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Is the picture option on eras really necessary

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USMELL

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I never turned in a picture for ERAS, I already have all the interviews I want, is it really necessary to still send one? Also when schools have application deadlines, are those deadlines for submitting an application or to have a complete application?

on a different note, are some people holding out to take STEP 2 after the match, so has not to ruin their STEP 1 numbers?
 

mcl

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I never turned in a picture for ERAS, I already have all the interviews I want, is it really necessary to still send one? Also when schools have application deadlines, are those deadlines for submitting an application or to have a complete application?

on a different note, are some people holding out to take STEP 2 after the match, so has not to ruin their STEP 1 numbers?

I can only address your first two questions.

1) The photo is an aid to recognition both on the interview day (or pre-interview event) and later at rank meetings. It prevents someone (probably a resident or PC) from having to awkwardly approach strangers and ask, "Are you John/Jane Smith?" if everyone is meeting at a central location. If you don't provide a photo through ERAS, the program will probably take one during your visit.

2) Deadlines and their meanings probably vary by program. Ours is for receipt of the application, but in all honesty the rest of the documentation needs to follow pretty closely as the Selection Committee has its last meeting about 10 days after the deadline. I understand, however, that this schedule isn't universally true and some programs consider applicants as vacancies develop on interview dates due to cancellations. If you are sending an application near the deadline, best to call the PC to be clear on an institution's policies.
 

Still Kickin

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I never got around to getting my picture turned in to ERAS until about 2 weeks before my first interview.

I agree - it's for aiding with recognition. It's pretty cool to go places where you don't know ANYONE but they greet you by your first name when they see you. I've also heard that at some places when they make up their rank list they'll all get together in a big room & project each applicants picture up on a screen while they talk about them. (So it is also for helping them to remember you AFTER the interview...)

And as an aside - I thought the ERAS photo is supposed to be totally optional. But I had one program contact me with an e-mail that said "Your application is not yet complete because we have not yet received a photo. You must have a complete application before we will consider you for an interview." I thought that was pretty strange. But it was only 1 program (out of 27). (I've also heard they can't SEE your photo until after they've decided to interview you, anyway...)
 

NotAProgDirector

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If you don't provide a photo through ERAS, the program will probably take one during your visit.

This is an interesting thought. I'm not sure it's legal to do so without written permission, although I guess simply showing up for an interview might give me implicit permission for a photo. In any case, I don't do this.

I've also heard they can't SEE your photo until after they've decided to interview you, anyway...

So, this turns out to be complicated. Several years ago, this was the way ERAS worked. All of the photos were screened out until you checked off "invited for interview" at which point you could see the photo. Of course, you could completely bypass this by chcking the box, looking at the photo, and then unchecking the box.

Now, things have changed:
1. I can screen all photos, so I can't see any of them. Or they are all visible. There is no middle ground.
2. Applicants can decline to upload a photo and await for an interview decision. Once a decision is made, they can then upload the image.

Theoretically, this is the best combination, since it allows complete control on the applicant end, with reasonable control on the program end.

Demanding a photo for a complete application would seem to have some legal risk associated with it -- applicant could argue they were rejected because of their appearance. But, if you send me a pic of yourself dressed as a slob in pajamas, I assume I could reject you for that alone?
 

drbetty

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If you don't provide a photo through ERAS, the program will probably take one during your visit.

One of my interview days began with a photo shoot. Despite having all of our ERAS photos, they wanted to take our pictures that morning in case we look different from our glamour shots.
 
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