The Road to Residency

A student and faculty member during a practice interview session

On the road to residency, HMS provides students with a comprehensive career development program to help prepare and guide each student in their process of deciding on a career specialty and applying for residency. 

Resources include:

(some links below require HarvardKey log-in)

Online resources cannot replace the important meetings with your advisors, but should be used as supplemental guides.

Individual Career Advising

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.

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.

To connect with Alumni Advisors, contact the Alumni Liaison (HavardKey log-in required) and send her a short description of your inquiry and/or interests. She will find someone to help you.

AAMC Careers in Medicine Program

Students can utilize the AAMC Careers in Medicine Program for detailed resources on self-explorationexploring career options, choosing a specialty and preparing for residency. (AAMC Careers in Medicine Log-in Required)

Specialty Mentors

Every year graduates list specialty mentors and advisors within their HMS Post-Match Survey responses. These can be found under each specialty category in the report. This report is not comprehensive and students can reach out to other advisors to help them identify additional specialty mentors. (HarvardKey log-in required)

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 throughout the Residency Application Process.

Example topics:
  • Developing personal criteria to identify residency programs
  • Selecting writers of letters of recommendation
  • Working out an strategy for interviews and post-interview protocols
  • Reviewing rank lists

Residency Application Advisors List

(HarvardKey log-in required)

Society Advisors

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.

Students typically meet with their advisors multiple times during the Post-PCE with the following goals:

  • Strategic planning of fourth-year schedules 
  • Identifying career choices and planning for the residency application process 
  • Providing guidance on writing Personal Statements and CVs, obtaining Letters of Recommendation, completing residency applications, preparing for residency interviews and creating a rank order list 
  • Guidance with components of the Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE)