Posted by: medhelpteam | July 5, 2009

Documents for ERAS


Document Submission Guidelines

The following are the documents that ERAS Support Services at ECFMG will upload to the ERAS PostOffice as part of your ERAS application. These descriptions/definitions are provided to assist you in securing these supporting documents. If a program requests additional document types not listed on this page, you should make arrangements with the program to have these additional documents sent directly to the program. This practice is in accordance with the AAMC ERAS policy. ERAS will not process these documents.

ERAS Support Services at ECFMG recommends strongly that you retain copies of your documents for your personal records. An optional service, known as the Return of Document Service (RODS), allows you to request the return of eligible ERAS documents. It is important to note that if you waive your right to see a Letter of Recommendation (LoR), that letter will not be eligible for return. If you do not request to have your documents returned to you by the RODS request deadline, the documents will be destroyed.

You are strongly urged to include a completed Document Submission Form (DSF) with documents mailed to ERAS Support Services at ECFMG for scanning. For detailed instructions on how to access and complete the DSF, see Document Submission Form.

Send the documents and completed DSF to the appropriate address, as indicated on the DSF.

Additionally, your documents must meet our size and format requirements. The largest paper size that can be scanned is approximately 8.5 in x 14 in (21 cm x 35 cm). Please do not send oversized documents. Documents should not be on “security paper” with a busy background. Busy backgrounds make the scanned image illegible. If necessary, copy the document onto plain paper.

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Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE)

The MSPE evaluates a medical student’s performance during his or her academic career relative to his or her peers. The MSPE should not act as a “predictor” of your future performance but provide information about your academic performance. See A Guide to the Preparation of the Medical Student Performance Evaluation to learn more about this document. The MSPE must be written on medical school letterhead with the medical school seal affixed, and signed by the designated medical school official.

As stated in ECFMG’s Original Document Policy, an MSPE submitted as part of an ERAS application must be an original document. If you cannot supply an original MSPE, ERAS Support Services will not delay the processing of your ERAS application. However, the document will be annotated, as described in the Original Document Policy.

To obtain an MSPE, you should contact your medical school. Once you secure the MSPE, send ERAS Support Services the original, accompanied by a completed DSF. Make a copy for your personal records. When we receive your MSPE, we will scan and transmit it to the ERAS PostOffice regardless of whether you have applied to a program. All MSPEs are held at the ERAS PostOffice until November 1, at which time they are released to programs to which you have applied. ERAS Support Services strongly recommends that MSPEs arrive at ECFMG no later than October 1.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Some international medical schools electronically submit supporting documents, including MSPEs, on behalf of their students/graduates who participate in ERAS. In collaboration with these medical schools, ERAS Support Services ensures these documents are attached and uploaded to the ERAS PostOffice within two to three business days of their receipt at ECFMG. A DSF is not required for any documents submitted electronically to ECFMG. Receipt of documents submitted electronically by medical schools can be tracked in the ERAS Support Services Document Tracking System, which you can access via ECFMG’s OASIS.

If you are unable to secure the MSPE from your medical school, you must indicate this on page 12 of your Common Application Form (CAF). A neutral placeholder letter will be provided in place of the MSPE. The placeholder letter will be provided to all of the programs to which you apply, and will state, “This is in lieu of an MSPE.” This will ensure that your application will appear as complete for those programs that require an MSPE before considering your application.

If the MSPE is not in English, it must be accompanied by an official English translation; that is, an English translation prepared by and certified to be correct by a medical school official (for example, a Dean or Registrar), a government official (for example, a Consular Officer), or a professional translation service. The translation must appear on official stationery and must bear the original signature and title of the medical school official, government official, or representative of the translation service. If the translation service is a private company, the letterhead stationery must identify the company as a translation service.

The MSPE does not count as one of your Letters of Recommendation (LoRs) and does not need to be listed and assigned to your programs. This is done automatically when the MSPE is submitted.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you participated in the ERAS 2009 season and submitted an MSPE, you are not required to resubmit your MSPE for the ERAS 2010 season. ERAS Support Services will reuse the MSPE from the ERAS 2009 season. If you submit an updated MSPE, we will use it to replace the MSPE currently stored in the ERAS 2009 database. If you submit an updated MSPE, it should be accompanied by a completed DSF.

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Medical School Transcript

Medical school transcripts come in a variety of sizes and formats. They may also be known as mark sheets, time sheets, or hour sheets. Ideally, they will give program directors an overview of the subjects you studied in medical school, how long you studied each subject, and how well you did on your exams.

Contact your medical school of graduation as soon as possible to obtain your transcript. Once you receive the transcript, send a copy to ERAS Support Services, accompanied by a completed DSF. Although you may have already provided a transcript for ECFMG Certification, you are still required to submit a copy to ERAS Support Services.

The transcripts should not be on “security paper” with a busy background. Busy backgrounds make the scanned image illegible. Ask your school to copy your transcript onto plain paper.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Some international medical schools electronically submit supporting documents, including medical school transcripts, on behalf of their students/graduates who participate in ERAS. In collaboration with these medical schools, ERAS Support Services ensures these documents are attached and uploaded to the ERAS PostOffice within two to three business days of their receipt at ECFMG. A DSF is not required for any documents submitted electronically to ECFMG. Receipt of documents submitted electronically by medical schools can be tracked in the ERAS Support Services Document Tracking System, which you can access via ECFMG’s OASIS.

If you are unable to provide a medical school transcript, you must indicate this on page 12 of your Common Application Form (CAF). A neutral placeholder letter will be provided in place of the transcript. The placeholder letter will be provided to all of the programs to which you apply, and will state, “This is in lieu of a Medical School Transcript.” This will ensure that your application will appear as complete for those programs that require a medical school transcript before considering your application.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you participated in the ERAS 2009 season and submitted a medical school transcript, you are not required to submit another copy of your medical school transcript for the ERAS 2010 season. ERAS Support Services will reuse the medical school transcript from the ERAS 2009 season. If you submit an updated medical school transcript, we will use it to replace the medical school transcript currently stored in the ERAS 2009 database. If you submit an updated transcript, it should be accompanied by a completed DSF.

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Letters of Recommendation (LoRs)

Strong LoRs are an essential part of your medical residency application. Your letters should give the residency program director a clear picture of your skills and clinical ability, in addition to your personal characteristics such as professionalism, leadership, and interpersonal skills both in the patient setting as well as with hospital staff. It is recommended that your LoRs be written by physicians familiar with you and your work. Previous applicants have found it helpful to provide a copy of their CV and Personal Statement to each of their letter writers to assist with this process. However, these documents should not be sent with your LoR.

LoRs should be as up-to-date as possible, placed on official letterhead, and manually signed by the letter writer in an ink color other than black. For enhanced authentication, request that your letter writer(s) affix an institutional seal to the LoR.

As stated in ECFMG’s Original Document Policy, all LoRs submitted as part of an ERAS application must be original documents. If you cannot supply an original LoR, ERAS Support Services will not delay the processing of your ERAS application. However, the document will be annotated, as described in the Original Document Policy.

It is your responsibility to follow up with letter writers to ensure that original LoRs are sent to ERAS Support Services in time to meet program deadlines. Only four letters can be assigned to any individual program in MyERAS. Please contact each program for its LoR requirements.

LoRs not written in English must be accompanied by an official English translation; that is, an English translation prepared by and certified to be correct by a medical school official (for example, a Dean or Registrar), a government official (for example, a Consular Officer), or a professional translation service. The translation must appear on official stationery and must bear the original signature and title of the medical school official, government official, or representative of the translation service. If the translation service is a private company, the letterhead stationery must identify the company as a translation service.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Some international medical schools electronically submit supporting documents, including LoRs, on behalf of their students/graduates who participate in ERAS. In collaboration with these medical schools, ERAS Support Services ensures these documents are attached and uploaded to the ERAS PostOffice within two to three business days of their receipt at ECFMG. A DSF is not required for any documents submitted electronically to ECFMG. Receipt of documents submitted electronically by medical schools can be tracked in the ERAS Support Services Document Tracking System, which you can access via ECFMG’s OASIS.

Whether to waive your right to see your LoRs is a matter strictly between you and the letter writer. If you already have some LoRs, you obviously did not waive your right to see them. In that case, submit the original and retain a photocopy for your records. However, if you do waive your right to see your LoRs, the letter must be accompanied by the AAMC’s Request for Letter of Recommendation/Cover Sheet. Also provide a completed DSF to your letter writer so that he/she can send the LoR directly to us in a sealed envelope from the institution.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you waive your right to see an LoR, that letter will not be eligible for return through the ECFMG Return of Document Service (RODS).

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you participated in the ERAS 2009 season and assigned an LoR to at least one program, you are not required to resubmit that LoR for the ERAS 2010 season. ERAS Support Services will reuse the LoR from the ERAS 2009 season. Note that this only applies to LoRs that were assigned to programs in the previous season. If you submitted an LoR but did not assign it to at least one program during ERAS 2009, that LoR will not be available for reuse for ERAS 2010. To use that LoR for ERAS 2010, submit it to ERAS Support Services, accompanied by a completed DSF. If you submit updated or additional LoRs, they also should be accompanied by a completed DSF.

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ECFMG Status Report

We will transmit your ECFMG Status Report automatically. You do not need to request this, and the cost is included in your ERAS Token fee. The ECFMG Status Report contains the month and year that you passed examinations for ECFMG Certification. It does not include your USMLE scores, which can be reported only as part of an official USMLE transcript. The only scores listed on the ECFMG Status Report are those for the one-day ECFMG Examination, FMGEMS, VQE, NBME Part exams, or FLEX, if you received your Standard ECFMG Certificate based on any of these former medical science exams. If you passed the former ECFMG CSA, the ECFMG Status Report will list the month and year of your passing performance. The ECFMG Status Report will not contain any failing scores or other non-passing attempts.

ECFMG Status Reports contain the following information:

  • USMLE/ECFMG Identification Number
  • Applicant name
  • ECFMG-certified: (Yes or No)
  • Certificate issue date
  • Exams passed for ECFMG Certification
  • CSA valid through date, if applicable
  • Explanatory notes
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USMLE Transcript

The USMLE transcript contains your entire USMLE history on Step 1, Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK), Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS), and, if taken, Step 3. It includes all attempts: passed, failed, incomplete, etc. It is not transmitted automatically. You need to request its transmission, pay the $60 processing fee, and assign it to your programs. For complete information on what is included in the USMLE transcript, refer to Official USMLE Transcripts and Providing Scores to Third Parties in the USMLE Bulletin of Information, available on the USMLE website.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Your USMLE transcript request will not be processed until you have applied to at least one program. Once you have applied to programs, it can take one to two business days for your USMLE transcript to be transmitted to the ERAS PostOffice.

You can request the release of your USMLE transcript from the Documents tab of MyERAS.

Please read the instructions carefully. You need to answer two questions. The first asks you to release your USMLE transcript. The second asks whether you want an updated USMLE transcript sent automatically, should information change. After reading the instructions carefully, choose either “Yes” or “No.” If you choose “No” to the second question and decide not to have it retransmitted automatically, you need to retransmit it yourself at MyERAS after you have obtained your scores.

IMPORTANT NOTE: USMLE scores may only be reported in an official USMLE transcript. ECFMG is not authorized to include USMLE scores in the ECFMG Status Report. The only method to transmit your USMLE scores is by requesting the USMLE transcript.

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Photograph

Should you be selected for an interview by a program, the program will use your photograph to identify you at the interview and as a memory aid when creating a rank order list.

If you participated in the ERAS 2009 season and submitted a photograph, ERAS Support Services will reuse that photograph for ERAS 2010. If you wish to submit an updated photograph, follow the instructions below.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you wish to submit a photograph, you must submit a digital photograph via ECFMG’s OASIS. Photographs mailed to ERAS Support Services at ECFMG for scanning will not be accepted.

Your photograph must:

  • Show a clear, front view of your full face only. Your face should be in the middle of the photograph, and your expression should be natural with your eyes open and looking directly ahead.
  • Be a color photograph with a light-colored background.

Guidelines for Submitting a Photograph

Before you attempt to submit a photograph, make sure that it conforms to the following specifications:

  • It must be in the Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) format.
  • It must have a resolution of 300 pixels wide by 300 pixels high or 240 pixels wide by 320 pixels high, and a color depth of 24-bit color.
  • The source of the digital photograph should be either a digital camera or a print photograph scanned into a digital format.
  • If a print photograph is scanned, it must be scanned at a resolution of 150 dots per inch (dpi) and with a color depth of 24-bit color.
  • The maximum image size accepted will be 100,000 bytes (100 Kb).

Login to ECFMG’s OASIS and click on the link to ERAS Support Services. From the ERAS Support Services page, select “Upload Photograph.” Click the “Browse” button to select the photograph file from your computer, then click “Upload” to upload the photograph. You are not required to submit a DSF when you upload a digital photograph through OASIS.

You will receive confirmation of acceptance if the system uploads your digital photograph successfully.

If your photograph is rejected, you will need to resubmit it.

Please allow three to five business days for the photograph to be attached to your ERAS application.

IMPORTANT NOTE: : If you resubmit your photograph, the last photograph submitted will replace the previous photograph permanently.

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Postgraduate Training Authorization Letter (PTAL) or “California Letter”

If you apply to programs in California, you must submit a Postgraduate Training Authorization Letter (PTAL) issued by the Medical Board of California with your residency applications. The PTAL was known formerly as the California Applicant Status Letter and may also be referred to simply as the “California Letter.”

IMPORTANT NOTE: The Medical Board of California will require several months to issue the PTAL. You should contact the Medical Board of California for information and apply for the PTAL well in advance of program deadlines.

You must include the PTAL as one of your LoRs in your applications to programs in California. As a result, you can assign up to three LoRs and the PTAL to any program in California. List the letter as one of your LoRs by entering “California Letter” instead of a letter writer’s name, and checking the box that indicates “This is a California Applicant Status Letter.” Then send to ERAS Support Services a copy of the letter, identified with your AAMC Identification Number and accompanied by a completed DSF.

If you do not yet have your PTAL, you need to let programs in California know that you are working to obtain one. To do this, list the letter as one of your LoRs, as described above, and submit a temporary document, such as the receipt issued by the Medical Board of California or the “Originals Returned” letter that accompanied your returned originals, with a completed DSF. When you receive the final PTAL, send a copy to ERAS Support Services at ECFMG with a completed DSF requesting that it replace the temporary document.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please list “California Letter” only once in MyERAS. Do not create a second letter entry for your final letter. There should be only one slot designated for the “California Letter.”

Obtaining a PTAL (“California Letter”)

Please contact:

Medical Board of California
2005 Evergreen Street, Suite 1200
Sacramento, CA 95815
Tel: (916) 263-2382

Information and application materials are also available by visiting www.medbd.ca.gov or sending e-mail to webmaster@mbc.ca.gov.

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Fifth Pathway Certificate

Definition: The Fifth Pathway is “A pathway by which students who have attended four years at a foreign medical school may complete their supervised clinical work at a U.S. medical school, become eligible for entry to U.S. residency training, and ultimately obtain a license to practice in the U.S.” – Definition obtained from the AMA.

To indicate that you are a Fifth Pathway applicant, you need to enter “Fifth Pathway” as your school of graduation on page 3 of the Common Application Form. Otherwise, programs may wonder why you do not have an ECFMG Certificate.

You must include the Fifth Pathway Certificate as one of your LoRs in your applications to programs. As a result, you can assign up to three LoRs and the Fifth Pathway Certificate to any program. List the certificate as one of your LoRs by entering “Fifth Pathway Certificate” instead of a letter writer’s name. Then send to ERAS Support Services a copy of the certificate, identified with your AAMC Identification Number and accompanied by a completed DSF.

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