A Roadmap to The Medical Residency Matching Process

A Roadmap to The Medical Residency Matching Process

May 28, 2020 Published by Kathrin O'Neill

Table of Contents

Preparing for your medical residency starts months before you apply for the residency matching process. Most who fail to prepare for the Residency Matching Process ahead can find it hard to find out where to begin because of the information overload.

The Roadmap to The Residency Matching Process

The Residency Matching Process is designed and created to help applicants secure the preferred residency positions and vice-versa, meaning medical residency programs will also get candidates who want to be in the program. The matching process compares the rank order list of applicants and fills the slots available in the residency programs. The system provides uniform steps and processes for all applicants and participating institutions.


The month of May is the time when medical students should finalize their field of medical specialty. This time is also best spent on researching and looking at residency programs available for your preferred choices.


This is typically the start of the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) season and applicants can now register to MyERAS and start with the application process.


September is the start of the application process where applicants can now submit their residency applications to their preferred options.

October- December

October towards December is the month where residency programs start to review the applications. This is also the time where residency programs select candidates for interview.


The Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) begins to rank applicants according to their preferred list. Institutions also notify ERAS on the number of residency slots available in their residency programs for the next academic year.


March is typically the month where the results of the ERAS matching process are published. The date the applicants received their results is called Matchday and is typically on the 3rd Friday of the month.

The First Step in the Application Process

Even before the start of the ERAS application season applicants should prepare months in advance. These include preparing the necessary paperwork, passing requisite exams, and preparing yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically. These preparations will ultimately help you during the interview phase of the matching program.

A. Preparing The Residency Application Materials

Applying to a residency program is a lengthy process that involves a critical review of the applicant and their respective qualifications. The application process involves preparing the necessary paperwork that will help you get your preferred residency program.

Letters of Recommendation

The Letters of Recommendation is an important document that you need to prepare ahead of your medical residency application because it is required by almost all programs. The letters of recommendation should also include a chairman’s letter of recommendation from your medical department.

Personal Statement

A Personal Statement is also required and will definitely be reviewed during the interview phase of the matching process. Residency selection committee members will read your personal statement and can be the deciding factor if you receive an invitation for an interview. The Personal Statement provides applicants with an opportunity to express their personal goals and aspirations on why you are applying for the medical residency program and provides the residency selection committee with another perspective aside from the quantitative view of academic performance and USMLE scores.

Curriculum Vitae

The Curriculum Vitae provides additional information about your background and is also an important requirement for applying in ERAS.

B. Applying and Requesting Your ERAS Token

The process of getting your ERAS token depends if you are a US Medical School Graduate, Canadian Medical Graduates, or International Medical Graduates. For US Medical School Graduates you need to contact your medical school or dean’s office. Canadian Graduates need to contact their respective schools and international medical graduates need to contact the ERAS Support Services.

Guidelines on Registering on MyERAS

  • The ERAS Token allows applicants to register in MyERAS. It is important to note that the token is only valid for one registration within the current Medical Residency Matching Season.
  • Applicants Will Need an AAMC account before they can use their MyERAS Token
  • Applicants should completely fill-up the information needed in the checklist and comply with the necessary requirements.
  • The Length of Training
  • The Quality of the Residency Program
  • Location of Residency
  • Residency Program’s affiliated hospitals
  • The Program’s record in fellowship placement

C. Choosing The Residency Programs

Research on Medical Residency Programs that are related to your medical specialties. Researching early will help determine your rank list further down the matching process. Med Residency helps you find your ideal residency through its managed listing of up-to-date open residencies.

D. Prepare for the Interview

Written, verbal, and non-verbal communication is key in this phase of the matching process. The purpose of the medical residency interview is to help determine if you fit best with the medical residency program. Details in your personal statement and curriculum vitae will be included in the medical residency interview including your academic performance, clinical experience, and personal questions like why you are interested in the program, and what made you decide to become a physician in the first place.

E. Preparing Your Residency Rank List

Preparing your medical residency rank list can be career-defining and life-changing that is why we recommend that you take time in determining your preferred list before completing your matching application process. There are a lot of factors to consider when preparing your residency rank list.

Other Factors to Consider

If you’re choosing a residency program that takes you to a new place always consider the cost of living before committing. The cost of living can significantly vary within cities so it is important to have the right information like how much is the rent, utilities, transportation costs, and other expenses.

The Next Steps

Preparing for the medical residency matching process is just one of the many steps that will ultimately help you to become a great doctor. Always take time to prepare and plan out your decisions as you move up the process. We recommend that you seek advice and counseling from senior peers or faculty of your medical school to help you in making crucial decisions during the medical residency matching process.