2022 Supplemental ERAS Application Guide


An optional, supplemental ERAS application was added to the residency application process for the ERAS 2022 cycle. While similar to the secondary application you submitted when you originally applied to medical school, you only need to complete one supplemental ERAS application that will be submitted to all participating programs separately from your MyERAS application.

So, how do you know if you need to complete a supplemental application, what does it include, and how do you make the most of this optional opportunity? In this post, we’ll share what’s on the supplemental ERAS application, which programs are participating, when the application is due, and answer FAQs surrounding this additional process.

The Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS)

The Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) is the centralized online application service applicants use to deliver their application and supporting documents to residency programs. ERAS simplifies the application process for applicants, their Designated Dean’s Office, letter of recommendation authors, and program directors.

For a comprehensive overview, check out our ERAS Residency Application Guide.

ERAS Residency Application Timeline

But as of the 2022 ERAS cycle, there is a new, optional step for some applicants. Students applying to participating residency programs—internal medicine, dermatology, and general surgery—are able to complete an additional, free supplementary application designed to help programs learn more about you.


Supplemental ERAS Application

The supplemental ERAS application asks new questions distinct from the original ERAS application that provide applicants the opportunity to showcase their interests and experiences to programs. The questions are designed to help residency programs better understand how an applicant’s interests align with their values, mission, and program environment. The new application is offered by the AAMC.

Applicants to the 2022 ERAS cycle who are applying to dermatology, general surgery (categorical only), and internal medicine (categorical and preliminary) may be asked to complete the supplemental ERAS application as well as the main MyERAS application. All sections and questions in the supplemental ERAS application are optional, though applicants are encouraged to complete it, as the application contains questions separate from the MyERAS application that are meant to provide a more complete picture of who you are.


What’s on the Supplementary Application

The supplemental ERAS application is distinct from the standard MyERAS application. It’s administered online and consists of four sections:

  • Past Experiences
  • Geographic Information
  • Preference Signaling
  • Work Preferences (research only)

It’s in your best interest to be as honest as possible when answering the questions so that you are effectively evaluated and can be placed in the program that best suits you.

The supplemental ERAS application, while separate from the MyERAS application, has some similar components, so it’s recommended that you complete your MyERAS application first to give you a better idea of how to respond. Each application will be communicated to programs separately, so answer the questions directly instead of referencing the content of your MyERAS application.

1 | Past Experiences

This section provides the opportunity to demonstrate who you are by describing your journey to residency and the hurdles you overcame to get to this point in your medical career.

Program directors want to see the experiences you feel were most noteworthy. You will be asked to identify up to five experiences that have greatly influenced your development and shaped your career goals. These experiences could have occurred during medical school or before it and can include research, work, volunteer, or clinical experiences.

You will be asked a series of questions that will allow you to share more details about each experience.

Next, you’ll be asked why each experience was so meaningful. Why did you choose to highlight that experience? How was it instrumental in your journey? How has the experience shaped you and your choices?

You will also have the opportunity to share other impactful experiences that affected your journey to residency (if they’re applicable.) These experiences could be related to your upbringing, family background, financial background, or your life in general.

Review your MyERAS application carefully before selecting your top experiences. It’s a good idea to draft your answers in advance outside of the application system. This way, you and anyone you ask to review your responses can do so easily without worrying about hitting the wrong button and submitting something that’s not ready.

2 | Geographic Information

This section allows you to describe the urban, rural, or geographic setting that most interests you. In other words, where do you most want to live while in residency?

The geographic division preferences question uses nine US geographic divisions identified by the US Census Bureau. Refer to the map to ensure you know which geographic divisions include the states where you most want to attend residency.

The nine U.S. geographic divisions are:

  • Pacific West: AK, CA, HI, OR, WA
  • Mountain West: AZ, CO, ID, MT, NM, NV, UT, WY
  • West North Central: IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD
  • East North Central: IL, IN, MI, OH, WI
  • West South Central: AR, LA, OK, TX
  • East South Central: AL, KY, MS, TN
  • South Atlantic: DC, DE, FL, GA, MD, NC, PR, SC, VA, WV
  • Middle Atlantic: NJ, NY, PA
  • New England: CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT

You will be asked to choose the three geographic divisions you prefer. You can also say that you don’t have any preference or don’t wish to state your preference. Either way, you will have the opportunity to state your reasons. You will also have the chance to say if you prefer a rural or urban setting and describe why.

If you do indicate a preference for a geographic division, your preference will only be shared with the programs in that specific division. It will not be shared with programs outside of that division. If you select “I do not have a division preference,” that information will be shared with all programs. If you select “I do not wish to communicate a division preference,” no division preference will be shared with any of the programs.

If you indicate a preference for urban or rural settings, this preference and any additional information about your preference will be shared with all programs.

It is important to note that your geographic information preference will only be shared with dermatology and internal medicine programs. Your geographic preference will not be shared with general surgery programs.

3 | Preference Signaling

This section allows you to express interest in a specific residency program. Preference signals are another data point programs can use to determine who to invite to an interview. Preference signaling does NOT affect the number of applications you submit.

Your preference signals will be provided to the participating programs to which you applied. Just like the rest of your supplemental application content, the data will be provided separately from your MyERAS application. Programs won’t see if you participated in preference signaling; they’ll only see if you signaled their program specifically.

When deciding which programs you want to signal, consider the strength of your application, your ultimate career goals, as well as how much you personally identify with the program’s values and mission. Speak with your advisors as well as your faculty and resident mentors as you consider your decision.

Do not signal the program at your medical school or any program where you completed an in-person clinical subinternship or away rotations.

Consider signaling:

  • Your previous home program (but only if you are reapplying this year in that specialty. Be sure to consult your previous home program before making this choice.)
  • A program where you attended a virtual subinternship.
  • A program where you were supposed to attend a subinternship but couldn’t because of COVID-19.
  • A program that you only did research with.

View a step-by-step walkthrough of each supplemental application section.

Participating Residency Programs

If you are applying to any of the residency programs listed below, know that the supplemental ERAS application is optional, but submitting it is in your best interest.

Make sure to continue to follow the most recent announcements from ERAS to see if other residency programs have decided to participate.


Supplementary Application Timeline

The application process will be initiated if you save one or more programs in dermatology, internal medicine, or general surgery in the MyERAS application. About 24 hours after saving one or more of these programs, the AAMC will send you a personalized link to the supplemental application.

The following dates are 2021 deadlines for the 2022 residency cycle.

You must save one or more programs by September 29, 2021 to receive an invitation. AAMC will begin sending email invitations on September 1, 2021, and will send weekly reminders between September 1 – 30 until you complete the supplemental application.

You do not need to complete the supplemental application in one sitting. You can save it and return to where you left off by using your personalized link.

The supplemental ERAS application opens on September 1 and closes on September 30, 2021. There are two different windows for your supplemental application content to be communicated to participating residency programs.

  • Window 1 is open from September 1 to September 19. Completing the application during this window means the application will be sent to participating programs on September 29.
  • Window 2 is open from September 20 to September 30. Completing the application during this window means the application will be sent to participating programs on October 6.

Submitting your application early, within the first window, is ideal so that your information is received within the first group. You only need to submit your supplemental ERAS application once. Your application will only be complete once you answer yes to the final question, “Would you like to submit your supplemental ERAS application?

If you choose “yes” and submit your application by or on September 19, your responses are deemed final and will be shared with programs. If you leave the final question blank and choose not to submit your application on Sept. 19, you can continue to make changes until Sept. 30.

If you leave the final question blank or choose “no,” your responses will not be shared with the programs you applied to.


Residency Supplemental Application FAQ

Why is There Another Step to the ERAS Application Process?

The supplemental ERAS application is designed to help programs better identify the applicants who are genuinely interested in attending their program and whose interests and experiences best align with the program’s goals, mission, and setting.

The MyERAS application isn’t perfect, and the AAMC wants to ensure that the applicants and programs best suited to each other are matched effectively. While it may seem like superfluous, unnecessary work, this extra step is intended to ensure you end up where you want to be.

When are ERAS Supplemental Applications Due?

Supplemental ERAS applications are due by September 30, 2021.

How Do I Know if I Need to Complete a Supplemental Application?

You will only be asked to complete the supplemental ERAS application by participating programs in dermatology, internal medicine, and general surgery. The supplemental ERAS application is optional.

These programs may request you submit a supplemental ERAS application.

How Many Residency Secondaries Do I Need to Complete?

You only need to complete one supplemental ERAS application, and it is optional. Your single supplemental application will be shared with all participating programs you apply to.

It is highly recommended that you submit the supplemental application, as the additional information you provide will help you to be matched with your preferred programs.

How Much Do ERAS Secondaries Cost?

The supplemental ERAS application is free, so there is no cost for submitting it.

What if I Don’t Complete the Supplemental Application?

There is no consequence for refusing to submit the supplemental ERAS application, but it’s a big missed opportunity for you. Matching into your preferred residency program isn’t easy. Give yourself every chance of success by completing the supplemental ERAS application.


Expert Residency Application Editing

Med School Insiders can help you prepare a stand out residency application. We offer a number of Residency Admissions Consulting Services tailored to your needs, including personal statement editing, USMLE tutoring, interview prep, overall application editing, and supplemental application editing.

Up next: 9 Essential Tips for Applying to Residency


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