As with all tricky questions regarding applying through ERAS for medical residency, let’s get one thing straight. There is no “right” answer to whether or not you should wait until you have all your LoRs before applying to ERAS. However, we’ll do our best to explore the pros and cons of possible solutions. First, let’s start with our general approach.
Here’s what Match A Resident Recommends:
Typically, we recommend waiting until you have all your LoRs before applying, especially if you will have all your LoRs before MSPEs come out on October 1st. However, if you do not have any LoRs, you should wait until you have at least 1, but preferably 2.
The pros of waiting:
Imagine you apply on September 15th with only 2 of 3 letters of recommendation. The program downloads and prints your application. Upon review, they see that your application is incomplete and they move you to the “excluded” pile. Even if you upload your third LoR a week later, maybe they do not take the time to review this update and do not consider you. However, if you were to have just applied with a full application on October 1st, for example, perhaps they would still consider you.
The cons of waiting:
The most obvious risk you run is program deadlines being passed. In these cases, apply to these programs with whatever you have, with the hopes they might still consider you once your application is complete. When playing a numbers game, getting your application in as many hands as possible is important. The second risk to waiting is that interview spots may fill up quickly, so your application may not be seen before the first or even second round of invitations is sent.
1) Plan ahead. Don’t procrastinate. Get your LoRs before ERAS opens to begin with.
2) Politely check in with your authors of LoRs before deadlines pass.
3) Consider whether or not programs will review your ERAS application without LoRs before applying.
4) Get your applications in before program deadlines.
Do you have questions or personal experiences with this issue? Let us know in the comments below!