How Programs use ERAS filters to Vet Candidates
Before we begin, let’s talk about the process. There are two key dates in the early phase of the recruitment season. Recruitment season is defined by the NRMP cycle of September 15 – January 31st annually. September 15th is the start date because that is when programs can access applications and start vetting candidates for interview in ERAS. January 31st is a pivotal date because that is when programs have to confirm their “NRMP Quota”. The NRMP Quota determines how many residents the MATCH algorithm will assign to the program through the MATCH and SOAP process. Thus, that is the season—or at least how I define it.
Let’s take some mystery out of what happens on September 15th. On this date, programs begin looking at applications. As you can imagine, volume is an issue. To narrow down the list, programs use ERAS filters to find their “top” candidates. Filters will vary by program and are most commonly dictated by the Program Director—but sometimes they are dictated by the system (e.g., the entity footing the bill). The most commonly used filters are:
Medical School Type
USMLE / COMLEX
Years Since Graduation
Given these are the most commonly used filters, let’s explore the what and why of each. At the end of each section, I’ll give a strategy for your consideration.