- What happens if my letter of recommendation writers do not have their letters completed by September 19th (the date ERAS and PSCA applications can start to be reviewed by programs)?
We strongly encourage students to have all of the application material required by ERAS submitted by the September 19th date. It is also recognized that students can not completely control when their letters of recommendation get submitted. While all faculty are strongly encouraged to complete the letters by September 19th, programs understand that some of their peers may be slightly delinquent. If your letters are not uploaded by September 19th, it would be appropriate to gentle send a reminder to your letter of recommendation writer and/or their administrative support.
- What if one of my letter of recommendation writers does not complete the ACAPS letter of recommendation form?
While ACAPS encourages use of the recommendation form by your letter of recommendation writers, it is not mandatory and some faculty will opt to only write a standard letter of recommendation. Programs are aware of this variability in usage and based on the experience of over the past years, whether a letter writer does or does not use the additional ACAPS form does NOT affect the impact of the letter.
- Can you please explain how the Plastic Surgery Common Application is part of this year's applications?
The Plastic Surgery Common Applications (PSCA) was used a supplemental piece of the application process last year with overall positive reviews from students and programs. The goal of the PSCA was to provide a more relevant plastic surgery specific application while reducing the financial costs to students. Based on the results of last year's pilot study, ACAPS has encouraged the use of the PSCA by member programs. Each program may choose whether they wish to use ERAS, the PSCA, or both for its application process. FAQs on Applying to Plastic Surgery can be found at: https://acaplasticsurgeons.org/PSCA
- Can you explain the Signaling Process?
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. Additional information on signaling can be found here: https://acaplasticsurgeons.org/PSCA/signaling-FAQs.cgi
- Why is ACAPS supporting use of the PSCA?
While ACAPS recognizes the increase work for students that is required to complete a supplemental application, the potential for a more specialty-specific application that provides students a better ability to highlight their most important accomplishments will likely lead to a better holistic review by programs. In addition, the costs of the PSCA (currently free to applicants) is attractive given the known financial burden placed on students during the Match process. ACAPS will review the feedback and outcomes from use of PSCA in evaluating the potential for even more substantial usage in the upcoming years. Similar trends are also being seen in other specialties and within the ERAS applications.
- What is the 'uniform' interview date?
ACAPS understands the stress and inequities in a first-come, first-serve interview policy, in which more interview invitations are sent out than there are spots for interviews. ACAPS has a policy regarding interview invitations, known informally as the 'uniform interview date'. Briefly, the interview invitations are sent on the same day for all programs. No more interview invitations are sent out than there are spots for interviews. Applicants then will have several days to consider their options, and can accept or reject their interview offers. Once the programs have heard from the 'first round' invitations, they may reissue invitations for unfilled interview slots.
For the 2021-2022 cycle, Integrated interview offers will be made on Thursday, November 10th by 12PM PST and interview scheduling should not start before Monday, November 14th at 8AM PST. Independent interview offers should be made on or before Friday, January 13. We do realize that programs use various methods for communicating acceptance of interview offers (direct contact, Thalamus, etc) and that in some cases, this may allow for responses prior to Monday, Nov 14th. However, ACAPS has strongly encouraged programs to adhere to an acceptance date of no sooner than Monday, Nov 14th so that students have the opportunity to use the weekend to prioritize their interview offers when there are conflicting dates. Additional information can be found at: https://acaplasticsurgeons.org/interview-dates
- I am trying to plan my schedule for interview season, when are most interviews?
For plastic surgery, the majority of interviews will occur between December and February. A list of currently scheduled interview dates can be found here: American Council of Academic Plastic Surgeons - Interview Dates
- Does ACAPS have a policy on whether interviews should be virtual or in person?
ACAPS is requesting that all plastic surgery residency programs conduct virtual interviews in the 2022-2023 resident selection cycle. View the AAMC position on interviews for 2022-2023.
The key points made by the AAMC are the following:
- What is ACAPS policy on communication between applicants and programs following the interview?
Following the interview, contact with the residents in a program can only be initiated by the applicant. The content of the communication can under no circumstances address the applicant's desirability by the program, their ranking, etc. Some students may choose, on their own and outside of 'official' channels, to visit a location/institution they are interested in. To maintain equity between applicants, all of whom may not have the resources to arrange visits to individual programs, NO contact between the student and anyone associated with the program such as faculty, residents, and support staff, is to occur if a student decides to evaluate a location after the interview is completed.
- What is the ACAPS Meet & Greet policy this year?
Virtual Meet and Greets will be offered to applicants so that they may familiarize themselves with programs of interest before the application process. Meet and Greets should take place from August 1 through September 30. There will be two Meet and Greets scheduled each weekday evening (Sunday-Friday), to take place at either 8:00PM – 9:00PM (Eastern) or 9:30PM – 10:30PM (Eastern). The recommended length of time is up to 60 minutes. All programs are encouraged, but not required, to put on a Meet and Greet, and each program is only allotted one timeslot. The current schedule for Meet & Greets can be found at: https://acaplasticsurgeons.org/events/Meet-and-Greets.cgi