Career Advising

  • An MD student conversing with a faculty member within Brigham and Women's Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Image: Gretchen Ertl
  • Dr. Anita Vanka is seen mentoring two students by using the arm of one student to demonstrate the concept she is explaining. Photo: Grace Fehrenbach
  • A faculty member engaging with a student during a mock interview event. Photo: Lipofsky

Introduction

Modeled after the AAMC Careers in Medicine Program, Harvard Medical School (HMS) has a longitudinal, phase-based career advising plan aimed at providing students with:

Coinciding with all of these opportunities is an advising relationship developed with the Society Advisors throughout students’ tenure at HMS and with the PCE and Post-PCE specialty advisors during the clinical portion of the curriculum. 

Students are encouraged to begin their career assessment through the AAMC Careers in Medicine online program. Students need a log-in ID number to participate, which will be given at the beginning of their first academic year.

General Advising

Spanning all years, faculty and staff support HMS students through mentorship and enrichment opportunities in both individual and group settings.

Every student attends formal one-on-one advisory sessions during each phase of the curriculum (Preclerkship, PCE and Post-PCE) for a combination of academic, career and life advising. In addition to the formal, required advising sessions, students are encouraged to schedule informal advising sessions as well.

Students take advantage of the resources available to them throughout their training at HMS to help them shape their individual medical career experience.

Advisors

Society Advisor

All students are assigned to an Academic Society and a society-specific primary advisor who acts as a “Primary Care Physician” of the advising team. The society advisor serves as a liaison to curricular, extra-curricular, research, career and specialty advisors throughout a student's journey at Harvard Medical School. Advisors help with finding a mentor and shadowing experiences, specialty choices, and the residency application process: MSPE (Medical Student Performance Evaluation) guidance, obtaining Letters of Recommendation, reviewing Personal Statements, filling out application sections and preparing for interviews.

Shadowing

Preclerkship (Pre-PCE) students who wish to engage in shadowing opportunities with clinicians and researchers in specialties of interest may contact their Academic Society, Career Advising staff, the Office of Scholarly Engagement (OSE) or the Dean for Students for assistance.

Dean for Students

The Dean for Students works with students across all years and all Societies to explore ways to enhance or address aspects of the entire student experience, from education to student life to career planning, and works with students to develop innovative solutions to issues and concerns. The Office of Student Affairs features a career advising nook with Match resources, HMS-specific Match data, post-Match surveys, advisor list and specialty-specific resources.

Office of Recruitment and Multicultural Affairs (ORMA)

ORMA focuses on the recruitment and support of medical students who are from groups underrepresented in medicine (URiM), including those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ); first-generation college students; and students who are economically disadvantaged. ORMA fosters an inclusive and respectful environment that is supportive of all students, faculty and staff.

Residency Application Advisor

Toward the beginning of a student’s graduation year, a faculty member in the specialty of interest will be selected to serve as the Residency Application Advisor. This advisor provides “specialty care” in the match process by supporting students in: identifying a list of residency programs, developing personal criteria to guide decisions about which programs to apply to, selecting writers of letters of recommendation, working out a communication strategy for interviews and post-interviews, and reviewing rank lists for breadth and depth.

Alumni Advisors

HMS has formed a network of 400 alumni from throughout the US and some international locations representing a spectrum of medical specialties. They might be available for an email exchange, a phone call, a visit or shadowing at their workplace. Students may reach out to alumni at any time during their medical school career. Prior to the residency application process, students may check in with these alumni before interviews for specific details about particular hospitals, programs and careers.

Leadership