Year 3

​4th Year Planning

SOM Career Advising is here to support your 4th year planning. To begin:

To meet with SOM Career Advising:

  • Draft a Clinical Calendar for Organizing Schedules (have a plan a, b and c)
    • Use this tool to visually map out your 4th year schedule and keep track of your graduation requirements
    • Find the Clinical Calendar attached to an email sent on 11/3/20 from
    • Can’t find the email? Email to have a copy sent to you
  • Come to Drop-Ins for 10-15 minute advising via Zoom
    • Monday – Thursday, 12:00 to 1:00pm PT
  • If you have more specific questions that are not answered through the group advising session or drop-in, make a 1:1 Appointment. Plan to attend a group session first, if possible.


If you are undecided at the end of your third year

  • Schedule an appointment to meet with one of SOM Career Advisors. It’s helpful to discuss this process as it can be stressful. Your college mentors are also available to provide guidance and support.
  • Use the following tools on AAMC’s Careers in Medicine website: Exploring Options, Choosing a Specialty, Getting into Residency, Specialty Indecision Scale
  • Use FRIEDA Online which is a database of over 8700 accredited graduate programs. It includes Physician Workforce information as reported by residents and practicing physicians in every specialty.
  • Remind yourself that you can apply to programs in two different specialties which will give you until rank day to decide which one is your first choice. Be aware that this path may increase the number of interviews that you will have to do in your 4th year (unless you clarify your decision before interviews begin) and will increase the expense as you apply to more programs.

Think ahead about letters of recommendation

On clerkships in which you have done well or that you have already identified as your specialty choice, stay in touch with the physicians who knew your work best. Ask them to write you a letter of recommendation while the clerkship experience is still fresh in their mind. Some faculty offer to write you a letter after you complete the clerkship. This is a good time to say yes!