Association of Anesthesiology Core Program Directors (AACPD) Guide for Residency Applicants 2024-2025

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Application Platform:

  • Applicants to Anesthesiology must apply via AAMC’s ERAS
  • SOAP process will also utilize the ERAS platform
  • Programs may also be piloting the use of the Central Application. Please check program websites to determine participation. This program is free for applicants and will be used in parallel with ERAS.

Application Deadline:

  • Anesthesiology programs begin reviewing applications on September 25th, 2024
  • Applicants are expected to have at least 3 letters of recommendation (LORs) submitted by that date and all other supporting documents (e.g. transcript, MSPE, and USMLE/COMLEX transcripts).
    • Additional LORs can be added at a later date, but programs may not notice documents added to ERAS after September 25th. We suggest any late letters be uploaded AND emailed to the program coordinator of programs the applicant is applying to.
  • If application is incomplete on September 25th, the application may not be reviewed.
  • If additional material is added after September 25th, the information may not be reviewed.
  • Individual programs vary on their review of materials added after September 25.

Match Platform:

  • Anesthesiology participates in the NRMP Main Residency Match.
  • Please visit the NRMP website for additional information.

Letters of Recommendation (LOR):

  • Applicants should submit at least 3 LORs and no more than 4.
  • At least one LOR (many programs require at least 2) should be from the field of Anesthesiology. Please review program websites for guidance.
  • Other supporting letters should come from faculty that are most familiar with your performance. These faculty may include research mentors, medical school mentors, or faculty from other clinical specialties, whether from your home institution or an away rotation.
  • There is no specific recommendation or requirement for a Standard Letter of Evaluation (SLOE) or Chair or Program Director letter, although individual programs may have specific requirements for letters. Applicants should review program websites to which they plan to apply.

Away Rotation Expectations:

  • Anesthesiology programs encourage applicants to arrange a fourth-year rotation schedule that allows them to confirm their interest in Anesthesiology and gain broad-based experience in other areas of medicine that interest them.
  • Completion of an away rotation is welcomed but not required.
  • Applicants should complete no more than 2 external electives in Anesthesiology to be mindful of future colleagues and equity concerns related to access to rotations.
  • Applicants will not be penalized for not completing away rotations at programs to which they have applied.
  • We recommend that individuals who choose to complete away rotations perform at an acting intern level and utilize the month to gain broad experience in Anesthesiology as well as familiarize yourself with that program and institution.
  • If interested in away rotations, students should visit the website(s) of programs they are interested in to see if they utilize the Visiting Student Learning Opportunity (VSLO) platform and/or have separate applications.
  • Completion of an away rotation is independent of program signaling. Applicants SHOULD signal programs where they completed a sub-internship/away rotation if those programs are among their preferred programs.

Supplemental Information:

  • Some programs may choose to participate in Altus Suites or require supplemental essays. If so, they will specify this on their individual program websites.
  • Applicants are encouraged to view program websites and attend events such as virtual open houses to learn about programs to which they are applying and ensure they meet all requirements.

Signal information:

  • The decision to participate in program signaling within ERAS is voluntary. Both applicants and programs must opt in to participate in signaling. Use of signaling is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for applicants and programs.
  • Applicants who participate in the signaling for Anesthesiology will assign up to:
    • five (5) gold signals indicating HIGHEST interest in a program
    • ten (10) silver signals indicating VERY HIGH interest in a program
  • Programs will be able to view signaling (if present) on each applicant’s ERAS profile. Signals are not further presented in any particular order. In other words, there is not a “gold number 1, gold number 2, etc.).
    • Programs will NOT be able to see which other programs an applicant has signaled.
  • Applicants SHOULD signal home programs and programs where they completed a sub-internship/away rotation if those programs are among their preferred programs.
    • Individual programs/institutions may have differing guidance on this. Please refer to program leadership for additional details.
  • Applicants should use all their signals. There is no known advantage to not using all available signals.
  • Applicants are strongly encouraged to consider their personal values and goals, consult faculty advisors, as well as utilize resources to explore residency programs such as individual program websites, AMA FREIDA, AAMC Residency Explorer, and any other available resources. The applicant’s goal should be to find programs that best align with their goals and where they are most likely to be competitive. It is highly discouraged to send signals to programs at which the applicant is unlikely to be competitive, as this is less likely to result in an interview offer.
  • Geographic signals:
    • Geographic signaling was utilized in different ways in individual Anesthesiology Programs in the 2023-2024 application cycle. Please refer to program specific guidance.
  • Additional guidance on using program signals and geographic signals is available on the AAMC ERAS website.
  • Applicants who are couples matching should ensure both members of the couple signal the same programs whenever possible. Asking a program an applicant did not signal to grant the applicant an interview because their partner received an interview at the same institution is discouraged and unlikely to be successful.

Use of USMLE/COMLEX scores:

  • Anesthesiology applicants should ideally have both their Step 1 and Step 2 CK transcripts (or COMLEX Level 1 or Level 2-CE) available for programs to review by the application opening date. Many programs will not review applications that do not have a result reported on step 1 or step 2 (or COMLEX Level 1 or Level 2-CE)
  • The AACPD recommends that programs should not require osteopathic trainees to take other licensing examinations in addition to COMLEX-USA. However, individual programs may choose to require USMLE examination scores for osteopathic students. Please look for guidance regarding this requirement on individual program websites. A concordance chart between USMLE and COMLEX is available at
  • The most successful applicants for Anesthesiology generally have a Step 2 CK score > 240 or a COMLEX Level 2-CE score > 600, although programs may choose to interview applicants whose test performance is below these values.

Interview Invitation Process:

  • Anesthesiology programs usually interview from late October to mid-January.
  • There is no universal release date for Anesthesiology interviews or deadline by which all interviews will be offered.
  • Please refer to individual program websites or coordinators for more information and for platforms utilized for interview offers/scheduling.

Interview Format:

  • The AACPD recommends that all Anesthesiology programs conduct virtual interviews for this application cycle, although individual programs may choose to conduct interviews in-person depending on the unique needs of their program.

Applicant Communications:

  • It is not recommended to use letters of interest prior to receiving an interview offer. Please utilize the signaling process to express program interest.
  • Post-interview or pre-rank list communication is also not necessary for applicants. If an applicant would like to send a thank you note or a letter of interest, they are welcome to do so. Applicants should understand that the Program Director may not respond, and this correspondence will not be utilized to influence interview/rank list outcomes.
  • If an applicant received a rejection email, further communication asking for an interview should be avoided.

Second Look/Open House Planning:

  • Open houses prior to ERAS application opening may be provided by individual programs. Please see program websites/social media for additional information. The American Society of Anesthesiologists website has a list of most planned open houses. Attendance and participation at open houses are optional and purely for applicant information. They will not be utilized to determine interview offers.
  • The ASA residency open house at the Anesthesiology Annual meeting is not a recruiting opportunity for 4th year applicants. Active applicants should not expect to meet program directors or discuss interview offers during this session.
  • Second look opportunities after interviews (but before rank lists are due by applicants) may also be available to applicants depending on the individual program. Please see program websites for additional information.
    • Attendance at these events is optional and should not affect rank link determination by programs
    • It is strongly encouraged that programs consider a voluntary lock of their rank order list prior to hosting their second look events to reinforce the optional nature of these programs.
    • Program leadership may choose not to participate in any second look events to avoid bias or equity issues for applicants.
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