For the 2025 ERAS season, residency and fellowship applicants may share more about themselves with programs. You can select and categorize up to 10 experiences and describe up to three of these experiences as your most meaningful. If you have overcome major obstacles before or during medical school, you may share them in the impactful experiences section.

In this Section:

Selected Experiences

The Selected Experiences section of the MyERAS application helps you communicate who you are as an applicant. The information provided should convey to programs the qualities, skills, and interests you will bring to a graduate medical education program. Your responses will help programs get to know who you are, what motivates you, and what you are passionate about. Be authentic and honest to help ensure that program directors can effectively evaluate whether you will thrive in their programs. 

The updated Experiences section has two parts: 

  1. Selected Experiences. Identify and describe up to 10 experiences that communicate who you are, what you are passionate about, and what is most important to you. For each experience, you will be asked to:
    1. Provide descriptive information, including position title, organization name, approximate start and end dates, frequency of participation, location, and setting. 
    2. Select an experience type, primary focus area, and key characteristic, as applicable. 
    3. Briefly describe your major activities and responsibilities, and any important context using the 750-character limit. 
  2. Most Meaningful Experiences. From your 10 selected experiences, you will identify up to three most meaningful experiences. For each of these three experiences, you will be asked to write a short 300-character description, reflecting on the experience, and explaining why it was meaningful and how it influenced you.  

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Experience Type

  • Education/training (includes clinical training such as clerkships, away rotations, subinternships, structured observerships).  
  • Military service.  
  • Professional organization (includes societies, associations, etc., at the local, regional, national, or international levels).  
  • Other extracurricular activity, club, hobby (includes sports, music, theater, student government, etc.).  
  • Research.  
  • Teaching/mentoring (includes paid teaching positions such as high school teacher as well as teaching assistant, tutor).  
  • Volunteer/service/advocacy (includes unpaid experiences).  
  • Work (includes paid clinical, nonclinical, business, or entrepreneurial experiences). 

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Hobbies & Interests

You have a maximum of 300 characters to provide details regarding your hobbies and interests. 

Frequency Type

  • One time (not recurring).  
  • Daily (recurring) — multiple days a week during the time frame noted (e.g., full-time work).  
  • Weekly (recurring) — once or twice a week (e.g., volunteering at a soup kitchen each weekend, leading a weekly tutoring session).  
  • Monthly (recurring) — once or twice a month (e.g., volunteering at a homeless shelter two Saturdays a month).  
  • Quarterly (recurring) — three or four times a year (e.g., volunteering at a community center during holiday events).  
  • Annually (recurring) — once a year (e.g., an annual half marathon for charity). 

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Primary Focus Area

Choose the one focus area that best describes the experience and was most important to you. Programs understand that an experience may relate to more than one focus area. If no focus areas apply, leave it blank.  

  • Basic science (e.g., scientific disciplines such as biology, chemistry, physics, and also behavioral and social sciences such as psychology, cognitive science, economics, or political science).  
  • Clinical/translational science (e.g., diagnostic and therapeutic interventions, development of drugs).  
  • Community involvement/outreach (e.g., clothing or food drives, fundraising for public education, K-12 outreach, providing tutoring to youths experiencing homelessness, and social work).  
  • Customer service (e.g., positions in retail, restaurant, sales, hospitality, and technical support).  
  • Health care administration (e.g., hospital administrators, clinical mangers, financial managers, and patient advocates).  
  • Improving access to health care (e.g., clinic work in underserved communities, organizing vaccination or health screening for a community with limited access, providing medical or health care resources to people experiencing homelessness).  
  • Medical education (e.g., formal instruction to others, tutoring medical students, developing health-related curriculum, conducting research in admissions, student affairs, or educational interventions).  
  • Music/athletics/art (e.g., long-term commitments in playing musical instruments or singing, sports, theater/acting, painting or drawing, and computer graphics).  
  • Promoting wellness (e.g., developing a wellness program, formal coaching, or mentoring others to promote well-being).  
  • Public health (e.g., biostatistics, epidemiology, global health, and nutrition).  
  • Quality improvement (e.g., patient safety, such as implementing a plan to reduce secondary infections in patients).  
  • Social justice/advocacy (e.g., diversity, equity, and inclusion [DEI] work; worker unions; combating biased beliefs or discriminatory policies; and increasing access to educational opportunities).  
  • Technology (e.g., engineering or software innovations, biomedical devices, electronic health records [EHRs], and mobile or other software applications). 

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Key Characteristics

Choose the most important characteristic that best reflects what you demonstrated or developed during the experience. Programs understand that more than one key characteristic may apply to your experience. If no characteristics apply, leave it blank.  

  • Communication.  
  • Critical thinking and problem solving.  
  • Cultural humility and awareness.  
  • Empathy and compassion  
  • Ethical responsibility.  
  • Ingenuity and innovation.  
  • Reliability and dependability.  
  • Resilience and adaptability.  
  • Self-Reflection and improvement.  
  • Teamwork and leadership. 

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Tips for Completing the Experiences Section

  • Reflect and identify experiences that communicate who you are, what you are passionate about, and what is most important to you. Programs are not interested in one type of applicant. Most programs are seeking a diverse group of applicants who have varied experiences, are passionate about different areas, and have complementary characteristics to create a well-rounded team.  
  • Consider your experiences as a complete set. Use them to paint a picture of yourself. You may tag an experience type, primary focus area, and key characteristic to each experience. You do not need to tag every experience to a primary focus area and key characteristic. As a set, your experiences should communicate what is most important or has most affected you and the qualities you will bring to a residency or fellowship program. For instance, if you have a hobby or extracurricular activity that you have dedicated significant time and effort to, you may want to include it as one of your experiences.  
  • Focus your three most meaningful experiences descriptions on why the experience was meaningful and how it impacted you.  Programs are looking for you to show introspection in your most meaningful experiences descriptions. If you tag a characteristic and/or focus area to a most meaningful experience, your description should explain why you chose the characteristic and/or focus area. For each experience, programs will see the most meaningful experiences descriptions alongside all the information in the Selected Experiences section, so you should describe what you did as part of the roles, responsibilities, and context in your description. 
  • Use the Experiences section to complement the other parts of your application. Ideally, your most meaningful experiences descriptions should not repeat the information from your MSPE Noteworthy Characteristics and/or personal statement. While there may be overlap in the experiences mentioned across the application, consider how to provide additional insight or emphasize how these experiences have shaped who you are and what is important to you. 
Consider these data from the 2024 ERAS season
  • More than 90% of respondents in the 2024 Program Director Survey used the key characteristics and primary focus areas.
  • Seventy five percent of respondents used the selected experiences section as part of a holistic application review process to decide whom to interview.

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