Impactful Experiences

  • Program directors are interested in learning more about other impactful experiences applicants may have encountered or overcome on their journey to residency. The experiences described can be from any point in time; they do not have to be during medical school or related to the field of medicine. This question is designed to give you the opportunity to provide additional information about your background or life experiences that is not captured elsewhere in the application (e.g., information written in this question should not be the same as what is included in the personal statement). 
  • You are encouraged to consider whether this question applies to you. In 2023, 56% of residency applicants responded to this question. Programs do not expect all applicants to complete this question. It is intended for applicants who have overcome major challenges or obstacles. Some applicants may not have experiences that are relevant to this question, and other applicants may not feel comfortable sharing personal information in their application. Please keep in mind that any information shared within the application may also be discussed during interviews. 

How do I know if I should respond to the Impactful Experiences question?  

The following examples can help you decide whether you should respond to the question and what kinds of experiences are appropriate to share within your MyERAS application. Please keep in mind that this is not a complete list: 

  • Family background (e.g., first generation to graduate college). 
  • Financial background (e.g., low-income family, worked to support family growing up, work-study to pay for college or medical school). 
  • Community setting (e.g., food scarcity, poverty or crime rate, lack of access to medical care). 
  • Educational experiences (e.g., limited educational opportunities, limited access to advisors or mentors). 
  • Other general life circumstances (e.g., loss of a family member, serving as a caregiver while working or in school). 

How are experiences shared with programs? 

All selected, most meaningful, and/or impactful experiences entered into your MyERAS application will be seen by programs across all specialties to which you apply. When viewing your application, programs will see experiences listed by experience type and then in chronological order with most meaningful experiences above all experiences. Additionally, programs can sort experience types, focus areas, and key characteristic to help identify applicants who align with their mission.