By Alok Bhatt, MD
For the first time, the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS®) system is being used in the interventional radiology match. As with any switch, there will be some logistical headaches. Here are some tips that may be helpful during the application process:
– Not every program is participating in the match and of those participating in the match, not every program has yet transitioned to using ERAS. The list of programs participating in ERAS can be found on the ERAS/AAMC website.
– As it says on the ERAS/AAMC website, VIR is a “December Application Cycle” specialty, which means that applicants can technically begin applying and programs begin receiving applications starting December 1st. Again, this is the first year this system is in place so programs may not be strictly following this timeline yet. If unsure, contact the specific program for details.
– Programs that are NOT accepting applications through ERAS have a variable application process and timeline. Some programs have already started accepting applications whereas other programs do not begin until November or December. To get the details, visit that specific program’s website for additional information.
– ERAS token– To participate in ERAS, you MUST get an ERAS token. You do NOT need to contact your medical school to get one. This token will allow you to log in an fill out an ERAS application much like you did for residency. You can sign up for an ERAS token here.
– NRMP match information- Remember that an ERAS token and NRMP registration are not the same thing meaning once you have submitted your application through ERAS and interviewed, you still have to register with the NRMP to actually participate in the match. The NRMP registration site is can be found here.
– Uploading documents into ERAS including your letters of recommendation can be done through the ERAS Fellowships Documents Office (EFDO). Note that there are some differences as to the documents each program wants. Some programs for example, want a Dean’s letter where others do not. Other programs may want medical school transcripts. It is important to visit each program’s website to obtain specifics on what that program wants as part of the application.
– Here are important dates for the 2015 VIR match per the NRMP:
– March 4th– Match opens
– April 29th– Ranking opens
– June 3rd– Rank order list is due by 9PM eastern time.
– June 17th– Match day at 12PM eastern time.
– Latest information can be found here.
Hopefully, this will help guide you through the fellowship application process. Remember to take deep breaths and start your applications early to help avoid unforeseen problems.