Career Advisement

"Don't be pushed around by the fears in your mind. Be led by the dreams in your heart."
"It's only after you've stepped outside your comfort zone that you begin to change, grow, and transform."
― Roy T. Bennett


Students are given an overview of all advisement programs during Orientation.

White Coat Ceremony

This ceremony is the symbolic beginning of the journey on the path to becoming a physician. Students are cloaked with a White Coat by the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Medical Education and pinned by their Learning Communities mentor in the presence of their classmates, families, and UNM SOM faculty and leadership. At the conclusion of the ceremony, students recite the Oath of Geneva, dedicating themselves to the humanitarian goals of medicine and a commitment to provide compassionate and competent patient care.

AAMC Careers in Medicine Program

Students are introduced to this interactive tool for career self-assessment and information about medical specialties and encouraged to take the Medical Specialty Preference Inventory (MSPI) to help them identify interests in medicine, whether they have a clear idea of what they want to do or not.

Student Organization Fair & Student Interest Groups

A Student Organization Fair is held each September to promote student organizations on campus. These organizations include specialty interest groups with faculty and resident advisors ready, willing, and able to mentor students as they start to navigate the medical world.

Individual meetings with the Associate Dean and the Assistant Dean of Students

The Associate/Assistant Deans of Students schedule required meetings with each individual student to review MSPI results and to identify potential faculty advisors in specialties to which students show interest and aptitude. Students contact faculty directly for hands-on and observational clinical experiences and to search for mentors for their required scholarly project.

Student Interest Group lunches

These optional meetings give students a chance to meet with Residency Program Directors and other faculty in various specialties to find out the requirements for matching as well as the opportunities for a career in that field.

"Do one thing every day that scares you."
― Eleanor Roosevelt

AAMC Careers in Medicine Program

Upon return from their "Doctoring 3 / Practical Immersion Experience," Phase I-2 students are encouraged tore-take the MSPI because attitudes and aptitudes change over time. This is a time to explore different medical specialties.

Student Organization Fair / Student Interest groups

Second-year students are involved in the organizing the fair and leading discussion with first-year students.

Student Interest Group lunches

These optional meetings give students a chance to meet with Residency Program Directors and other faculty in various specialties to learn about requirements for matching as well as the opportunities for a career in that field.

Step 1 Prep Program

In collaboration with the Director of the Cognitive Skills Program and the Director of the Physician and Student Wellness, the Deans of Students offer information to help students prepare for the United States Medical Licensing Examination Step 1.

Doctoring 5 / Transitions Block

During this block, the Associate and Assistant Deans of Students meet with pre-clinical students in a large group setting to discuss how Phase II Clerkship experiences will assist them as they prepare to choose a career path. Again, students are referred to the Careers in Medicine website and the "Clinical Rotation Evaluation" form provided by the AAMC. The Deans emphasize that this is one way of documenting and subsequently reflecting on experiences during a clerkship and that this can help with final decision-making. During this meeting, a panel of Phase III students who have successfully matched to a residency program discuss how Phase II influenced their career choices and how they utilized resources to make a successful residency match possible.

Optional individual meetings

Optional individual meetings with the Associate and Assistant Deans of Students.

"We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty."
― Maya Angelou

Clinical Clerkships

Students have day-to-day encounters with the individual specialties (Family Medicine, Surgery, Internal Medicine, Neurology, Obstetrics-Gynecology, Pediatrics, and Psychiatry) and have opportunities to work with sub-specialists for their continuity clinic in the Specialty Exploration Experience.

Residency Fair

At the Residency Fair, Program Directors and their staff are available to answer questions regarding training, competitiveness, and quality of life during training. This is a valuable networking opportunity, as many students later take advantage of these new relationships as they seek rotations at other facilities during Phase III. In recent years, up to twenty local and regional programs have participated in the fair.

AAMC Careers in Medicine Program

Students are encouraged to repeat the surveys halfway through the clinical clerkship year. A Learning Communities house meeting is scheduled for students to discuss their long-term plans.

Phase III Scheduling

The Associate and Assistant Deans of Students meet with Phase II students in a large group setting to discuss Phase III scheduling, advisement, and the residency application process. Based on specialty choice, students are assigned specialty-specific Match Advisors.

Match Advisors

Match Advisors are generally Program Directors, Assistant/Associate Program Directors, Clerkship Directors, Assistant Clerkship Directors, Rotation Directors, or faculty with a defined role in education in their respective departments. Match Advisors are given up-to-date match statistics and current literature regarding the Match process. Students discuss their academic profile with their Match Advisor to determine competitiveness for a residency and to develop a plan for the Phase III year.

Individual meetings with the Deans of Students

The Deans of Students meet individually with each student to review the Phase III plans. At these one-on-one meetings in the second semester of the third year, the following are reviewed: Phase I academics, USMLE Step 1 score, Phase II academics (clinical evaluations and overall grades), scholarly activity (research, quality improvement, publications, presentations, curriculum development), service to school and community, anticipated Phase III scheduling, and USMLE Step 2 CK and CS preparation. The Phase III schedule itself is critical ta student's success. Input from the Match Advisor and endorsement from the Deans of Students help to ensure that each student will be able to complete all curricular requirements, obtain necessary skills for residency, acquire strong letters of recommendation in a timely manner, and have adequate time to schedule residency interviews.

ERAS applications

The Deans of Students hold a large group meeting with the Phase II students during the last clerkship to discuss the ERAS application process, the timeline, and deadlines. The students then move to small group sessions based on their desired specialty and meet with the Residency Program Director, Match Advisor, and graduating Phase III students who were successful in the Match to discuss the application and interview process.

"The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, but the things you do for others remain as your legacy."
― Kalu Ndukwe Kalu

Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE/Dean’s Letter) Review

CV, Personal Statement, Letters of Recommendation, Scholarly Projects, and Noteworthy Characteristics.


  • Personal Statement Writing
  • Tools to help determine competitiveness for specialty / programs
  • Professional photographer for ERAS photo
  • Interviewing overview and mock interviews with medical faculty (through Learning Communities)
  • Setting your priorities for choosing a residency program (through Learning Communities)
  • Creating a Rank Order List in NRMP

Electronic Residency Application Service

Submit ERAS applications no later than September 15th.


Released to residency programs on October 1.

Residency interviews

October through January (earlier for early match specialties).

National Resident Matching Program (NRMP)

Certify your rank order before the February deadline. The NRMP conducts a residency match created to optimize the rank-ordered choices of students and program directors across the country.

Early Match results

Military (December), Ophthalmology (January), Urology (January).

Awards Ceremony and Match Day

The day begins with a ceremony honoring Phase III students who have received an award for academics, community service, compassionate care, etc. This is immediately followed by Match Day, an annual event that occurs simultaneously across the country (11:00 AM MDT, third Friday in March). Phase III students learn where and in what specialty they will complete their residency.