Find answers to your questions about the 2024 MyERAS® application timeline, participating programs, resources, application sections, and more.
What is program signaling?
Program signaling refers to a process in which applicants express interest in a residency program at the time of application. Program signals are intended to be used by programs as one of many data points to consider when deciding whom to invite for an interview.
Has program signaling previously been used in residency selection?
Yes, program signaling was first introduced to the residency selection process by otolaryngology to facilitate interviews between applicants and programs for the 2021 application cycle. Applicants and program directors generally responded positively to the use of signals. For a more detailed summary of research on the otolaryngology signaling program and applicant and program director reaction surveys, see the Updates section of the otolaryngology signaling website. In 2022, the AAMC first introduced the supplemental ERAS application, which offered program signaling to a limited number of specialties. For a more detailed summary of research, see the "Supplemental ERAS Application Data and Reports.”
Will program signals be available to fellowship applicants?
For the 2024 ERAS application season, program signals will not be available to fellowship program applicants. We are working toward making program signals available to fellowships in the future.
Are all programs in all specialties participating in program signaling?
Each residency program within the participating specialties has the option to participate. If a specialty and/or program is not participating in receiving program signals, an applicant will not be able to indicate a program signal for that program.
Due to the number of signals varying by specialty, and in the interest of protecting applicants, the AAMC requires each interested specialty and individual programs from participating specialties to explicitly agree to participate in program signaling.
Does the program signaling affect the number of programs to which applicants may apply?
No. There are no restrictions on the number of applications applicants can submit through the MyERAS system.
How many programs will students be able to send a program signal to?
The number of available signals depends on the specialty to which applicants apply. Specialties determined the number of signals based on their goals, the number of programs, and the average number of applications submitted in their specialty. To view the list of participating specialties and the number of program signals available for each specialty, visit the MyERAS Application and Program Signaling for 2023-24 webpage.
Are program signals intended for both preliminary and categorical residency programs?
The program is not distinguishable at the track level. The program signal will be sent to the program regardless of what track an applicant enters in the MyERAS application.
Can applicants choose not to send program signals to any institutions? Will program directors be able to see that an applicant did not send any signals?
Yes, applicants can choose not to send a signal. Programs will not see whether an applicant participated in signaling — they will only see whether an applicant signaled their program.
Will programs use this information to determine whom they invite for an interview?
Program signals are intended to be used by programs as one of many sources of data to consider when deciding whom to invite for an interview. The AAMC advises programs to consider these data in the context of the complete application and advises applicants to signal any residency program of interest.
Is program signaling bidirectional (i.e., will there be program signaling from programs to individual applicants to determine if there is mutual interest)?
No, program signaling will not be bidirectional. A program signal may be used by applicants to express interest in a residency program at the time of application. Programs will not be able to signal applicants
Should applicants send a program signal to their top choice programs, or are they encouraged to signal their home program or “safe” choices to increase their odds?
When deciding where to signal, applicants are encouraged to consider the strength of their application, their ultimate career goals and personal circumstances with the relative competitiveness, and mission and goals of the programs to which they apply. Applicants are encouraged to work with faculty and resident mentors as they consider where to send their signals.
While sending a program signal is intended to be used as one of many data points in deciding whom to interview, are there measures in place to prevent programs from ranking students lower who didn’t signal them?
Program signals in the MyERAS application are intended to be used by residency programs when deciding whom to interview only. The AAMC provides guidance and training to programs about appropriate use of program signals. Program directors are aware that applicants’ preferences may change after signaling due to many factors, including an applicant’s experiences on interview days.
Can every program see an applicant’s program signals or only programs who are signaled? Will programs who are not signaled receive a notification?
Residency programs that have elected to participate in program signaling and to which an applicant applied will see which applicants signaled their program. Programs will not have access to information about the other programs signaled.
How should applicants decide where to send a program signal?
An applicant's decision to send a program signal to a program should be individualized and based on the strength of their application, their ultimate career goals, personal circumstances, relative competitiveness of their application, and alignment with the mission and goals of the programs to which they apply.
When can I update my program signals?
While you can no longer make changes to your MyERAS application after initial certification, you can continue to update and change your program signal assignments until you submit your application to a program. You can assign program signals on the “Saved Programs” page; those signals can be removed and reassigned until you have completed the payment process to send your application to a program. Once your application has been submitted to a program, you can no longer make any updates to the program signals. If you withdraw your application from a program that you have signaled, you will not be able to reassign that signal to another program.
When will my program signals be shared with programs?
When you apply to programs using the MyERAS system, your program signal data will be shared with participating programs to which you apply and have provided a program signal. Programs will have access to this data when the Program Directors’ WorkStation (PDWS) opens for programs on Sept. 27, 2023.
Advisors and mentors are encouraged to provide applicants with a realistic appraisal of the relative strength and competitiveness of their application within their selected specialty applicant pools. The following data may be helpful to applicants, advisors, and mentors:
How will program signals be shared with programs?
When an applicant signals a program, only that program can see the signal. If an applicant does not send a signal to a program or if the applicant skips the program signaling question(s), no information is displayed.
Does the AAMC provide specialties with guidance on program signals for home and away rotations?
The AAMC provided all participating specialties with guidance about home and away rotations. The AAMC suggests that applicants signal their most interested programs regardless of whether they are home or away rotations. This is the most fair and equitable process for all applicant types (MD, DO, and IMGs) and provides all programs that participate in receiving signals with the same information about interest level.