Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Dropping dead over Application Deadlines

For students applying to EM for the 2015 match (2014-15 Interview season), this is a very stressful time.  September 15 has become a terrifying deadline.  The idea has emerged that your application must be "complete" on September 15th or you will be behind the rest of the applicant pool and end up scrambling.  The blame for this resides on well-meaning advisors, Dean's, blogs, and the pervasive fear of failure that highly motivated people use to keep themselves highly motivated.

Here are the actual deadlines that are set in stone:

  • September 15th - ERAS opens and you can upload the portions of the application you have control over
  • October 1st - the "Deans Letter" (MSPE) comes out
  • February 25th - Rank List deadline for both sides
  • March 16th - Yes/No day for applicants and beginning of SOAP
  • March 20th - Match Day

You will notice a LARGE gap in there between 10/1 and 2/25.  That is because every single residency program has a different timeline for when they start reviewing applications, offering interviews, and conducting interviews.  There is no hard and fast deadline by which you must have your application "complete" (MSPE and 3 LOR's, plus PS, boards, and ERAS app).

However, there is some consensus among EM program directors (the people who are actually making these decisions):

  1. Applicants should have everything within their control uploaded Sept. 15
  2. A single EM SLOE is needed for application review and consideration for interview
  3. Very few applicants will have more than one EM SLOE uploaded on Sept. 15
  4. Most interviews of outside applicants (those who did not complete their clerkship) will be OFFERED in the second half of October and early November
These are NOT absolute rules.  You may know someone who gets 5 interview offers by October 1.  Feel free to hate them, but remember that there are very few of these folks and they are undeserving of your scorn. 

The biggest variable between programs is how many letters need to be submitted before they will review your application.  Some insist on 3 letters before they will review.  Others only care if there is at least 1 EM SLOE.  This becomes an individual judgement call.  That second SLOE that won't be in until mid-October may raise the quality of your application.  But settling for one SLOE and two other letters will have your application in front of more eyes sooner.  This is where you need a local personal advisor, or SAEM e-advisor.  Or you can ask us in the comments.

Get your personal statement written (15 drafts is more than enough).  
Gather all your resume stuff and write brief descriptions of your roles.
Confirm your letter writers.

Good luck!