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What Does the Residency Application Cycle Look Like?

Exams! Letters! Statements! Submissions! With so many elements to the residency application process, it can be difficult to keep track of what to do when. Staying organized and maintaining a sense of where you are in the application is critical in ensuring there are no missed steps. Because the process for international medical grads and foreign medical grads is a bit more extensive, it is especially important to mark deadlines and ongoing tasks on a long-term calendar. Below, we at Residents Medical have put together a timeline for you based on information from university websites and other residency blogs to check your application progress. Please keep in mind that this is a rough outline that is intentionally kept somewhat general to apply to all calendar years, but for specific dates and additional questions, you should check the ERAS, ECFMG, USMLE, and NRMP websites themselves.


Early June:

  • MyERAS begins; students can start registering and working on their application. International medical graduates must first obtain their ERAS token serial number from ECFMG.


  • Thoroughly research residency programs. This is the time to create a list of programs that are of interest to you and are focused on your desired specialty. As we’ve mentioned before, be sure to apply to a wide range of programs, from university to community-based, rural to urban, and low tier to high tier.
  • Schedule and complete USMLE Step 1, 2, and 2CS exams, preferably before the beginning of September when programs start accepting applications.

Mid July:

  • Deadline for standardized interview video (SIV) for emergency medicine candidates only. This year, the deadline was July 15th, 2018.


  • First things first, request letters of recommendation (a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 4) from potential letter writers through preferably in-person meetings. For more information regarding this, check our blog post about LORs.
  • Request your USMLE transcripts, and authorize their release before applying.
  • Request your Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) and medical school transcripts.
  • Fill out the ERAS application itself; this includes contact, biological, educational, training, experience, licensure, and research information.
  • Write your personal statement – for tips on this, read our personal statement blog.
  • Upload a high quality, professional photo of yourself onto the application.

Mid to late August:

  • Submit Online Applicant Status and Information System (OASIS) documents, preferably 2 weeks before applying to programs.

Early September:

  • Applicants can begin submitting their apps through ERAS to residency programs. Certify your ERAS application (only after it is absolutely FINALIZED), assign required documents to respective programs, and begin submitting applications. The date to begin submitting applications for this year will be September 5th, 2018, and applicants can apply to programs until September 15th, 2018.

Mid September:

  • Residency programs begin receiving ERAS applications.
  • National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) opens; register ASAP for the Match.

Beginning of October:

  • Residency programs begin receiving MSPE scores, this year on the first of the month.


  • Send follow-up emails from programs that you have not yet heard back from to confirm ongoing interest.
  • Prepare for and partake in interviews – learn more here about interviews here.

Late November:

  • November 30th is typically the last day to register for NRMP if you have not yet done so; otherwise, there is a $50 late fee.

Late December:

  • Deadline to take the USMLE Step 2 CS if you have not done so already.

Mid January-February:

  • For the next month or so, you will be able to create your NRMP Rank Order List (the window for this cycle is January 15th, 2019-February 20th, 2019).


  • You will receive your email confirming eligibility for the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP) (this cycle, it will be sent out on March 8th).
  • Match week takes place here, during which you will find out if you were matched, partially matched, or unmatched. Match week for this cycle will be March 11th-15th, 2019 with Match Day being March 15th at 1pm.


  • This concludes the ERAS application season; make sure you have copies of everything before it automatically gets deleted from the ERAS system on the 31st.