School of Medicine

Career Advising

Master
Content

Career advising helps students identify their goals and equips students with the tools and knowledge to help them discover their most appropriate career trajectory. Similar to academic advising, career counseling is be dual-faceted and includes both educational/academic planning and career/life planning.

Deans of Student Affairs

The Deans of Student Affairs provide direct academic and professional counseling to all students.  They also oversee a robust career advising system that includes Learning Community Advisors, Specialty Mentors, and Peer Resource Network leaders. The Deans of Student Affairs also hold regularly scheduled Career Advising Deans’ Hours appropriate to students’ level of training as well as yearly class orientations during which the entire advising system is reviewed. Career advising starts when each MS1 meets with a Student Affairs Dean during the first semester of medical school to discuss learning and wellness strategies as well as the process of exploring and choosing a specialty. This conversation begins with a review of the AAMC’s Careers in Medicine tools. The AAMC Careers in Medicine (CIM) program is a four-phase program beginning the first year of medical school and continues through the fourth year with the residency planning. It is designed to empower students to make informed decisions about their lives and careers. Advisors, deans, students, and staff have access to CIM and are encouraged to utilize it in their career counseling. Students are made aware of this prior to their first MS1 Student Affairs Deans meeting and asked to complete the CIM questionnaire in advance for discussion with the Dean.  

Student Affairs Deans also oversee career counseling offered through both the Learning Community Advisors and the Specialty Specific Mentors programs.  Students must meet 1:1 with their Learning Community Advisors once per semester  to review their academic and professional progress. This meeting includes a review of the student’s career goals, launching the career planning process.  Students are also asked to meet with specialty mentors as early as the MS1 year to discuss specific specialties and to learn how to develop mentoring relationships within specialties. Well before the residency application process begins, students are encouraged and expected to meet with a specialty mentor in their chosen field to review their competitiveness for that field and to develop an application competitiveness strategy.  Specialty mentors recommend the most appropriate electives to pursue, including the necessity of away rotations at other institutions, review research requirements, opportunities, and the need for a leave of absence, for additional research, as well as a discussion of requesting letters of recommendation. 

Students are also encouraged to meet with a Student Affairs dean as needed over the course of their time at BCM. In addition to the mandatory MS1 meetings, students must again meet with a dean of Student Affairs late in the MS3 year or early in the MS4 year to refine a residency application strategy. This meeting typically occurs after the student has met with the specialty mentor. During this meetings the Student Affairs Dean and the student review the student’s residency application’s strengths and weaknesses for the chosen specialty.  The dean helps the student gauge the programs within the specialty that may be appropriate for the student’s level of competitiveness for the chosen specialty. The dean and student also discuss away rotations, if appropriate for the student’s specialty choice, develop an application and interviewing strategy, review the unique contents of the student’s Medical School Performance Evaluation (MSPE), and explore alternative specialty or career options as appropriate. Students are also advised about how to strengthen their applications, which electives to pursue, and whom among the faculty to ask for letters of recommendation.  Before applications are due, a dean of Student Affairs proofreads every student’s personal statement and is available to discuss the final application list and, eventually the rank order list. 

The Deans of Student Affairs also host regularly scheduled programs that provide a board overview of the specialty selection and the residency application processes. The Deans’ Hour Career Advising Programs begin with programming targeting MS1s and MS2s that discusses choosing a specialty. In the spring of the MS3 year, the Residency Planning Workshop is held, during with the Associate Dean of Student Affairs reviews the residency application process and discusses how to write a good personal statement. Students then meet with a specific residency program director for their specialty of interest to learn the specifics of the application process for that specialty.

The Office of Student Affairs Blackboard page provides numerous resources for career planning and is regularly updated as new information is collected. Students are informed of these resources during their annual class orientation Deans’ Hours.

Learning Community Advisors

Twenty-four faculty members are divided into six Squads, or Learning Communities. Each Squad has four Advisors, who advise 7-8 students per MS year. These advisors meet with each of their students at a minimum of once per semester to review academic and professional progression. 

Specialty Mentors

Thirty-six faculty members serve as mentors, with between 1-4 mentors per specialty, based on the number of BCM students who traditionally pursue the specialty. These faculty members offer counseling specific to their specialty, educating students about developing mentoring relationships within the specialty, pursuing shadowing and research opportunities within the specialty, advising them about how to develop a competitive residency application for the specialty, including which electives to pursue, which away rotations to apply for (if relevant), and which programs to target for residency application.  In addition to the specific Specialty Mentors, clinical course directors and residency program directors are also available to meet with students who are exploring a specialty interest or who are already preparing a residency application for that specialty. 

Office of Student Services Career Development Center

The Career Development Center is a centralized service available to students at all BCM schools, including the School of Medicine, that supports the career and professional development needs of medical students. Offering individual appointments, walk-in availability, and group events, the Center provides a variety of services including workshops, seminars, and individual career counseling. The Center can provide help with curriculum vitae preparation, residency personal statement review, and oral communications skills coaching.  The Center also partners with the Office of Student Affairs to hold the annual Mock Residency Interview Program and offers a series of discussions entitled, “Diverse Physician Careers,” which brings in physicians who have pursued careers outside of clinical medicine. 

Career Advising Activities

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4
Deans’ Hour*: “Career Day” Career Planning Workshop: USMLE, Grades, AOA/GHHS, Research, AAMC CIM, CV basics, Breakout groups with residents of different fields.  (O) Deans’ Hour: Comprehensive Basic Science Examination: Studying and score interpretation. (R) Deans’ Hour: USMLE* Step 1: Studying, taking the test and interpreting the results (R) Deans’ Hour: Budgeting and Interviewing for Residency (R)
Individual meetings with a dean in student affairs in MS1 Fall. (R) Deans” Hour*: “Career Day” Career Planning Workshop: USMLE, Grades, AOA/GHS, Research, AAMC CIM, CV basics, Breakout groups with residents of different fields.  (O) Deans’ Hour: Residency Workshop: Applications, Personal Statements, MSPE, and meeting with Program Directors. (R) Office of Student Services and Student Affairs: Mock Interview Program.  4th year students can do a mock interview with a faculty member with a focus on their field of choice (O)
Individual LC Advisor-Student Meetings twice a year.  Students discuss career planning, electives, and residency choices (R) Individual LC Advisor -Student Meetings twice a year.  Students discuss career planning, electives, and residency choices (R) Individual LC Advisor -Student Meetings twice a year.  Students discuss career planning, electives, and residency applications (R) Individual LC Advisor - Student Meetings twice a year.  Students discuss career planning, electives, and residency applications (R)
Student Affairs Dean Office Hours. Students can discuss career planning, electives, and residency applications (O) Student Affairs Dean Office Hours. Students can discuss career planning, electives, and residency applications (O) Student Affairs Dean Office Hours. Students can discuss career planning, electives, and residency applications (O) Deans' Hour: Making a Rank List: (R)
Individual Specialty Mentor meetings with students: Specialty Mentors are listed on Blackboard and students are encouraged to reach out to them for career advising, primarily to provide an overview and/or exposure to the field (O) 
[See attached worksheet]
 
Individual Specialty Mentor meetings with students: students are encouraged to reach out to Specialty Mentors for career advising, specifically addressing elective choice, specialty research as they enter the clinical curriculum (O) 
[See attached worksheet]
 

Individual Specialty Mentor meetings with students: students are encouraged to reach out to them for career advising, specifically related to electives, away rotations, research and application planning (O) 
[See attached worksheet]

Dean’s MSPE Meeting: Review with student their MSPE and Personal Statement (R)
Individual Student Interest Groups (SIG) career events (O) Individual Student Interest Groups (SIG) career events (O) Individual Student Interest Groups (SIG) career events (O) Individual Student Interest Groups (SIG) career events (O)
Non-credit Introduction to Clinical Experiences and Research (NICER) program.  A clinical and research shadowing program that allows students the opportunity to interact with observe physicians in a practice of interest. (O) Non-credit Introduction to Clinical Experiences and Research (NICER) program.  A clinical and research shadowing program that allows students the opportunity to interact with observe physicians in a practice of interest. (O) Non-credit Introduction to Clinical Experiences and Research (NICER) program.  A clinical and research shadowing program that allows students the opportunity to interact with observe physicians in a practice of interest. (O) Individual Specialty Mentor meetings with students: students have one-on-one meetings for career advising, specifically related to residency applications (R) 
  Joint Registrar/Dean’s Hour on Electives (R) Joint Registrar/Dean’s Hour on Electives (R) Non-credit Introduction to Clinical Experiences and Research (NICER) program.  A clinical and research shadowing program that allows students the opportunity to interact with observe physicians in a practice of interest. (O)
  Student Scheduling Hour and Open Lunch Hours hosted by the Registrar and Student Affairs Deans for 1:1 scheduling counseling (O)   Student Affairs Dean Office Hours. Students can discuss career planning, electives, and residency applications (O)

*USMLE= U.S. Medical Licensing Examination, AAMC CIM= American Association of Medical Colleges Careers in Medicine, CV= Curriculum Vitae, AOA/GHS= Alpha Omega Alpha/Gold Humanism Society, MSPE= Medical School Performance Evaluation

Learning Community Advisors & Specialty Mentors

  Learning Community Advisor (24) Specialty Mentor (36)
Assignment  Squad Associated, assigned for all 4 years of school—Advises 8-10 students per MS class (40 total). Relationship starts during MS1 Orientation Faculty who work directly with students interested in a specific field.  Students contact the SSM to begin relationship 
Setting of Advising/Mentoring  Functions within the Learning Community Squads to develop relationships with MS1-4 students.  Fosters community within the Squad Functions within their specialty as a clinician and/or researcher.  Expertise is in residency preparation/selection
Resource knowledge Specifically educated to know resources available for students: Mental Health, Academic, Wellness/Student Services, Specialty Mentors, NICER, ResRadar (research matching platform to connect students with researchers), Careers in Medicine, etc. NICER, ResRadar (research matching platform to connect students with researchers), Careers in Medicine, and specialty specific resources.
Relationship to Office of Student Affairs Works directly with Student Affairs Deans to aid students (struggling academically, considering dual degree, nominated for award/grant, etc.) May work directly with Student Affairs Deans to aid students in preparation for residency applications. 
Relationship to PRN Leaders Works with PRN leaders to help students progress during MS1 N/A
Meeting frequency Meets twice yearly with each assigned student (8-10 students per MS class) and via social functions Meets as often as needed to aid student in preparation for residency application/successful match
Faculty Education  Has monthly Faculty Education Classes to keep abreast of medical student life—i.e.8/14/19: Updates on Curricular changes, 12/4/19: Post Step 1: SSM’s and LC Advisors.  Receives pertinent updates for the Student Affairs Deans as it pertains to residency applications, specific residency issues, etc.
Details of student schedules Has calendar/life cycle of each MS Class to help guide meetings, understanding of day-to-day life of student  Students and SSM’s work together to map out appropriate strategy based on year (i.e. summer research between MS1-2)
Teaching duties  Responsible for teaching Wellness Curriculum to MS1 Class N/A
Milestones of Advising/Mentoring Has specific advising milestones for each segment of a student’s time at BCM.
Works with students to identify career goals and develop a general plan for research, electives, etc.  Will refer to Specialty Mentors for specific fields. 
Has specific mentoring milestones for SSM interactions with students*
Works with students to identify career goals and for those planning a career in their specialty, develops a specific plan based on MS year (electives to take, research, papers, etc.)
Specific residency application skills Specifically taught to help with CV preparation, Personal Statement review, Interviewing skills, and Three Notable Characteristics review during residency application process Understands the specialty related specifics needed for a successful application: Personal Statement, CV preparation, etc. 

Career Planning Resources 

Resource Print/Online Required or Optional
Careers in Medicine Website   Required MS1/Optional MS2-MS4
Student Affairs Blackboard Organization Online Required
Career Planning Milestones Program Print Required
List of Specialty Mentors Online Required
American Medical Association Career Planning Resource  Online Optional
American College of Physicians career guidance and career advice videos Online Optional 
American Medical Student Association Education & Career Development Resources Online Optional 
Preparing for Residency Interviewing Online Optional
Sample Residency Interview Questions Online/Print Optional
NEJM Resident 360 – information about careers in medicine  Online Optional
FREIDA Online AMA Residency and Fellowship Database Online Optional
Article regarding audition electives Online Optional
MSPE Rubric: presented at residency planning Deans’ Hour and posted online Online Required
NRMP Outcomes of the Match Online Optional
Medical Student CV Template on Blackboard and emailed to students yearly in advance of MSPE meetings. Online/Print Optional
Away Electives Site Evaluation Report  Online Required as part of formal mentor sessions/Optional otherwise
Scheduling/Timeline Presentation Online Required