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Phase 3 of Medical School

Begin targeting a specialty choice. 

Be aware that if you are thinking about competitive specialties, early match specialties, or military match

Meet with specialty specific faculty to discuss your career options

If time allows, attend a national conference and attend medical student symposiums for additional resources. At these conferences you will hear about applicants, and have networking opportunities.

Enroll in electives that will help assist in the process

Make a decision by the end of 3rd year

Identify your letter writers

  • In addition to your Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) you can submit up to 4 letters of recommendations.
  • Ideally letter writers should be faculty you have worked closely with, affiliated with programs you're interested in, and can speak to your strengths

Be aware that some specialties have specific requirements for letters of recommendations

When you request a letter:

  • Make sure the letter writer knows you
  • Knows what specialty you are applying to
  • Has your current copy of your Curriculum Vitale (CV)
  • The letter writer should be provided the following….
    • ERAS letter of recommendation link
    • Deadline for letter completion (end of August)
    • A little about yourself
    • Why you are applying to that specialty
    • What makes you a competitive candidate
    • Thank you for the time they took to draft the letter

Start your working “rank list” of possible residency programs

Be aware of specialty specific requirements:

  • Standardized video interview (Department Specific)
  • Letter of recommendation requirements (chair, department letter, etc)
  • Away rotation

Late Phase 3/Early Phase 4

Have a target specialty choice

  • Meet with your AD to discuss your potential career options, review MSPE process, and create a plan based on career choice and clinical performance
    • Create a plan based on your clinical performance, comprehensive assessment data, USMLE scores, and specialty specific competencies. 
  • Meet with Department Designated Advisors & Mentors to ensure a good “fit”

Away rotations

  • Depends on the specialty and the student
  • Discuss with your AD and the specialty you are interested in
    • Know when away rotations begin accepting applications
      • VSLO-may sure you have all requirements
        • Transcripts
        • Health updates
        • Background checks

Contact Letter of Recommendation writers- see below

Draft Personal Statement (PS)

  • Keep it Simple
    • 1st paragraph that describes your motives for applying
    • Make it specific to you; things that make it unique
    • 2nd paragraph summarizing your medical school experience
    • If you have had issues; use this to talk about your resilience and what you learned
    • 3rd paragraph why you are an ideal candidate
    • Remember to highlight characteristics that specialties are looking
    • 4th paragraph summarizing above
  • It will be read
  • You should only let one-to-two people edit your PS
  • Ask specialty resident educators about possible samples

Draft curriculum vitae (CV):

  • How to write a Curriculum Vitae
  • This is your resume. You should be “tooting your own horn”.
  • You should be demonstrating your:
    • Leadership experience
    • Community service
    • International experience
    • Research experience
    • Awards
    • Hobbies
  • Be thorough and don’t forget to include everything!!!
  • Remember that anything you list could elicit a question during interview season, so you should be able to discuss the items on your CV in an intelligent way.


Information for Air Force HPSP Students and Associated Medical Schools in the COVID-19 Environment