I have zero doubt that this incredible trend reflects a whole bunch of meaningless CV-fluffing that only further detracts from the mission of graduating good doctors.
I also wonder how much the bigger numbers in ERAS even impact individual success. Yes, studies have demonstrated that matched applicants on average have a greater number of research experiences than unmatched applicants, but how much can we attribute to the research and how much is just confounding correlation?
Other research has suggested that putting up big numbers during training doesn’t ultimately reflect those who go on to do research over the long term. It’s mostly brownie points and free trips.
At this point, we’d probably be better off with a residency lottery.