Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
MD Education

Residency Application FAQ

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  • What is an ERAS Token?

    "Tokens" are electronic codes that allow you to register and access MyERAS (your personal workstation in ERAS) online. Tokens will be available on or toward the end of May and will be emailed to you. This number will be used one time only to access the MyERAS application, at which time the AAMC ID Number will be assigned. Once you obtain your token from our office, you should go to the MyERAS website and click on "register." After registering, you will be assigned an AAMC ID Number. We strongly recommend that you place the number in a safe place, as you will need it several times during the course of this process.

  • When can I register at MyERAS?

    The ERAS website opens April 15 for applicants to register. It is recommended that you register on MyERAS as soon as possible. It is important to register early. Our office cannot begin working on your supporting documents until you have registered. To register, go to the MyERAS log-in. Click on "register" to access the registration page. Enter your token correctly and carefully answer all required questions.

  • When can I apply to the programs?

    You can apply to programs starting Sept. 15. Programs will start to download your information on Sept. 15.

  • When is the ERAS application deadline?

    ERAS does not set program application deadlines; the individual programs set the deadlines. You should contact the programs directly for their deadlines. The ERAS PostOffice closes on May 31 every year to prepare for the next ERAS application season.

  • When can I update my status in MyERAS?

    You can update your information in MyProfile at any time, even after you have applied to your programs. After you have saved the updated Profile, the new information will be transmitted to all of the programs to which you have applied previously.

  • How can I check the status of my documents?

    Track the status of your ERAS application materials using the Applicant Document Tracking System (ADTS). The ADTS lists each program that you applied to, the dates the documents were uploaded by your designated dean's office and the date the program downloaded each document.


  • Can I submit a photo for ERAS?

    Yes, students can directly upload a photo to ERAS. When selecting a photo, please keep in mind that you are not able to use the proofs from the photographers (Wycoff-Tweedie). In order to use this photo you have to purchase a package from the photographer, which could take six to eight weeks.

  • Is a photograph mandatory?

    No, it is not mandatory that you submit a photograph; however, many programs will ask you submit one.

  • What are the photo requirements from ERAS?
    • It must be the JPEG format.
    • The maximum file size accepted is 100 KB, and the photograph must be no larger than 2.5 by 3.5 inches in size.
    • It must be a clear full front view of your head and shoulders. Your face should be in the middle of the photograph, and your expression should be natural with your eyes open looking directly ahead.
    • It should have a plain white or light-colored background.
    • You must wear professional attire. Remember, this is a job interview.

Letters of Recommendation

Medical School Transcripts


  • Is the MSPE counted as one of the four letters of recommendation?

    No. In ERAS there are four categories of documents:

    1. MSPE
    2. Medical school transcript
    3. Color photograph
    4. Letters of recommendation

    In addition to your MSPE, you can still assign four letters of recommendation to each program.

  • When can we review our MSPE?

    When the draft of your letter is complete, you will receive an email indicating that the draft of your MSPE is ready for your review. The MSPEs will begin to be ready in early September. You can view your transcript through Caesar. If you found any inconsistencies or errors, please use the comment feature of the system to alert us of the potential change or correction. Please do not send a separate email. Although we will not change narrative evaluations from clerkships, we will correct typos and grammatical mistakes, so please let us know if you find any.

Ranking Programs

  • How do I rank separately for prelim programs vs. my residency programs?

    There is a supplemental rank order list that is used by applicants who rank advanced programs ("A" positions beginning in the second year of training) on their primary rank order list and who also want to match to a compatible preliminary or transitional first year program ("P" position) for the first year of training. For each PGY2 "A" program ranked on the primary rank order list, a number of PGY1 programs that correspond to that advanced may be ranked on a supplemental rank order list. Although not a requirement, applicants generally consider geographic location in developing their supplemental rank order lists for specific advanced programs. Therefore, you can have supplemental rank order lists linked to different advanced programs. A supplemental rank order list will be used in the match only if the applicant matches to an advance program on the primary rank order list. The supplemental rank order list is used as part of the main match and is not a separate match. If the NRMP is unable to match the applicant to a first-year program, the match to the advanced program still holds and the applicant must seek a PGY1 position after the match.

USMLE Scores

  • Can we release our USMLE Step 1 scores, but not our Step 2 scores?
    Your transcript will only be transmitted to programs to which your USMLE transcript has been assigned. Automatic retransmission is no longer an option when authorizing the release of the USMLE transcript. Anytime an applicant is notified that new scores are available, they will have to manually retransmit the transcript to programs to which they have applied using the retransmit option on the Documents/USMLE transcript tab.
  • Do programs require Step 2 scores?

    You need to check with individual programs. Requirements are different at individual programs. For the programs that require passing of Step 2, please be sure to schedule Step 2 (CK and CS) in plenty of time to have your grades available to programs. Count on three weeks to get your results.