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  1. What is the PSCA?
    The Plastic Surgery Common Application was developed by academic plastic surgeons as a way to improve the application and to decrease the cost of applying to applicants. The application targets information that better reflects an applicant's experience and suitability for a plastic surgery residency and allows a more holistic review of each individual. This is version 2.0. Surveys show most Program Directors and applicants prefer the PSCA and version 2.0 addressed suggestions made to improve the application. The cost is currently free to both applicants and programs.

  2. Is use of the PSCA mandatory?
    No. Applicants and Programs have the option of using ERAS only, PSCA only, or both. ACAPS has compiled a list of programs and their preferences If a program you are interested in is not listed, please contact them directly for instructions.

  3. Which applicants use the PSCA?
    The PSCA is for applicants to integrated plastic surgery residencies. Applicants interested in independent plastic surgery residencies use the San Francisco Match.

  4. Is the PSCA approved by the AAMC or NRMP?
    Neither of those organizations approves applications. Specialties and individual programs have the freedom to utilize applications that best fit their needs.

  5. Do I still have to use the Match?
    Yes, applicants to Integrated Programs and the programs themselves must register for and use the NRMP match.

  6. What is the cost of PSCA?
    Free for both the program and the applicant

  7. How is the PSCA funded?
    ACAPS currently is subsidizing the cost of administering the PSCA. Future cost and funding is still being determined.

  8. Who do I contact if I have difficulties with the website or my application?
    You can reach PSCA Support at or submit a help request directly on the website.

  9. Signaling
    For programs that are using the PSCA, applicants may signal up to 5 programs at which they will not have done away rotations to let these programs know that they are among their top choices for programs where they have not rotated. Please note that signaling can only be done for those programs that are utilizing the PSCA. For more information on signaling signaling click here.

  10. How and when is the Dean's Letter (MSPE) added to an application?
    Medical schools decide when they release their MSPEs. They are uploaded to ERAS and PSCA when they are available. Many programs begin to review candidates prior to MSPEs being available since programs vary on how much they weight them.

  11. Document Uploads and Verification

    • Letters of Recommendation
      • This year, we've created the "Verified" letter writer system to ensure authenticity of letters of recommendation. If a recommender is added to a program's team by their program director (PD) or program coordinator (PC), their account will become verified, signaled by a blue check when viewed by reviewers. Recommenders can also become verified by requesting verification from any other verified user or by the PSCA support team directly.

      • When a student submits a letter of recommendation request, they will be guided to first select from a list of verified accounts. If their letter writer is not listed, they can send a manual request; however, if they enter the same name as a currently verified account, they will be again prompted to use that account. They will have the option to indicate that this is not the correct recommender and continue with the manual request, but this will create an alert prompting the PSCA Support staff to investigate further.

    • MSPEs and Transcripts
      • MSPEs and transcripts will be uploaded in a similar manner to ERAS. Students will enter an email address for their Office of Student Affairs and an automated email will be sent with the invitation to upload. The PSCA offers an extra layer of security by flagging any email address not ending in .edu for additional internal review.

    • USMLE Scores
      • This year, we are trialing direct verification of USMLE scores by medical schools to avoid unnecessary charges to the students by the USMLE. Students will input their scores directly into the PSCA, and these scores will be verified by the Offices of Student Affairs whenever they receive the invitation to upload the MSPE. The verification will be demonstrated by a green check mark next to the indicated score. Of course, if there are any questions or concerns, students can be requested to send their official score report at any time.
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