Year 1 Medical Students

Planning Guide

Medical students at the School of Medicine have many diverse specialty interests. Some students have a specialty in mind in Year 1, others will not decide until later in their medical education. The Office of Student Affairs, clinical faculty and mentors will help each student pursue his or her career goals.

Competetive Specialties

A strong academic performance in Year 1 of medical school lays the foundation for a strong USMLE Step 1 performance. Take advantage of all resources offered by medical school, your instructors, and administration.

Plan to do research for at least part of your summer between Year 1 and 2. The experience will be a benefit for you no matter what specialty you decide to pursue. For many competitive specialties, programs will use research experience to help separate medical student applicants.  

Explore at least one of the specialties for a few weeks of your summer between Year 1 and 2. This will be the last big chunk of time available to you until Year 3. Use it to your advantage. Contacts made in these specialties may be a source of future research opportunities or a letter of recommendation. These weeks of exploration may also help you with your final decision on your specialty choice.  Find a clinical mentor in the specialty you are interested in and begin to gather information about the specialty and how you need to prepare.  Be in contact with Student Affairs. We are here to field your questions, assist in making connections and provide guidance in making decisions.


Career Advising Activities
Approximate time of activity
Careers in Medicine Required January
Learning & Wellness Resource Center 1 on Meetings Required  
Competitive Specialties Workshop Required   December
CV Workshop and Review Required   April
Summer Opportunities Fair Required October
Year 1-2 Specialty Interest Advising Workshops Required January - February
Careers in Medicine Collaboration with Student Interest Groups Required Varies
Career Advising 1 on 1 Meetings with Clinical Advisor  Recommended Varies