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.
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 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||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|