you do not have yours and have not reqested a copy for your permanent career file, please check the binder in Ginny's office.

*AAMC ID - The AAMC ID is a crucial number to make note of and keep in a place that you will have ready access to. Once you have received the AAMC ID, you will need to use your preassigned AAMC ID when you subsequently register with the NRMP. If you do not use the same AAMC ID, you will be blocked from registering and participating in the Match process. Please make note of your AAMC ID, and use it every time for ERAS and the NRMP. Should you decide to go through the Match process again later in your career for any reason, you'll use this same AAMC ID, so keep it safe in your Permanent Career File. All students and graduates going through the Match should register with ERAS first, anytime after August 15th, and the NRMP, second, anytime after Sept. 1.


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