Yearly Checklist!

Careers in Medicine (CiM) Timeline


Year One

  • The AAMC CiM and TCOM Office of Medical Student Success websites to the first year medical students; they are encouraged to establish an account on the AAMC CiM website during year one to better shape and define their interests and specialty of choice
  • Begin exploring a variety of specialties; talk to upperclassmen, residents, and practicing physicians about their experiences

Understanding Yourself

  • Attend campus workshops, speaker events, and join specialty clubs of interest to better acquaint yourself with specific specialties, and network with like-minded individuals
  • Begin self-assessment exercises to get a better idea of where your interests lie and what’s important to you as an individual and to your long-term medical career

Year Two

  • Continue AAMC CiM self-assessment exercises
  • Complete your self-assessments and compare results
  • Review your Personal Profile with the TCOM Office of Medical Student Success
  • Create a rough draft of your CV — continue adding to it throughout years two and three

Exploring Options

  • Begin gathering basic information about specialties of interest through the CiM Specialty Pages, AOA OpportunitiesACGME, and other research
  • Attend specialty interest groups and panels on campus
  • Compare the information you gathered about yourself during your self-assessments to the information you have gathered about a variety of specialties
  • Start planning your third-year schedule (consult with the Clinical Education Office if you have questions)
  • Take COMLEX 1 (required); take USMLE Step 1 (optional) — we will discuss individual needs during your residency counseling in year three

Year Three

  • Begin clinical rotations; record your reflections on the Clinical Rotation Evaluation
  • Review Charting Outcomes in the Match to assess your qualifications and competitiveness for specialties
  • Conduct informational interviews or participate in preceptorships and shadowing opportunities
  • Attend a national conference to network and meet physicians in your chosen specialty
  • Take the COMLEX-PE exam, ideally before the end of the spring semester
  • Begin a rough draft of your personal statement…at least get something on paper!
  • Request recommendation letters from physicians you have worked with

Choosing a Specialty

  • Meet for residency counseling to discuss your top specialty preferences and those programs you’re competitive for based on board scores and academic background
  • Complete the Specialty Indecision Scale if you’re having difficulty making a decision
  • Complete the Choosing Your Specialty exercise

Year Four

Getting into Residency

  • Complete your personal statement EARLY in year four — make sure you have it reviewed!
  • Research residency training programs through AOA Opportunities, FREIDA and / or ACGME.
  • Rate your preferences using the Residency Preference Exercise
  • Begin reviewing and comparing residency programs — keep good notes!
  • ERAS service opens for applications (July 1st) — begin populating your file
  • Register with the ERAS service and start preparing residency applications (i.e., CV, letters of recommendation, and personal statements)
  • Register with the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) for the Main Residency Match
  • Begin applying to programs and transmitting applications through ERAS service (September 15th) — for ACGME programs
  • Take COMLEX Level 2 (required for graduation); take USMLE Step 2 (optional)
  • Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) released (October 1st) — also known as “the Dean’s letter”
  • Interview with residency programs
  • Rate the programs using the Residency Preference Exercise
  • Rank your selections for the NMS and / or NRMP Main Residency Match